- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Arnaud de Borchgrave’s column “Netanyahu’s conundrum” (Commentary, June 8) notes that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech rejecting a return to the 1967 border lines received more standing ovations from a joint session of the U.S. Congress than President Obama received for his last State of the Union message. Unfortunately, the rest of the world is not as sympathetic to Israel’s plight.

Israelis recently marked the 10-year anniversary of the June 1, 2001, Dolphinarium disco massacre, in which a Hamas bomber killed 21 young Israelis, including 14-year-old Maria Tagiltseva, and will soon mark a decade since the Aug. 9, 2001, Sbarro pizzeria massacre, in which a Palestinian bomber killed 15 people, including a 2-year-old girl.

The Palestinians’ violence has been rewarded with Mr. Obama’s declaration that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” This undermines Israel by presuming that even the Western Wall in Jerusalem is “Palestine” unless the Palestinians agree to “swap” it. France, in turn, has proposed reviving peace talks (which the Palestinians quit last year) based on Mr. Obama’s parameters. Predictably, the Palestinians’ chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat - the propagandist behind the infamous 2002 “Jenin blood libel” - accepted the initiative, saying: “We’re waiting for Mr. Netanyahu to say two states, 1967 lines with agreed swaps. He needs to say it.”

Yet Mr. Netanyahu might decide to embrace the initiative. It explicitly calls for “two states for two peoples” rather than being called “a two-state solution,” as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wants. This nuance is critical: Mr. Abbas’ two-state formula would turn Israel into a majority-Arab state alongside a Palestine cleansed of Jews. Tellingly, Mr. Abbas has vowed never to recognize a “Jewish state.”

So Mr. Netanyahu could accept the French initiative, provided that Mr. Abbas expressly accepts, in Mr. Obama’s words, “two states for two peoples,” including “Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people.” Mr. Netanyahu also could reference Mr. Obama’s June 4, 2009, speech in Cairo, in which the president observed that “6 million Jews were killed” in the Holocaust and “*enying that fact is baseless, it is ignorant and it is hateful.” For Mr. Abbas to be a credible peace partner, therefore, he must publicly repudiate his book “The Other Side,” in which he called the Holocaust “the Zionist fantasy, the fantastic lie that 6 million Jews were killed.”

Mr. Netanyahu could say that while a return to 1967 lines rewards the Palestinians for a decade of rejecting peace and killing more than 1,000 Israeli civilians, he will accept it because under any “swap,” the major settlement blocs must be included in Israel. And with regard to Jerusalem, Mr. Netanyahu could remind his audience that on June 4, 2008, then-Sen. Obama said, “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”

STEPHEN A. SILVER

San Francisco