Down right laughable and sad, but nonetheless all too common for this part of the world.
The article that was published in today’s Helsingin Sanomat (the NYT of Finland) is a classic textbook case of European intellectuals refusing to accept stark reality. The Palestinians who support Hamas, are not fighting for the establishment of a Palestinian state for the Palestinians, but against the Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world for the good of the whole Ummah (the Muslim world community). This illogical thinking is thus immune from the normal dictates of common sense, reason, logic and compromise that the four ex-diplos are promoting.
Then there is the treating of both sides as the moral equivalent of the other, regardless of the fact that there is absolutely no comparison between the two. One is a democratic country (Israel) based on the rule of law, which has long sought an end to the conflict, willing to make land adjustments in any final peace agreement, the “other side” does not. The Palestinians have little use for any of this, due to the fact that they have not given up on achieving its main goal of a “greater Palestine”, or in other words, all of Israel.
The joint Scandi-diplo op-ed also embodies the Arab point of view where UNSCR 242 is concerned. The Arab’s (and apparently these Scandi-diplo FM’s) believe that all of the pre-67′ WB is Palestinian, but it doesn’t square with the facts, because it’s disputed territory whose borders are subject to negotiations. Stating that the Saudi peace initiative is a “second possibility” shows just how far from the land of reason these men actually dwell. They mention that the Saudi plan is “unambiguously clear”, though the issue of refugees is strikingly ambiguous in every way. By not stating that the WB and Gaza are the sole destinations for any returning refugees, the Saudi plan is –by default– leaving open the possibility for the Palestinians to make Israel included as well.
The whole op-ed is a sham, and that the Helsingin Sanomat printed it doesn’t surprise, for it embodies the thinking of that newspaper. What is interesting is the background of the parties that co-authored the op-ed.
1.) Den. Ellemann-Jensen, the former Danish FM, surprse surprise, openly criticised Jyllands-Posten for publishing the drawings of Mohamed, and also that its editor, Carsten Juste had acted irresponsibly and should retire.
2.) Swe. Lena Hjelm-Wall, then vice-prime minister Lena Hjelm-Wallén and minister of integration Mona Sahlin visited the Stockholm mosque, in solidarity with Swedish Muslims, two days after 9/11. They wore veils and chatted with Mahmoud Aldebe, then vice-chairman of the Swedish Muslim council. Aldebe is known for advocating sharia law for Swedish Muslims and condemning marriages between Swedish men and Muslim women.
Nothing wrong in a non-Muslim wearing a scarf while visiting a mosque, but it is however wrong for a public officials to give credibility to a man who believes in an anti-democratic system such as sharia, and rejects marriages between Swedish men and Muslim women.
4.) Nor. Thorvald Stoltenberg, was one of the Norwegians whose opinons concerning Israel mirrored that of Juergen Holst’s. The latter was fawned over by Yasser Arafat, and apparently so was his brother-in-law, Thorvald Stoltenberg.
You can read the entire Scandi-diplo op-ed below, but warning, don’t do it on a full stomach. *L* KGS
The Middle East Needs encouragement in the Peace Process
“Positive steps forward in the peace process are now possible, but they demand active participation by the international community”
Many observers who have long followed the Middle East peace process are frustrated, and right now this feeling is strong.
Israel’s government is close to dissolving, while the Palestinian government is suffering from disagreement. The stabilization of the situation could take months.
Presumably therefore, any kind of diplomatic initiative right now would be in vain. In our opinion the assessment of the situation is correct, but the conclusions are completely mistaken. In spite of all the difficulties there are four factors that exist, that could lead to peace. If the United States and Europe do not take hold of these possibilities, it could present itself to be a fateful mistake.
The Arab League’s peace initiative is the first possibility. The initiative offers Israel in unambiguously clear language, full relations and a wide normalization for a return to the pre-1968 (actually 67′) borders and negotiated agreement concerning the question of refugees.
The Arab League should now clarify its proposal and explain it directly to the Israeli people. Israel’s leaders have reacted rather positively to the proposal and therefore Arab leaders should begin an international diplomatic, political action and convince Israelis of their constructive intentions.
The second possibility consists of the Palestinian groups Mecca agreement and the basis of the agreement which formed the national coalition government. According to some opinions this was regrettable because the inclusion of the Hamas will not bring peace, according to them, Hamas should removed from the government.
The international community, especially European countries, should establish relations to the new government and break the economic and diplomatic boycott. Attempts to oppose the government and its area of movement have made it difficult for them achieve a ceasefire and reach a political agreement.
From the basis of discussions between representatives of the International Crisis Group (ICG) and leaders of Hamas, we have become aware of important opening suggestions –from the position of continuing the peace process– in the fundamental questions.
This includes promises from both sides over a comprehensive truce and unanimity that a state within the 1967 borders is a joint goal of the Palestinians.
This also includes recognizing President Mahmoud Abbas as the only one empowered to negotiate with Israel and to assure that agreements ratified by each and every institution within Palestinian democratic order will be adhered to.
These promises must naturally be clarified and verified, but it must happen solely in an exchange of dialogue with the Palestinian government.
The economic boycott, according to which Palestinian aid is steered past Palestinian officials, has not lead to a decrease in aid. Instead it has lead to a more closed and ineffective process. It has weakened Palestinian hard built institutions. Aid should be therefore given through the Palestinian state treasury office, which is now lead by a generally esteemed minister.
The third possibility is Syria’s newest awakening to openly negotiate with Israel without any preconditions. Many suspect that Damascus is only trying to avoid its growing international isolation and resist the founding of an international tribunal, which would solve the murder of Lebanon’s prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri.
Regardless of Syrian appearances, the definitive factor is nonetheless its desire to sit at the same negotiation table.
Syrian commitment could mean that the danger of a new conflict between Hezbollah and Israel would decrease, that Hamas would become more moderate and send a message to Iran that it also should reevaluate its politics again.
An opposite development in which President Bashar al-Assad’s overtures are left unanswered, means without a doubt that Syria in the future will act destructively in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq.
The fourth and final possibility is composed of the newest, one of a kind joint understanding of Arabs’ and Israelis’ goals for peace. An Israeli and Palestinian as well as Israeli and Syrian peace agreement have been affirmed and approved in many opinion polls, unofficial discussions and agreement suggestions.
We presented at the ICG in 2002 one suggestion, and the developments afterwards haven’t shaken our conclusion. The international community have now time to present a detailed and exhaustive vision for Middle East peace.
Such a vision is needed to encourage the sides to be prepared for necessary compromise.
If we wait until idealistic conditions for peace to sometime materialize, that’s a bad excuse for inaction. It also means that we effect the conditions in that they will never appear at all.
Our opinion in Europe and in Northern Europe, is that every real advancement (for peace) available be taken advantage of and used. The Middle East conflict has already for too long poisoned international relations.
Former foreign minister Denmark
Former foreign minister Sweden
Former foreign minister Finland
Former foreign minister Norway