Former US President Jimmy Carter, a noted anti-Israel advocate has called on the Obama Administration to take Hamas off the terror watch list. He made this call on the heels of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s peace appeal to the Palestinians.
Let’s take a minute to examine the two distinct, yet connected events.
On Sunday, June 14th, 2009, newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu conducted a foreign policy speech which called for the creation of an independent Palestinian state with certain conditions. It has to be demilitarized, it has to recognize Israel as the Jewish State. Two conditions, which in effect, will ensure Israel has a secured and safe border with an enemy that has consistantly tried to destroy her for the last 60 years.
The Palestinian leadership quickly dismissed the proposal:
“Netanyahu’s speech closed the door to permanent status negotiations,” senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said. “We ask the world not to be fooled by his use of the term Palestinian state because he qualified it. He declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel, said refugees would not be negotiated and that settlements would remain.”
This, of course, is not the first time the Palestinian leadership has refused an offer by Israel for a Palestinian State. Back in 2000 at Camp David, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yassir Arafat 98% of the “west bank” and half of Jerusalem for a Palestinian State. The only hold up was the condition that the newly formed Palestinian State would have to recognize Israel as a Jewish State. Arafat refused the entire deal based on that one condition.
It seems in the nine years since Camp David, many things have changed, including the death of Arafat, but the sticking issue is the Palestinian recognition of Israel as a legitimate Jewish State.
So the next time you see pro-Palestinian activists screaming about Israeli aparthaid or how Israel has stolen land from the Palestinians, keep in mind that now, twice, Israel has offered to recognize an independant Palestinian State, and twice it’s the Palestinians that have refused.