The May issue of Commentary contains an excellent analysis of the “road map” to peace in the Middle East by Abraham Sofaer, a former federal judge and legal advisor to the State Department under President Reagan, who is now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute. Unfortunately, this article is not available on Commentary’s website.
The essence of Sofaer’s analysis is that the road map is fatally flawed because it “expects to bring an end to Palestinian violence against Israel without addressing the reasons why the Palestinians have deliberately and repeatedly [resorted to violence].” Prominent among these reasons, according to Sofaer, are the policies of the United States. These policies include our support for United Nations programs that foster Palestinian terrorism, such as the refugee camp program and the Palestinian educational system. Sofaer also cites our State Department’s frequent censuring of lawful Israeli responses to terrorism. More fundamentally, he finds that we have encouraged Arab revanchism by refusing to take certain issues off the table during negotiations. In this regard, Sofaer argues that we should recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s legitimate capital (without foreclosing discussion about the status of East Jerusalem); make clear that there will be no right of return for Palestinians to Israel proper; and abandon the “road map’s” dogmatic insistence of pre-1967 borders in favor of a pragmatic approach to Jewish settlements. Finally, we should more forcefully oppose Israel’s ostracism by international bodies and the world community. Clearly, there can be no peace until the Arabs of the region openly acknowledge the existence of Israel as a permanent, sovereign state. Yet the U.S. has often acquiesced in the refusal of Israel’s Arab enemies to do so. Sofaer asks, “Are we to go on approving, by our silence, a situation wherein a true pariah state like Libya can serve a term as chairman of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights while democratic Israel is refused the right to participate in multilateral affairs?” Unfortunatley, the “road map” has little to say about these sorts of grotesque, but all too typical, charades.
Sofaer sagely concludes as follows: “A road map to peace is a fine thing, but if it is based in denial and wishful thinking it will be rightly doomed. The task for diplomats and all other interested parties is to force an end to the murder of Jews and to the effort to destroy the Jewish state. In pursuit of that goal, it is as necessary to delegitimize Palestinian violence as it is to prevent and repudiate the delegitimization of israel. When that necessary condition is met in word and deed, all manner of desirable and mutually beneficial outcomes will become negotiable; but not before.”
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