-- Leonard Getz, Co-President, Zionist Organization of America, Greater Philadelphia District
Thanks to a twisted, yet inevitable turn of events, Israel for the moment is enjoying a reprieve from the pressure to "make peace", Prime Minister Netanyahu's pleadings to a disinterested Abbas notwithstanding. We have President Obama to thank for this. By unilaterally raising the ante making Israeli construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem the issue, Obama has made it impossible for Israel to offer anything less, and for the Arabs to refuse anything other than a complete and continuous building halt. Realizing his mistake, Obama has backed off, and paradoxically enough, Israel is enjoying for the moment a semblance of peace from the pressures to make dangerous and unilateral concessions that will surely undermine their security and right to live anywhere in the land of Israel.
As I write this Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) the first Jewish representative from Arizona fights for her recovery from a gunshot wound to her head and we pray for her speedy recovery. Back in 2006, she wrote a piece for the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona upon her return from visiting Israel. She wrote
"I got to see firsthand the sacrifices that Israelis make in the name of security because of the dangerous state of affairs there...I will always be a strong supporter of Israel. Until the Palestinian leadership and other hostile regimes are willing to accept Israel's right to exist, it will be impossible to achieve peace."
Speaking of the Bush Administration she also said,
"The failure of the current administration to continue the peace process has been a loss to America and Israel. That is why we need a new direction in Washington."
Like most American, and particularly Jewish politicians whose observations are correct and whose hearts are in the right place, their conclusions are usually wrong. When they say "new direction" what they mean is putting different people in charge who will inevitably go in the same aimless direction that every administration and, frankly, every Israeli government as gone. What we need is someone with Star Trek initiative, to boldly go where no "peace process' has gone before.
Where should that be? The dismantling of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency of Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
For over 60 years the United States has helped feed a myth that people who are born in a particular country are refugees instead of citizens of that country, and helped fund a United Nations agency run by terrorists. Former UNWRA general counsel James G Lindsay said, UNWRA encourages Palestinians to fight long-lost wars, discourages movement toward peace and employees thousands of Hamas terrorists.
If the United States is serious about peace, it should work towards the withering of UNWRA and let Israel be.
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