By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
Israel Hayom, Israel’s most widely read newspaper
May 3, 2013
The recycled Arab League peace proposal — based on the Palestinian claim of return and the 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swap — attempts to sell oceanfront property in Arizona. If Israel would buy it, the Arab League would throw the Golden Gate in free.
Those who welcome the Arab League proposal demonstrate suspension of disbelief. They subordinate reality to wishful-thinking, urging Israel to assume tangible lethal risks in return for an intangible agreement. They ignore the lessons of the 1993 Oslo Accord – replete with intensified Palestinian hate education, terrorism and the abrogation of agreements — as well as the last three years on the tumultuous, boiling, seismic Arab Street.
Fans of the Arab League proposal ignore fundamental Middle East constraints, which are highlighted by the non-existence of a single Arab democracy, the AWOL of intra-Arab comprehensive peace, the lack of intra-Arab ratification of all intra-Arab borders and the absence of compliance with most intra-Arab agreements for the last 1,400 years. Why would anyone assume that Arabs would shower upon the “infidel” Jewish State that which they have never shared among themselves — a long-term comprehensive peace carved in stone!
Western policy-makers and public opinion molders call upon Israel to commit to “painful concessions” in the most conflict-ridden region in the world. They would never assume such concessions in their own less violent regions. However, they expect Israel to accept an Arab League peace proposal, in a region which has not tolerated non-Moslem sovereignty since the seventh century. They provide a tailwind to a recycled Arab League “peace” proposal in a region where Christians, Jews and other non-Moslem minorities are systematically oppressed, persecuted and annihilated.
Western promoters of the Arab League initiative are oblivious to inherent features of intra-Arab relations, which have been underscored during the last three years from North Africa to the Persian Gulf: Violent intolerance of the other Moslems/Arabs (let alone of the “infidel”); flaming fragmentation along tribal, ethnic, religious, ideological and geographic grounds; shifty, unpredictable, unstable and unreliable regimes, policies and alliances; and the tenuous nature of agreements, which are usually “written on ice.”
Contrary to the worldview of Western policy-makers who embrace the Arab League proposal, the Arab Street has not experienced an Arab Spring, a transition to democracy, Facebook or youth revolution, the reincarnation of Gandhi and MLK or a quest for dignity. The tide on the Arab Street – independent of the Arab-Israeli conflict — has been predominantly anti-democratic, anti-US, violently Islamist and therefore dramatically more threatening.
A Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would import the tempestuous Arab Street into the Judean and Samarian suburbs of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It would establish another rogue/terrorist state, doom Jordan’s pro-US Hashemite regime, add another anti-US vote at the UN and enhance the Russian, Chinese and North Korean profile in the eastern flank of the Mediterranean. The establishment of a Palestinian state would reward those who triggered the flight of Christians from Bethlehem, Beit Jallah and Ramallah.
Palestinian Arabs have systematically attempted to annihilate the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel since the anti-Jewish pogroms/terrorism of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, through the 1948/9 War and the sustained campaign of terrorism since 1949. The Palestinian track record also highlights their alliance with Nazi Germany, the USSR, Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden and other enemies and adversaries of the Free World. Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat and their allies were expelled from Egypt (1950s), Syria (1966), Jordan (1970), Lebanon (1982/3) and Kuwait (1991) for subversion, hence the limited Arab support of the Palestinians.
The violent Palestinian track record reaffirms that Palestinian Arabs have never been preoccupied with the size — but with the existence — of Israel.
The Arab League proposal distorts, once again, the positive elements of Land-for-Peace, which was displayed at the end of the Second World War: deterring future aggression by punishing the aggressor (Nazi Germany) and rewarding the intended victims (France, Poland and Czechoslovakia) with land. Land-for-Peace as promoted by the Arab league, and Western political-correctness, fuels aggression by punishing the intended Israeli victim and rewarding the Arab aggressors.
In order to survive, the Jewish State must control Judea and Samaria, the cradle of Jewish history. In order to withstand the Middle East challenges, Israel must control the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which tower over pre-1967 Israel – a 9-15 mile sliver along the Mediterranean. Judea and Samaria are “the Golan Heights” of Israel’s soft belly: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport and 80% of Israel’s population and infrastructures. The higher the level of Middle East violence, unreliability, unpredictability and intolerance, the more intensified the threat, the stricter must be the security requirements, most especially the irreplaceable value of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria.
The Arab League proposal for Israel to depart from Judea and Samaria is not a peace plan; it is a suicidal proposition.
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