Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hope in the Mideast?

Mortimer Zuckerman's new commentary at U.S. News suggests the possibility of a diplomatic breakthough on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. His defense of Israel in the opening segment is a nice primer on the Jewish state's moral legitimacy, a point that bears reiteration following Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to New York and the ongoing Palestinian campaign to undermine Israel's right to exist:

This campaign of repudiation cuts deeply into the Israeli psyche. The Israelis know that the Jews have lived in the land of Israel without interruption for nearly 4,000 years. They know that, except for a short Crusader kingdom, they are the only people who have had independent sovereignty on this land. And they are the only people for whom Jerusalem has been their capital.

They are not a foreign occupier because the State of Israel is the child not of European colonialism but rather of Ottoman decolonialization. It was that Jewish historical bond that led the League of Nations 85 years ago to establish the right of the Jewish people to reconstitute a Jewish homeland on all the territories west of the Jordan River, all the way to the Mediterranean. That same right to a national home was sanctioned again 59 years ago by the new United Nations. After an Arab invasion 40 years ago, the U.N. passed a resolution affirming Israel's right to "secure and recognized boundaries." As Winston Churchill noted in 1922, "The Jews are in Palestine by right, not sufferance." The refusal of the Palestinians and of Ahmadinejad to recognize this has, for decades, undercut Israeli confidence in their true motives.
Read the whole thing. Zuckerman suggests that November's proposed summit between Israelis and Palestinians - to be held under the good offices of the United States - might bear fruit should moderates forces, such as new Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, succeed in shifting the Palestinians away for their perpetual strategy of victimhood to one of honesty, pragmatism, strength, and institutional performance.

Zuckerman's a realist, though, and he's careful to point out the wisdom of keeping expectations reasonable (especially with reference to Mahmound Abbas).

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