An excerpt from “Say ‘No’ to Kosovo” (Jerusalem Post, June 24) (Freund is responding to recent articles such as Ha’aretz’sIsrael Must Recognize Kosovo“)

…If Israel were to recognize Kosovo, it would set back our relations with Serbia and deal a major blow to this important friendship.

Given the fact that Serbia is likely to join the European Union within a decade, and that it sits at the crossroads between East and West, our national interest dictates that we cultivate ties with Belgrade rather than complicate them by embracing Kosovo.

Moreover, in light of the encouraging progress that has been made of late in talks between Belgrade and Pristina, it would be foolhardy for Israel to interfere with the delicate negotiating process by recognizing Kosovar independence.

After so many years of conflict, Serbs and Kosovars are conducting direct negotiations. If Israel and other countries were to recognize Kosovo now, it could inflame tensions and damage the fragile prospects for further reconciliation. The status of Kosovo can best be resolved by the parties themselves, without international interference.

That last bit is the one part of Freund’s article that I had an issue with, but it was nonetheless smart of him to include it: As we know, the mandated “progress” is no progress at all, but a continuation of broken promises by the “international community” to Serbia in exchange for concession upon concession by Serbia as it attempted in vain to avoid the Kosovo theft. While it’s decent and right to stay out of the “delicate negotiation” process, Belgrade is sealing its own fate whether there are additional recognizers in the midst of the process or not. It would really be just adding insult to injury but wouldn’t affect anything, as Serbia is surrendering one way or the other. “Reconciliation” with terrorists who are smirking under the handshake is not reconciliation, but Serbia’s humiliation, and resignation to a violently imposed fate. But although the ‘progress’ of shaking hands with a terrorist who has your people’s blood on his hands and is smirking under the façade is morally wrong, it was clever of Freund to use this “improving relations” aspect against the pro-recognition side by throwing it back at them. The rest of the article:

And then, of course, there is the question of historical justice, of right and wrong.

Kosovo is to Serbs what Judea and Samaria are to Jews: the cradle of the nation, the place where it all began.

Over 800 years ago, Kosovo was the heartland of Serbia, and it served as its spiritual and administrative epicenter until the fateful Battle of Kosovo Polje in 1389, when the Ottoman Turks vanquished the Serbs and their allies.

Eventually, migrants from Albania displaced the Serbian residents of the area, and they now constitute the majority of Kosovo’s population. But the province’s territory is dotted with ancient Serbian churches, monasteries and monuments. For Serbs to give away Kosovo is akin to carving out a piece of their heritage and their collective soul.

Correct, and this of course negates his previous point about “progress.”

Israeli recognition of Kosovo would only serve to set a dangerous precedent, one that could easily be turned around and used against us.

After all, if Kosovars can unilaterally split apart Serbia to create their own country, why can’t Palestinians in Judea or Israeli Arabs in the Galilee do the same? Hence, it is most definitely not a wise move for the Jewish state to confer legitimacy on Kosovo.

Finally, at a time of rising Islamic extremism around the globe, including in the incendiary Balkans, is it really in the interests of Israel and the West for yet another majority-Muslim state to arise on southern Europe’s flank? Reports in recent years have indicated that radical Wahabis as well as the Iranians have been looking to gain a stronghold in Kosovo, which is over three-quarters Muslim. An independent Kosovo under the sway of Middle Eastern extremists will only increase the risk of further Balkan instability down the road.

Serbia is an important friend of Israel and it has made enormous strides over the past decade, building a vibrant democracy and opening itself to the West.

These steps should not now be repaid by forcing Serbs to accept the unjust breakup of their country…