Earlier, I warned that the peace offensive was dangerous
: dangerous if we did not take the initiative and use the peace process in our favor. The mention of "peace talks" however, justifiably sends shivers up the spines of Israeli politicians and Zionist advocates. Visions of the nightmare of the failed Camp David and Washington talks and of the "Land for terror" paradigm that characterized the Oslo negotiations. Therefore, it is not surprising that the mention of "peace talks" sent Israeli politicians scurrying to their burrows.
Make no mistake, these negotiations are fraught with peril for Israel, and they have, objectively, little chance of real success. Mahmoud Abbas
can scarcely control 50 square meters of territory in the West Bank, and may well be overthrown by the Hamas
at any moment, yet he is demanding a strict timetable for a Palestinian state. He announces that his "negotiations" will consist of making "no concessions"
on his demands for right of return of refugees and obliteration of any memory of Jewish national rights in the old city of Jerusalem.
Abbas insists on discussion of core issues, and he promptly outlines the core issues from his point of view: Israeli surrender in Jerusalem
, Israeli surrender regarding refugee rights and Israeli surrender regarding the 1967 borders. From his point of view it is a correct strategy. By refusing to discuss core issues, the Israeli government has presented Abbas with a double victory. The Palestinians are perceived as wanting "peace" and the Israelis are perceived as "obstructionist." Moreover, the perception is instilled in the consciousness of world opinion that all of Abbas's demands are legitimate, that only if Israel meets these demands can there be peace, and that it is Israel's failure to address these core issues by surrendering to Abbas that is preventing a settlement. Abbas, with the help of the Israeli government, is creating new "facts on the ground" in the peace process.
The problem is, that if Israel discusses "core issues," then Israel has to admit that it must give up some territory in the West Bank in order to allow formation of a Palestinian state. If we say "no" to 1967 borders, then we have to supply a different map. A very strong lobby of well meaning Zionists in Israel and the United States is lobbying against any such concessions and any cooperation in the Annapolis peace conference. M.J. Rosenberg has argued
, and I have to agree, that this line is not helpful to Israel. It ties the hands of the Israeli government, and it portrays Zionists as warmongers who do not want peace. We can't say "no" to a Palestinian state. It closes the window on a possible opportunity for peace. How will these very same Zionists who oppose a Palestinian state, argue in the future that it is always the Palestinians who miss every opportunity for peace? Their argument is that the Arabs do not want peace, and would never recognize Jewish rights in Israel, and that a Palestinian state would be a terrorist state. But if the Arabs would never recognize Jewish rights in Israel, there could be no peace agreement and no Palestinian state of any kind.
Mahmoud Abbas understands very well that Israel will not agree to return of the refugees or to giving up the Wailing Wall, the Jewish quarter or the Hebrew University in East Jerusalem. We can be sure that he understands that Israeli is not about to give go back to the borders of 1967, complete with noman's land, and replace the barbed wire in the Mandelbaum gate. But he is using the publicity of the pre-conference period to establish the "legitimacy" and acceptability of these atrocious demands, and impressing on the world his desire for "peace." The Palestinians bought this right by making a "concession" - they gave up what is not theirs anyhow. Officially, they have "compromised" and given up claims on land in Israel proper. This is the "historic compromise." In fact, it is empty of content, since the return of the refugees would create two Arab states between the river Jordan and the sea. Abbas knows this too, and his Palestinian authority television station, funded by American and European money, sings it to the children of his people in Arabic, explaining the meaning of "peace" in graphic terms. can see the video of this song by clicking here
. Here are some of the charming and peaceloving words:
Palestine is Arab in history and identity
We will live in peace, oh mother, and our lives will not be wasted
Oh mother, they destroyed our house
The house of my brother and my neighbor [2X]
Do not be angry, oh mother, our rocks increased [in number]
From Jerusalem and Acre, from Haifa and Jericho and Gaza and Ramallah [2X]
From Bethlehem and Jaffa, from Be'er Sheva and Ramla, [2X]
from Nablus to the Galilee, from Tiberias to Hebron [2x]
All the cities and places in bold face type are in green line Israel. So "peace" for Abbas and the PLO seems to mean destruction of Israel, but in the context of the diplomatic game played with the United States, we have to make believe it is not so. This "peace" has a very "rocky" future it seems. The truth is, apparently, that all the talk about a Palestinian state hides a grim reality. Among Palestinian leaders, the only one who seems to really want a state and to know how to run a state in a responsible way is Salem Fayyad. Everyone else talks about a state, but they don't want a state. They have been running after this state their whole lives, living from the business of "liberating" "Palestine." That is their trade. If they ever got a state, one suspects that they would be like the dog who chased trucks and finally caught one. They are using the Annapolis conference as another opportunity for an event in the charade of "liberating" "Palestine."
In response, Israel is silent, as it must be, unless it too makes a compromise, and says "we are ready to recognize the Palestinian right to self determination and to form a state in the territories of the West Bank and Gaza." This declaration has been made informally. It is time to embody it in a proposed declaration dealing with "core issues" That declaration would give Israel the right to present its own "core issues:"
Liquidation of the refugee problem - This was deliberately created and is artificially maintained as a tool for destroying Israel. This was explicitly stated at a Fateh Web site until not long ago in so many words: "The refugee issue is the winning card that will mean the end of the state of Israel." Everyone knows it is so, yet the UN, including the EU and the United States, continue to support the UNRWA, which perpetuates the refugee problem, and treats Arab refugees from Palestine differently from every other refugee population in the world. Termination of this situation is a key requirement for peace.
Recognition of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination and the right of Israel to exist as the state of the Jewish people. - Until today, this right has never been recognized by any Arab country including those who made peace with Israel, and it was not recognized by the Palestinians either. The right of Israel to exist was recognized, but this recognition was a cover for the plan to flood Israel with Arab "refugees."
Recognition that the Jewish people and the State of Israel have historic rights in Jerusalem - The internationalization of Jerusalem must come off the international agenda. Jerusalem is holy to many religions, but in all history, except for the short-lived crusader state, Jerusalem was only the capital city of one nation - the Jewish nation. We cannot expect that the Palestinians will recognize any Jewish rights in East Jerusalem if the United States doesn't recognize any Jewish rights in any part of Jerusalem.
A declaration that wanton murder of civilians is illegitimate - The Palestinians agreed to an end to violence in the Oslo accords, but did not keep their word.
The above conditions must be met if there is to be peace. They must be implemented by declarations in Arabic as well as in English for the benefit of foreigners, and more important, by sincere actions. These must include a total cessation of the systematic incitement and racism that is rife in Palestinian society and the Arab world. No more Nakba commemoration parades with posters reading "Haifa," "Beisan," "Birsaba," "Yaffo." No more maps that show all of Israel as Palestine. No more kiddie shows of children willing to blow themselves up to "liberate" Jerusalem. No more TV shows and newspaper articles about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Jews baking Matzot from the blood of Christian children. No more sermons about God destroying the Jewish sons of dogs and monkeys.
We must be absolutely uncompromising about our rights, but we can only do so successfully if we follow an active policy of pursuing peace and present our rights, at every possible opportunity, in the context of the pursuit of peace. Those in the Arab world who oppose the peace process and insist that it is a "Zionist plot" are correct from their point of view. Peace with our neighbors and a secure Jewish state have always been the aim of Zionism, and we must never obscure that goal.
We must never lose sight of the unltimate goal, not only of Zionism, but of Jewish national and cultural aspirations for over 2000 years:
...and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Pursuit of peace has always been a goal of the "Zionist conspiracy."
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