Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hard to solve but easy to explain

Dennis Prager wrote in Townhall The Middle East conflict is difficult to solve, but it is among the simplest conflicts in history to understand.

You've got that right
The Arab and other Muslim enemies of Israel (for the easily confused, this does not mean every Arab or every Muslim) want Israel destroyed. That is why there is a Middle East conflict. Everything else is commentary.

Those who deny this and ascribe the conflict to other reasons, such as "Israeli occupation," "Jewish settlements," a "cycle of violence," "the Zionist lobby" and the like, do so despite the fact that Israel's enemies regularly announce the reason for the conflict. The Iranian regime, Hizbollah, Hamas and the Palestinians -- in their public opinion polls, in their anti-Semitic school curricula and media, in their election of Hamas, in their support for terror against Israeli civilians in pre-1967 borders -- as well as their Muslim supporters around the world, all want the Jewish state annihilated.
And Israel does not want to be annihilated.
In 1947-48, the Arab states tried to destroy the tiny Jewish state formed by the United Nations partition plan. In 1967, Egypt, Syria and Jordan tried to destroy Israel in what became known as the Six-Day War. All of this took place before Israel occupied one millimeter of Palestinian land and before there was a single Jewish settler in the West Bank.

Two months after the Six-Day War of June 5-10, 1967, the Arab countries convened in Khartoum, Sudan, and announced on Sept. 1, 1967, their famous "Three NOs" to Israel: "No peace, No recognition, No negotiations."

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Six years later, in 1973, Egypt invaded the Israeli-held Sinai Peninsula, a war that ended in a boost in Egyptian morale from its initially successful surprise attack. Though nearly all of the Sinai remained in Israel's hands, the boost in Egyptian self-confidence enabled Egypt's visionary president, Anwar Sadat, four years later (November 1977), to do the unimaginable for an Arab leader: He visited Israel and addressed its parliament in Jerusalem. As a result, in 1978, Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in return for which Israel gave all of the oil-rich Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt.
Land for Peace
Three years later, in 1981, Sadat was assassinated by Egyptian Muslims, a killing welcomed by most Arabs, including the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization). Why welcomed? Because Sadat had done the unforgivable -- recognized Israel and made peace with it.

The lesson that Palestinians should have learned from the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement was that if you make peace with Israel, you will not only get peace in return, you will also get all or nearly all of your land back. That is how much Israelis ache for peace.
And the reason Arafat turned down the offer he got under Carter, is that he did not want what he said, he wanted the destruction of the state of Israel.
Think about Israel for one moment: Israel is one of the most advanced countries on earth in terms of culture (most books published, translated from other languages and read per capita; most orchestras per capita, etc.); major advances in medicine; technological breakthroughs; and decency as a society, as exemplified by its treatment of its women, gays and even its large Arab minority (particularly remarkable in light of the widespread Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism and desire to annihilate Israel). This is hardly a picture of some bloodthirsty, land-grabbing society. And Jews, whatever their flaws, have never been known to be a violent people. If anything, the stereotypical Jew has been depicted as particularly docile.

As a lifelong liberal critic of Israeli policies, the New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman wrote just two weeks ago: "The Palestinians could have a state on the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem tomorrow, if they and the Arab League clearly recognized Israel, normalized relations and renounced violence. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't know Israel today."
That is basically the deal Arafat turned down.
Give Israel peace, and Israel will give you land.
But they don't want peace, they want Israel's land. And they are willing for their people to suffer until they get it (when Hell freezes over).
Which is exactly what Israel agreed to do in the last year of the Clinton administration. It offered PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat about 97 percent of the West Bank and three percent of Israel's land in exchange for peace. Instead, Israel got its men, women and children routinely blown up and maimed by Palestinian terrorists after the Palestinians rejected the Israeli offer at Camp David. Even President Clinton, desirous of being the honest broker and yearning to be history's Middle East peacemaker, blamed the ensuing violence entirely on the Palestinians.
And they were the ones at fault.
Israel's Camp David offer of a Palestinian state for Palestinian peace was rejected because most Palestinians and their Arab and Muslim supporters don't want a second state. They want Israel destroyed. They admit it. Only those who wish Israel's demise and the willfully naive do not.

If you don't believe this, ask almost anyone living in the Middle East why there is a Middle East War, preferably in Arabic. If you ask in English, they will assume you are either an academic, a Western news reporter, a diplomat or a "peace activist." And then, they will assume you are gullible and will tell you that it's because of "Israeli occupation" or "the Zionist lobby."

But they know it isn't. And it never was.

bondmanp commented How could you, Dennis?

I feel very betrayed. How could Dennis Prager, who heretofore has spoken the truth, spread such terrible lies about the Arab-Israeli conflict? Does Prager have any knowledge of British Mandatory-era history? If he did, he would have made sure to include these facts that place the conflict into perspective:
Although your points are valid, they are old history, and Dennis Prager correctly stated the condition today.
1. There never was a "Palestinian" people prior to the 1964 formation of the PLO, an Egyptian proxy army created to weaken Israel and contribute to its destruction. Prior to 1947, "Palestinans" referred to residents of British Mandatory Palestine, and that included Palestinian Jews. Most of the Palestinian Arabs in Palestine in 1947 came from adjacent Arab countries. They were attracted by the economic opportunities that the Zionists were creating as they built up the land. (For a description of Palestine before massive immigration of European Jews, read Mark Twain's travelogue from the 19th Century.)

2. ALL of British Mandatory Palestine was to be open to Jewish settlement. This included what is now Jordan, Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The British government handed Trans-Jordan to the Hashemite dynasty in 1922 as a reward for their assistance in WWI. This, despite the fact that the Hashemites were and are a tiny minority in the region. Most Palestinian Arabs have made what is now Jordan their home.
And some did settle in Trans-Jordan, and then after the UN Partition Plan they were moved to the smaller area defined as Israel, although the Arabs in Israel were not forced to move into TransJordan.
3. Even under the UN Partition Plan, Gaza (an area with a Jewish history that long predates Islam) was "unallocated" territory given neither to Arabs or Jews. It was seized by Egypt in the 1948 war of aggression, which is why no nation except Egypt ever accepted Egyptian soveriegnty over Gaza. Similarly, Jordan illegally seized Judea and Samaria ("The West Bank") in the same war. Gaza and the West Bank were never intended to be part of any Jew-free Arab country. Conversely, Israel liberated these territories in a defensive war, giving Israel, according to UN rules, the right to retain these lands. That is why a UN resolution was necessary to force Israel to make territorial concessions in the disputed territories for peace treaties (although the UN resolutions intentionally refrained from calling for "all territories" to be traded for peace; only for "territories" captured in the 1967 war).

What you have done, Mr. Prager, is to play fully into the evil hands of the Islamic aggressors by ignoring history and accepting illegitimate Arab claims over Gaza, Judea and Samaria. By holding out the promise of getting their "rightful" land back when it was never theirs to begin with, you have lent support to those who seek to dismantle Israel piece by piece until it can no longer defend itself from the Arab-Muslim onslaught. Shame on you, Dennis.
bondmanp, your description of history would justify Israel's claim on the rest of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), and those might well be more defensible borders, but that is not what Israel is asking for. They would be happy allowing a Palestenian country to be formed in the West Bank, if it would be a country at peace with Israel.


Anonymous said...

I think the person who wrote this article has a very bias view against the arabs and he himself does not understand the full sclae of the situation. His analysis is wrong and narrow minded and it is the result of such thinkning that peace is yet to be achieved in Palestine

Don Singleton said...

And exactly what do you think the solution is, other than the destruction of the state of Israel. Surely you are not foolish enough to think that withdrawal to the 1967 borders is going to fix anything. Israel pulled completely out of Gaza, and rahter than being happy with that, they started firing rockets into Israel and killed 2 and kidnapped one soldier.