Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Call for the Return of the Auschwitz Borders

"We have openly said that the map will never again be the same as on June 4, 1967. For us, this is a matter of security and of principles. The June map is for us equivalent to insecurity and danger. I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz. We shudder when we think of what would have awaited us in the circumstances of June, 1967, if we had been defeated; with Syrians on the mountain and we in the valley, with the Jordanian army in sight of the sea, with the Egyptians who hold our throat in their hands in Gaza. This is a situation which will never be repeated in history." Abba Eban, cited in the Jerusalem Post, August 18, 1995, by JP columnist Moshe Kohn.

The Sunday TimesOnline is reporting that US Presidential Elect Barack Obama is set to back the Arab “Peace Plan” circa 2002 which Israel has rejected many times.
Barack Obama is to pursue an ambitious peace plan in the Middle East involving the recognition of Israel by the Arab world in exchange for its withdrawal to pre-1967 borders, according to sources close to America’s president-elect.

Obama intends to throw his support behind a 2002 Saudi peace initiative endorsed by the Arab League and backed by Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister and leader of the ruling Kadima party. The proposal gives Israel an effective veto on the return of Arab refugees expelled in 1948 while requiring it to restore the Golan Heights to Syria and allow the Palestinians to establish a state capital in east Jerusalem.

On a visit to the Middle East last July, the president-elect said privately it would be “crazy” for Israel to refuse a deal that could “give them peace with the Muslim world”, according to a senior Obama adviser.

I don’t know how much truth there is behind this highly biased report which among other things could lead one to conclude there was an official policy of mass expuslion of Arabs from the Israeli state in 1948 contrary to all known evidence.

But a return to the 1949 Armitice borders demanded by the Arab Peace Plan would spell a return to Auschwitz borders by the Israeli state, and while the Arab League proposes it would ‘normalize’ relations with Israel I suspect the Arab League cannot speak for Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran. And honestly, the Israeli economy seems to be doing quite nicely overall without the Arab world.

Then there is the question of what the word of the Arab League actually worth? For example, Saudi Arabia could be considered one of the most respected members within the Arab League. Saudi Arabia, in order to join the World Trade Organization, had to agree to end their participation of the Arab League boycott of Israel. So the Sauds, signed on the dotted line and were fully cognizant of the fact they would have to end their participation in the Israeli boycott but they have still not done so.

If this report is true, it does underscore not only naivety but a complete lack of understanding of the Israeli psyche by the Obama team. Quite frankly, I can not imagine the Israelis being crazy enough to accept this horrendously bad deal nor can I cannot imagine any Israeli leader accepting the deal as originally offered. Obama has neither the muscle nor political cache to intimidate the Israelis into risking civil war by accepting this deal.

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