A word of caution is in order today regarding what seem to be peaceful overtures.
Spain has just hosted a Spanish-Arab conference in Madrid that 19 members of the Arab League attended.
(It is, I will suggest, not irrelevant that Spain caved with regard to standing against terrorism after having been hit with a huge terrorist attack on its trains in 2004. Elections followed the attack by just days and the ruling party, which had been an ally of the US in Iraq, was thrown out on the premise that this had made Spain a target for terrorists. The Spanish approach to matters since then has tended towards appeasement.)
Following the conference, foreign ministers of seven Arab nations issued a joint statement in which they expressed the hope that they could "advance together toward recognition and normalization of relations with Israel."
Sounds great, right?
We need to look a bit closer, however. In the same statement they said they hoped the Mecca agreement would lead to a government "which could contribute to finding a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." This is a subtle legitimization of the Mecca agreement, for there was not a word about the responsibility of the unity government to recognize Israel or foreswear terrorism. In fact, at the conference, Palestinian official Nabil Shaath called for an end to the boycott of the PA, saying that it was "unfair and illegal" and harming peace efforts.
(Shaath’s referring to the boycott as "illegal" is telling. It has always seemed to me that the international community can give its money where it chooses. What Shaath is expressing is the "chutzpah" — effrontery — of the Palestinian sense of entitlement: they think the world is supposed to keep giving to them no matter what.)
And there’s more: Spanish foreign minister Miguel Moratinos said that the statement was reemphasizing the vision expressed in the 2002 Arab League summit. He is referring to the Saudi proposal. This promised Arab recognition of Israel if Israel moved back to the pre-’67 lines and accepted the return of refugees. This is an absolute non-starter. A way of achieving destruction of Israel via diplomatic means.
Such mock gestures are dangerous, however. For within the international community will be those who see this as a conciliatory offer on the part of Arab nations and pressure Israel to make further concessions.
The true intentions of the Arab nations are exposed by a statement just made by secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Amongst the 57 Muslim countries that belong are such Arab states as Egypt, UAE, Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Kuwait, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Morocco (not to mention "the state of Palestine"). OIC called an emergency meeting in Saudi Arabia this week to discuss "the situation in Jerusalem." Said Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu to a Saudi paper, "When the Buddhist statues were being demolished in Bamiyan, the whole world rose up against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. But not a word is being said against what Israel is doing to the Aksa Mosque. Nobody utters a word against the Israeli aggression. Nobody is really taking any action. There is silence all over."
What we are doing to the Aksa Mosque?
The problem, explained the professor is Israel’s long-standing policy to "Judaize" Jerusalem.
That charge has always fascinated me, as Jerusalem IS Jewish. They don’t like it that we uncover ancient archeological evidence of this fact or assert our rights. Shame on us for connecting to our heritage.
Ismail Haniyeh, who resigned from his position as prime minister of the PA to make way for the new unity government, is working towards its formulation and hopes to have it completed by next week.
Caution is in order here, as well. The attempt is being made to put in persons acceptable to the international community so that the boycott will be withdrawn (a distinct and worrisome possibility). However, what matters most is not the facade of apparently moderate or compromise ministers, but the principles on which the government stands. Remember that the parliament still has a Hamas majority and that the government is being founded without recognition of Israel, willingness to abide by past agreements or foreswearing of terrorism. (Forgive my repetition, but I must keep saying this.)
What is more, an attempt is being made to incorporate other groups besides Hamas and Fatah, so that there is true Palestinian "unity." These groups — such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which has rejected overtures so far — are terrorist.
What seems likely now is not the caving of the US or the EU on the issue of what is required of the PA gov’t for recognition, but rather independent initiatives of certain gov’ts (in and out of the EU) predisposed to the Palestinians. This means that the boycott may be broken at some level that is not expected to be significant.
Word is that as long as German holds the rotating presidency of the EU — until June — the EU will hold strong.
This posting can be found at: https://arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2007/2/23/posted-february-23-2007.html