Netanyahu's Congress speech could set Middle East peace back another 18 years
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to Congress yesterday offered only more obstacles to lasting peace in the Middle East. He not only failed to provide a vision for the peace process, but he also introduced new terms and phrases that are likely to hamper future peace efforts.
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Nothing left on the table to negotiate
Aside from the use of vague terms, Netanyahu also offered a radical plan that takes peace efforts back to their status in 1993. His terms of agreement exclude Jerusalem, refugees, and 1967 borders from any negotiations. This makes one wonder what it is exactly that Netanyahu wants to negotiate and why he keeps offering negotiations as the way forward, especially during continued settlement activities.Skip to next paragraph
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Netanyahu’s speech indeed takes the search for peace in the Middle East in a different direction. Israeli-Palestinian negotiations began 18 years ago, and Netanyahu’s vision for negotiations means the process could necessitate 18 additional years only in search of definitions for his elusive terms of “generosity,” “defensibility,” and “painful compromises.”
Netanyahu would have done everyone a favor by offering a peace proposal that would show good will on his side and contribute productively to the already troubled peace process in the Middle East.
Netanyahu's speech hurts Israel
The Israeli prime minister’s speech in Congress – though met with applause – is a recipe for disaster, not for peace. It is detrimental for Palestinians, Americans, and for Israelis.
The speech is a slap to Mr. Abbas and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Fayyad’s robust work on state building and good governance in the Palestinian territories. It also complicates the American dilemma of supporting calls for freedom in Syria and Libya while vetoing a Palestinian independence proposal in the Security Council.
Ultimately, Netanyahu’s speech is no doubt bad for the Israelis, as it failed to respond to the changing Arab world and forge partnerships with the region’s people, not the dictators. It is perhaps the time for the Israelis to launch a “Tahrir Square” in Tel Aviv to oppose their government’s extremist agenda.
Rae Abileah, the 28-year old Jewish woman who disrupted Netanyahu’s speech in Congress, has already set the stage for such a project with her statement, “Not in my name, Stop the occupation.”