Sept. 1, 2020 – By STEVE ARNOLD
Israel’s United Nations ambassador said last Thursday that more peace deals with the country’s Arab neighbours are coming soon, but the Palestinian Authority isn’t one of them.
Danny Danon told a webinar organized by the Jewish National Fund and others that only a new Palestinian leader is likely to change that situation.
“We are hoping to be able to announce more relationships in the next few weeks,” Danon said. “I’m not optimistic about relations with the Palestinians. We will have to wait for a new leader to emerge, someone like [former Egyptian president] Anwar Sadat to leader them to a better future.”
Danon said Sadat, who signed a peace deal with Israel in 1977 and was assassinated four years later, found a road to peace by changing his outlook on Israel, something Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is so far refusing to do.
“Today, they choose to deal only with their hatred of Israel rather than to advance the lives of the Palestinians,” he said. “That is the reality for them today and I pray they will find new leaders soon.”
While waiting for that to happen, Danon said a movement for peace has been quietly building behind the scenes at the UN, as Muslim nations gain respect for their old enemy.
“We get respect from the Muslim nations when we speak about our rights,” he said. “When we do that, our rights become reality.”
Behind that gathering force, he said, is the realization of the benefits Israel and peace can bring to the area, along with improved security for all the countries of the region.
“There is an opportunity here for us to do much with the Arab countries,” he said. “We have a common enemy in Iran.”
Israel’s claim to the right to exist, he said, is supported by three pillars – the Bible, history and international law.
“You don’t have to be religious or even Jewish,” Danon said. “If you read the Bible, then you see we have a right to the land. The Bible is our deed to the land and no one can argue with that.”
Israel’s claims are also supported by a history of Jewish residence in the country and by legal documents, such as the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the 1920 San Remo conference that confirmed support for a Jewish homeland, and even the UN’s own charter.
“If you put all of those together you have made the case for Israel,” he said. “The United Nations charter gives us a legal right to the land. If you respect that, then you have also made the case for Israel.”
The Aug. 27 event was sponsored by Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights, the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation, and JNF Canada.
Steve Arnold worked 42 years in Canadian journalism, retiring in 2016 from The Hamilton Spectator. He holds a BA in history and political science, an MA in public policy analysis and has received 25 awards for writing excellence. He now lives in St. Catharines, Ontario.