Candidly Speaking: An open letter to PM Binyamin Netanyahu

Global recognition of 1949 borders would represent a diplomatic disaster with long-term negative consequences.

By
April 20, 2011 23:18
Map with Israel marked but not named

Map without Israel 311. (photo credit: courtesy)

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,

Following my appeal last week to President Barack Obama to review his policies, I now respectfully urge you to neutralize the potentially disastrous impact of the initiative to unilaterally recognize an independent Palestinian state based on the indefensible 1949 armistice lines.

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Permit me first to compliment you. You achieved a broad national consensus shortly after your election by steering your party towards acceptance, in principle, of a two-state solution, incorporating the caveats required for long-term security.

Despite being confronted from the day you assumed office by an American president determined to distance the United States from us in order to appease (“engage”) the Islamic world, you resisted demands that may have negatively affected our long-term security needs. Yet you simultaneously avoided a breakdown with our one and only important ally, ensuring that Congress and the American people continue to support us.

Today, we are confronting a new combination of political and military threats. Other than the United States, headed by a problematic president, and a few countries like Canada and Australia, we have never been so isolated. The Europeans have abandoned us, and even the Germans are distancing themselves. European opinion polls portray us as a greater threat to world peace than rogue states like Iran, North Korea, and until recently even Libya.

Notwithstanding Judge Richard Goldstone’s belated retraction, the global campaign to delegitimize and defame us as war criminals proceeds at the UN and in most of the global media.

Worldwide pressure is intensifying to deny us the right to defend our citizens from genocidal terrorists.

The xenophobic Iranian regime threatening to obliterate us is drawing closer to becoming a nuclear power.

The misnamed “Arab Spring” has provided an enormous boost to radical Islamic groups throughout the region, and there is every possibility that we may once again be surrounded by rejectionist states.

The Palestinians remain utterly intransigent.

The perfidious PA (currently seeking to reunite with Hamas) refuses to compromise on any issue, least of all the Arab ‘right of return.’ Its primary objective remains the dissolution of Jewish sovereignty.

Hamas has strengthened itself with advanced Iranian weapons pouring freely through the Egyptian border. Emboldened by the rise of Islamism, they are now brazenly testing our resolve. If our limited deterrence fails to curtail the missiles raining down on our citizens, we could soon find ourselves embroiled in another Gaza war while simultaneously confronting Hezbollah and a hostile Egypt.

In summary, although we take great comfort in the capacity of the IDF to defend us, we are confronted with the gravest existential menace since 1967.

It is thus surely obligatory for you, prime minister, to forego party politics and unite with the opposition to promote the national interest.

There are no ideological differences of substance between Likud and Kadima. Political observers believe the principal barrier to a national unity government is Kadima leader Tzipi Livni’s conviction that your government will collapse. That may well happen, but no matter how many seats she gains, unless she joins with Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, she cannot succeed in forming a coalition without Likud. And you, Mr. Prime Minister, need the support of Kadima to enable you to proceed with the program desired by the vast majority of the nation.

It is thus imperative for you both to act as responsible leaders during a time of crisis and unite to foil a global effort to impose a solution on us. Failure to act now would represent a betrayal of the House of Israel.

We are obliged to present substantive proposals about separating ourselves from the Palestinians. If, as is almost certain, they still refuse to concede anything, you must create an environment in which the Americans are obliged to deal with them.

Realistically, the chances of achieving a permanent settlement are zero. The Palestinians believe time is on their side, and regard territorial concessions as a means of advancing toward their objective of nullifying Jewish sovereignty. They are convinced that in September, the international community will recognize a Palestinian state based on 1949 armistice lines – without their being obliged to concede anything.

Unless we table a viable alternative, global recognition of ‘49 borders would represent a diplomatic disaster with long-term negative consequences.

When you address the US Congress, it is incumbent on you to stress that despite the Palestinians having rejected all offers of territorial compromise, you are willing to delineate our minimum borders, which will incorporate the major settlement blocs. You would agree to negotiate other areas if and when the Palestinians get their act together.

In the meantime, subject to full acceptance of our security requirements, we would approve of the PA governing and maintaining order in the region under its jurisdiction.

The Palestinians will undoubtedly reject this offer, but at least the Americans and others will be confronted with the reality that it is Palestinian intransigency which represents the obstacle to progress.

It is also crucial to display a united front when obliged to either apply more effective deterrence against terrorist onslaughts or resume war against Hamas in order to protect our civilians.

The ongoing defamation against us at the United Nations will undoubtedly continue, but at least we will be in a better position to expose the charlatanism which reigns supreme in that despicable body.

Mr. Prime Minister, no one envies the decisions you will be obliged to make in the next few months. Yet you surely realize that if you rise above the domestic political infighting and form a unity government, most Israelis would rejoice, and you would join the ranks of distinguished leaders who forged the destiny of this country.

However, if Livni’s stubbornness precludes this, you should proceed independently with these political initiatives. Kadima will have no choice but to support you – or suffer decimation at the polls.

History honors leaders who affect the destiny of nations by taking courageous steps to promote the national interest. Were you to move in this direction, you would unquestionably earn the support of a vast majority of Israelis.

ileibler@netvision.net.il


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