Friday, April 22, 2011

Time for an Israeli Peace Plan?



World Economic Forum photo
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
The pressure is on for a peace plan for the Middle East.
The Palestinians want a unilateral declaration of a nation based on the pre-’67 boundaries. Something that Israel rejects – on both security grounds and because unilateral is not a word in the government’s vocabulary. A negotiated, agreed-upon-by-all parties is the only solution, the government declares.
The signals from Washington are contradictory.  On the one hand, the Obama administration sides with Israel in that there needs to be a negotiated peace with the Arabs. On the other, the White House is crafting its own plan to present to both sides.
One could view such a proposal as a starting point for new talks. Or one could view it as an imposition by the United States. The choices could be: Take it. Or take it.
So, perhaps, now is the time for the Netanyahu government to step up to the plate with a peace proposal of its own. Instead of reacting to what others want, perhaps Israel should be proactive – put its cards on the table – show some leadership by leading with a plan.
Perhaps it will.
Israel President Shimon Peres is now urging Prime Minister Netanyahu to do just that. “We don’t need more peace plans, we need to implement peace,” YNetNews quotes Peres as saying.
There are those who might argue that doing so would be just another act of frustration; that the Arabs aren’t willing to embrace anything Israel offers. “Look,” they may say, “at what Ehud Barak offered when he was prime minister. Even that was rejected."
While that is true, that was then and this is now. Israel can’t control what the Palestinians do. And Israel can’t control what President Obama might do. But Israel can control what Israel does.
Instead of sitting back and bemoaning that the world and the Palestinians are unfair, isn’t it time for Israel to take some action on its own? If nothing else, it would be nice for the world to see an Israel that’s really moving toward peace.
Gary Baumgarten is editor of The Jewish Reporter.

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