Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Settlements are a Non-Issue

Jordan's King Abdullah, interviewed by Jon Stewart:

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King Abdullah II of Jordan
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3:25 Abdullah: We all got painted into a corner on the issue of settlements, unfortunately, and where we should have concentrated was on territories and the borders of a future Israeli-Palestinian two-state solution. And so now we've got this unfortunate issue of the 30th of September, and there are people waiting in the wings for us to fail. And we, I think, as the moderates, are becoming definitely the minority and we're losing our voices. And what people will say as we go beyond the 30th is, look, we've been telling you for years now that the moderates - having dialogue with Israel is not the way to go. Violence is the only way. And then we run out of an ability of being able to answer the extremists in our region. So, I think, we're at the defining crossroads of whether we're going to go down the abyss or not.

For the last and final time, let it be known - from the lips of an Arab leader privy to the highest levels of peace diplomacy - that Jewish communities in Shomron and Yehudah are not an obstacle to peace. What is an obstacle to peace, now proven through experience, is the very attempt to make the settlements an obstacle to peace. Such actions, undertaken first by President Obama, and joined by the European Union, Russia, the United Nations, the Palestinians and Arab League states, and, notably, Jeffrey Goldberg and JStreet, have emboldened violent extremists and irreconcilable radicals, while weakening the moderates. As the King makes clear, targeting the settlements as an obstacle to the process created an obstacle to the process, delaying the onset of substantive negotiations on final status issues, whose successful resolution would nullify whatever concerns exist about the settlements now. To this day, despite dramatic Israeli flexibility, the early focus on settlements continues to poison the public discourse and diplomatic atmospherics, now threatening to derail the Palestinian commitment to negotiations.

As a side note, it is curious that Abdullah deliberately refers to peace between the "Muslims and the Israelis" and "Arabs and the Israelis", but not between the Muslims or Arabs and the Jews. Such rhetoric continues an odd obsession among prominent Arab leaders and intellectuals, to confuse and distort the root of the conflict - the nine decade old, violent Arab Muslim challenge to the Jewish right to self-determination in the Levant - thus impairing its speedy resolution. Efforts to deny legitimacy to natural, inalienable Jewish national aspirations, far from the complete end of all outstanding claims that peace demands, can only be seen as an attempt to retain sufficient justification for future belligerency and violence against the Jews of Israel, aborting the premise and promise of peace.

(h/t Shalom Rav, who doesn't allow facts to interfere with his ideology)

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