On Apirl 19, the Los Angeles Times printed a report detailing growing international pressure on the State of Israel to produce a viable proposal that would renew negotiations toward the establishment of a Palestinian state. The plan will most likely be unveiled in a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. This policy speech might be delivered before a joint session of the U.S. Congress.
One might think that a speech signaling a different Israeli approach to peace-building with Palestinian neighbors might best be delivered to an audience of Palestinians. Or, at least, that such a speech might be delivered in Israel.
Here in Chicago, “The Friendly Confines” refers to Wrigley Field, home of the ever-hopeful Cubs. It seems that for PM Netanyahu, there is no friendlier place on earth than the U.S. Congress. The likelihood that this speech will be delivered in the U.S. to a U.S. audience should give U.S. citizens a clue about their government’s role in perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its preference for Israeli perspectives.
Whenever the speech might be delivered, details of the “Netanyahu Plan” are being leaked to elicit response. Yesterday, in response to some unofficial details, Palestinian Anglican Christian and Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Hanan Ashrawi, said that the plan already seems to be little more than “a reinvention of Israel’s occupation.”
Christians in the United States should be careful, then, when Netanyahu’s speech is finally delivered. Some will hail him as a courageous leader for peace. Others will criticize him for giving too much away to the Palestinians. But watch carefully about details of where the speech is made. Why should it be assumed that an oration about Palestinians which cannot bear being recited to Palestinians would come close to addressing their most basic needs? If such a speech is indeed given in the chamber of our country’s legislative branch — to an audience of our elected representatives — how will we be implicated in what will follow?