Inquiring minds want to know, so here is more from our guest blogger, Dr. ______ from Atlanta, GA.
I wouldn't want to disappoint my "fans." After all, Bradley was sure I would reply; so here it is. Let me do the easier ones, first. One of your bloggers wondered about Minister Avigdor Lieberman's expressed policies of "inviting" Palestinians who could not accept Israel as an independent Jewish state, who could not pledge allegiance to the Israeli flag, who could not sing the Israeli National Anthem, who could not follow Israel's "Jewish" laws, to relocate to the hoped-for future Palestinian state. Although this is not a tenet of Zionism, having a Jewish state is. And it is Israel's right, as it is that of all other countries, to enact immigration laws and limitations, and to develop economic incentive programs, to work towards maintaining that goal. Furthermore, "transfer" of populations has been an oft-repeated occurrence in the past: Germans out of Czechoslovakia after W.W.II; Muslims out of India, into Pakistan, and vice versa; Pakistanis out of Bangladesh; Tibetans out of China; Eritreans out of Ethiopia; Jews out of Iran, etc. Nevertheless, "transfer" of populations is not the policy of the government of Israel, nor is it supported by the wide majority of the Israeli electorate. Israel is democratic to a fault; this results in the inability of the people to ever elect a majority government. All governments in Israel's history have been coalitions; this, perforce, means including individuals with differing views, but views which have no assurance of being enacted. Such is the case here.
With regard to your question regarding the Beirut Summit, and the offer to recognize Israel, if it met Arab conditions, there were a number of obstacles. First, the whole initiative came out of a discussion with journalist Thomas Friedman. It was only at his behest that Saudi Arabia introduced it at the summit. Secondly, Prime Minister Sharon requested that he be invited to the summit, so that he could meet and discuss the offer, face to face. His request was denied; none of the leaders of the Arab states would recognize, or meet with the Israeli Prime Minister, (in stark contrast with Sadat's journey to Jerusalem, which was the single most important factor that initiated the peace agreement with Egypt that resulted in the return of all land Egypt lost in 1967.) How could they then be trusted to follow up any agreement they might sign? Most troubling, however, was the insistence in the Saudi initiative, of the Palestinian "right of return" to Israel proper. This is, and always will be, a non-starter, for it would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state. Suicide is non-negotiable.
Now for the most difficult part: What is the best way to achieve a just and lasting peace? It has often been repeated that you make peace with your enemies, not your friends. What is left unsaid, however, is that both sides must want to make peace. The Israelis have excellent reason to believe that they do not, at this time, have a protagonist with whom they can make peace. To change that perspective, the Arabs must give Israel the one thing that is non-negotiable - security. To do that, the Egyptians and Jordanians must live up to their commitments and treaties. This would involve an end to incitement against Israel in the media, and in the schools and universities; an end to the embargo on educational and commercial exchanges; an end to support of anti-Israel movements in the U.N., and around the world. The Palestinians would have to do the same, and more. There are signed agreements, at Oslo, and the U.S. "roadmap". All of them require the Palestinians to recognize the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state, and, first and foremost, to end violence and incitement. This the Arabs have steadfastly refused to do, whether it was Arafat, Hanieh, or Abbas; whether it was unwillingness or inablity; Israelis continue to be under the gun, and continue to die.
What to do? For the Palestinians:
Do not insist on maximalist goals. Do not expect immediate results. Use the enormous sums of foreign aid not for bombs and rockets, but to build a national infrastructure, farms, schools, hospitals, bridges. Develop commerce and industry. Make a 100%, transparent effort to prevent terror attacks, and rocket attacks by disarming the extremists, and jailing, indefinitely, those who refuse to comply. Change the school curricula, the summer camp activities and songs. Stop teaching hatred of Jews, glorification of "martyrs", to the people, especially the children. Stop dancing on rooftops when Israel is attacked by others, and stop asking Iran to "nuke" Israel. Make it clear at the U.N. that anti-Israel resolutions are no longer "de rigeur", or even acceptable. That the Iranians, Malaysians, Indonesians, etc. do not speak for the Palestinians. That they no longer intend to flood Israel with returning refugees, but will re-settle them within their own boundaries, with Israeli compensation. And they will have to do this on whatever land the Israelis are willing to let them control, for a period of time, perhaps a generation (25 years), during which there will have to be a gradual building of trust.
For the Israelis:
They will have to allow the Palestinians to set up a self-governing entity. They will have to abandon settlements that have been established within that entity, or require those Israelis who wish to stay within the settlements to be subject to Palestinian law. Israel will have to give economic and socio-political support to the Palestinian entity, and compensation for re-settlement of returning refugees. They will have to trade with, and allow the Palestinians to have access to the outside world (when the Israelis can be assured that the freedom will not be used to import arms, and fighters.) They will have to give the Palestinians free access to their holy sites in Jerusalem (as soon as they can be sure that they will not use the freedom to bomb restaurants, and throw stones down on worshippers at the Western Wall).
If, and when, the Israelis no longer fear for their survival, issues such as the final disposition of Jerusalem, final borders of Israel and the Palestinian state, compensation for Jewish refugees from Arab lands, nuclear-free zones, and others, will be much more amenable for discussion and agreement.
Now about Iran, and Ahmadinejad..............