The Crux of the Problem – In Olmert’s Words

Posted on July 17, 2009 In Blog

The former Israeli Prime Minister, has an op/ed in today’s Washington Post with many commendable points about the peace process and the U.S. – Israel relationship.

But along the way, Mr. Olmert states:

To this day, I cannot understand why the Palestinian leadership did not accept the far-reaching and unprecedented proposal I offered them. My proposal included a solution to all outstanding issues: territorial compromise, security arrangements, Jerusalem and refugees. It would be worth exploring the reasons that the Palestinians rejected my offer and preferred, instead, to drag their feet, avoiding real decisions. My proposal would have helped realize the “two-state solution” in accordance with the principles of the U.S. administration, the Israeli government I led, and the criteria the Palestinian leadership has followed throughout the years.

Many would say, the fact that a (former) Prime Minister of Israel, and perhaps present leaders of the U.S. government, or even some in the Jewish community cannot understand, or choose to deny, not only this most recent instance of Palestinian rejectionism, but the historic pattern of it flowing from Arab animosity toward Israel is the crux of the problem.

Mr. Olmert writes: “I believe it is crucial to review the lessons from the Palestinians’ rejection of such an offer.”

We couldn’t agree more – and pray that such a review will be realistic and lead to policies that place the onus on those who have consistently chosen conflict over conciliation.