MEMO FOR OBAMA
For: the President-Elect, Mr. Barack Obama.
The following humble suggestions are based on my 70 years of experience as an underground fighter, special forces soldier in the 1948 war, editor-in-chief of a newsmagazine, member of the Knesset and founding member of a peace movement:
(1) As far as Israeli-Arab peace is concerned, you should act from Day One.
(2) Israeli elections are due to take place in February 2009. You can have an indirect but important and constructive impact on the outcome, by announcing your unequivocal determination to achieve Israeli-Palestinian, Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-all-Arab peace in 2009.
(3) Unfortunately, all your predecessors since 1967 have played a double game. While paying lip service to peace, and sometimes going through the motions of making some effort for peace, they have in practice supported our governments in moving in the very opposite direction. In particular, they have given tacit approval to the building and enlargement of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories, each of which is a land mine on the road to peace.
(4) All the settlements are illegal in international law. The distinction sometimes made between “illegal” outposts and the other settlements is a propaganda ploy designed to obscure this simple truth.
(5) All the settlements since 1967 have been built with the express purpose of making a Palestinian state – and hence peace - impossible, by cutting the territory of the prospective State of
(6) By now, the number of settlers in the West Bank has reached some 250,000 (apart from the 200,000 settlers in the Greater
(7) No Israeli government would dare to confront the concentrated political and material might of the settlers. Such a confrontation would need very strong leadership and the unstinting support of the President of the
(8) Lacking these, all “peace negotiations” are a sham. The Israeli government and its
(10) It is important for you to make a complete new start, and to state this publicly. Discredited ideas and failed initiatives – such as the Bush “vision”, the Road Map, Annapolis and the like – should by thrown into the junkyard of history.
(11) To make a new start, the aim of American policy should be stated clearly and succinctly. This should be: to achieve a peace based on the Two-State Solution within a defined time-span (say by the end of 2009).
(12) It should be pointed out that this aim is based on a reassessment of the American national interest, in order to extract the poison from American-Arab and American-Muslim relations, strengthen peace-oriented regimes, defeat al-Qaeda-type terrorism, end the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and achieve a viable accommodation with Iran.
(13) The terms of Israeli-Palestinian peace are clear. They have been crystallized in thousands of hours of negotiations, conferences, meetings and conversations. They are:
A sovereign and viable State of
The border between the two states will be based on the pre-1967 Armistice Line (the “Green Line”). Insubstantial alterations can be arrived at by mutual agreement on an exchange of territories on a 1:1 basis.
East Jerusalem, including the Haram-al-Sharif (“
All Israeli settlements – except any which might be joined to
The West Bank, East Jerusalem and the
In accordance with the Saudi Peace Initiative, all member states of the Arab League will recognize
(14) Palestinian unity is essential for peace. Peace made with only one section of the people is worthless. The
(16) I suggest that you, as President of the United States, come to Israel and address the Israeli people personally, not only from the rostrum of the Knesset but also at a mass rally in Tel-Aviv’s Rabin Square. President Anwar Sadat of
This article was published in the current issue of the progressive Jewish-American monthly TIKKUN.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs