In his Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) address, Israeli PM Olmert said:
We will weigh with great seriousness every diplomatic initiative, we will take advantage of every chance, we will be prepared for far-reaching compromises, and even for very painful concessions, as long as our vital and existential interests are safeguarded, in order to fulfill our burning ambition for peace. — Ha’aretz
To whom is he speaking? Not to a majority of Israelis, who understand that concessions, compromises, withdrawals, and prisoner releases just lead to more of the same. And not to Palestinians or the Arab nations, who know that no matter what compromises Israel makes, they will not be satisfied and there will not be peace.
Here is what the PM of Israel should say:
Insofar as Israel is the legitimate expression of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, a fully sovereign nation which does not bear the responsibility for the failures of the Arab nations with respect to themselves and the Palestinians and refuses to pay the price for them, I assert the following:
We will not accept phony initiatives or imposed plans. We will strike disproportionally at terrorists and preemptively at any nation that plans to attack us. We passionately desire peace, but we will make no concessions for future promises of peace, only in return for realized peace.
In particular, we demand the immediate release of the hostages held by Hamas and Hezbollah. If they are not released within 12 hours, we will begin taking escalating military action against Hamas and Hezbollah personnel and infrastructure. There will be no prisoner exchanges.
Would this cause a diplomatic and journalistic stir? Of course. And worse, if Israel’s enemies find it necessary to test her resolve. But the forces in the world that want to see Israel gone will be the same before and after. Only now — if Israel were to consistently follow this policy — they would have to adjust their world-view to one in which Israel is a permanent fact. And then maybe from that point we could begin a constructive dialogue for peace.
How would Israelis react to this? I think the reaction of the people to Hezbollah’s attack last summer shows that they are prepared for sacrifice and struggle. What they are not tolerant of is having their sovereignty, their peace, and their self-respect chipped away a little at a time, unrequited concession by unrequited concession.
I waive my copyright; any Israeli PM may use this speech free of charge.
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