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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Kislev 4, 5768, 11/14/2007

      Pre-Annapolis Concessions



      Who in their right mind walks into a tough negotiation having already conceded the other side's point?
      The Annapolis conference hasn't even convened yet, but Israel's government is already making concessions.

      Unnamed government sources cited by the Ha'aretz newspaper say that in advance of the gathering, Israel will announce " a freeze on settlement construction... and will also declare its willingness to dismantle illegal West Bank settlement outposts".

      These steps, according to the report, "are meant to make it clear that Israel does not intend to remain in the territories, and understands that its presence there is only temporary." Furthermore, Israel hopes that by making such a "gesture", it can convince Arab states such as Saudi Arabia to attend the conference.

      Even if one puts aside for a moment the various ideological, historical and security reasons why Israel must retain control over Judea and Samaria, the Government's behavior is remarkably obtuse.

      Who in their right mind walks into a tough negotiation having already conceded the other side's point? What possible logic is there in agreeing in advance to your foe's demands, without getting anything - anything! - in return?

      It is this point which should disturb every single Israeli, regardless of where they are on the political spectrum, because it goes straight to the sheer incompetence and downright inanity of our current leadership. They are "negotiating the peace" the same way they handled the war in Lebanon: hastily, sloppily and ineptly.

      And that most certainly does not bode well for the outcome.