We Want Peace, but Let’s Get Real!
By Barry Shaw
11 October, 2012
It’s time to stop being naive peacemakers and to become what I call “pragmatic realists.”
When it comes to viewing the Middle East, people tend to live in a kind of dream world, a world of wishful thinking, not reality.
People said, “Just bring Arafat back from exile in Tunis and he will bring us peace!” We did. He brought us death and destruction.
People said, “Let Palestinians vote and we will get a peaceful neighbor.” We did. We got a rejectionist enemy, and the Islamic Hamas terror regime.
People said, “Move the Israelis out of the Gaza Strip and we will have peace.” We did. We got rockets. The world viewed the recent upheaval on the Arab street as something positive. They called it the Arab Spring. Israel said it was the Islamic Winter. We were right.
Let’s get real. You cannot fight for peace if you can’t face the reality of what is going on.
After the Arabs lost five wars of aggression against Israel, they reframed the problem into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They invented a new narrative, in which Israel is projected as being anti-peace and they as the victims of Israeli occupation.
So why is it that consecutive Israeli prime ministers – Rabin, Peres, Barak, Sharon, Olmert and Netanyahu – have been prepared to accept the right of the Palestinians to a state of their own? And why haven’t the Palestinian leaders accepted the generous land concessions offered by Barak and Olmert? Has any Palestinian leader said he recognizes the right of the Jewish people to a land of their own? Have they accepted our historic and ancient connections to this land? Where did the word “Judaism” come from? From Judea. Where is Judea today? In Palestine? The Arabs have taken concessions to mean that the land was theirs, not ours relinquished in a gesture of peace. Arab logic cannot accept someone giving up something that belongs to him. This is the twist they put on peace gestures.
So people who demand of Israel to pull back even further become advocates for the Palestinian cause saying the land is theirs. It’s not. They are saying we have no legitimacy. Once people start thinking like that they surrender Israel’s legitimacy in any of the land, and that means Israel. The Arabs totally reject the notion that we have legitimacy anywhere.
Mahmoud Abbas said, “We will never accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state, not in a thousand years!” Not in a thousand years! How do you have peace with someone who refuses to recognize your legitimacy? Israelis want peace. Most Israelis don’t object to giving land to Palestinian Arabs, if for no other reason than to get them off our backs. We want to see a new Middle East. Israel can contribute greatly for the benefit of everyone in our region. Do I think it’s going to happen? No, absolutely not. Will there be peace? No. Is there anything Israel can do to help foster peace? No, except perhaps for packing out bags and quietly leaving the area. That’s the reality.
Let’s get real. Let’s take off our rose-tinted glasses, as I did some years ago.
Let’s put aside wishful thinking including the futile concept that all Israel has to do is to make more concessions, more one-sided gestures, and Jew and Arab can live around the campfire singing Kumbaya. It isn’t going to happen. It isn’t going to happen because the Arabs, the Islamists, the Palestinians, and others, have an agenda that is completely different from our utopian dreams.
It’s time to stop being naive peacemakers and to become what I call “pragmatic realists.” It’s time to demand an end to the ambition to eliminate the Jewish State of Israel. We’re here to stay.
Anyone genuinely interested in promoting peace must concentrate his efforts on telling Palestinian and Arab leaders, “Let’s get real.” Not, “Let’s get Israel,” but “Let’s get real.”
What the Palestinian want, what their agenda is about, is not what they tell the Western media in English, but what they tell their own people in Arabic.
What they tell CNN and the BBC is a subterfuge, a deception. It’s a message designed to put pressure on Israel to weaken itself. Proof of this is found in what they are telling their own people. They are telling them they are weakening the “Zionist entity” and that they will eventually annihilate it. They are telling them that there must be no compromise on this holy mission, and that every Palestinian, every Arab, must play his part in this mission.
Whatever land is surrendered to them, whatever they have received from us, has emboldened them. They’ve become more rejectionist, more adamant in their ongoing demands. Concessions have become launching pads for the next stage in their continuing campaign to eradicate the Jewish state.
Get real. Learn, in a hard-headed way, what is happening here.
Those who say, as I once did, that we ought to have two states living side by side in peace are living in a delusional world. It isn’t going to happen. It isn’t going to happen not because the majority of Israelis don’t want it to happen.
They do. It isn’t going to happen because successive Israeli prime ministers didn’t want it to happen. They did. It isn’t going to happen because the Palestinian leadership doesn’t want it to happen. They can’t allow it to happen.
They have other ambitions, and they don’t include Israel. Listen to what they tell their own people.
Everything being spoken, printed, shown on their TV screens, enshrined in their charters, preached in their mosques, taught in their schools, promoted in their civic, cultural and sporting events, dedicated at their official ceremonies, consecrated in the naming of their streets and squares, points to one thing. They are for confrontation with Israel and against peace.
At a Fatah event, they included the message that Palestinian children are created so that their blood will be fertilizer to saturate the land. That is the inflammatory language they use. Kids are being conditioned today to be martyrs and suicide bombers by our negotiating partners. How is that conditioning their people for peaceful coexistence? It’s not, because peace is not their agenda.
Incitement is rampant within the Palestinian Authority. It conditions their people, from children to adults, to hate and kill Jews. The Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Hussein, gave a speech at a public event last March.
This religious leader said publicly: “Kill the Jews!” Quoting from a notorious Koran hadith that is also Article 7 of the Hamas Charter, this imam declared: “The time will come when Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them. When Jews will hide behind the trees and rocks who will cry out, ‘Oh Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come out and kill him!’” Is this the language of peace? What, I wonder, would have been the Muslim world’s reaction if Israel’s chief rabbi had spoken on Israeli TV and called to kill Muslims? In light of the murder and mayhem we have recently witnessed in the Islamic world over an amateur movie the consequences would be too frightening to contemplate.
Last year, when Mahmoud Abbas spoke at the UN General Assembly, he referred to the Holy Land as “Palestine, holy to Muslims and Christians.”
Hello! What about the Jews? He never mentioned the Jews. Jews, for him, have no history, no rights at all. It’s as if the Bible never existed. The land, you see, is theirs, and we are just latter-day colonialists and usurpers.
And last month he was back in the same chamber. In defiance of signed agreements with Israel he wants to obtain nonmember statehood from the United Nations. Instead of acting for peace, his purpose is conflict by using the new status to harass institutions, such as the International Criminal Court, with endless accusations against Israel. For him agreements have no validity except to provide temporary gains before being dishonored and discarded when further gains appear possible elsewhere.
So let’s be honest: According to the Arabs the Land of Israel is Islamic Arab Palestine. Everything given them becomes stations on the way to total victory, the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem in the Middle East. Jews are fine wandering the earth as minority citizens in strange lands. There is no such thing as the Jewish people. They are a religion only, and they should be sent back to that status and kept there.
With the change of season from the Arab Spring to the Islamic Winter, can anyone doubt that Israel is not increasingly surrounded by a threatening ring of enemies? Egypt has an Islamic regime. Hamas is the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood. A pact between Egypt and Hamas is inevitable. Over our northern border is Lebanon, now controlled by Hezbollah. Today, it has four times the number of rockets it had at the time of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Both Hamas and Hezbollah have shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles. Who knows who will be in charge of Syria by the end of this year? Who will be ruling Jordan in 2013? And I haven’t spoken about a nuclear Iran. Is this the time for Israel to withdraw to pre-1967 lines? Israel fights against delegitimization. The anti-Israel case is built on lies and fraud. It does not serve peace. It is a malevolent, anti-Semitic agenda to build a Palestine on the ruins of the Jewish state. This war has been going on for decades, but it is getting more intense.
The truth is that the Palestinians, with the help of the Arabs and the far Left, have perpetrated the biggest political fraud in history, and the world has bought into their deception.
Newt Gingrich called the Palestinians “an invented people.” He was right, though he wasn’t the author of that expression. Amazingly, Palestinian politicians called themselves “an invented people.”
Azmi Bishara was a spokesman for the Palestinian cause in the Knesset (how’s that for freedom of speech and democracy?) before escaping treason charges for aiding an enemy state. He once said, “There is no Palestinian nation. It is a colonial invention.”
My question is, if Palestinians deny their own existence, why are we the ones who are giving them legitimacy and helping them perpetrate their fraud? We find ourselves under attack from all directions in attempts to delegitimize us. Well-funded NGOs and governments, linked to the Palestinian cause, are ranged against us. The Palestinians get a free pass and billions of dollars. This, sadly, is the reality on the ground. Despite that, Israel still holds out its hand in peace. This hand has been rejected.
Israel remains ready for an accommodation that must give us iron-clad guarantees.
Not simply a piece of paper, but something tangible, something we can control. You will pardon us for not trusting the Palestinians.
Israel should not relinquish further land, nor make any concessions that weaken us, until we are certain of a comprehensive, end-of-conflict settlement.
Until then, we will continue to be unjustly demonized and delegitimized. So be it. Better to stand firm, strong in the knowledge of who we are, while praying for the emergence of a genuine, pragmatic peace partner.
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The writer is special coordinator on delegitimization issues for the Strategic Dialogue Center of Netanya Academic College, and the author of Israel: Reclaiming the Narrative