Another road to peace

Last week I spoke to a woman, a senior citizen who reads a column that I write in the local Jewish Federation newsletter. “I enjoy your articles,” she said, “but what I want to know is this: after all these years, when will Israel ever get peace?”

“When we get different Arabs,” I answered.

Of course what I meant was that we cannot reach an agreement with those whose deepest desire is that we be gone from the Middle East, who do not recognize the legitimacy of any Jewish sovereignty regardless of borders, and who encourage murder and venerate murderers in all of their institutions.

This becomes evident in negotiations in which the PLO refuses to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, insists upon a ‘right of return’ for the descendants of 1948 refugees, and refuses to consider Israel’s most basic security needs — all the while continuing to glorify murderers and incite young people to become terrorists, even suicide terrorists.

Someday there might be a new Arab leadership, I suggested, that is more interested in economic development than revenge, and then there might be a possibility of peace.

So this morning I was telling “Robman,” who often comments on this blog, about the conversation. And he made an interesting point: there are other ways to get to peace than to make a deal with the Arabs.

There is more to the persistence of Arab terrorism than just hatred and a pathological desire for revenge. There is the belief that if they persist long enough, they will ultimately succeed in getting rid of the ‘Zionist enemy’. To a certain extent, this is part of Islamic ideology — after all, there was a 200-year Crusader kingdom in the Holy Land that was ultimately overcome, something Palestinians talk about a lot.

But that isn’t the only source of encouragement, and the intensity of the struggle is amplified, perhaps even sustained, by the encouragement the Palestinian (and other) Arabs receive daily from the rest of the world, implying that theirs is not a lost cause.

There is the continuous chorus of anti-Israel demonization flowing from  UN bodies and from the EU. There is the ceaseless sniping at Israel from most of the world’s media. But there is also the far more concrete and potent support that the Palestinian Arabs receive from their strongest supporter and closest ally in the world: the United States of America.

Let’s just look at what the PLO entity gets from the US: the great majority of its financial support, both direct aid and training for its army (excuse me, ‘security forces’); money to pay the salaries of PA workers (mostly ‘security forces’) including those in Israeli prisons for terrorism and murder, and those in Hamas-ruled Gaza; and contributions to UNRWA, the agency that maintains the refugee camps where residents are paid to have children that the Arabs will never allow to be resettled anywhere but Israel, and where they are taught to hate Jews and Israel in UN schools.

That’s only money. There is also the unrelenting political pressure on Israel to make concessions like freezing construction, releasing prisoners and ceding land, regardless of the fact that extreme PLO positions on issues absolutely fundamental to peace never change. There is the refusal to acknowledge Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.

And we can’t forget that in the periodic regional wars that the Arab nations and Iranian proxies launch against Israel, the US steps in and stops the fighting when Israel is on the verge of a decisive victory. Each time Israel prevails, but the US always makes sure there will be a next time.

Peace does not only come from diplomacy or agreements. More often, historically, lasting peace comes about because one side defeats the other. Chamberlain and Stalin signed ‘peace’ agreements with Hitler, but peace did not arrive until Russian tanks entered Berlin. And who is preventing Israel from defeating its enemies conclusively? Who is propping them up and giving them hope that they will win in the end? The United States of America.

Recently President Obama announced that he wants to scale down US involvement in the Middle East. Unfortunately, he also said that he would continue to push for an Israel-PLO agreement.

Rather, I suggest that we try a new pro-peace strategy: really support Israel and stop helping her enemies.

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4 Responses to “Another road to peace”

  1. NormanF says:

    To have peace, Israel would have to really win a war and deliver a defeat of such a magnitude to the Arabs that it changes their entire society and thinking. Bringing them around to accepting the Jews as equals and becoming reconciled to the permanent reality of a Jewish State in the Middle East.

    Unfortunately, Israel will never be allowed to win. The only thing the world is accustomed to is Jewish self-abasement, degradation and national humiliation – the lot of the Jews for centuries. Even Zionism hasn’t successfully overcome Jewish inequality and insubordination to others as an on-going fact of life.

    As long as this state of affairs persists, Israel will never know peace. And that is unlikely to ever change Arab hatred of the Jewish people and the State Of Israel. An end to the conflict between the Jews and the Arabs therefore remains impossible.

  2. Shalom Freedman says:

    It is quite discouraging to read this list of ways in which the Palestinian Arabs despite their unfailing hostility to Israel, and their contempt for the United States and its values are supported by the U.S.
    As the United States is also our number one supporter and and in dimensions far greater than their support of the Palestinians this complicates any ill feelings we might have toward them.
    What we have now it seems is an Administration which is incompetent and does not understand the Middle East.

  3. Vic Rosenthal says:

    NormanF: They do not need to be reconciled or to ‘accept’ anything. They simply need to be deterred by fear of the consequences. A solid military defeat without a Western rescue would go a long way to bring this about.
    I agree that the Western world seems to have a hard time with the idea of a sovereign Jewish entity.

  4. Robman says:

    Thanks for the plug, Vic!

    Specifically, what I talked about was a “functional peace”. This would be a reasonably robust, durable de-facto ‘peace’ – i.e., the absense of hostilities – without any sort of signed agreement.

    In stark contrast to the oft-repeated cliche by many on all sides of this issue that bemoan the “impossibilty” of peace’, this result I note above is very, very achievable.

    It would start with a flat, unequivocal U.S. – not just Israeli – demand that the PA formally recognize the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state, to include amending appropriate national charters accordingly. Even Obama has paid lip service to this, but adds no teeth (i.e., consequences for Palestinian failure to comply).

    So, here’s the “teeth”:

    Failure to do so would lead to a cutoff of all U.S. support. To further ensure the ah, “success” of this policy initiative, a hypothetical pro-Israel U.S. president would add that the U.S. fully backs Israel’s claims to an undivided Jerusalem as her capital, underscores this by actually moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem (as mandated by Congress), and further fully backs Israel’s refusal to consider Palestinian claims for “right of return”.

    Most important, the U.S. leadership would make it clear that by failing to recognize Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state, the U.S. would fully back Israel in rescinding any legitimacy accorded to the PA as representatives of Palestinian Arab national aspirations. In other words, the PA/PLO would revert to the status they had 30 years ago: as an illegitimate terrorist group.

    The Palestinian leadership would, without a doubt, tell the U.S. to go to hell. The hotheads among them – maybe many of them – would then agitate for Intifada Three.

    At the first hint of trouble, the U.S. confidentially tells Israel: do WHATEVER IT TAKES to crush any Palestinian uprising. In fact, at any provocation, destroy the PA political infrastructure. We will back you up as needed at the UN. Just crush them to the point where there is no more PA to speak of.

    Concurrent with or following from this as events might unfold, the U.S. would then logistically and diplomatically back Israel in destroying Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Iranian nuclear weapons program.

    As long as the C-17s continued to fly in with needed supplies, and as long as the U.S. exercised her veto on the UNSC, all of this is eminently doable. In fact, given the power of the IDF today, such military operations would probably require far less material support from the U.S. than did those associated with the ’73 war.

    At the other end of the events I describe above, there would be peace. Knowing they faced the might of the IDF backed up by the diplomatic support of the U.S., no one else in the region would dare challenge Israel. The Palestinian “cause” as such would cease to exist for all practical purposes; to the extent that it did, it would be child’s play for the U.S. to shine the spotlight on the REAL Palestinian Arab state – Jordan – as the solution to Palestinian Arab national aspirations.

    The Saudis and other Arabs would jump up and down and scream…but there would be little they could do beyond that. And given American, Canadian, Israeli, and now, Australian energy reserves (there are reports of vast new finds in Australia), the material clout of the Arabs would be much less anyway.

    The anti-Semite Europeans and their obnoxious Moslem minorities would also be annoyed…but again, there would be little they could actually do.

    Most other major players on the world stage – China, Japan, Latin America, South Korea – would move on. None of these genuinely gives a fiddler’s fart about the Palestinians anyway. The Russians would of course be chagrined at the setback to their regional influence…but would get over it and their businessmen would continue happily trading with Israel, as they do now.

    Turkey under Erdogan would find themselves isolated, particularly so in light of the fact that they’d be bereft of the kind of backing they’ve received from the U.S. under Obama. Erdogan would grumble…but he’s a practical man, and would likely behave himself.

    While the fireworks were going on in J&S, however, the college campuses here would explode. But this is easily dealt with as well. Once the PA/PLO is re-designated as a terrorist entity for refusing to recognize Israel as a Jweish state, it would be a simple matter for the U.S. government to heavily sanction American academic institutions for offering aid and comfort to those who, in effect, support terrorism. Funding for university programs would be investigated, and those receiving funds to support pro-Palestinian organizations and programs would risk losing federal grants at the very least, and perhaps face criminal prosecution. Under such conditions – all perfectly feasible under existing laws – Students for Justice in Palestine, many “Chairs of Middle Eastern Studies”, etc., would suddenly find themselves in a world of hurt.

    Some might object to what I lay out above: “Oh, but if the Palestinians are crushed with the open complicity of the U.S., the Islamist terrorists will be targeting the U.S. big time!”

    Like they don’t now? One of the biggest lies propagated is the linkage between support of Israel and the ire of Islamist terrorists. Just ask the Russians about this. They are historically the most anti-Israel non-Moslem country on the planet, and they have also lost more innocent lives to Islamist terrorism than any non-Moslem country outside of the U.S., and if you take out 9-11, they would top the list. The fact is that the Islamists will continue to target us no matter what we do, good, bad, or indefferent, regarding Israel.

    We weren’t so far from having all this, as recently as less than two years ago, as one might think.

    But for some ill-advised stumbles by Rick Santorum in the crucial Michigan and Ohio GOP primaries, he might have very well been the GOP nominee in ’12.

    If he had then gone on to wage a winning campaign against Obama, and the election weren’t rigged (as I believe it was), I could easily imagine a President Santorum doing much of what I describe above. Or a President Gingrich. Looking ahead to January ’17, I would include in this list, in addition to Santorum (whom I expect to run again), a President Palin, or a President Cruz.

    Peace may be a dream…but it is not an impossible dream. Far from it.

    Good Shabbos, everybody.