Economic Union for Israel, Arab States

Thursday, 18 Feb 2010 10:30 AM

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Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is a klutz, which to me means a dope, a jerk, and a bull in a china shop.

Why do I say that? Because recently he said, “Syria will have to give up on its ultimate demand for the Golan Heights.” That is a ridiculous statement, intended to inflame. If Syria stopped its support of Hezbollah in Lebanon and agreed to the demilitarization of the Golan Heights and genuinely supported peace with Israel in every way, I have no doubt the people and leaders of Israel would willingly return those Heights to Syria.

The New York Times noted on Feb. 5, “Shaul Mofaz, a former Israeli army chief and defense minister and now a senior member of the opposition centrist Kadima party, described Mr. Lieberman’s statements as ‘irresponsible.’”

The Israeli economy is soaring. The Arab economies in Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Egypt are at best floundering. What I suggest to George Mitchell, our extraordinarily able representative and mediator in the Mideast, is that he propose an economic union be formed to include all of these states, similar to that of the European Union.

The most responsible and important of all of the Arab leaders in the region is Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak. I met him in Alexandria, Egypt, for the first time when he was Vice President under President Anwar Sadat after the 1973 war.

Of all the world leaders I have ever met — and I’ve met many — the most impressive was Sadat. Mubarak, who followed him, has done an exemplary job and has kept the peace with Israel for 29 years since Sadat’s death.

He and Israel’s current Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu, who has surprised the world with his reasonableness and vision, should, together with George Mitchell, present to the other states an outline for a new economic union joining these countries together with the promise of a final peace for Israel free of military threats from its Arab neighbors, and a huge upgrade in the economic conditions in the surrounding Arab nations that will benefit their people, so many of whom now live in abject poverty.

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