Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Olmert on the Six Day War.

In today's Guardian, there are articles by Olmert and Haniya about the Six Day War.

Here is Olmert:

Six days, 40 years ago. Looking back to the weeks preceding the war, it may be difficult for you to imagine just how desperate life seemed for Israelis, ringed by peoples whose armies pointed their weapons towards us, whose leaders daily promised the imminent destruction of our state and whose newspapers carried crude cartoons of Jews being kicked off the face of the earth. As we consecrated mass graves in expectation of the worst, we were once again people facing annihilation. We had no alternative but to defend ourselves, no strategic allies to ensure our survival. We stood alone.

Our victory in those six days in June 1967 - swift, complete and totally unexpected - showed us and the world we were not going to be wiped off the map that easily. Israel fought an unwanted war to defend her very existence, and today there are still leaders who call for Israel to be wiped off the map. But there is a danger that that will be forgotten, overtaken by a re-reading of history. Our survival in 1967 is now, in the eyes of the world and, with worrying consequences in the UK, the original sin of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Our opponents argue against the ongoing "occupation" as if it were the Gordian knot of the conflict. If only we were to leave the territories the conflict would end. And they threaten international isolation if we do not.

If only the conflict were so simple; if only the answer were so simple. Over the last 15 years, successive Israeli governments have initiated talks with the Palestinians in every conceivable permutation in an attempt to reach a settlement. In the 1990s, Israel withdrew from all the Palestinian cities in the West Bank, handing its affairs over to a Palestinian Authority. Nearly two years ago, Israel withdrew its troops and civilians from Gaza, with no preconditions. Last year my Kadima party came to power on an agenda promising further withdrawals. In the face of concessions that have threatened our own domestic consensus, the constant refrain has been the Palestinian refusal to end its violent attacks on our citizens.

Palestinian violence is not a response to the capture of the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian nationalism's roots are not so shallow. From the emergence of the Zionist movement over 100 years ago, Arabs have opposed our claim to independence on our historic homeland, often violently. Our conflict is not territorial, it is national.

I think that he says it very well. In other words, it is NOT about land. It is still about the fact that certain of our neighbours do not want us to exist! Want us gone! And they still do!

And Haniya? This is what he says:

The first step to change this catastrophic climate is for the west to engage with the Palestinian National Unity government, which envisages the establishment of an independent state on all the Palestinian land occupied by Israel in 1967, the dismantling of all the settlements in the West Bank, the release of all 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the recognition of the right of all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. If Israel is serious about peace, it has to recognise these basic rights of our people. The 1967 war remains an unfinished chapter. Nothing will stop our struggle for freedom and to have all our children reunited in a fully sovereign state of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital.

It sounds so simple! Here are two questions. 1. Is he being honest? Will he accept this? 2. Is this practical.

Let us start with the second point, and that is that even these "terms" Israel cannot accept, and Haniya knows this! If we give back everything from 1967, we give the Kotel. 96% of the country are unwilling to do that! If Palestinians are allowed back to their homes, then the Jewish majority in Israel is absolutely eroded.

But on the first question, Haniya is lying. Here is a quote from Haniya

"As far as we're concerned, the issue of recognition of Israel has been settled once and for all. It has been settled in our political literature, in our Islamic thought and in our Jihadist culture, on which we base our moves. Recognition of Israel is out of the question. We have been advocating the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital and the return of the refugees. In exchange for all that, we will declare a truce, but no recognition of Israel."
From an interview with Haniyeh in the Saudi daily paper Aljazeera (2 April)

"Allah is pleased with the Prophet's supporters, the jihad warriors and the martyrs that watered the blessed ground with their pure blood... And we say to these martyrs - we will keep the martyr's oath. We will give Allah the opportunity to grant us one of two mercies: victory or martyrdom."
Haniyeh in a Friday sermon (al-Aqsa TV, 20 April).

No comments: