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The Reality of Peace with the Arabs
By Alexander Maistrovoy
Is it possible to make peace with those, who don’t recognize your right to exist?
A couple of weeks before the opening of the conference in Annapolis, Saib Arikat, head of negotiations with Israel, categorically rejected the opportunity of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. In other words, the body politic which PA is considered to be, negotiating for peace with its neighboring state, Israel, denies the very existence of this state. Is it surrealism and absurdity? Undoubtedly. However, this is an integral part of the Middle Eastern reality. And in this context the statement of Arikat (the representative of "pragmatic" and “moderated" Palestinians) is not accidental at all.
From the very beginning of Oslo, Palestinians did not camouflage their intention not to recognize Israel. I emphasize: they did not camouflage it. Yaser Arafat publicly declared: "Palestinians will return to all the houses which they have lost during the War for Independence - in Acre, Jaffa, Haifa, etc". He compared Oslo agreement to the peace treaty between prophet Mohammed and the Koreish tribe. This peace treaty was annulled by the prophet at the moment of loosing its value.
Shimon Peres has called the acceptance of the amendment to the PLO Charter in 2002 (about recognition of the Jewish state) "one of the most significant events in the history of Israel". (The Charter had contained the item on "destruction of the Zionist state"). It was yet another illusion harbored by Peres, and Israel as a whole. "The Palestinian national Charter has not changed!” one of leaders of FATAH, Farouk Kaddoumi, repeatedly declared. He only repeated the statement that the moderate Palestinians had many times said openly. As a matter of fact, the same has been told by Saib Arikat.
"We can temporarily recede or gain a tactical victory. It does not matter. Our eyes are turned to the future, to our strategic purpose, the name of which is Palestine from the river (Jordan) up to the sea (Mediterranean). No matter what we receive now, it will not force us to forget the prime aim" (Feisal Husseini, the former minister of Arafat for Jerusalem Affairs, the participant of peace talks in March, 2001).
In January, 2002, immediately after Peres' enthusiastic declaration, the director of the Department on the international parliamentary issues in PA National Council Zuhair Sanduka declared that the amendment to the Charter... was never and nowhere published. "There were publications about the decision to make this amendment. But there are no texts or paragraphs which should replace the existing ones or to change them”, he said.
There are a lot of similar declarations. They are made, we’d like to emphasize, by "pragmatists" with whom Israel has been negotiating for peace.
"It’s no use arguing about the percent of the ground that should be given to Palestinians if we don’t try to understand their driving motives first”, Asher Eder says in his interview. He is a historian from Jerusalem, who has been studying religious and historical aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict for many years. “The problem is not in Palestinians, the problem is in the specific approach of the Arab world to the conflict.
Until now Israel has not understood the main thing: the Arabian policy concerning "Zionist formation" is nothing but their sacred war, jihad. We are not talking separate appeals in separate countries of the Arab world. We are talking total jihad, the ultimate goal of which is the destruction of Israel. All means suit the purpose".
“This strategy”, Eder continues, "has no relation either to internal political struggle of the Arab world, or to the antagonism of the so-called "secular" and religious fractions. Moreover, the directive on total jihad against Israel was generated during the ruling of the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Naser who was known as a secular governor of the socialist sense. He, in particular, after the defeat in the Six-Day War called a conference of Arabian religious leaders where the concept of the anti-Israeli jihad was formulated. And since that moment Arabs have consistently and purposefully been realizing it", Eder expands his idea.
Is it possible to get out of this situation? Eder considers it is. However, it is a long and difficult way, and there are no easy solutions in it. "True peace can be reached by way of understanding the texts of Islam. Islam is the soul of the Arabic society. Muslims do not separate religion from policy, outlooks, or daily life. Israel in the eyes of Arabs will be a "damned state" until the Muslim clergy bless it and authorize its right to exist. In fact peace is possible between Ishmael and Israel according to the Koran. It recognizes the teachings of the Jewish Prophets and peculiarity of Israel. But Islam teaching is distorted by fanatics and until Muslim clergy conceal truth about Muslim prophecies regarding Jews, any political negotiations will make no sense", Eder explains.
Meanwhile, during the wartime, all means are good. He quotes Arabic spiritual leaders. Grand Kadi of Jordan, Sheikh Abdullah Goshah, who has in his time defined the strategy of Muslims concerning Israel in the following words: “The Muslims are also free to break their covenant with the enemies if they are uneasy lest the enemy should betray them... Telling lies in war is permitted so as to comfort the Muslims when they are in need of it as in the time of fighting. Arrogance is disliked except in case of war”.
Syria’s Mufti Muhammad Azah Darwaza declaims: “The Quranic sentence is applied to make peace with an enemy who has his own country and state, but the Jews in Palestine are our enemies who have made their aggression upon counter the Arab Muslims”.
Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheich Hassan Khaled: “Particular this battle is not a mere combat between parties, but it is a battle between two religions”.
Such approach has only become stronger in our days.
The similar opinion I have heard from Rabbi Menachem Froman from the settlement Tkoa. For many years Froman has been trying to establish a dialogue between the Arabic leaders and Israel. Rabbi Froman is convinced that the Israeli politicians, analysts, experts have not made the slightest effort to understand and study Islam. All their intensions are concentrated on the searching of superficial, political decisions. Moving religious motives were denied, as something irrational and consequently not essential. But actually, the religious factor is dominating for each Arab, and it is not very important, to which party or movement he belongs.
"Do you remember the slogan of the Left: "It is necessary to make peace with moderate, secular, progressive Palestinian leaders until extremists have not strengthened their influence there"? Do you remember?! Arafat in their eyes was a moderate, secular, progressive Palestinian leader of the kind. What nonsense! In the first place, Arafat was the Muslim, and a religious one. I met him many times, went to him to Mukata. Once he told to me with pride: "For me to be a Muslim is more important, than to be a Palestinian, above all I‘m a Muslim!"
Rabbi Froman believes: peace with Arabs could be only achieved on religious basis. But nobody tries to do it, rather they try substituting a real dialogue with illusions and lies. The consequences of it can be fatal to Israel.
And at last, let’s give the floor to a representative of Arabs themselves. In virtual interview on the Internet the Arabic scientist and publicist from Kuwait Dr. Sami Alrabaa, living in Germany, who has answered my questions:
Q. What is the real cause for the Palestinian terror against Israel: occupation of territories or refuse to accept Israel? If Israel agrees to leave these territories, will Arabs (and Palestinians) really (not formally) accept it?
A. To be honest, even if Israel evacuates all occupied territories, as it did in Gaza, the Palestinians, in particular Hamas and the other radical organizations will not stop their terror. As far as Arabs are concerned, I can tell form experience backed with empirical research, the majority of Arabs want peace with Israel. But they are intimidated by radical Islamists. Arab regimes, almost all of them, including Egypt and Jordan, do not want to have peace with Israel. These regimes have been trading with the “Palestinian Issues” for decades now. The “issue” is a pretext to distract from real issues like democracy, human rights, and less corruption.
Q. How do you estimate the Saudi initiative?
A. Saudi Arabia uses two different languages, one for radical Muslims, for the Wahhabis and one for the West. It tells the Wahhabis, never, we can never have peace with the Jews, the Prophet had none. Hence the Saudi regime would have “peace” with its followers as the “Custodian of the two holy mosques”. To polish its fanatic and despotic image in the West and America, the Saudis have come up with a peace initiative. From historical record, the Saudis would ally with the devil if that guarantees their survivals.
So what peace are we talking about? The “peace” between Prophet Mohammed and the Koreish tribe? It seems clear that it is the one which has ended with the total slaughter of the tribe.
When Hitler declared, that he wished to annihilate Jews and grab the world, smart intellectuals and politicians-pragmatists inquired in bewilderment: "What does he mean by this?” Indeed, what did he mean by that?
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For more on Israeli-Arab Crises, see our Israeli-Arab Archives
from the February 2008 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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