December 20, 2012
Dear Mr. Prime Minister:
You may recall we met at the White House when President Obama held a state dinner in your honor. Your comment at the time, “I studied you in school,” elevated my spirits.
I am enclosing a commentary (linked here) that I wrote following the statement of Khaled Meshal, leader and head of the Hamas government in Gaza, and an earlier vote by the UN Assembly granting statehood to Palestine made up of the West Bank and Gaza. Israel and the Palestinian Authority have not agreed to final borders and the Gaza government has said – the speech of Khaled Meshal is set forth in my commentary – that it will never recognize the legitimacy of the state of Israel and will continue to pursue violence against that state including the kidnapping of its soldiers.
The official head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has refused for the last two years to come to the peace table to negotiate without preconditions.
You ask Israel to cease building settlements on the West Bank, which are intended not only to house Israelis, but to provide a defense bulwark when the Islamist armies of the surrounding states, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria – Assad or his opponents – and Iraq, again try militarily to crush Israel.
Will Britain come to Israel’s aid? I recall when in one of those wars, Britain declined to deliver to Israel tanks it had purchased from your country. Britain under Chamberlain participated in the Munich sellout of Czechoslovakia. What you and your European colleagues are doing now is repeating the sellout, this time of Israel. The Czech Republic, mindful of what happened to it, is the only European country to vote no to Palestinian statehood. When one of your predecessors told the world that he offered “peace in our time,” he wrote himself into history as a disgrace. How will history on this issue recall you?
Why would you expect Israel to cooperate in its intended lynching?
All the best.
Edward I. Koch