Responding to the appointment of George Mitchell as Barack Obama’s Mideast envoy, Abe Foxman has achieved something remarkable: He has outdone Marty Peretz in the tasteless-comment competition among the self-appointed cheerleaders of Israel. And Foxman did it without using words unprintable in this respectable blog.
When Pete Seeger rewrote chapter 3 of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) as a song, he changed just a few words at the end, making it, “A time for peace – I swear it’s not too late.”
I don’t think it’s too late for Israelis and Palestinians to make peace. But waiting will make it more difficult. On the other hand, strong American involvement – the kind that has been lacking for the last eight years – could move the process forward. So, since everyone else is offering advice to soon-to-be-President Obama, I’ve offered some as well in my new article in The American Prospect:
The main reason for moving quickly… is that every wasted day makes a two-state solution more difficult to reach. Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has promised his people that diplomacy can bring independence. Delay eats away at his credibility. Meanwhile, Israeli settlements keep growing. Since the Annapolis conference, the number of settlers has risen from 275,000 to 290,000. (That doesn’t include Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, for which up-to-date figures aren’t available.) The more settlers, the greater the internal crisis that Israel would face in withdrawing.