Following is a response by UK Prime Minister David Cameron on January 15, 2013 to my open letter to him of December 20, 2012:
10 DOWNING STREET
LONDON SW1A 2AA.
THE PRIME MINISTER 15 January 2013
Dear Mr. Koch:
Thank you for getting in touch and for sending me a copy of your recent article, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Let me reassure you that the UK, is and will remain a firm friend of Israel. I share your deep concern about the recent inflammatory statements made by Hamas leaders, including Khaled Mesha''al on 7 December, denying Israel''s right to exist. The UK also utterly and unreservedly condemns the recent call for a third intifada and a suicide campaign by a Hamas official. Incitements to violence and terror are unacceptable. We therefore welcome President Abbas'' public rejection of these statements and acceptance of the State of Israel within 1967 borders.
We firmly believe that the people of Israel have a right to live peacefully and free from terror. But we also believe that the only sustainable way to achieve this is through a negotiated two-state solution. As friends of Israel, it is important we do whatever we can to reach that ultimate objective: two states, living side by side, in peace. We ask Israel to stop building settlements because they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and make a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, harder to achieve. They are, ultimately, not in Israel''s long-term interests. Simply building a fortress without a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians cannot deliver lasting security for Israel.
I do not share your analysis regarding the recent Palestinian UN General Assembly resolution. The UK''s position on this resolution was determined by the guiding principle of ensuring a rapid return to negotiations. Given this, we had asked Palestinian President Abbas not to move a resolution at the UN General Assembly in November. In the period prior to the vote, we engaged intensively to seek a commitment from the Palestinian leadership to return immediately to negotiations without preconditions and that they would not pursue immediate action in UN agencies and the International Criminal Court. In the absence of these assurances, the UK abstained on the vote.
We must now look forward. Ths year is an important one for peace in the Middle East. The UK will work urgently with the United States, our other internationalpartners and with the Israelis and Palestinians to drive the peace progress forward before the window for a two-state solution closes forever.
My letter from December 20, 2012:
Dear Mr. Prime Minister:
You may recall we met at the White House when President Obama held a state dinner in your honor. Your comment at the time, "I studied you in school," elevated my spirits.
I am enclosing a commentary that I wrote following the statement of Khaled Meshal, leader and head of the Hamas government in Gaza, and an earlier vote by the UN Assembly granting statehood to Palestine made up of the West Bank and Gaza. Israel and the Palestinian Authority have not agreed to final borders and the Gaza government has said - the speech of Khaled Meshal is set forth in my commentary - that it will never recognize the legitimacy of the state of Israel and will continue to pursue violence against that state including the kidnapping of its soldiers.
The official head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has refused for the last two years to come to the peace table to negotiate without preconditions.
You ask Israel to cease building settlements on the West Bank, which are intended not only to house Israelis, but to provide a defense bulwark when the Islamist armies of the surrounding states, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria - Assad or his opponents - and Iraq, again try militarily to crush Israel.
Will Britain come to Israel''s aid? I recall when in one of those wars, Britain declined to deliver to Israel tanks it had purchased from your country. Britain under Chamberlain participated in the Munich sellout of Czechoslovakia. What you and your European colleagues are doing now is repeating the sellout, this time of Israel. The Czech Republic, mindful of what happened to it, is the only European country to vote no to Palestinian statehood. When one of your predecessors told the world that he offered "peace in our time," he wrote himself into history as a disgrace. How will history on this issue recall you?
Why would you expect Israel to cooperate in its intended lynching?
All the best.
Edward I. Koch
Ed Koch Commentary
December 17, 2012
Collaborators Then, Collaborators Now
The war against the Jews - and against the State of Israel - continues unabated.
For the past year, Israel has been subjected to rocket bombardments directed at its cities including Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. A million Israeli civilians in Southern Israel had their lives disrupted as 8,000 rockets rained down on them since 2005. The Israeli government decided to respond militarily against Hamas which governs Gaza and has its own prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh.
The Israeli army, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), is made up of reserves that can be called up within 48 hours. Approximately 75,000 Israeli soldiers were sent to the Israeli frontier with Gaza. They didn''t cross the border, relying instead on the Israeli Air Force to wreak havoc. The IDF was successful in killing a significant number of Hamas terrorists including its major battle commander, Ahmed Jabari, responsible for the rocketing barrages, as well as numerous other acts of terrorism. Terrorists in Gaza often surrounded themselves with civilians in an attempt to prevent Israel from responding militarily. Injuries and deaths of Palestinian civilians - children, women and men - are inevitable based on the terrorist actions of using civilians as shields - a war crime. The Israeli Air Force also eliminated a huge armory of rockets that Hamas had received over the years from Iran and Sudan.
The leaders of the western world - France, England, Germany and others - sought to deter the IDF from entering Gaza with troops. The New York Times of November 19 reported an interesting statement from the British Foreign Minister, William Hague. The Times stated:
"William Hague, the British foreign minister, said in a television appearance on Sunday that he and Prime Minister David Cameron ''stressed to our Israeli counterparts that a ground invasion of Gaza would lose Israel a lot of the international support and sympathy that they have in this situation.''"
The Israeli government has few friends at the United Nations, primarily the U.S. and Canada. Instead of entering Gaza with its soldiers so as to more effectively destroy the Hamas army and kill more of its leaders it decided, I believe erroneously, not to enter Gaza. What was the result? When the armistice was achieved through the efforts of President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt, himself an Islamist and supporter of Hamas, and those of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Hamas declared a victory.
What was their stated victory? Keeping the IDF out of Gaza and having the elected leaders of Egypt, Turkey, Quatar and others tour Gaza, praising Hamas and its unwillingness to recognize the State of Israel. What did the Israelis gain by satisfying Hague and Cameron? An enemy strengthened by the Israeli effort to keep casualties down.
After the armistice was achieved, the citizens of Gaza were visited by Khaled Meshal, their leader who normally resides in Syria or Lebanon. As reported in The New York Times of December 8:
"The long-exiled leader of the militant group Hamas, Khaled Meshal, entered Gaza for the first time on Friday, a symbolically powerful visit that sought to reinforce Hamas''s contention that it was victorious in its eight-day clash with Israel.
On December 9 the Times reported:
"Speaking before tens of thousands of supporters to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, Mr. Meshal said the Jewish state would be wiped away through ''resistance,'' or military action. ''The state will come from resistance, not negotiation,'' he said. ''Liberation first, then statehood.''
Where were the condemnations of Francois Hollande, the President of France, David Cameron, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and Angela Merkel the Chancellor of Germany? They didn''t think it necessary and their silence was deafening. Yet at the UN Assembly, reported in the Times on December 12:
"Israel''s blunt-talking foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, gave vent on Wednesday to the government''s anger over recent diplomatic gains by the Palestinians paired with international rebukes for Israel, comparing Israel''s situation to that of Czechoslovakia in 1938 before the Nazi invasion.
"Israel was dismayed last month when all the countries of Europe, other than the Czech Republic, supported the Palestinians or abstained when the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to upgrade the status of the Palestinians at the United Nations.
"Speaking in English at a conference for foreign diplomats in Israel sponsored by the newspaper The Jerusalem Post, Mr. Lieberman said, ''When push comes to shove, many key leaders would be willing to sacrifice Israel without batting an eyelid in order to appease Islamic radicals and ensure quiet for themselves.'' He added, ''We are not willing to become a second Czechoslovakia and sacrifice vital security interests.''"
What occurred at the UN was another intended Munich and this time the intended victim was Israel. Make no mistake about it. The goal is the ultimate destruction of the Jewish state. The Czech Republic understood this, and it was the only European country not to vote to create a state of Palestine. The state voted on by the UN is without agreed-upon borders and also has two prime ministers - one in Gaza and one on the West Bank. It is an entity where the terrorists of Hamas in Gaza have greater prestige and support of the Palestinians than the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.
Is it any wonder that the Foreign Minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman, denounced the European nations? An Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman "compared the EU''s policy toward Israel to the behavior of Europe toward the Jews during the period of the Holocaust."
Remember, it was not just Hitler and the Nazis who ordered the Jews rounded up and taken to concentration camps. Many of the countries on the European mainland and their people assisted the Nazis in sending the Jews to the death camps. They collaborated then and they are collaborating now.
The settlements of Jews on the West Bank that the European countries and the U.S. denounce are there to protect Jerusalem and the State of Israel when the Palestinians and their allies attack Israel. Israel does not expect the troops of any other country to come to its defense when the Arab armies attack as they have on prior occasions. It will depend for its security and survival on the Jewish citizens and soldiers in those settlements to give it time to marshal its reserves. They also believe in God.
The Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas has refused to sit at a peace conference without preconditions for the last two years. President Abbas may desire peace, but he knows that if he were to negotiate a peace treaty with Israel, the Muslim Jihadists worldwide as well as his neighbors on the West Bank and Gaza, supporters of Hamas, would kill him. The European leaders know that but continue to blame Israel for a lack of peace when they know better. Shame on them.
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