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Issues of the Day Vote Against Rejection

There was something about the language used by Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, Roman Catholic archbishop of Jerusalem, a Palestinian, during his Christmas Eve sermon that struck me.

A front page article in Haaretz this morning reports that the monsignor, officiating at the ceremony marking the holy day at Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity reportedly said in his remarks “Gaza and the south of Israel have just emerged from a war with consequences that are still visible both physically and mentally. Our prayers include all Arab and Jewish families that have been touched by the conflict.”

The highest ranking Catholic cleric in the region, who spoke in the presence of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and numerous international diplomats also made reference to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, family separations and other hardships deriving from the occupation. That, of course, is expected given his national identity and his role as a leader of Palestinian Christians.


People of Goodwill

But whether he was simply being politic or sincere (perhaps he was both), he also was said to have called on , “politicians and men of goodwill to work with determination for peace and reconciliation that encompasses Palestine and Israel in the midst of all the sufferings in the Middle East.”


Apparently, Father Awad is in favor of a two-state solution.  And, according to a report in  The Jerusalem Post on a Smith Poll taken last week, so are a majority (62 percent) of Israelis. Nominally, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, too, is in favor of this principle – at least he said as much during his famous 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan University. He has not repudiated his statements.


 But  policies enacted on the West Bank by his government  go contrary to the spirit of the prime minister’s speech and have been a major impediment to progress toward a two-state solution. His present (and, if he is returned to power, likely future)  coalition partners clearly oppose that position and have successfully lobbied for the intensification of the settlements project and the occupation. They effectively reject any prospect of a realistic accommodation with the Palestinians.  

Rejectionists Endanger Israel

There once was the Three No’s, the Khartoum Resolution issued by the heads of eight Arab states meeting in the Sudan in the summer of 1967 and which declared:  no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with Israel. That was followed for many years by the existence of the Rejectionist Front, a group of Palestinian fedayeen and militant political groups that were committed to stopping  any rapprochement between Palestinians and Israelis: the group was manipulated by the Assad regime in Syria and the Iraqi Baath party under Sadaam Hussein.   


Rejectionists of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence and reconciliation advocate a blood-soaked legacy. Whether they are Arabs or Jews, those who act to prevent movement toward a permanent accommodation, if not peace, between the two peoples endanger Israel’s long-term security and welfare: the continuing state of unrest saps us in multiple ways and is unsustainable.


To paraphrase last night’s comments by the prelate, Monsignor Awad, people of goodwill must work with determination for peace and reconciliation encompassing Israel and Palestine.


On January 22, Israelis who care about the nation’s futures should vote for one of the multiple parties (Yesh Atid, Kadima, HaTnuah, Labor or Meretz) whose positions support a two-state solution.   


We cannot afford the alternative. 

Haaretz coverage of Monsignor Awad's CHristmas Eve comments

The Jerusalem Post
on Smith Poll reporting most Israelis support a two-state solution. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Bar-Ilan speech in favor of a two-state solution 

Khartoum Resolution

© Yosef Gotlieb, . All rights reserved