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Karl Vick’s report in Time magazine entitled Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace was driven by his own ideological bent toward Israel and the issue of Middle East peace; one that he clearly shares with the editorial board of Time magazine. The article’s validity was additionally compromised by the imbalance of those individuals the author chose to interview and the accompanying pictures.
In his article, Vick cited a recent poll that asked respondents to name “the most urgent problem facing Israel.” He did this in order to demonstrate that Israelis are not concerned with peace and are instead, more preoccupied with education, crime, national security and poverty. Yet he missed several points. The most obvious is that Israelis have always listed peace with the Arabs as their top concern. When, however, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and abandoned settlements in Samaria only to be repeatedly rocketed by Hamas, it became clear that peace is simply a pipe-dream. You simply cannot have a one-sided peace.
Polls have consistently shown – for decades – that Israelis have vigorously supported a two-state solution with the Palestinians as an end to the conflict. According to the prestigious Peace Index poll conducted by the Tamal Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University, more than 70% of Israelis backed negotiations with the Palestinians, and almost as many endorsed the two-state solution. Palestinians, on the other hand, oppose, by a majority, negotiations and peace with Israel.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, backed by President Bill Clinton, was ready to concede 95% of the West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem, and compensate them with the remaining 5% with land inside the Green Line (Israeli territory). This generous offer was rejected by Arafat, who then responded with the Second Intifada. This convinced most Israelis of the futility of peace talks with the Palestinians.
Vick not only glosses over these historical facts in his article, but omits the fact that Israel, under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, repeated in 2008 the offer made by Barak, and upped the ante with even greater territorial and other concessions (including the release of Palestinian terrorists with “blood on their hands”) to Mahmoud Abbas-Chairman of the Palestinian Authority. All Abbas was required to do was to declare the conflict over and recognize Israel as a Jewish State. The Palestinian leadership rejected Olmert’s concession and demanded ‘the right of return for Palestinian refugees into Israel’ – a clear formula for the demographic destruction of the Jewish State. And, they also refused to recognize Israel as the Jewish State.
Vick reveals his bias when he states in his article that, “In the week that three Presidents, a King and their own Prime Minister gather at the White House to begin a fresh round of talks on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the truth is, Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They’re otherwise engaged; they’re making money; they’re enjoying the rays of late summer. A watching world may still define their country by the blood feud with the Arabs whose families used to live on this land and whether that conflict can be negotiated away, but Israelis say they have moved on.”
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