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Netanyahu Offers Conditions, Caveats For Palestinian State

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

JERUSALEM – After two months of intense American pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally uttered the magic words: two states for two peoples.

“In my peace vision, there are two free peoples living together side by side in our small land, with good neighborly relations and in mutual respect – each with its own flag, its own national anthem and its own government,” Netanyahu declared in a much-anticipated speech Sunday at Bar-Ilan University.

The question is, will the speech be enough to kick-start a genuine negotiating process with the Palestinians?

Netanyahu set numerous conditions for a Palestinian state.

The Palestinians first would have to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people; Jerusalem would remain Israel’s undivided capital; a solution for Palestinian refugees would have to be found outside Israel’s borders; and the United States would have to guarantee that the Palestinian state would remain demilitarized and not sign treaties with countries hostile to Israel.

“If we get this guarantee for demilitarization and necessary security arrangements for Israel, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, we will be willing in a future peace agreement to reach a solution of a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state,” Netanyahu pledged.

The White House called the statement “an important step forward.”

The initial signs that Netanyahu’s speech would spur renewed negotiations were not promising.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat complained that by taking core issues like Jerusalem

and refugees off the table, the new Israeli leader had closed the door on peace talks.

“Netanyahu will have to wait a thousand years to find a single Palestinian who will cooperate with him on the basis of his Bar-Ilan speech,” Erakat declared.

Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, whose views carry considerable clout in the Arab world, said Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state was “destroying the chances for peace.”

Some Israeli analysts suggest that the strong U.S. pressure on Israel in recent weeks has lulled the Palestinians into thinking that President Obama will deliver Israel for them.

So the next key move is Obama’s. He will have to decide whom to pressure now: Netanyahu to make further concessions, or the Palestinians to engage in peace talks on the basis of Netanyahu’s acceptance of the two-state model. 

In his speech, Netanyahu studiously avoided saying anything about freezing building in existing West Bank settlements or removing illegal outposts. Obama had insisted on a freeze for two reasons: to win Palestinian confidence and press Netanyahu into making the more significant two-state concession.

By making the two-state commitment, Netanyahu now hopes to gain wiggle room over the timing and scope of any settlement freeze.

When former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert engaged in a vigorous peace process with the Palestinians – and George W. Bush was president – Israel was allowed to build in Jewish settlements west of the security fence on the grounds that they almost certainly would remain in Israel proper under the terms of any final peace deal.

Netanyahu will want to negotiate something similar, at the very least.

The new American administration has been playing a strong carrot-and-stick game with Israel, trying to give it the confidence to make concessions while leaning on it heavily to do so. In practice, this has meant re-emphasizing America’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security and clarifying its support for Israel as the Jewish state, while pressing Netanyahu on settlements and the two-state model. 

Netanyahu emerged from his mid-May meeting with Obama shaken by the American president’s dispassionate resolve. Twice the prime minister dispatched high-level emissaries in an effort to mollify the Americans, but to no avail.

At a recent meeting in London, an Israeli delegation led by Cabinet minister Dan Meridor got no change from special U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell, and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak returned from a recent trip to Washington with a message from the Americans that they “meant business.”

What made the American stick even more effective was the fact that it was backed by an ambitious peace timetable: Obama reportedly has informed the Israelis that he intends to announce a full-fledged American peace plan in July, and hopes to achieve peace between Israel and the Arab world, including the establishment of a Palestinian state, within two years.

In sync with the American timetable, the Egyptians have given the rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, until July 7 to reach a national unity agreement. In making his Bar-Ilan speech, Netanyahu was trying to keep Israel ahead of the curve.

In the speech, Netanyahu entered into a subtle dialogue with Obama over the causes and justification for Israel’s establishment. Contrary to what the president implied in his June 4 Cairo speech, Netanyahu argued that Israel was not a result of the Holocaust and that Jewish suffering was not the main justification for its creation. Rather it was a case of an ancient people returning to its homeland, over which they have inalienable and millennia-old historic rights.

This argument may help Netanyahu placate the more right-wing elements of his party and his governing coalition. If Netanyahu’s speech helps kick off renewed negotiations with the Palestinians, however, the challenge of keeping together the coalition may grow.

(JTA)

Bar Ilan Responsa

Monday, March 10th, 2003

Bar Ilan Responsa, Volume Ten Plus is a powerful product that will make a very nice addition to your Jewish software library. In fact, it will probably make up a large part of your Jewish software library. This is a most excellent option for the student who needs a serious array of resources at an affordable price.

The Bar Ilan Responsa Ten Plus has the whole Tanach (Torah, Nevi’im, and Kesuvim) along with Onkelos and Rashi. It also includes the works of many other Gaonim, Rishonim and Acharonim.
The version I tested out came with the Encyclopedia Talmudit. Those who are unfamiliar with Encyclopedia Talmudit might want to consider learning about what it is. Encyclopedia Talmudit was founded in the early 1940′s by Rabbis Meir Bar Ilan, Yosef Zevin, and Yehoshua Huttner. The encyclopedia provides a comprehensive collection of all Halachic topics discussed from the time that the Talmud was written until the present. The print volume of the encyclopedia consists of 27 volumes. What makes this encyclopedia so special is that it is all on one disk, and it is written in an easy and concise Hebrew. With well over 25,000 indexed entries and thousands upon thousands of cross-references, the Encyclopedia Talmudit is an ideal tool for any of your learning needs.

As you learn from the library, I am sure you will come across some abbreviations with which you may not be familiar. What could be more frustrating than trying to figure out what that abbreviation stands for? Well, the Bar Ilan Responsa eliminates this problem by making available the online tool tip dictionary of abbreviations; you’ll be able to find those abbreviations in a jiffy.

Another feature the Bar Ilan Responsa has improved in Volume Ten Plus is the pinpoint search. With the pinpoint search, finding things will be more efficient than in previous volumes. For those who want more advanced search features, the Bar Ilan Responsa will not disappoint you. The advanced searches allow you to run several different types of searches such as wildcard, roots and dictionaries, variant spelling abbreviation searches etc., and you can filter out unwanted searches. There are even more search options with which you can define and edit word families, and if you are not satisfied, you have the option of deleting it.

Many times when learning, you will find other sources quoted in the text. What would be more convenient than being able to click on a link in the text and have the full text of the source appear instantaneously? The Bar Ilan Responsa has a special feature called hypertext link which does exactly that.

Bar Ilan allows you to print out what you need, but what I liked most about this is the ability to print in color as opposed to a plain, black-and-white printout.

Regarding typing in Hebrew, not to worry. If you are not familiar with typing Hebrew, a virtual Hebrew keyboard is included with the software. So, if you need to run a search and want to type it in Hebrew, typing in the text will be a cinch.

Another superb feature this product offers is the ability to view text previously displayed. This is a definite must when learning and looking up many sources from numerous different places.
Not everyone likes the same fonts. However, the Bar Ilan is very flexible; it allows the user to change the fonts of the search.

You finally found the text you were looking for and want to save it on a separate file or edit it in a word processor. What to do? The Bar Ilan allows the user to simply copy and paste into a text document or save it by clicking on the save icon.

No special or extra software or hardware is required to run the Bar Ilan Responsa Volume Ten Plus. I happened to have tested the program out on a brand new dell computer that ran on Windows XP Professional. At first I could not display the program properly. However, this problem was quickly solved by simply going into the regional and languages options (which you can find in the control panel) and installing the supplemental language support. After doing this, the program worked beautifully. (Please note that this problem of not being able to display the program correctly is a Windows XP problem and not with Bar Ilan program).

What I enjoyed most about this program are its special features. For instance, the biographies of authors is a great feature; it will let you know the author of any work which you might have not heard of. The gematria option is another one of my favorites because it calculates the numerical value of what is needed in no time. The calendar feature is also a great tool to help you create a time line, and the ability to switch from civil to Hebrew and vice versa only makes things easier, especially when you want to compare the two.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/scitech/electronics-today/bar-ilan-responsa/2003/03/10/

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