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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom
Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
New context for peace
May 9, 2007
Israel just marked its 59th birthday and like a typical baby boomer, she tends to vent her frustration at dreams not realized.
Yet a core Israeli dream -- to not only establish a state but to have that state accepted in the Middle East and live at peace with its neighbors -- is within reach. If only Israel -- having finally gotten to yes with the Arab world -- would recognize it.
On the Israeli side there is a belated realization that the absence of an agreed border, the ongoing occupation and unfettered settlement activity have all been costly in security, financial and moral terms. Israelis are increasingly cognizant that application of the country's military force delivers partial solutions and are keen to find a negotiated way forward. They are distrustful of the Palestinians' intentions and capacity to deliver, but view the Arab world as a more reliable and robust partner.
The Saudi and Egyptian foreign ministers have stressed that Israel should accept the initiative "in principle" and as "a framework" after which all issues were open for negotiations. The borders clause says that they should "be based" on the 1967 lines implying that the exact border lines would be negotiated.
An additional bonus is that influential non-Arab Muslim states have also signed up to the logic behind the initiative. It is no longer an act of wide-eyed naiveté to envisage an Israel at peace with its neighbors and accepted by the Arab and Muslim worlds. Israel did it; it got to yes -- now it's time to recognize it and act on it.
Rafi Dajani is executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine and Daniel Levy, who co-wrote this piece, was the principal Israeli negotiator of the Geneva Initiative and. They will speak on May 10 at Temple Beth Zion at 7:30 p.m.