Reprinted from Gush Shalom
UN Proposal To Make Israel Agree To Peace With Palestinians; Will US Stop It?
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I am honored to be among the signatories, which include former ministers and members of the Knesset, diplomats and generals, artists and businessmen, writers and poets, including Israel's three outstanding writers Amos Oz, David Grossman and A. B. Yehoshua.
We believe that the independence of the Palestinian people in a state of their own, next to the State of Israel, is the basis for peace, and therefore as important for Israelis as it is for Palestinians. This, by the way, has been my firm conviction ever since the 1948 war.
The extreme right wing, which has ruled Israel in recent years, holds the opposite belief. Since it wants to turn the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River into the "nation-state of the Jewish people," it totally rejects the setting up of a Palestinian state.
These, then, are the battle lines:
A Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital, an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty, the end of the occupation, peace between Israel and the entire Arab and Muslim world, or a Greater Israel, continuous occupation or annexation, more settlements and ethnic cleansing, permanent war.
Israel has to choose.
So has the world.
LATELY, SEVERAL European parliaments have called upon their governments to recognize the State of Palestine. We want to encourage that process.
The Portuguese parliament did so last Friday, following the parliaments of the UK, Ireland, France and Spain. The European parliament, an institution with growing influence and power, has done so, too.
These are only recommendations. But the government of Sweden has officially recognized the State of Palestine. Some misguided spirits have stated that this was the first recognition of Palestine by a European Union country. That is quite wrong: Palestine has already been recognized by the EU countries of Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, as well at the European non-EU states of Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.
Quite an impressive list. But is it important?
THE AMERICAN Declaration of Independence stresses the importance of a "decent respect for the opinion of mankind."
The Israeli declaration of independence does not include this phrase, but its whole composition shows that is an attempt to explain its aims to the world and attain world-wide diplomatic recognition.
However, David Ben Gurion, who read the declaration aloud at the founding meeting, soon after announced his doctrine: "It is not important what the Goyim say, the important thing is what the Jews do!"
Is this really true? Doesn't the opinion of mankind count?