Weekly Commentary: Suggestions regarding Israeli Talking Points

Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 24 October 2013

A few suggestions in light of remarks by Prime Minister Netanyahu and the various “informed sources” briefing reporters:

#1. The issue is not if Mahmoud Abbas can come up with a statement that may be construed as an expression of some level of disapproval of what we term terrorist attacks. Squeeze enough and the Palestinians will come up with verbiage acceptable to the White House.

The issue is that Mahmoud Abbas should be expected to take a clear stand regarding the treatment of Palestinians captured now by Israel for their involvement in violence.

The official Palestinian position is straightforward: Israel should release any and every Palestinian who engages now in violence that Israel captures. This radically immoral and unacceptable position – when presented for what it is – is unacceptable not only to Israel and the United States but to all elements of the Quartet.

Demanding that Mahmoud Abbas take a clear and practical position that facilitates the punishment of Palestinians who engage now in violence is a sound bite that deserves frequent repetition.

#2. We are of a generation that witnessed that even very long term leases (for example, Hong Kong) eventually come to an end.

If the deployment of Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley is indeed a necessary element of Israel’s security then a lease arrangement of any period of time is unacceptable as, by definition, it already sets the scene at some future date for Israel to be forced to relinquish this critical element of the Jewish State’s security.

#3. Israel most certainly has more than just “security needs”.

Prime Minister Netanyahu in fact just recently wrote a note about Israel’s deep connection to Hebron. But that note was directed to a particular Israeli audience that shares that view.

It would be most appropriate for Mr. Netanyahu and his briefers to always include a sound bite regarding the need for any arrangement to also address fundamental Israeli historical-national interests. (Anyone who suggests, for example, that Jews would actually be able to continue praying at the Tomb of the Patriarchs if it were under Arab control is grossly out of touch with reality).

The frequent repetition of this sound bite is particularly important in light of the very real possibility that at the end of the current Israeli-Palestinian talks the Americans opt to publish an outline of their own ideas.

And the last thing Israel needs is an American proposal that only addresses its take on what it perceives as Israel’s true security needs.