Sunday, August 21, 2016

Chasing the Wind: Israel’s Search for Peace

by Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker

International Analyst Network, World Sentinel, Free Republic, Codex-Politics, December 10, 2009
Global Politician, Intellectual Conservative, December 14, 2009

For well over thirteen decades the Jewish community of Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel) has sought to live in peace with its neighbors. Jews are an aboriginal people that has returned to its native land after a very lengthy exile, but which always maintained both a physical and a spiritual connection to the land of Israel. The Arab population of the land, on the other hand, if not originally Jewish (forcibly converted to Islam in the 8th century C.E.), is comprised of invaders and immigrants from ArabiaEgypt, and Syria over the past fourteen centuries. Those neighbors, predominantly Arab and Moslem, have consistently refused to recognize the right of the Jewish People to its own sovereign state in their midst and frequently resorted to violence to express their negative political will.

All attempts at accommodation have met with rejection and refusal to accept a non-Arab (non-Moslem) state within the region. 1929, 1936, 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 1987, 1991, 1995, 2000, 2006, 2008: the story has always been the same—no recognition for a Jewish sovereign state. Even the vaunted Saudi Arabian Peace Plan offered by King Abdullah in 2002 in Beirut requires a Palestinian “right-of-return” to territory within the old “Green Line”, thereby guaranteeing the demographic destruction of the State of Israel within well under a generation. Given the current set of attitudes demonstrated in the Palestinian community, and echoed throughout much of the neighborhood, Israel has no reason to pursue negotiations as there is no point negotiating suicide.

The current intransigent position of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of refusing to negotiate without a total construction freeze over the “Greene Line”, which includes any construction in post-1967 controlled Jerusalem, and the declared position of Hamas, which controls Gaza, that it unequivocally seeks the destruction of the State of Israel, as well as reports that the U.S. State Department seeks further concessions from Israel without making similar demands upon the Palestinians to modify their attitudes and behavior towards Israel and Jewish residency in Palestinian controlled territory (currently forbidden), requires that Israel take a different  tack towards achieving a just, secure,  and durable settlement to the conflict. The present approach, attempted since the Oslo Accords of 1993, has apparently run its course. It is time for something new.

Israel should unilaterally declare that as of a specific date—suggested here as possibly 1 January 2011—the Palestinians having continued to resist negotiating in good faith, Israel will consider the Palestine State file closed and sealed shut. Henceforth, Israel will only negotiate with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan concerning returning West Bank territory to Jordanian sovereignty and with the Arab Republic of Egypt concerning the return of the Gaza Strip. These two Arab states, both of which have peace treaties with Israel, can then decide whether they wish to create a State of Palestine from within any of their “recovered territories”.

Having relinquished control of the Palestinians to their fellow Arab brothers, Israel should then declare that her attitude towards the new possible Palestinian entity will be influenced by the rate of progress that Israel witnesses in the normalization of relations undertaken by the Arab block towards Israel. If the Arab world makes peace with IsraelPalestine will begin to flourish; if not, it may be smothered in its crib if it continues to tolerate, support, and promote terrorist activities against the Jewish state.

Additionally, Israel should continually remind the world that the Jewish State has sizeable minorities that have complete freedom and citizenship within the State. Jews, on the other hand, do not have a similar set of rights in most Arab lands, even if they were born in such lands before being forced to flee for their lives to Israel. Along with compensation for loss of property and livelihood to those 750,000 Jews forced to flee Arab and Moslem lands (restitution/reparations) and successfully integrated into Israeli society (in stark contrast to the 650,000 Palestinian refugees of 1948 who left of their own accord), Israel has the right to demand that the teaching of contempt and the demonization of Judaism, Zionism, Israel and Jews cease within Arab nations before Israel agrees to relinquish any “occupied territories”. Failure to deal with this issue will be regarded as another sign of lack of “good faith” on the part of the Arab world.

Israel also needs to remind the world that none of the Arab regimes respect the rule of law, guarantee minority rights, or possess genuine democratic institutions such as a free press, freedom of assembly and of conscience. The rights that the Arab minority of Israel possesses aren’t reciprocated to Jews anywhere in the Arab world and most definitely not within the Palestinian territories. And we should ask why there aren’t any voices of a Palestinian “Peace Now” movement to be heard?

Professor Moshe Sharon, professor emeritus of Islamic Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem once suggested that Israel must learn to negotiate as if dealing in the Arab shuq: showing the other side that Israel has less interest in buying than they—the Arabs—have in selling. Only then will Israel get a fair price for that elusive product called “peace”. In the meantime, all Israel’s efforts at securing peace have been “a chasing after the wind”. (Hosea 12:2)

Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker is founder and Chairman of the Board of Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East, a grassroots organization dedicated to teaching our elected officials and the public of the dangers posed by Islamic fundamentalism and the need to establish genuine democratic institutions in the Middle-East as an antidote to the venom of fundamentalism. He may be contacted at

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