‘We have been here before,’ said Mrs. Clinton
By J. Zel Lurie
DELRAY BEACH, Florida–When I visited Israel recently, I told my Israeli family –daughter, granddaughter and a brand new great-grandson — that they were living in a bubble of prosperity and peace. As Time reported last week the last suicide bomber was over two years ago. What was happening to the Palestinians on the other side of the wall hardly affected them.
Oddly enough, the majority of Palestinians, who live in the Palestine Authority-governed cities, with an efficient American-trained police force, are living in a similar bubble of prosperity.
Outside the two bubbles are the Arab citizens of Israel, twenty percent of the population, and the Palestinian farmers surrounding the cities living under the confusing and often brutal rule of the occupying Israeli army, assisted by the Jewish settlers the army is assigned to protect.
Lying in wait, licking its chops, ready to pounce and prick the bubbles lies Iran. If they achieve the bomb and attack, it will be doomsday.
But it’s not going to happen. Iran will not use the bomb to destroy Israel because they know that Israel has second strike capability. Israel has nuclear-armed submarines lurking in the Indian Ocean aimed at Iran’s cities.
But Iran doesn’t have to risk nuclear warfare to attack Israel. Iran has Shiite allies in the Hezbollah which, with assistance from Syria, is gradually taking over Lebanon. Iran has armed Hezbnollah with missiles that can reach Tel Aviv. They can launch a devastating wave after wave of missiles when Iran gives the signal.
This is what worries Prime Minister Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. This is why he said he is ready for an “historic compromise” at the festive opening of the talks with Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
This is why the Palestinians, who continue to publicly present insoluble problems, are ready to talk privately about compromise solutions. In fact, they have been ready to talk since 2002 when the Arab League adopted a peace resolution based on the 1967 lines. But instead of talking and compromising Israel ignored the peace overture signed by 22 Arab states and continued to build settlements.
The Iranian Hezbollah threat has changed Bibi’s mind and the Palestinian leaders are grasping the thin line which might lead to a final status peace, freedom for thousands of prisoners and an end to the occupation. This is why seven Palestinian leaders have participated in on-line videos addressed to Israelis. Each concluded with this challenge: “I am your partner. Are you mine?”
As for Hamas, Abbas and his aides have apparently decided that the way to combat Hamas’s control of Gaza and its influence in the West Bank is to make an “historic” agreement with Israel which will end the occupation.
This is why Bibi spoke last week about the need “to embrace original thinking outside the box.” He may have learned that phrase from his talks with President Obama and his aides in Washington.
This is why when he was pressed by Israeli reporters in Washington for details on his talks he turned them off: “You guys want headlines. I want an agreement.”
This is why when one of the reporters, Nahum Barnea of Israel’s largest newspaper Yediot Ahronot wrote a column attacking the theatricality of the Washington show he ended with: “Maybe it wasn’t a show. Not just a show. Not this time.”
For Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton this is not just a show. She journeyed to Egypt to preside at the first of the biweekly Netanyahu-Abbas talks scheduled for a year. It was to take place yesterday but this column was written several days before.
Mrs. Clinton likes to associate herself with success. “We have been here before,“ she said in opening the festivities in Washington, So many times before. But this time, unlike her predecessor, she plans to persist to a successful conclusion.
Stephen J. Hadley, who was national security advisor to President Bush, said last week: “One of the best indications that this could succeed is that Hillary Clinton is willing to get involved. Two things. She thinks that peace is possible and skilled as she is, it increases the chances of success.
The problems are immense. But they are man-made. And man –Netanyahu, Abbas and Mrs. Clinton — can solve them. They have a year.
Lurie is a freelance writer based in Delray Beach, Florida. His articles appear in the Jewish Journal of South Florida