The whole story in one line

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon recently tweeted (I know, it sounds so ridiculous) this:

הסכסוך אינו סכסוך טריטוריאלי ועל כן המו”מ לא יכול להתבסס על סוגיית שטח

Which means,

The conflict is not a territorial conflict, so negotiations cannot be based on the issue of territory.

This is the whole story in one line.

Today I attended a talk by Yaakov Kirschen, the Dry Bones cartoonist. He said the same thing in slightly different words:

Everyone is upset about Obama’s mention of 1967 lines. This is irrelevant. The only issue, and one that he did not mention, is that the Arab world does not recognize the Jewish state of Israel as a native part of the Middle East.

This is what ‘recognition’ means.

It is what Arafat never changed the PLO charter to include, despite the fact that he agreed to do so in the Oslo agreements and despite pleas from President Clinton that he do it.

It is what the Arab Initiative does not offer — it refers only to “normal relations” even after Israel has withdrawn to aforesaid insecure borders.

It is what Mahmoud Abbas meant when he refused to say that Israel was the state of the Jewish people.

And despite the fact that President Obama claims to accept this principle himself, he proposes that the Palestinian Arabs be granted sovereignty without agreeing to accept the idea — in particular without saying that millions of descendants of 1948 refugees do not have a ‘right’ to the place now called ‘Israel’.

I think most people in the US and Israel understood this from 1948 to 1993. It was clear to everyone that the Arabs wanted Israel replaced by an Arab state, and they were ready to fight to make this happen. But when Arafat lied about his aims, Israelis sick of war and wanting to finally be ‘normal’, jumped at the chance to believe him.

Now, after Arab terrorism has claimed more than a thousand Israeli victims, most realize that it was all a trick. Unfortunately, in America and Europe and among Israel’s extreme Left, it’s easy for those who (for various reasons) want to see Israel out of the territories to insist that the principle is fine, it’s just that Israel hasn’t made enough concessions. They will continue to say this until there isn’t anything left to concede.

Recognition is everything. But if we are realistic we know that neither Hamas, Fatah nor any other Arab nation is prepared to grant it today — even the ones that are allegedly at ‘peace’ with Israel. The Arab world hasn’t changed its position since 1948.

As Danny Danon argues, the Arabs will abrogate the Oslo agreements by unilaterally seeking recognition of statehood at the UN. It can also be argued that the countenancing of terrorism by the PA, the Hamas-Fatah agreement and the refusal to provide recognition of Israel also constitute a rejection of Oslo.

It’s not possible to continue pretending that there is a path to peace through negotiation with the Fatah-Hamas Palestinian Authority. Obama’s plan only makes things worse by moving the US closer to the Arab position. Time for Plan B:

Let’s accept that the root of the problem (Kirschen said this, too) is the Arab refusal to accept a Jewish state in the Mideast and work on that.

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4 Responses to “The whole story in one line”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    While agreeing with the heart of this claim (i.e. that Arab failure to recognize the State of Israel is the heart of the conflict) I think the statement requires certain qualification. First of all, it is not simple Arab refusal but increasingly Islamic refusal. After all Iran is now too a major enemy. Moreover it is not exactly true to say that the situation has returned to 1948. There was a long time when the Arabs would not say the name ‘Israel’ and no negotiation was thought of as even possible. Also we do have the cold and frail peace with Egypt and Jordan which is better than war. And that illustrates an important point. When the Arabs began to be convinced that they could not destroy us they grudgingly made agreements with us which they in spirit were not happy with. What has happened is that they now have again a sense that they can defeat and destroy us , either by the weapons of Iran, Hizbollah, Hamas, Syria and who knows who else , or / and by political means of delegitimization. We have gone backwards in that sense.
    I do not know how much Obama’s words about ‘unbreakable alliance’ and ‘commitment to the security of Israel’mean in the Arab world. ‘Hamas’ seems to take them literally. But I do think it is not wise for us to simply say that they are all forever the same, and will never agree to any real recognition or peace with us.
    The right formula is ‘Security must precede Peace’ i.e. They must be absolutely convinced that they cannot destroy us, and then they may gradually come to make agreements of non- hostility with us. Unfortunately the American administration has the upside down mistaken formula which puts concessions to the Palestinians before Israel security.

  2. Robman says:

    Recognition isn’t “everything”…but it is the FIRST thing.

    It is the most fundamental, necessary condition for peace, but it is not a sufficient condition for peace.

    After all, Nazi Germany was only too happy to recognize an independent Poland right up until September 1, 1939.

    Recogntion is the starting point. No Israeli leader should give away the store just to get that. From there, an equitable agreement must be reached that still ensures Israel’s security in the event that the agreement, whatever it turns out to be, is breached.

    The position of Israel and her supporters and allies must be that formal recognition must come first before ANY OTHER issue is discussed. NO concessions must be made up front in order to get recognition.

  3. NormanF says:

    The conflict is existential. It will not be solved at the negotiating table.

    The Arabs are not prepared to concede Zionism – Jewish nationalism – is a legitimate and equal nationalist movement.

    Until they do – peace is impossible.

  4. Shalom Freedman says:

    Upon rereading the article I simply wish to strongly second one of the points made in it. i.e. The Obama Administration does not honestly look at the Arab position. It somehow assumes that they are truly willing to and want to negotiate for Peace. I believe the anger and disappointment of many supporters of Israel draws a great deal of its strength from this point. The Administration ignores the propaganda and incitement of Fatah, ignores the impossible conditions it would have as conclusion of any negotiation. In this regard perhaps even more troubling than the Sixty- Seven lines declaration is the failure to clearly say that Israel cannot possibly take into its territory Palestinian Arab refugees without bringing about its own destruction. I would have expected an American President to have been ‘firm’ about this for this is something which American administrations took for granted all along.