THE ONLY STRATEGY
By Boris Shusteff
"For all Arabs and Moslems Israel is regarded as a wedge in the heart of the 'Arab region'... From an historical point of view, the defeat was described as a more grievous disaster than the loss of Spain in 1492" (3).
June 1, is the International Day for Children's Protection. The Palestinian Arabs celebrated it by a barbaric murder of 19 and maiming of more than 100 Israeli children and youth. IsraelNationalNews.com reported that "on June 3 the PA city of Ramallah awakened to jubilance, with many people firing their weapons in the air as they danced with joy over the killing of Jews in Tel Aviv." The heinous terrorist attack that became the crescendo of the Arab terror response to the unilateral Israeli cease fire only emphasized how desperately the Jewish state needs a strategy for survival.
Although the majority of the commentators and the whole world expect very strong Israeli retaliation it is absolutely not clear that the Israeli leaders know what they want to achieve. Obviously it is encouraging that "the Government of Israel has determined that the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Chairman Arafat are engaged in terrorist activity, encourage it and are inciting to hatred and violence" (1). However, it does not mean that the Sharon's government is finally ready to eradicate Arafat's criminal regime and return to the territories granted to the PA. Even the people like the former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens, an advocate of harsh actions, only suggest that the "certain strategic locations in the "A" zone will have to be occupied by the IDF" (2), thus not going far enough.
The reason for this is very simple. The Israeli leaders do not know what to do with the lands of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, collectively known as Yesha. One must understand what Ariel Sharon offered Arafat when he came to power to realize the biggest flaws in the Israeli policy. Technically, Sharon's offer was a nice gift to Arafat. While the PA today unilaterally controls approximately 17% of Yesha, Sharon was ready to bring up this number to 42% (some reports hinted on an additional 10%) , through transforming zone "B" into zone "A." In response Arafat was asked to acquiesce to the state of non-belligerence in the relations between Israel and the PA.
When it is said today that Sharon was unrealistic since Arafat rejected much more generous Barak's gift of almost 96% of Yesha, one must understand the difference between the two offers. In Barak's case Israel wanted Arafat to denounce all claims towards the Jewish state and to declare an end to the conflict. Sharon, knowing well that Arafat will never agree to this, scrapped the "end of the conflict" clause, thus hoping to achieve a respite from the Arab terror at least for several months. In other words Sharon was ready to return to the pre-Oslo situation, but with Arafat controlling 42% of Yesha, having 40,000 - 60, 000 man strong army and a lot of diplomatic achievements. The only thing required on Arafat's part was the cessation of violence.
However, neither 42% nor 96% of Yesha will resolve the conflict. Anyone versed in Arab mentality is aware of this. John Laffin quoted an Arab writer Sania Hamady who explained that the "Arab society it the shame society" (3). As the former Egyptian President Nasser noted on March 3, 1955: "We are a people that never forgets if it has been injured, but the injury to us increases our determination and stubbornness" (3). According to Hamady the Arabs follow the formula:"Shame must be avoided; if it strikes, then it must be hidden; if it is exposed, then it must be avenged" (3).
What can be a greater shame to the Arabs than the creation of Israel by the Jews, the people that they always despised and considered to be a "dhimmi" people? The whole world witnessed their shame. They were unable to avoid it and they were unable to hide it. Laffin wrote that, "The depth of emotions involved in Arab feelings is clearly shown in an utterance of the Shiite Chief Mujtahid of Iraq in August of 1938. In declaring a jihad for Palestine (a decade before the creation of Israel) he said that fighting would be a duty of everybody and that if the Arabs lost they would suffer 'humiliation, death and eternal shame'"(3).
The Arabs lost to the Jews not once, they lost several times. Their "eternal shame" could be avenged only through a final Victory. "Shame is eliminated through revenge, and this is sanctioned by Islam (Koran, sura XI, 173): "Believers. retaliation is decreed for you in bloodshed.'"(3).
Only putting this axiom of Arab mentality in perspective the Jews can come up with the solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The struggle is not really for the lands of Yesha. The Arabs need them only to the extent that it brings the final victory over the Jews closer and through this the elimination of their shame. Even if 100% of Yesha and half of Jerusalem are given to the Arabs the source of the conflict will not be eliminated as long as Israel exists. The Arabs are obsessed with Israel. Their hatred towards the Jews and Israel is so vociferous that it dwarfs the pre-World War II Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda.
Israel has to understand that the word "peace" has absolutely different connotation for the Arabs.
"In Islam the ideal of permanent peace was restricted to the community of Islam and to those non-Moslems who accepted position of protected persons and paid tribute to Islam. With regard to non-Moslem states, Islam instituted jihad as the accepted relationship and made no provision for peace with them as sovereign and independent entities. Only a truce was permissible, and that was not to last for more than ten years" (3).
In order to develop a sound strategy for Israel's survival the Jewish state has to try on the Arab shoes. Then it will immediately understand that the only solution for the Israeli-Arab conflict is the creation of a strong viable Jewish state. Since in any case the Arabs will not be satisfied with the "crumbs" of Yesha, and the "peace" with them in the normal "western" sense of the word is unachievable, Israel must completely change her course. The Jewish state must stop being a foreman at the construction of the second Palestinian state. Moreover, it must immediately announce a new strategy regarding the fate of the lands of Yesha.
The timid voices whispering that Yesha is the Jewish land must be replaced with a loud proclamation to the whole world that it is the eternal and indivisible property of the Jewish people. As Benjamin Netanyahu said on May 29, at the funeral of Gilad Zar: "It is time for us to tell our children, and the whole world, that Eretz Yisrael belongs to us."
While the first step of the new Israeli strategy - the eradication of Arafat's regime is pretty obvious, it will not succeed without two other steps. In addition to the elimination of Arafat's terrorist infrastructures Israel must annex Yesha and relocate the Palestinian Arabs that live there.
Retired Israeli General Effi Eitam proposed recently a very logical solution that could increase the viability and strength of the Jewish state and at the same time resolve the problems of the Palestinian Arabs. If the world community is so hooked on the idea of the establishment of another Palestinian state it can do it by facilitating the relocation of the Palestinian Arabs from Yesha to the Sinai Peninsula.
The point is that till the beginning of the 20th century Sinai did not belong to Egypt. "The Turko-Egyptian frontier ran from Suez to Rafa. In 1906, Turkey granted Egypt administrative rights up to the line Rafa-Aqaba. Allenby conquered the whole of Turkish-Sinai, therefore Sinai east of the line Suez-Rafa belongs to Britain" (4). This was written in 1920 by Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, who proposed to keep Sinai under British sovereignty.
It is not the responsibility of the Jewish state to carve out another Arab state from the primordial Jewish lands. In any case the Palestinian entity that the world community still wants to establish will be an artificial body. Jordan was carved out of Palestine absolutely artificially as well. Never before in history there existed an Arab state on the territory that became Jordan. The enmity of the Arabs in Palestine towards the Jews was to a great extent a product of the British design. It would be only just to retrieve a part of the Sinai, given to Egypt by the British, from under Egypt's sovereignty and to give it to the Palestinian Arabs. It should also be mentioned that Sinai was returned to Egypt by Israel, that gained it in a defensive war.
If the world community is really concerned with the peace in the Middle East it must understand that the Arab-Israeli conflict cannot be solved through endangering the survival of the Jewish state. The only solution to the problem is the strengthening of the Jewish state. It can be achieved only by incorporating the lands of Yesha into the Jewish state. At the same time the establishment of another Palestinian Arab state in Sinai will drastically reduce the Israeli border with this artificial state. As was noticed already by the American Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1967:
"By occupying the Gaza Strip, Israel would trade approximately 45 miles of hostile border for eight. Configured as it is, the strip serves as a salient for introduction of Arab subversion and terrorism, and its retention would be to Israel's military advantage."
If asked why Egypt should agree to this solution, it can be reminded that Yasser Arafat is Egyptian, the PLO was established by Nasser in order to gain more influence in the Arab world and as a weapon against Israel. So another justice will be served as well if the PLO returns to the former territory of the country that gave it birth.
The Arab shame will always fuel their hatred towards the Jewish state. The only response to this hatred is the strengthening of Israel. This will occur only when Yesha is annexed to Israel and the Palestinian Arabs are relocated to the place where they can establish an entity transformable into an independent state. The only logical place for this is Sinai. This will open the lands of Yesha to the massive Jewish settlement and lead to a long awaited aliyah of the western Jews. 06/03/01
1. Information Division, Israel Foreign Ministry Political-Security Cabinet Communiqu?, June 2, 2001. http://www.mfa.gov.il
2. Moshe Arens: "Oslo - a monumental error." Ha'aretz Newspaper -- 30 May 2001
3. John Laffin. "The Arab Mind Considered." Taplinger Publishing Company, New York, 1975
4. Colonel R. Meinertzhagen. "Middle East Diary." London. The Crest Press. 1959
Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.