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July 27, 2012

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 27, 2012 PAGE 11.A By Suzanne Pollak WASHINGTON (JTA)-- Conflicting voices for and against renewed Israeli-Pal- estinian peace talks came to Capitol Hill as leading pro- and anti-voices gathered to recall the nearly 20 years since the dramatic signing of the Oslo Accords. The Oslo document, signed in Washington on Sept. 13, 1993, began the most ambi- tious push yet for Israeli- Palestinian negotiations. "We can agree on one thing: Oslo is done, finished, kaput," said Danny Danon, a Knesset member of the Likud Party. "We are all agreed, the 'land for peace' equation does not exist anymore." Danon spoke July 19 in a large room in the Longworth House Office Building during two panels sponsored by the International Israel Allies Caucus Foundation, or IIACF. The U.S. chapter of the group, which operates in 19 coun- tries, was formed in 2006. Danon joined Caroline Glick, deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, and Ghaith al-Omari, executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine, for a panel on why the OsloAccords failed. The panel was followed by a discussion on possible paths forward featuring for- mer Rabbi Benny Elon, head of Israel's right-wingNational Religious Party; Yossi Beilin, an architect of the Oslo Ac- cords; andAaron David Miller, a former top adviser to the U.S. secretary of state. Throughout the program, Congress members also of- fered comments to the au- dience of approximately 75 people. Speakers included U.S. Reps. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) "If there is one issue we do work together on, it is the strong support of Israel," Engel said. "We have to look at the situation as it is, not as we want it to be." More than 60 years since the founding of the State of Israel, the Palestinians "still can't get the words out of their mouths" to recognize the Jewish state, he added. Beilin said the Oslo Accords were designed as a five-year negotiating framework, and that had Israeli Prime Minis- ter Yitzhak Rabin not been as- sassinated in November 1995, "We would now have peace." Subsequentyears have seen struggles to restart negotia- tions and rounds of violence, including a second Palestinian intifada and rockets from the Gaza Strip, with Israel tak- ing major reprisal actions in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Nonetheless, for Beilin the goal of Israel being a Jewish state with a strong democratic character and welcoming of all Jews is still paramount. "My interest is not neces- sarily a Palestinian state," he said. "All I want is a Jewish majority forever." Danon called for a three- state solution to include Egypt, Jordan and Israel. "If you want to see a Pal- estinian state, just look at Gaza today," he said. "We do not want to see a terrorist state in our backyard. The established "mutual respect" Rabbi Pesach Lerner, head of Israeli government has never and "a prerequisite to move theNational CouncilofYoung approvedanymotionofatwo- forward." He added,"We need Israel, referred to textbooks state solution." to push for a way to get back in Palestinian schools that However, Israeli Prime to negotiations." teach hatred. MinisterBenjaminNetanyahu But Elon, director of the "In that environment of on June 14, 2009 said during IIACF, saidduringhis remarks hate, how did we ever expect an address at Bar-Ilan Univer- that there will be no progress [Oslo] to work?" he asked. sity near Tel Aviv that Israel until the Palestinians under- Even if that issue was would agree to a Palestinian stand that the Jewish people resolved, negotiations would statewereitdemilitarizedand "are back in Zion, back in notwork, Danonsaid, because if it recognized "Israel as the Jerusalem." Elon and other President Obama"came in to state of the Jewish people." Israeli panelists agreed that dictate," he said. Danoncalled For her part, Glick said the Palestinians also must Obama "one-sided" on issues that Oslo's path of giving the stop glorifying violence, such such as dealingwith Palestin- Palestinians control of the aswhentheyhavenamedsoc-ian refugees. West Bank was conducted cer fields and town squares in The stalemate, Miller said, underthe"falsepremise"that memory of terrorists, has dangerous implications. it would make the conflict "Their leaders have raised a "Israel will keep their state "immediately disappear and generation of kids who value for sure, but the Arabs and we would enter into a mes- death," Glick said. "Their the Palestinians will not let sianicera." highestaiminlifeistobecome them enjoy it," said Miller, Regardless, al-Omari said thepeoplewhowanttokillmy now a public policy fellow at Oslo had lasting value as it kids, your kids." the Woodrow Wilson Inter- was "a game changer" that Sitting in the audience, national Center for Scholars. peace process Vince Musi/The White House Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (left), shaldng hands with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, with U.S. President Bill Clinton in the center at the Oslo Accords signing ceremony, Sept. 13, 1993. 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