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Why Obama is Right About Israel

05/20/2011 04:29:44 PM

May20

Rabbi George Gittleman

Not long ago I watched the movie, “127 Hours”. It’s about an extreme outdoor athlete who, while out on a solo hike in the Arizona Desert, gets trapped in a canyon, his arm pinned by a boulder that fell while he was descending.  It took him 127 hours to free himself.  He did it by cutting his arm off at the elbow with a dull, Swiss Army knife!

Today, Obama called on renewed peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel, contingent on the premise that any settlement to the conflict will be based on the pre ’67 borders, give or take necessary land swaps to encompass large Israeli cities on the other side of “the green line.”  Apparently, Prime Minister Natanyahu angrily fought to have “pre ’67 borders” stricken from Obama’s remarks, and one can only imagine the great cry of “foul play” or “betrayal” that will rise from the organized Jewish Community as soon as Obama’s speech is fully digested.  I’m not a member of the Natanyahu fan club nor do I have much faith in the hawkish and in my opinion, often-thoughtless organized Jewish communal response regarding Israel.  I do get one thing about their views – there is no reason to be optimistic about making peace with the Palestinians, or Syria. Look how quickly the “Arab Spring” has turned dark and foreboding.  Without any tradition of civic engagement for the public good, without even a trace of history of benevolent rule let alone democracy, why would anyone expect much good to come from such chaos?  The “Arab Spring” is an Israeli nightmare, which only strengthens its enemies, including Iran, who regularly vows to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.  As for the Palestinians, in Gaza, they protested Bin Laden’s death; what great neighbors Israel has!

Nevertheless, I am 100% behind Obama’s remarks and this is why:  time is not on Israel’s side.  There is no viable alternative to the Two State solution for Israel.  The Palestinians know this and now openly talk about a One State solution, which of course would be the end of the Jewish state.  Even now they are working toward a unilateral proclamation of their independence, which will likely be recognized by the U.N., an Israeli diplomatic disaster.   And, beyond the politics is the fact that the occupation, whether justified or not, is morally corrosive; even if Israel could maintain the status quo indefinitely, which it can not; the cost is too high.
Now you see why I started this blog with a recap of the movie “127 Hours”; it seems like an apt metaphor for the decisions Israel has to make; die trapped in a “twice narrow place” or risk cutting off a limb to save the rest of the body and soul.

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