Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What Netanyahu Should Say About Peace To The Arab World

It should be obvious to anyone who looks at the matter with a shred of honesty that the Middle East peace process as it now stands is a dead issue.

To show how futile it really is, let's take a look at the facts as they stand.

We now have a situation where the West's only course of action seems to be to have its 'preferred' Palestinian capo del tutti Mahmoud Abbas cobble together a unity government with Hamas, an admission in itself that all the billions in aid shovelled at Fatah to 'bolster Abbas' were simply wasted. Abbas now sits propped up by the West and the IDF in Ramallah without a shred of legitimacy, power or credibility, and any unity government would quickly become a Hamas government in both the Palestinian occupied areas of the West Bank and in Gaza.

And after that happens, the same people pushing for a Palestinian 'unity' government will demand that the Israelis somehow negotiate a peace settlement with a genocidal Hamas regime!

It will never happen.

But there is a way to achieve peace in the Arab Israeli conflict..or at least reveal what the real obstacles are, as opposed to the PR. Believe it or not, the solution is in the so-call Saudi Peace Plan of 2002, which has been endorsed by every member of the Arab League.

Now, I could be cynical (and I have been) over the real motivations of the Saudi plan..but I think the time has come for Israel to take this seriously, as an opening gambit to resolve the Arab Israeli conflict and respond in kind.

The Arab-Israeli conflict has been used as a rationale for Muslim attacks on the West for 60 years. Are the Arab nations serious about resolving it - or is it just an excuse for their own failed societies and a means of hoodwinking their own people and gullible westerners?

It's time we found out.

Now that Bibi Netanyahu will be Israel's next prime minister he has a golden opportunity to do exactly that. If I were Israel's Prime Minister, here's the proposal I'd make, broadcast simultaneously to the Arab world in Arabic, to his countrymen in Hebrew and to the rest of the world in English...and it would either be a major breakthrough or reveal whether the Arab nations, once and for all, were serious about peace in the Middle East with Israel:

"Salaam Aliekem, to our Arab brothers. I, the Prime Minister of Israel owe you an apology. You proposed a peace plan through the Arab League that you all have endorsed, and our country has been discourteous enough not to respond directly. I will do so now, in the hope and belief that you seriously want to end the differences between us.

This plan, endorsed by the entire Arab League in Beirut says, essentially, that if Israel retreats back to the pre-1967 borders including Jerusalem and allows all of the Palestinians who claim to be refugees and their descendants to return to Israel, you will respond with what you define as `normal relations.'

I think your proposal addresses all of the main issues between us that need to be dealt with; Jerusalem, the issue of borders, and justice for the refugees. I recommend that we address each one of them in a fair manner, with compassion and with a sense of justice.

I fully support a settlement for the refugees of the Arab Israeli conflict. We must, finally, have justice for the refugees who have been created because of the strife between us. There can be no peace without it.

We Jews know only too well the plight of being a refugee and the bitter pain of losing one's home. It has happened to us too many times in our history. It happened to some 400,000 of the Arabs living in what is now Israel, and it happened to 800,000Jews living in the Arab world in the years between 1948-1967.

There is no possibility now, after all that has happened of those Jews returning to their homes in the Arab world, just as there is no possibility of Arabs returning to their homes in what is now Israel. For either side to insist on this is not only to perpetuate this conflict between us, but to condemn us to interminable war in the future.

I propose the following solution to the problem of refugees: that Israel and the Arab nations cooperate together in setting up a joint committee to arbitrate, process and compensate financially the claims of all of the
actual refugees from the conflict, Jewish and Arab, who lived either in what is now Israel or who were expelled from the Arab world as a result of the Arab Israeli conflict and who can also provide legal evidence to substantiate a claim from whichever nation expelled them.

There are numerous precedents for this kind of settlement of refugee issues in history, and they provide a model for us to use to move forward and finally address this. We must provide justice to
all the refugees, and we must do it within the framework of the law.

Next, let us turn to the issue of borders, and the desire of the Arab nations to see Israel return to those borders that prevailed before the 1967 war, including half of our capitol, Jerusalem. Since Israel has settled its borders with Egypt and Jordan and has already returned over 80% of the land captured in that conflict, it is obvious that any further land demanded from Israel is intended for a 2nd Arab Palestinian State on our borders.

After much careful thought, I must respectfully say that a second Arab Palestinian state on our borders is an unacceptable risk to peace for us at this time. We wish it were not so, but we must deal with the reality of the last 60 years, and with the reality of Hamas. So much blood has been shed, and so much hatred voiced that we do not feel that a second Palestinian state living in peace next to Israel is possible.

At Oslo, Israel took a major risk for peace and provided the Palestinians with land for a state...perhaps not all that they wanted, but land, nevertheless. We then took another risk and evacuated Jews from their home in Gaza, with the idea that the Palestinians could start to achieve their own destiny there. After seeing how the Palestinians reacted to this, after looking at the results, we have come to the conclusion that these were mistakes. There is simply not room for two antagonistic countries to live next to each other in the small area available, and it is simply a recipe for failure. No country could be expected to live with rockets and mortars being fired at its civilians.

In the interests of peace between us, we would prefer that the areas of Gaza and the West Bank now occupied by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas be the subject of final settlement talks between Israel, Egypt and Jordan, with the idea of providing secure and final borders between our nations, establising homogeneous areas and integrating the Palestinian populations in Gaza and the West Bank, respectively, as part of Egypt and Jordan. We enjoy peaceful relations with both nations, and according to Jordanian law all Arabs residing in the West Bank were Jordanian citizens until 1988 when the law was changed, so this is by no means impossible.

This is particularly fair in our eyes since a substantial part of the land where Jews now live in what we call Judea and Samaria and you call the West Bank - among them the Ariel and the Gush Etzion areas - was legally purchased through the Jewish National Fund from its Arab owners prior to 1948, and seized after that time with no compensation to the owners. We think it would be unfair to dispossess them of their homes a second time. I am certain that you also would recognize the unfairness and injustice of doing so.

Should Egypt and Jordan agree with this proposal, Israel is prepared to do its share to help with the logistic and financial issues involved. Others, such as the US, the UN and the EU who have expressed a desire to assist in promoting peace in our region would undoubtedly be prepared to help with these matters as well.

Should this be unacceptable, a second alternative we would be willing to discuss would be for the Arab nations to provide at least as much land for a future Palestinian State as Israel has provided for a Palestinian state, preferably away from our borders to eliminate any future conflict. Such generosity from the Arab world towards the Palestinians would be a major contribution towards peace in our region and a better life for the Palestinian people.

Jerusalem is the ancient capitol of Israel. It is the single most holy site of our religion, and the spiritual center of our nation and our people. Dividing it would be the equivalent of asking you to divide Mecca with non-Muslims. Yet, for the first 20 years of Israel's rebirth, we were faced with exactly that situation. After 1948, Jews were ethnically cleansed from East Jerusalem, old and historic synagogues were desecrated and destroyed and Jews were forbidden to access their holiest sites.

It is exactly that history, and the modern desecration of holy sites like the tomb of the ancient prophet Joseph and synagogues in Gaza that make us adamant that Jerusalem shall never be divided again.

We recognize that Jerusalem is holy to other faiths besides ours, and we have tried to honor that. I remind you that after 1967, not a single mosque in Jerusalem was destroyed or desecrated in retaliation for what happened 20 years before, and that the
waqf in charge of the al Aksa mosque was allowed to remain in control of that area.

Unfortunately, the al Aksa mosque, which is the chief Muslim religious site in Jerusalem has become a symbol of the conflict between us. Erected as a symbol of conquest in the 7th century on the site of our destroyed Holy Temple, as long as it stands where it is Jerusalem will never be accepted by you as the capitol of Israel.

I propose that as part of a peace settlement between us, the al Aksa mosque be moved intact to a place of your choosing, and that Israel pay the cost and provide the labor to do so. As part of this settlement, Israel will also waive compensation and claims for the many synagogues that have been destroyed in the Arab world. Let the new location of the al Aksa mosque become a shrine to peace between our peoples...a settling of accounts and the start of a new beginning.

Not only will this sacrifice for peace on your part be a major symbol of good will between us, but it will allow us to rebuild the
Beit Hamikdosh, the Third Holy Temple and thus fulfill the words of a prophet that Muslims also revere, Isaiah: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not rise up against nation, neither shall they learn war any more".

Let us make this come true now, and in our time. Let us sit down together like brothers and end this conflict, pursue justice and make a better future for our two peoples. Let us,the children of Abraham, provide an example to the world.

My heart is open, and I await your answer."

Would the Arabs react positively to this? Probably not.

But the way I see it, it's a win either way. For the Arabs to reject it out of hand would reveal that their peace plan is the ultimatum it actually is and that their real aim is not peace, but the conquest and ethnic cleansing of every Jew in Israel. That would provide a valuable clarity to the situation...particularly for the EU and for the current occupant of the White House.

On the other hand, if the Arabs did accept this overture and began negotiations on that basis (and there are certainly reasons why it would be to their advantage ) it would be the start of an actual and workable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict at long last.

At the very least, it's worth trying.


Anonymous said...

A dead man does not need to discuss things with anyone. As far as the Arab world is concerned Israel is dead. So Israel should go out eating brains and busting down doors until the Arabs learn the dead should be left in peace.

Freedom Fighter said...

Oh. I don't think the Arab world actually considers Israel dead. But I hear you.

Ze'ev Jabotinsky said much the same thing in somewhat different words( "the iron ring" comment), and I don't think Jabo was wrong in the least.

Read between the lines here, and I think you'll see that what I propose to have Bibi say fits within those lines perfectly.

Christian Atheist said...

I love it!
It's an offer they cannot refuse.That is not without making their intentions plain.
Like the Jews themselves, if Arabs hate it,it must be good!

Anonymous said...

Two deranged individuals, Jim Sutter (supported by CAIR) and Bill Warner (claims Geert Wilders is a Nazi), are joining forces to defame Muslims Against Sharia. Before you buy into their lies and distortions, please consider the sources: http://www.phonyrev.com/ & http://insanepi.blogspot.com/.

Anonymous said...

BIBI! BIBI! BIBI! Most excellent speech, I hope you've sent it to him. Let's see how much BHO supports Israel now. Hamas wants Israel gone, period. Bibi understands this, I doubt Obama does. Or if he does, I doubt he will admit it.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
elect a weak leader

one who will surrender
and help advance Sharia

absurd thought -
God of the Universe said
have a sit down with Hitler

he should have been sweet-talked
he had goodness within

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
give Israel away

to appease her enemies
dishonor ALL Jews

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
never mock Hamas

it's just their religion
All real freedom starts with freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech there can be no real freedom.
Philosophy of Liberty Cartoon
visit: HaltTerrorism.com

Anonymous said...

Your "offers" make no sense.

If you were a Palestinian, would you accept?

The issue of Jewish refugees from the Arab world is an interesting one. I recommend that you read the book "My Father's Paradise" by Ariel Sabar. It's not as clear as a one-for-one exchange.

The idea that you can claim all of Jerusalem is a non-starter.

Though I doubt your intentions, I like that you've at least started to think about what an ideal sort of peace (from your perspective) would be.

The remaining step is for each side to think about what the ideal from the other side would be and think about what my side could live without so that they could, at least a little, start to bridge that gap.

On the extreme on the Muslim side, the ideal is no Jews in the holy land.

On the extreme on the Jewish side is "Greater Israel" with all non-Jews "expelled."

The first counter-proposal from the Arab world is an Israel within the pre-67 borders and the right of return.

The counter-proposal you've offered is part of Gaza and the West Bank to Jordan and Egypt and Muslims and Muslim holy sites out of Jerusalem. [The language that you use in regard to the Muslim holy sites is insulting in the extreme, I can't help but think your intentions here are less than benign.]

There must be some middle ground between these two that is more palatable to all involved.

What, at the very basic, minimum level, does each party truly want? Security? Dignity? Prosperity? Acknowledgment of perceived, past wrongs? Apologies? Truth and reconciliation?

There must be a way to ferret out the common set of desires of the mass of the people (not politicians) that will result in a sustainable peace.

Freedom Fighter said...

It's a pity you chose to be anonymous, because I think you raise some valuable points.

First, I disagree with your characterization of the so-called Jewish extreme position as "Greater Israel" with all non-Jews "expelled."

If that were accurate, there would not be a million Arab Israelis living in Israel today who vote,have protection under rule of law, participate fully in everyday life in Israel and in some cases even serve in the IDF.

If we're being honest, the area you obviously demarcate as 'Greater Israel' wouldn't be under Israeli control if the Arabs had not viciously attempted to attack Israel and exterminate every Jew there.This especially applies to Judea and Samaria (AKA the West Bank) and East Jerusalem.

On the other hand, the Arab extreme position of a Jew free zone as has been fully realized in the areas they control.

My peace plan is based on an actual workable solution and on separating the two peoples to avoid future conflict...which is exactly how it has worked successfully in every other conflict of this kind.

And BTW, my remarks on the al-Aksa Mosque are historically accurate,if you look at the history.

The problem is that the only way a second Arab Palestinian nation ( the first was Jordan)would be sustainable economically, politically and geographically would be in close cooperation if not outright alliance with Israel.

That's simply no longer possible. Terrorism directed against Israel means that the jobs and trade a 'Palestine' would need to survive simply aren't available any more.

And another hard fact is that after receiving more aid money per capita than any other developing nation in history, most of it has been stolen or diverted - almost 60% by Selim Fayad's own figures - and there's little to show for it.

Plus, I doubt you're going to get Palestinians with guns used to living on government dole or by providing 'insurance' and collecting 'taxes' used to working in garages or casinos or in the Palestinian version of 'McDonald's.

Whatever you might think of the Israelis, they took a major risk by giving up land they held in Judea and Samaria at Oslo and later in Gaza with the idea of a closely tied,peaceful 'Palestine' living next to them...maybe not as much as the Palestinians wanted, but more than any Arab country had ever given them.

In both cases it turned out to be a supremely bad idea from Israel's point of view, and from the POV of any peaceful settlement, although it might have worked if not for Arafat and Fatah.

Aside from stealing millions in aid money designed to create the infrastructure of a state, they killed or drove out any political opposition.

And instead of educating their people for peace, they simply created an armed camp and an army with the idea of eventually destroying Israel and taking it over rather than living next to it...and both Arafat and associates of his like Feisal Husseini and Yasir Rabbo admitted as much.

Gaza and the subsequent endorsement of Hamas by the Palestinian population simply underlined this in the minds of most Israelis. So have and the subsequent actions and statements of Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas.

So at this point, there's no incentive for the Israelis in supporting a Palestinian state with these particular actors.They certainly don't trust them to keep their word or live in peace next door.

What would you or other Palestinians be willing to do to prove to them that things have changed?