From chaver J. Zel Lurie’s column in the July 15 issue of the Jewish Journal of South Florida:
“What has Obama accomplished in five months?” my Republican neighbor asked disdainfully. It will be six months from when this column sees the light of day. But whether five months or six months, it’s the wrong question.
The correct question is where would we be if John McCain had defeated Barack Obama? I shudder to contemplate the answer. …
Israeli public opinion has changed several times in the last twenty-six years. Maintaining the same goal for twenty-six years is not Israel’s way. Twenty-six years ago I was told by a Maariv editor that a Palestine state would be a causus belli. Israel would go to war to destroy it. Today the majority of Israelis favor a Palestine state as the best security for Israel.
George Mitchell, who has been charged by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, to seek out peace, has been working with Minister of Defense Ehud Barak to find a way for the Israel Government to obey Mitchell’s demand to freeze settlement building.
Meanwhile, Mitchell’s competent staff has been lobbying key ministers in Israel’s sprawling government. The results can be seen in Israeli government actions last week.
Mark Regev, government spokesman, called a conference of the foreign press. He said once again that Israel was ready to negotiate with the Palestine authority “without preconditions.” He then laid down three conditions:
1. The Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state: The Palestinian reply is “we will negotiate with the government of Israel. What Israel calls itself is its own business.” …
2. To protect Israel’s security, the Palestine state must be demilitarized: This is the wrong way to protect Israel’s security. It substitutes demeaning words for useful actions.
The fact is that under the supervision of U.S. General Dayton, with a green light from the Israel Defense Forces, the Palestinians are building a large and efficient security force. More and more Palestinian youth are going to Jordan for training in this force, which has already taken over security from the Israel army in three Palestinian cities.
As it grows it will take over from the Israeli Army more and more of the West Bank. This is the security force that the Israel negotiators must deal with to secure a demilitarized state — no warplanes or heavy tanks — without raising the dander of the proud Palestinians.
3. Prosperity: Regev said quite rightly that a secure peace depends on a prosperous nation and Israel is taking steps to revive Palestine life.
These steps were announced on Wednesday July 8 in a government press release which said that that morning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “convened the Ministerial Committee on Improving the Economic Situation of the Palestinian Residents of Judea and Samaria.”
Minister Silvan Shalom briefed the committee on three long term projects funded by foreign governments, which are being revived after being frozen for years.
1. An industrial zone near Bethlehem for tourism and services, funded by France.
2. A major industrial zone in Islameh near Jenin, funded by Germany,
3. A zone in Jericho for the processing and export of agricultural products, funded by Japan.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon reported on the large-scale removal of checkpoints “due to the position of the international community and world opinion.” …
And Israel listening to world opinion is a direct result of Barack Obama defeating John McCain.
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