Daunting Issues Still Face Israel

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Daily Oklahoman
Patrick B. McGuigan

TODAY, and occasionally in the next few days, The Oklahoman editorial page will feature commentary, both critical and laudatory, on Israel’s 50th birthday.

The HED Big Band, an acclaimed ensemble now touring America, will highlight celebrations by the local Jewish Federation on Sat., April 25 at 8:15 p.m. at Quail Creek Country Club (cost is $18 per person, contact: 848-3132). On Sun., April 26 the Federation and Oklahoma Israel Exchange (OKIE) will host a parade in and around the Crown Heights neighborhood in north-central Oklahoma City.

It’s time to celebrate, although issues facing modern Israel and her neighbors seem daunting enough to make a granite column weep. Still, if the U.S. remains committed to the Jewish nation’s security, honorable peace in the region is conceivable.

Tzion Evrony, a regional consul general for Israel whose look at five decades of history appears today, has said peace requires Jerusalem under Israeli control; security in the east along the pre-1967 borders, regular links between Israel and the West Bank; and limits on the flow of Palestinian refugees. He is clear on one key issue: “We cannot allow the West Bank to become an independent state. That would be a prescription for war.”

On Israel’s southwest, a difficult peace with Egypt remains in place. In the north (Lebanon and Syria), an update from Evrony’s office lays out these markers: “(A)rrangements must include a complete cessation of terrorist activities against Israel from Lebanese territory; they must dismantle the terrorist organizations’ military infrastructure,” assuring safety for soldiers, personnel and citizens living in the “security zone”; “and they must include the effective deployment of the Lebanese Army with both the responsibility and the authority to take action on South Lebanon.” Such conditions would permit withdrawal of the Israeli Defense Force from south Lebanon.