Activist Sarah N. Stern writes in The New Republic (www.tnr.com) on Oct. 25 about the upcoming peace summit in Annapolis, Md.:
"On July 25, 2000, I was in attendance at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy when Israeli Attorney General Eli Rubinstein had come to address the group. He had just returned from Camp David, Maryland, where the talks between Chairman Yasser Arafat, Prime Minister Ehud Barak and President Bill Clinton had just broken up. I will never forget what he told us.
" 'I can look every one of you straight in the eye,' he said, 'and I can tell you that we went as far as any responsible government could possibly go. In fact, some will argue that what we offered was irresponsible. What we offered was shared sovereignty of Jerusalem, with Muslim control of the Haram al-Sharif, and Israeli control of the Western Wall, a dismantling of all West Bank settlements, which have always been our eyes and ears to the East, and 95 to 97 percent of the West Bank, with a land swap for the remaining 3 to 5 percent.'
" 'There were people who are now crying in their limousines back to the airport. We figured that if we made Arafat an offer that he couldn't refuse, he wouldn't. You will find no documentation about the terms of the offer. We have presented this in a "now or never" formulation,' added the former Attorney General.
"I have been internally crying ever since. I knew then that by making the terms of the offer so extraordinary, the Clinton-Barak parameters could never be matched, and would doom any future 'land for peace' negotiations to failure. How could any responsible Palestinian interlocutor come back to his people with less than what Arafat walked away from? And how could any responsible Israeli interlocutor come back to his people — after the seven years of ensuing violence since Camp David II — and offer so much?
"The Clinton-Barak parameters have raised the bar so high as to make it nearly impossible for future negotiators to come to a practical understanding that works for both sides. So it's no surprise what currently confronts us: a maximalist Palestinian position and an Israeli retreat to the pre-1967 borders, which are actually the 1949 armistice lines. These boundaries were nine-miles wide at their narrowest point, lacking the strategic depth to enable Israel to defend itself, which led the former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Abba Eban (of the Labor Party) to dub them 'the Auschwitz lines.'
"With what confidence can the Israelis contemplate that such a retreat will not be met with a barrage of missiles onto the coastal plain, where Israel's population is most densely located, particularly in light of how Hamas has used its beachhead in Gaza to fire Kassam missiles into the neighboring Israeli town of Sederot.
"Culpability should not be put on the Bush White House for a lack of 'engagement.' If there is any culpability, it should go to the Clinton administration for encouraging Barak to 'bet the barn,' and therefore making it virtually impossible for any future Israeli negotiator to match his generosity.
"These already inflated expectations are actually growing. On Oct. 11, Adnan Husseini, adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said that Palestinian demands for eastern Jerusalem also include the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site. Said Husseini: 'This is part of the Islamic heritage that cannot be given up, and it must remain under Islamic control.'
"Unrealistic expectations are seeding the ground for a future explosion. There are times when dialogue is not the palliative we generally think it to be in the West, but can become a stroll down a lethal minefield. We are almost setting the stage here for a religious war."
Self-Defense: Denounced as Aggression
Columnist Suzanne Fields writes in The Washington Times (www.washingtontimes.com) on Nov. 1 about the growing acceptance of anti-Semitism in Europe:
"A new hostility toward Jews is emerging in England, like Germany one of the most civilized of nations. This time, it's difficult to avert the eyes. The anti-Semites of Nazi Germany are easy to characterize as thugs and brutes who threw people and pianos out windows, but other anti-Semites listened to Mozart, Beethoven and Bach while plotting the Holocaust.
"In England today, anti-Semites read poetry, enjoy fine arts and sip fine wines, sneering at Jews with haughty abandon. Anti-Jewish themes gain acceptability.
"Journalists in England today are not just selective in their historical facts, but adopt the language of the worst of the anti-Semites, sprinkling their commentary with allusions to the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Sometimes, they freshen up the label with code words.
"The influential New Statesman illustrates what it calls the 'Kosher conspiracy' with the point of a gold six-pointed Star of David piercing the Union Jack. British Jews who support Israel are accused of 'dual loyalty.' Boycotts of Israel have failed, but not without support of a wide range of professionals — academics, journalists, architects, doctors. The boycotters ignore the abundance of tyrants in the region to target only Israel.
"The Anglican Peace and Justice Network compares Israel's defensive fence, which has thwarted most of the suicide bombers, to the barbed wire of Buchenwald. In this Orwellian world, self-defense is denounced as aggression. The only virtuous Jews are dead Jews."
Pay Attention to Iran's Ambitions
Historian Paul Johnson writes on www.JewishWorldReview.com Oct. 31 about the necessity of disarming Iran:
"Whatever you may think of President George W. Bush … it may be that Mr. Bush will need to … decide what the U.S. response will be to Iran's efforts to acquire an aggressive nuclear capability. This should not be left for Mr. Bush's successor to deal with early in his or her presidency.
"Of course, the easy way out would be to leave the decision and action to Israel, confining U.S. participation to ensuring that the action is adequate and successful. Israel has always been the prime target of an Iranian nuclear bomb and the chief reason that the Ahmadinejad regime is striving so hard to make one.
"In view of Iran's declared policy toward Israel — that it will be content with nothing less than Israel's eradication — we must assume that once the regime acquires nuclear weapons, it will use them against Israel at the earliest opportunity.
"Nevertheless, to leave it to the Israelis would be both cowardly and imprudent. If Iran persists in its nuclear efforts, then at a certain point, Mr. Bush should make his intentions clear.
"The Ahmadinejad regime holds power increasingly by force and terror. It may be, then, that the Iranian people — or even the armed forces — would be encouraged to replace those men leading them into a catastrophic conflict against a nuclear-armed Israel, as well as the world's strongest military power."