An appeal is being made to raise funds to publish a $50,000 advertisement in the New York Times that first appeared this past Wednesday in Yedioth Ahronoth.
The advertisement calls for “recognizing a Palestinian State based on the 1967 borders.” It continues by calling on “any person seeking peace and liberty to join us in welcoming the Palestinian Declaration of Independence”.
There is no mention whatsoever of the recent pact between Fatah and Hamas, which threatens the entire peace process given the latter’s refusal to negotiate with Israel. As President Obama rightly stated is his address from the State Department today: “The recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel – how can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist?”
While the advertisement calls for an “end of the occupation” and appeals to the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to recognize one another, there is no specific demand for Hamas to rescind its charter calling for the destruction of Israel.
As such, the advertisement’s contents stand in marked contrast to Obama’s assertion today that “Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.”
The reaction of Hamas to President Obama’s address ought to be an eye opener for everyone. In their words, it was “an absolute failure”. Their spokesman in the Gaza Strip is reported as having stated: “The (Arab) nation does not need a lecture on democracy from Obama. Rather it is he who is in need of a lesson in light of his absolute support for Israeli crimes and his refusal to condemn the Israeli occupation.”
Given that President Obama specifically stated that “the dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation” and added that “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines”, one can only assume that Hamas’ leaders were either not listening, or chose not to hear Obama’s message of conciliation.
However, Hamas’ refusal to listen is no less dangerous for Israel than the voices of those who turn a blind eye to the security threats that face our country. From his address today, President Obama clearly understands them – perhaps more so than those who chose to place advertisements at this time both in the national press in Israel and in the United States.