With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York City making new threats against the U.S. and Israel, why isn’t Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the U.N. this week as well talking about the Iranian nuclear threat? Why does Netanyahu seem content to cede the stage to Ahmadinejad at this critical moment? It’s a mystery.
On Monday, Netanyahu conducted a conference call with leaders of the major American Jewish organizations regarding. According to the transcript of the phone call released by the Prime Minister’s Office, however, Netanyahu did not mention Iran. Why not? Again, it’s not clear. Instead, Netanyahu focused on the peace process with the Palestinians. He noted that “just yesterday, a Palestinian Authority court ruled that the sale of Palestinian land to Israelis is punishable by death,” and noted, “these things do not square well with me.” Then he made three key points:
- THE PALESTINIANS MUST SAY YES TO A JEWISH STATE — “First about recognition: It’s time for the Palestinians to do something they have refused to do for 62 years. It’s time for them to say yes to a Jewish state….Why is this recognition important? It’s important because the Palestinian leadership must begin to make clear to its own people that they are making a permanent peace with the Jewish people, a people that has a right to be here, a right to live in its own state and in its own homeland. Ultimately, there will be no getting around this issue. For someone who is prepared to make lasting peace with Israel, no statement could be simpler: I recognize Israel as the Jewish state, the state of the Jewish people….I think President Abbas has to decide. He cannot skirt the issue. He cannot find clever language designed to obfuscate or to fudge it. He needs to recognize the Jewish state. He needs to say it clearly and unequivocally. He needs to say it to his own people in their own language. Remember that famous commercial – Just Do It? I think for the Palestinian leadership, it’s even simpler: Just Say It. Say that you recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Say that you recognize the Jewish state…..”
- THE PALESTINIANS MUST AGREE TO REAL ISRAELI SECURITY – “The second problem we face is security….We do not want a repeat of what happened after Israel withdrew from Lebanon and Gaza. Those territories were turned into Iranian sponsored terror bases from which thousands of rockets were fired at Israel. We have to ensure that we have solid security arrangements on the ground. We have to ensure that we can prevent the import of weapons from territories that we would vacate as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. And we have to make sure that we can address the potential threats to peace that will inevitably come. The first one you’ve seen – you’ve seen it in Lebanon, you’ve seen it in Gaza. These are the attempts – unfortunately successful in both those places – to smuggle a massive amount of weapons: rockets, missiles and other weapons from Iran to its proxies in the territories. …”
- THE PALESTINIANS MUST AGREE TO NO FOREIGN TROOPS ON THE BORDERS – ”I have to say another thing: I don’t believe that under these circumstances, international troops will do the job. Experience has shown that countries seldom sustain a long-term military commitment abroad in places where their troops are subject to constant attacks….”
I agree with the Prime Minister on each of these points. I believe he should add that he will never allow Jerusalem to be divided. The fact that he didn’t mention the Jerusalem issue concerns me. But the fact that he didn’t appear to discuss Iran concerns me more.
Some Israelis are asking wondering where the PM as well. “World leaders converge for UN summit, so where is Netanayhu?” reads a Haaretz headline. “Peres is meeting with diplomats and Mahmoud Abbas, Barak is meeting with Hillary Clinton, but there is no sign of Netanyahu at the central and important assembly.” Hopefully we’ll learn the answer soon.
By Joel C. Rosenberg – www.joelrosenberg.com