DANNY DANON: ISRAEL’S RESPONSE IS JUST AND PROPORTIONATE
Mahmoud Abbas has avoided negotiating with us at all costs.
In the days following the United Nations General Assembly vote granting the Palestinians non-member observer state status, the posture of the international community toward Israel has been nothing short of hypocritical.
8:59PM EST December 5. 2012 – In the days following the United Nations General Assembly vote granting the Palestinians non-member observer state status, the posture of the international community toward Israel has been nothing short of hypocritical.
In response to unilateral Palestinian action, which blatantly contravenes signed accords, Israel made announcements that are in line with the policies of all our previous governments and do not violate any international agreements. Yet Israel is being criticized in Washington and Europe’s capitals.
Let us look at the facts here. Since taking office in 2009, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has extended extraordinary gestures toward the Palestinians in hope of encouraging their return to the negotiating table. The prime minster became the first leader of the conservative Likud Party to openly voice his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In breaking with the policies of his predecessors, and over the strenuous objections of myself and others in the party, Netanyahu enforced a strict construction freeze on the building of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.
All Israel asked for as reciprocation for such magnanimous gestures was for the Palestinians to respect the principles of the agreements they signed with us and a readiness to negotiate in good faith. Instead, Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has avoided talking to the democratically elected government of Israel at all costs. To make matters worse, Abbas initiated reconciliation talks with Hamas, which has fired thousands of missiles at our cities and towns.
Rather than recognizing the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state and declaring that once an agreement is reached it will signify an end to the conflict between our peoples, Abbas lobbied at the U.N. for unilateral recognition.
After the U.N. vote, we took the very measured step of announcing the construction of 3,000 previously planned homes in territory recognized by all parties as likely to remain under Israeli sovereignty as part of any future accord. In addition, we decided to withhold tax revenue that we collect for the Palestinian Authority and use these funds to begin paying off the debt owed by the authority to our electric company.
As opposed to the Palestinians, we have taken steps that are legal, just and proportionate. The just course of action would be for the world to support our call for a negotiated resolution of the conflict rather than succumb to Palestinian ploys, which will only lead to more distrust and hardship.
Danny Danon is deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset and author of Israel: The Will to Prevail.
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