Talking the talk
A number of letters have criticized my op-ed, “Mr. Prime Minister, why are you waiting?” (May 10).
The purpose of the piece was to indicate that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not ever offered an Israeli overall peace plan to the Palestinian Party, nor has he believably offered to negotiate with an aim to resolving the dispute. In the past Mr. Netanyahu rejected the Oslo Accords, the Arab Peace Initiative, and the Olmert-Abbas negotiations.
In his address to the U.S. Congress, which I attended, he stated that he would not enter into negotiations until Mr. Abbas recognized the Jewish State of Israel. This flies in the face of the agreement at Oslo, when the PLO recognized the State of Israel and pledged to reject violence. The Arab Peace Initiative also included an offer to recognize the State of Israel, sign a peace agreement with Israel, and achieve peace for all states in the region.
In a 2001 video Netanyahu said, “They asked me before the election if I’d honor the Oslo Accords…. I said I would, but I’m going to interpret the Accords in such a way that would allow me to put an end to this galloping forward to the ’67 borders…. I stopped the Oslo Accords.”
Not only did Netanyahu undermine the Oslo Accords, he never made any attempt to meaningfully reply to the Arab Peace Initiative. He also allowed the settlers to expand rapidly into the areas that he knew would not be part of Israel in any peace treaty. Finally, when President Obama offered to push the negotiations with the PA by suggesting that a settlement would include the ’67 borders with mutually agreed upon land swaps, he rejected this peace offering out of hand.
I didn’t give Netanyahu the standing ovations he received from the gallery in Congress. He may on rare occasions “talk the talk,” but he has shown no willingness to “walk the walk” toward a peaceful settlement of the dispute.