The Peace Process
To the Editor:
There is no reason to fault Norman Podhoretz [“A Statement on the Peace Process,” April] for taking a position on a matter affecting the security of Israel different from that of Israel’s government. Not being an Israeli does not disqualify Mr. Podhoretz from stating his views, even though, as he admits, he saw matters differently when others criticized the past Likud government. Moreover, no one can question Mr. Podhoretz’s deep commitment to the well-being of Israel and the Jewish people.
The real issue in “A Statement on the Peace Process” is not Mr. Podhoretz’s right to voice alarm as to where the peace process is headed now that Yitzhak Rabin, not Yitzhak Shamir, is Israel’s Prime Minister, but whether Mr. Podhoretz offers an alternative to the present peace process that is more likely to ensure the long-term security of Israel. Regrettably, Mr. Podhoretz does not offer any alternatives, leaving the reader to conclude that the only alternative is to do nothing or, as Mr. Podhoretz hints in his article, go through the charade of engaging in a peace process in order to keep America off Israel’s back. This is all right, Mr. Podhoretz would have us believe, so long as the Israeli negotiators do not forget that the real objective is to give up time, not territory—in other words, maintain the status quo. This approach was flatly rejected in the spring of 1989 by none other than Prime Minister Shamir who stated in a speech to Washington’s elite that Israel’s governance over the daily lives of 1.5 million Arab inhabitants in the territories and Gaza District was unacceptable to Israel. In announcing what became known as the Shamir/Rabin plan, Shamir set the course that has led to the present negotiations. If the peace process itself, inaugurated by the former Likud government, is not the problem, what Mr. Podhoretz is saying is that he has no confidence in the peace process now that Rabin, not Shamir, is at the helm. Surely, this is a choice for the Israelis to make, not those living 6,000 miles away.
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