Dear Friends of Israel
In his report last year, Richard Goldstone accused Israel of firing deliberately at the civilian population in the war against Hamas in Gaza. He has now acknowledged that report was a misrepresentation, because at the time, he did not know everything that he knows today about the true events. Nevertheless, the fear in Israel is that this acknowledgement will do little to change the change the attitude of the UN General Assembly, whose majority is anti-Israeli anyway. Israel is further concerned that the recognition of a Palestinian state will be brought to a vote at the United Nations annual meeting this coming September. Such recognition requires a two-thirds majority. The situation appears nearly hopeless for Israel, since 118 of the 192 member states already recognize a Palestinian state.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is therefore trying to convince the U.S. and its President, Barak Obama that an interim solution would be best; that is, a provisional state with provisional borders. However, the British Foreign Minister, William Hague spoke clearly against this during a recent visit by Israeli President Shimon Peres in London. On one hand, Hague made a strong case for the establishment of guidelines to resolve the Palestinian conflict by a Quartet consisting of the USA, the EU, Russia and the UN. On the other hand, he spoke clearly of Israel's right to exist within secure borders. There cannot be any debate, or even any compromises over this right of Israel. "The current changes in the Arab world make it more imperative to move the diplomatic process forward," Hague stated, and added, "One of the most important lessons from the 'Arab Spring' is that legitimate aspirations cannot be ignored and must be addressed." Implying that movement on the peace process will help bolster moderates who will be vying for power in the post-revolution Arab world, Hague said, "It cannot be in anyone's interests if the new order of the region is determined at a time of minimum hope in the peace process. This creates a risk that in each country, the politics set with maximum hostility to Israel, rather than giving the new leaders of these countries strong grounds to support the pursuit of peace." It is therefore necessary to act now.
Hague further stated that the United Kingdom, France and Germany have set out their views on what the principles for a settlement of the Palestine conflict should be. Two states for two peoples based on: 1967 borders with equivalent land swaps, security arrangements that protect Israel while respecting Palestinian sovereignty by ending the occupation; a fair, realistic and agreed solution for refugees; and Jerusalem as the capital of both states. Hague called on the US and the Quartet "to set out clear principles on this basis as soon as possible, and on both sides to resume negotiations to address final status issues."
The current events in the Arab world are obviously just a temporary distraction from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but in the end contribute to greater international pressure on Israel.
The recent political events have shown once again that Israel and Jerusalem are to remain at the center of world events and, as God himself has said: "For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch." Isaiah 62.1(NIV).
United in this certainty, I leave you with a heartfelt, "Shalom".