Sunday, June 14, 2009

Netanyahu speech: flags and national anthems for everyone!

We have a winner: Kim Jong-un is now officially the “Brilliant Comrade.”

Speaking of brilliant comrades, Binyamin Netanyahu gave his anticipated speech today. He accepted Obama’s challenge to accept a two-state solution. “In my vision, there are two free peoples living side by side each with each other, each with its own flag and national anthem.” However, the neutered Palestine he’s willing to accept would have no military, no control over its own airspace, no Hamas, and Israel would have a veto over its foreign relations (no treaties with Iran, for example). But it would have a, you know, national anthem. Sort of a 1.375-state solution, by my calculations. But aside from those piddling details, and a few others, “Let us begin peace negotiations immediately without prior conditions.”

Bibi started by asking an important question: “Friends, with the advantages of peace so clear, so obvious, we must ask ourselves why is peace still so far from us, even though our hands are extended for peace? Why has the conflict going on for over 60 years?” He had the answer: “the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish People to its own state in its historical homeland.” So, if you were wondering why there’s no peace in the Middle East, now you know.

Therefore, the first thing that Palestinians must do is acknowledge that they are at best second-class citizens in Israel. Oh, and they have to do so sincerely: “The fundamental condition for ending the conflict is the public, binding and sincere Palestinian recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish People.”

He said Israel will build no new settlements, but they’ll continue to expand the existing ones to meet what Israel used to call natural growth and is now calling “normal life”: “there is a need to have people live normal lives and let mothers and fathers raise their children like everyone in the world.”

Some people might say that settlements are an obstacle to peace, but not Bibi: “A great many people are telling us that withdrawal is the key to peace with the Palestinians. But the fact is that all our withdrawals were met by huge waves of suicide bombers.”

Anyway, “Israel needs defensible borders”. Palestine doesn’t need defensible borders, since it won’t be allowed even slingshots with which to defend them anyway. Without a totally disarmed and defenseless Palestine, he said, “sooner or later, we will have another Hamastan.”

Also, Israel gets to keep Jerusalem, and won’t allow any Palestinians to return: “For it is clear to all that the demand to settle the Palestinian refugees inside of Israel, contradicts the continued existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish People.” And Palestine must “overcome Hamas.” One would scour the speech in vain for a hint of anything Netanyahu is willing to give up for the sake of peace.

The White House has called the speech an “important step forward.”

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