Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Israel’s Peace Offering Met By Fatah’s Push For War

by David Bedein

JERUSALEM - In an article never before run in the Arabic language publication Asharq Al-Awsat, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon called on the Arab world to accept Israel’s hand extended in peace.

The headline read, “An open letter to the Arab world.” Mr. Ayalon called on the Arab world to step forward and to join Israel “to repel the extremist and destructive forces in the Middle East, first and foremost Iran.”

“Iran, the sponsors of terrorists and environmental and climate problems are the issues that threaten the Arab world and Israel as one. Now is the time to look ahead and to create a better future for all residents of the region.”

Mr. Ayalon argued that “we have to free ourselves of past paradigms and to understand that the Jewish people are here by virtue of historic, legal, moral and national right.”

The deputy foreign minister also wrote: “Israel has gone far and is prepared to do much for the sake of peace, but for peace one needs to have a partner who wants it as well. Without that, the entire region is doomed to friction and conflicts that will only intensify.... Israel extends a hand to all of its Arab neighbors.”

However, over the past week, senior Palestinian Authority officials launched the “National Conference for Strengthening Popular Activity” in Ramallah.

During that conference, the Palestinian leadership examined ways of renewing “uprising,” a third “Intifada,” armed rebellion against Israel.

“In practice, at issue is the execution of resolutions that were passed by the Fatah Conference that was held of late in Bethlehem, in which a strategic decision was made to continue the resistance to Israel,” said senior Fatah officials.

In other words, the appeal for peace from an Israeli leader seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

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