They Don’t Get It

“The colonial imposition of a central, Western-style nation-state based on arbitrarily drawn border demarcations has served not the interests of the many indigenous peoples, but rather those of dictators and corporations.” [Ron Jager, The Algemeinor]

In the history of what came to be known as “Palestine”, one man did get it. His name – Ze’ev Jabotinsky. In 1938, when he formulated the “ten-year plan” of the New Zionist Organization, and sought to reestablish the Zionist claim to the east bank of the Jordan, he wrote:

“An end must be put to the widely accepted but definitely mistaken view. Many believe that in the eyes of the Arabs, Transjordan is more hallowed than western Palestine.—-That is a lie. The holy places of Islam are found in western Palestine, in Jerusalem and Hebron. In the Islamic tradition, Transjordan has no recognized position. In the history of the Arabs as a people, Amman or as-Salt cannot be likened to Jaffa or Acre——If an Arab nationalist would have to choose one of the two sides of the Jordan, on the assumption that one of them had to come into Jewish hands, there is no doubt that he would give up Transjordan.” [Shmuel Almog]

When Yasser Arafat was unable to accept what most considered a generous offer by PM Ehud Barak at the 2000 Camp David summit, most politicians and world leaders were perplexed. Let us recall that by insisting on the offer being conditional on Arafat’s agreement of severely limiting the right of return and the unwavering of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, did not even satisfy the intent of the 1974 PLO Phased Plan. According to the latter, any step of liberation would serve as a link towards the realization of a Palestinian democratic state.

The bottom line of the agreement was finality, a definite conclusion. It would preclude any possibility of eliminating Israel. Apparently Arafat’s admission lay in his stating that he did not want to end up drinking tea with assassinated Egyptian PM Sadat, who signed a peace agreement with Israel. He well understood that the PA and Hamas did not exist in isolation.

Recalling the infamous “3 no’s of Khartoum” after the Six Day War when 13 Arab states gathered for a summit conference. This rejection situation prevailed for 12 years, until Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel- at which point the other member states expelled it from the Arab League.

Brilliant historian Efraim Karsh writing in the Middle East Quarterly of Spring 2004; “Arafat’s Grand Strategy” confirms the foregoing understanding of the facts on the ground. He points to the Oslo process as not being viewed as a two state solution, meaning Israel and a Palestinian state in the West Bank;, but rather the step towards a Palestinian state for the state of Israel. As early as August 68, Arafat spoke of “the transfer of all resistance bases” into the West Bank and Gaza with the intention of gradually creating a popular armed revolution. The consequence would be one of undermining Israel’s way of life through the prevention of immigration while encouraging emigration—destroying tourism, reducing security and reducing the quality of life for Israelis to a point where they would no longer desire to remain in Israel.

The Oslo Accords made possible far greater gains for the PLO in a fraction of the time through many years of violence and terrorism. As difficult as it is to believe, following the destruction of the PLO’s military infrastructure in Lebanon, Israel invited a severely defeated PLO to establish a real political and military presence, not in a neighboring Arab country, but at its very door step.

Not only this, but Israel was prepared to fully arm thousands of assumed reformed terrorists to serve in a newly established police/security force charged with asserting the PA’s authority throughout the subject territories. In typical fashion, contrary to expectations, this goodwill realized a war of terror launching Israel into one of its greatest traumas.

Even as Arafat shook the hands of Israeli leaders and a US president seemingly conducting diplomacy, he was indoctrinating his people with an abiding hatred of Israel to further his goal aimed at gaining the maximum advantage from the “peace process “and ultimately the dismantlement of Israel.
One must recall that it was due to Arafat’s failed military efforts that the PLO adopted the “phased strategy” in 1974, whereby terrorism would be accompanied by diplomacy. This meant that the Palestinians would seize territory from Israel whenever the latter was prepared or compelled to cede to them and apply the territorial gains in the quest of the “complete liberation of Palestine.”

In time, one came to learn that from the commencement of the Oslo process, Arafat and his close officials accepted it since it would serve the established strategy. He informed his constituency on September 13, 1993 of his plans when he addressed them in a pre-recorded Arabic-language message broadcast by Jordanian television. In specifics, he stated that the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles [DOP] was merely the implementation of the PLO’s “phased strategy.”

Efraim Karsh summarizes with words that have stood the test of time, “No Palestinian leader has a mandate to reach an everlasting peace agreement with Israel.” He expands on this with observations seldom realized by the major political leaders by a recognition that no leader in Ramallah or the Gaza Strip is authorized to end the conflict with Israel. Talk about concessions to Israel by any Palestinian is denounced as treasonous. Those who believe that whoever succeeds Abbas will be able to agree to “real concessions to Israel are living in an illusion.”

On July 19, 2011, writing in The National Interest, a reformed famous post-historian, Benny Morris entitled his piece, “Eliminating Israel”. He begins he article by quoting a well known hadith espousing death to the Jews and a reminder that this item appears in the 1988 Hamas Charter. He then proceeds to draw attention to polls run by American pollster Stanley Greenberg and conducted jointly by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion in the West Bank and the Israel Project, a peace-promoting international non-profit organization. The polls reflected a distinctly negativeness towards an accommodation with Israel. Morris’s final words,”——clearly regard this diplomatic initiative [international quartet[, only as part of ‘stage one’, and nothing more.”

More recently , in a wide ranging Haaretz interview by Coby Ben-Simhon dated September 20,2012 addressing the Israel-Arab Conflict, Benny Morris confirms that the Arabs are not interested in a two- state solution. He makes numerous points along these lines surprisingly consistent with Revisionist beliefs. In brief, he asserts the following:

[a] He learnt to appreciate the depth of the Arabs’ rejection of Zionism and the idea of territorial compromise. He notes the Palestinians non-acceptance of the unprecedented offers stemming from both Ehud Barak and President Bill Clinton as a sequel to turning down two-state offers in ’37, 47′, 77′ and 2000′.
[b Revenge is a factor in their position alongside absolute faith in the justice of their claims, deriving in part from religious faith. To them, it is the word of Allah and what he commands which determines their actions.
[c] Pragmatism to the Arabs suggests that time is working in their favor. The Palestinians are give to feel that they have the backing of 400+/- Arabs and another billion odd Muslims around the world with the consequence of no need to compromise.
[d] They will need to expand. as a state consisting of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem will not suffice. Where to ? Jordan, Israel, Sinai, or in all directions at once.
[e] There simply was no readiness for peace on the other side, certainly no acceptance. Te idea of Jewish sovereignty, independence and total control precluded reaching an acceptable accord with the Arabs. Not before 1948 and certainly not afterward, when the Arab side was also prompted by vengefulness.

In the Fall of 2009, historian Daniel Pipes posted on his blog, “Peace Process or War Process” an interesting approach to resolving the Arab-Israeli Conflict. He questioned how different Obama’s announced plans could be in the light of the previous 14 U S government initiatives during the 2 George W Bush administrations alone. Clearly, there was no chance whatever of success, since no revision to forma was contemplated. Pipes felt that failure was due to an Israeli allusion about avoiding war and Washington’s persistence in urging negotiations as opposed to the more successful policy of fighting for victory. He compared the situation prior to Oslo.

Then followed its consequence contrary to expectations, with no peace for both parties. Terrorism escalated to an all time high and the Palestinians were subjected to poverty, corruption, a death cult, suicide factories and Islamist radicalization. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that more Israelis were killed by Palestinian terrorists in the 5 years after Oslo than in the 15 years preceding it. The 7 years of Oslo diplomacy, 1993-2000, largely undid 45 years of success in warfare.

To Pipes, Rabin’s mistake was simple and profound; one cannot “make peace with one’s enemy,” as he imagined.”Rather, one makes peace with one’s former enemy.”In this, Pipes demonstrates insights well beyond those of political leaders. He crowns his thoughts in the observation,” Peace nearly always requires one side in a conflict to be defeated and thus give up its goals.—-Wars end not through goodwill but through victory.” As further confirmation, he quotes Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese strategist, “Let your great object [in war] be victory.”, his nineteenth-century Prussian successor, Karl von Clausewitz in 1832, “War is an act of violence to compel the enemy to fulfill our will”, and Douglas MacArthur in 1951, “war, there is no substitute for victory.”

Thus it becomes apparent that Israel’s winning means defeat of the Palestinians over a protected period and with consistency to the point that they accept Israel as a Jewish state. Acceptance does not mean loving Israel, but it does require overhauling of the educational system o remove demonization of Jews and Israel, conveying the truth of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the acceptance of normal commercial, and human relations with Israelis.

Lee S. Bender and Jerome R. Verlin of the ZOA ask the question, “what do the Palestinian Arabs really want?” in an Op-ed published by the Algemeiner on February 18, 2014,It is not the title of their essay, but expresses the very essence of its subject. “Palestinian Arabs – The People who Always Refuse a State” offers no solution to the subject conflict. It does however, detail Israel’s efforts in pursuit of peace. The primary frustration it expresses is a direct consequence of the failure of the Oslo Accords. To make the point, the authors bring to mind the following:

[a] Following every offer, there has been a dramatic increase in terrorism, hatred and violence.
[b] By way of the Kurds, whose religion, language, or culture that’s different in essence from their fellow Arab Muslims in neighboring Jordan and Syria and are denied independence, the Palestinians have been offered significant opportunities, only to say “no”.
[c] Reading the charters [covenants] of the PLO, PA, Hamas And Fatah provides in unambiguous terms what they want and hence there really is no surprise as to why they say “no” to a state, if it is conditioned on their recognition of a tiny Jewish state next to it. In short they seek the eradication of Israel through armed struggle aimed at replacing the Jewish state with a Palestinian Arab state.
[d] Given that there are in existence 22 Arab states [thanks to the British] with a population of 400 million and land mass 625 times that of Israel, verses 6,2 million Jews in a sliver of land the size of New Jersey, we could agree that there is no need for yet another Arab state; rather a different solution to that of a proposed 2 state non-solution.
[e] One has only to consider Gaza, which has become a terrorist launching pad for tens of thousands of rockets and missiles into Israel since Israel departed and uprooted 8,000 citizens from their homes in 2005 as a preview of what an additional Arab state would be like. In Gaza one finds a failed entity ruled by a corrupt, genocidal, terrorist entity which steadfastly refuses to recognize Israel.
[f] A Palestinian Arab state in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], the cradle of Jewish civilization, on the high ground overlooking the heart of Israel’s population centers from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, will only pose a more lethal ganger to Israel’s safety and security.
[g] The Jewish claim does not singularly rest on security, but on a continuous three-millennia presence in the land.
[h] Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Arab culture of incitement, terrorism, and resort to lawfare has only increase, in absolute violation of their commitments to teach and preach peace, dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, confiscate weapons , and arrest terrorists. The PA has not kept hose international commitments. How can Israel and Western diplomats have any confidence that any future accords, which presumably involve Israel relinquishing vital land necessary for its security, will be honored?

“The False Premise of Palestine and Peace” by Barry Shaw of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies was published on November 22, 2016. His principal hypothesis is that the notion that the creation of a slate of Palestine will herald everlasting peace is naive in the extreme.

Quoting Abbas saying that, “We will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state”, Shaw points to the international community wanting Israel to make dangerous concessions and contends that if so, they must ensure Israel has a united and pragmatic peace partner, not a weak, aging, corrupt, rejectionist and undemocratic leader to Israel’s east, who constantly makes the given statement and to the south in Gaza, a rabid Islamic terror regime bent on Israel’s destruction.

He points to the sole criterion for making peace as expressed by the international community of pressuring Israel to make wholesale concessions in territory and security, risking social and political upheaval, to grant the Palestinians a state of their own. This manifests itself in a singular acceptance of a precondition of forcing Israel’s withdrawal to pre-1967 lines, which are the 1949 armistice lines and not a defined border. One that Abba Eban referred to as Auschwitz borders.

In the final analysis, expectations for the future are dependent on international leaders demonstrating sound judgment in place of “political correctness” and dangerous biased determinations.

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.