Sarkozy almost gets it

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is visiting Israel and has made several statements that are quite positive. For example,

“I reiterate here in the clearest manner: As far as France is concerned, a nuclear Iran is totally unacceptable,” Sarkozy declared. “France is determined to continue to lead, along with its partners, a policy that integrates gradually intensifying sanctions with openness, in case Iran chooses to honor its international obligatons.”

France, he said, “is Israel’s friend, and will always stand by her side when her security or existence are threatened. Those who scandalously call for the destruction of Israel will always, always, find France blocking their path.”  — Jerusalem Post

But that’s not all he said:

“The truth is that Israel’s security will only be guaranteed when we see, finally, a neighboring Palestinian state,” Sarkozy told the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem today on the second day of his three-day visit that includes a stop in Bethlehem, in the Palestinian Territories…

Sarkozy, the first French leader to speak to the Knesset since Francois Mitterrand in 1982, called for the “total and immediate stop of settlements expansion.” — Bloomberg

‘Settlements’, he clarified, include Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, and ‘expansion’ means any construction in these neighborhood, even if their borders are not expanded at all.

While Sarkozy appears to be a big improvement over Chirac from an Israeli point of view, nevertheless he seems to share the US State Department’s position that any Israeli presence across the green line ‘prejudges’ the final borders and is therefore unacceptable.

Considering that the territories passed from the British Mandate through an illegal Jordanian occupation beginning in 1948 — one imposed by force and characterized by ethnic cleansing of Jewish inhabitants — and finally were legally occupied by Israel as the outcome of  a war of aggression against Israel in 1967, there is no reason that Arabs should be permitted to build anything in the territories any more than Jews.

Of course the truth is that the Europeans as well as the State Department have long since prejudged the issue themselves, and are of the opinion that the cease-fire lines of 1967 represent the only legitimate borders of the State of Israel, and that what lies outside of them is “Palestinian land”, as the BBC would say. This is demonstrated by the complaints of Condoleezza Rice and President Sarkozy about ‘settlement expansion’.

The friendly Sarkozy, like the less-friendly Rice, wishes to impose a settlement on the Israelis and Palestinians in which Israel will be returned to 1967 borders. A promise to this effect was made by Henry Kissinger to the Iraqi ambassador in 1975, and apparently the commitment has been ‘inherited’ by the leader of the Arab world today, Saudi Arabia. In any event, it has become a foundation stone of US and European policy.

It’s interesting that Kissinger said that Israel could be reduced in size to ‘historic proportions’ (I presume he is not referring to the historic proportions of King David’s time), thus ignoring the part of UN resolution 242 which calls for secure borders.

Unfortunately, because of the ascendancy of Hamas and for other reasons, it it not possible to create a Palestinian state in the territories today, consistent with Israel’s security. And even if it were possible, the 1967 borders certainly don’t meet the criterion of being ‘secure’.

The best approach for the West, including Sarkozy and the US, would be to recognize that they have put the cart before the horse in demanding a Palestinian state.

To reverse Sarkozy’s statement, I would say that peace and a Palestinian state can only come into being when Israel’s security is assured, and that means that Iran and others must give up their radical rejectionism of Israel and stop trying to destroy the Jewish state, and that Hamas and Hezbollah must be disarmed or destroyed.

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One Response to “Sarkozy almost gets it”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    It may be that the ascent of ‘Hamas’ means in effect there will be no real negotiations for years to come. How to convince the Americans and Europeans of this is another question.
    But what we also have to understand ( I do not say that we have to accept it) is that there is absolutely no one in the world which agrees with the position that Judea and Samaria are Eretz Yisrael and should and must belong to the State of Israel. The ‘occupation’mantra is not simply accepted by our haters but rather by every government, meaning the United States, we are strongly allied with.
    So we those people who truly care about Israel and the land of Israel, and who at the same time want Peace- must understand the contradiction and difficulty of our own position. I find something deeply objectionable when I am pleased that once again ‘Hamas’ or ‘Fatah’ have revealed themselves to be incorrigible Terrorists.
    It is almost as if I am frightened by the idea that there may be Palestinians( I am not sure there really are any) who want a true peace with Israel. I see something at fault in my , and in may I say ‘our attitude’ here.
    While I find dangerous the attempt by some of our leaders to make the Palestinians, Fatah, for instance ‘kasher’ for real Peace negotiations when they are not – I also am not at ease with my own attitude.
    i.e. What if the Palestinians agreed to a demilitarized state in the great part of Judea and Samaria and Gaza- agreed truly to an end of the conflict- agreed to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and not to try to undermine it demographically or otherwise- What if the Palestinians said that they truly wanted to focus on building their own society and care for the well- being of their own people?
    I wonder if I would change my own traditional view about our need to keep almost all of Judea and Samaria and say – we’ll keep the large Jewish population- centers, the areas vital to Security and that’s all.