“There is no precedent of a conflict between nations being brought to finality without direct negotiations. In the conflict between the Arabs and Israel, the issue of direct negotiations goes to the very crux of the matter. Our objective is to achieve peace and coexistence but how will our neighbors ever be able to live with us in peace if they refuse to speak with us?”
The above is a direct quote from an address by prime minister Golda Meir to the Knesset on May 26, 1970, 40 years minus-five-days ago. The insistence on direct talks was cardinal for Israeli leaders before and since the above statement. A succession of foreign emissaries and politicos came and went, but Israel consistently recoiled from the notion of go-betweens and shuttle diplomacy.
The principle of direct talks steadfastly guided even the misguided progenitors of the Oslo folly – until the advent of Binyamin Netanyahu’s current term. Continue reading