T O P I C
STORY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE
(EDITORS NOTE: Since 1948 the Palestinian Refugees have been used as a political weapon against Israel whose well being is irrelevant. Since 1967 the only major agreement made by their leadership with Israel has been the division of the West Bank into Areas A, B and C (see Maps and Areas A,B and C). There have been peace negotiations since then which have come to nothing (see BBC History of Mid East Peace Talks). For peace talks to succeed would mean recognition of the State of Israel. They will appear to be reasonable but always include a mandatory clause they know Israel will not acccept so causing the talks to collapse. This can be seen in writing as it is part of the Hamas Covenant).
Why this is the case is summarised by the Hamas Covenant
SEVEN TIMES PALESTINIANS REJECTED PEACE
American Thinker, Jonathan R. Verlin, 22 November 2017
Earlier last week, Fox contributor John Huddy reported that the Palestinian Authority will withdraw from the peace process if President Trump closes its diplomatic mission in Washington. The failure of Palestinian Arabs to pursue peace can be traced back 100 years with defiance to any form of Jewish sovereignty. The Palestinians could have had peace and their own state had their leaders recognized Israel's overtures by bargaining in good faith, renouncing violence and recognizing Israel's right to exist but did not. They had no less than seven opportunities to do so but did not. Instead, they acted with reckless abandon to bring about the destruction of the Jewish state and Jewish people.
THE FIRST WAS IN 1917, when the Balfour Declaration not only declared a Jewish homeland, but also mandated that nothing be done to prejudice or disrupt any exiting Arab communities. But that changed with the Nebi Musa riot in April 1920, when, in Jerusalem, Palestinians from nearby towns poured in and fomented jihad against the Jews: the mayor of Jerusalem (who is himself a Muslim) was quoted as saying: "If we don't use force against the Zionists and against the Jews, we will never be rid of them." Many in the crowd shouted back: "We will drink the blood of the Jews!" The mobs vented their anger, burning, pillaging, and beating up Jews and Arab police officers alike wherever they went.
THE SECOND CAME IN 1937, where the Peel Commission under Chaim Weizmann pressed for a two-state solution. The Jews were offered an even smaller territory on the coast from Tel Aviv up through the north, making up about one fifth of the remaining mandate territory. The Palestinians, for their own state, would take the remaining four fifths. This did not satisfy them, and they summarily rejected the plan. The Palestinians again resorted to jihad, which the British subsequently quelled. After WW2, Britain ceded authority of the mandate to the U.N.
THIRD, IN MAY 1948, the U.N. recommended still another partition plan to the General Assembly. It would have divided the territory almost equally. The Zionists, in goodwill, made their acceptance known almost immediately. But true to form, the Palestinians retorted that any partition plan would be met with "rivers of blood," and the newly formed Arab Liberation Army was sent to annihilate the Jews. Thankfully, the Jews won a decisive victory, and the Palestinians ended up with nothing and became refugees. Never did it occur to the leaders of Egypt or Jordan to accord the Palestinians a state. The Jews did!
FOURTH, IN 1993 in Oslo, the Palestinians could have gotten everything they wanted, complete with mutual letters of recognition. Arafat proved unfaithful.
FIFTH, IN 2000 at Camp David, Ehud Barak agreed to borders proposed by Bill Clinton. The agreement would have established a West Bank-Gaza Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. Again Arafat proved refractory by walking out and starting the Second Intifada.
SIXTH, IN 2005, Israel P.M. Ariel Sharon decided that it was neither economically nor militarily feasible for Israel to govern 1.1 million Palestinians in Gaza. For his part, Sharon dismantled all settlements and recalled the Israeli army back to the 1967 borders between Israel and Gaza without land swaps while, at the same time, leaving behind donated greenhouses, which the people could have used to create an agriculture export industry to jump-start their failing economy. True to form, the Palestinians didn't comport. The Palestinians destroyed the greenhouses and proceeded to launch an interminable array of rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel to no avail.
SEVENTH, IN SEPTEMBER 2008, Ehud Olmert presented Palestinian president Abbas with still another partition plan – his own. It was to have been a detailed map of a future Palestinian state with what would have been mutually agreed land swaps. The Palestinians would have gotten all of the West Bank and Gaza prior to the '67 war. Olmert also proposed to divide Jerusalem. Abbas took the map of the plan back to his office for further consideration and never returned.
That was the last time negotiations were held with any alacrity. Each time, Jewish overtures were met with violence. Each time, Israel's detractors cowered behind the shields of anonymity and political correctness when negotiations failed.
History is rooted in objective fact and can be clearly discerned through an honest reading of the historical record. However Israel's detractors sympathize with terrorists and cheerlead for the destruction of Israel, they must consider that there exists no country in the Muslim world where Christians and especially Jews enjoy the same freedoms in frequency and in magnitude as Muslims do in Australia, all of Western Europe, the Americas, and especially Israel. These missed opportunities reveal the consistent manipulation of the so-called peace process through decades of malicious intent of the Arab negotiators as pretexts for hastening Israel's destruction. The economic prosperity that peace could have conferred on both Israelis and Palestinians is the biggest casualty of all.
HISTORY OF MID-EAST PEACE TALKS
BBC News, 29 July 2013
In the more than 45 years since the Middle East war of June 1967, there have been many peace plans and many negotiations.
Some of these have been successful, including those between Egypt and Israel and Israel and Jordan, but a settlement has still not been reached in the core conflict - the dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Here are the main peace proposals since 1967 and what happened to them.
UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 242, 1967
Resolution 242 was passed on 22 November 1967 and embodies the principle that has guided most of the subsequent peace plans - the exchange of land for peace.
The resolution called for the "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict", and "respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force".
The resolution is famous for the imprecision, in English, of its central phase concerning an Israeli withdrawal - it says simply "from territories". The Israelis said this did not necessarily mean all territories, but Arab negotiators argued that it did.
It was written under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, under which Security Council resolutions are recommendations, not under Chapter VII, which means they are orders. Many peace proposals refer to 242. Resolution 338 is usually linked to it. This called for a ceasefire in the war of ctober 1973 and urged the implementation of 242 "in all its parts".
CAMP DAVID ACCORDS, 1978
There were several peace plans following the 1967 war, but nothing happened until after the 1973 Yom Kippur or October War. There followed a new mood for peace, as shown by a historic visit to Jerusalem by the Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat, in November 1977.
US President Jimmy Carter capitalised on the new mood and invited President Sadat and the Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, for talks at the presidential retreat at Camp David near Washington. The talks lasted for 12 days and resulted in two agreements.
The first was called A Framework for Peace in the Middle East. It laid down principles for peace, expanding on resolution 242, set out what it hoped was a way of resolving what it called the "Palestinian problem", agreed that there should be a treaty between Egypt and Israel and called for other treaties between Israel and its neighbours. The weakness of the first agreement was the section on the Palestinians. The plan aimed to set up a "self-governing authority" in the West Bank and Gaza, leading to eventual "final status" talks, but the Palestinians were not party to the agreement.
The second accord was the The Camp David framework for the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. This followed in 1979, after an Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai. This was the first recognition of Israel as a state by a major Arab country. The talks probably stand as the most successful negotiations in the whole peace process. The treaty has lasted, and it substantially strengthened Israel's position. However the peace between Egypt and Israel has not been warm. President Sadat was himself later assassinated.
THE MADRID CONFERENCE, 1991
This conference, co-sponsored by the US and the Soviet Union, was designed to follow up the Egypt-Israel treaty by encouraging other Arab countries to sign their own agreements with Israel.
Jordan, Lebanon and Syria were invited as well as Israel and Egypt. The Palestinians were also represented, but as part of a joint delegation with Jordan and not by Yasser Arafat or other leading figures in the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), to whom the Israelis objected.
The conference eventually led to a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan in 1994, but correspondents say this probably would have happened anyway. Israeli talks with Syria and Lebanon took place after Madrid but have since stalled, complicated by border disputes and, more recently, the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah militants.
The Palestinian track soon gave way to secret talks that led to the Oslo agreement.
OSLO AGREEMENT, 1993
The Oslo negotiations tried to tackle the missing element of all previous talks - a direct agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, represented by the PLO. Its importance was that there was finally mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO.
The talks took place in secret under Norwegian auspices and the agreement was signed on the White House lawn on 13 September 1993, witnessed by President Bill Clinton. The PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, and the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, shook hands.
The Oslo Agreement stipulated that Israeli troops would withdraw in stages from the West Bank and Gaza, that a "Palestinian Interim Self-Governing Authority" would be set up for a five-year transitional period, leading to a permanent settlement based on resolutions 242 and 338.
The agreement spoke of putting "an end to decades of confrontation and conflict" and of each side recognising "their mutual legitimate and political rights".
Therefore, though not stated explicitly in the text, the implication was that a state of Palestine would one day be set up alongside Israel.
There was an exchange of letters in which Yasser Arafat stated: "The PLO recognises the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security." Yitzhak Rabin said: "The Government of Israel has decided to recognise the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people."
Hamas and other Palestinian rejectionist groups did not accept Oslo and launched suicide bomb attacks on Israelis. There was opposition within Israel from settler-led groups. Oslo was only partially implemented.
CAMP DAVID, 2000
Various attempts were made (including at Taba in 1995, Wye River in 1998 and Sharm el-Sheikh in 1999) to speed up the withdrawal and self-government provisions of Oslo. Then in 2000, President Bill Clinton sought to address the final status issues - including borders, Jerusalem and refugees - that Oslo had left aside for later negotiation.
The talks took place in July between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. There was no agreement. However, the negotiations were more detailed than ever before. Correspondents say the basic problem was that the maximum Israel offered was less than the minimum the Palestinians could accept.
Israel offered the Gaza Strip, a large part of the West Bank, plus extra land from the Negev desert, while keeping major settlement blocks and most of East Jerusalem. It proposed Islamic guardianship of key sites in the Old City of Jerusalem and contributions to a fund for Palestinian refugees.
The Palestinians wanted to start with a reversion to the lines of 1967, offered the Israelis rights over the Jewish quarter of the Old City and wanted recognition of the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees.
The failure at Camp David was followed by a renewal of the Palestinian uprising or intifada.
Although he was about to leave office, Bill Clinton refused to give up and presented a "bridging proposal" which set up further talks in Washington and Cairo and then Taba in Egypt. These talks were not at the top level, but differences were narrowed without being overcome. There was more flexibility on territory and it was reported by EU observers that Israeli negotiators accepted the concept of East Jerusalem being the capital of a Palestinian state.
A statement afterwards said that "it proved impossible to reach understandings on all issues". The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, fighting an election campaign, said that "nothing is agreed upon until everything is agreed upon". He said that he could not commit a subsequent government to what he called the "ideas" coming out of the talks. With the election of Ariel Sharon in February 2001, time ran out.
ARAB PEACE INITIATIVE, 2002
After the failure of bilateral talks and the resumption of conflict, the Saudi peace plan presented at an Arab summit in Beirut in March 2002 went back to a multi-lateral approach and in particular signalled a desire by the Arab world as a whole to put an end to this dispute.
Under the plan, called the Arab Peace Initiative, Israel would withdraw to the lines of June 1967, a Palestinian state would be set up in the West Bank and Gaza and there would be a "just solution" of the refugee issue. In return, Arab countries would recognise Israel. The plan was re-endorsed by another Arab summit in Riyadh in 2007.
Its strength is the support given by Arab countries to a two-state solution. Its weakness is that the parties have to negotiate the same issues on which they have failed so far.
The roadmap is a plan drawn up by the "Quartet" - the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. It does not lay down the details of a final settlement, but suggests how a settlement might be approached. It followed efforts made by US Senator George Mitchell to get the peace process back on track in 2001.
The plan was preceded by an important statement in June 2002 by President George W Bush who became the first US president to call for a Palestinian state. It proposed a phased timetable, putting the establishment of security before a final settlement. It is designed to create confidence, leading to final status talks.
The road map has not been implemented. Its timetable called for the final agreement to be reached in 2005. It has largely been overtaken by events, but remains a reference point for negotiations.
GENEVA ACCORD, 2003
While official efforts foundered, an informal agreement was announced in December 2003 by Israeli and Palestinian figures - Yossi Beilin, one of the architects of Oslo, on the Israeli side, and former Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo on the other.
The Geneva Accord reverses the concept of the roadmap, in which the growth of security and confidence precede a political agreement, and puts the agreement first, which is then designed to produce security and peace.
Its main compromise is that the Palestinians effectively give up their "right of return" in exchange for almost the whole of the West Bank, though there could be a token return by a few. Israel would give up some major settlements such as Ariel, but keep others closer to the border, with swaps of land in Israel for any taken in the West Bank. Palestinians would have the right to have their capital in East Jerusalem, though with Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall in the Old City.
Another unofficial agreement was one drawn up by a former head of the Israeli Shin Bet internal security service, Ami Ayalon, and a former PLO representative in Jerusalem, Sari Nusseibeh. This envisaged a return to the 1967 lines, an open city of Jerusalem and an end to the Palestinian claim to a right of return to former homes.
Late in his second presidential term, US President George W Bush hosted a conference at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland aimed at relaunching the peace process.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas took part in talks along with officials from the peace-making Quartet and more than a dozen Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Syria. This was seen as significant as they do not officially recognise Israel.
However the Palestinian group Hamas, which had won parliamentary elections and taken control of the Gaza Strip, was not represented. It declared it would not be bound by anything decided.
A joint understanding was issued by the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to engage in negotiations with the goal of a full peace deal by the end of 2008. They agreed that implementation would wait until confidence-building measures outlined in the "Roadmap" had been met.
Regular meetings took place between Mr Olmert and Mr Abbas, during which their teams exchanged maps of possible border solutions, but failed to reach agreement. Mr Olmert said his offer was the most generous ever made to the Palestinians - international supervision of Jerusalem's holy sites, the symbolic return of a few thousand Palestinian refugees and reportedly Israeli withdrawal from 93.7% of the West Bank, plus the equivalent of 5.8% of its area from Israel in a land swap. Mr Abbas's team said it produced a map which offered to let the Israelis keep 1.9% of the West Bank in exchange for land in Israel.
The talks came to an abrupt halt with Israel's military offensive in Gaza in December 2008. This coincided roughly with the end of Mr Olmert's time in office and his replacement by Benjamin Netanyahu, who took several months even to back publicly the concept of a Palestinian state.
After taking office, US President Barack Obama was quick to try to restart the peace process. Contact between Israel and the Palestinians resumed in May 2009, after a hiatus of 19 months, in the form of indirect "proximity talks" through US Middle East envoy George Mitchell.
In November 2009, Mr Obama persuaded Mr Netanyahu to agree to a 10-month partial freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank, which the Israeli leader hailed as "the first meaningful step towards peace". But Mr Abbas said it did not cover East Jerusalem and that he wanted a guarantee of a Palestinian state based on 1967 lines.
After months of hard diplomacy, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that Mr Netanyahu and Mr Abbas had agreed to "re-launch direct negotiations to resolve all final status issues" and that they believed the talks could "be completed within one year".
The talks, also attended by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and King Abdullah of Jordan, began in Washington on 2 September 2010. Expectations were low and deadlock was reached within weeks.
The Israeli and Palestinian leaders met just once more, at Sharm el-Sheikh, before Israel's settlement construction freeze expired on 26 September and the talks were suspended. US negotiators subsequently failed to persuade Mr Netanyahu's coalition government to renew the moratorium, or to convince Mr Abbas to resume negotiations without an end to all settlement activities on occupied territory.
The British Empire
The intense rivalry and competition between the Jews and Arabs was to afflict the British administration for virtually their entire period of governance. Unfortunately, the Zionists and the Arabs had mutually exclusive goals. The Zionists wished to create a Jewish homeland in their Holy Land. Whereas the Arabs were equally adamant that they should not lose their autonomy and rights in their own homeland. At this stage, the Arabs still massively formed the majority of the population. But what the Zionists lacked in numbers they more than made up for with political influence in the West and a zeal to succeed that bordered on fanatacism.
The fact that the British mandate included references to the Balfour Declaration and the establishment of a Jewish homeland was a severe blow to the Arabs. Partly to try and mollify this disappointment, the British split the Palestine mandate into two distinct areas, using the Jordan River as a natural boundary. The British claimed that Jewish immigration would be confined to the West of the river. The East of the river, which represented three quarters of the whole mandate area was to be reserved for the Arabs alone. The Hashemite Abdulla was to become the ruler of what was to become Transjordan. Most Arabs still felt ill at ease with this British plan. They regarded Transjordan as little more than an arid, empty desert. Besides, the principle of any Jewish homeland anywhere in Arab lands was still completely abhorrent to them.
Arab intransigence and unwillingness to work with the Jews was demonstrated almost immediately as the British tried to set up a legislative council and a constitution. The council was supposed to have ten of the seats allocated to the Arabs and only two to the Jews. The Arabs refused to cooperate on the basis that two seats for so few Jews meant that they were relatively over represented. They also resented the comments and concessions made to Zionism in the constitution. This failure meant that the British had no choice but to continue ruling Palestine directly themselves.
Over the next few years, the British made repeated attempts to include both communities in the day to day running of the mandate. Time and time again, Arab intransigence resulted in an absolute refusal to cooperate in any way. Conversely, the Jews were happy to work and cooperate with the authorities and thus gained a legitimacy and administrative experience far and above that which the size of their community merited. The best example of this was the creation of a Jewish agency in 1929. Arabs flatly refused to do the same.
In fact, 1929 saw the birth of the first real instance of communal ugliness. It would set off a trend that would keep rearing its ugly head for nearly as long as the British were in control of the mandate. The Wailing Wall incident was when Arabs and Jews clashed over a stretch of wall that was regarded as religiously important to both religions. Arabs tried to make access to this wall for the Jews as awkward and difficult as possible. In the end, fights broke out which flared into riots around the country. Some 133 Jews were killed (mostly by British authorities) and 116 Arabs died.
The most important outcome of the Wailing Wall incident was the establishment of the Shaw Commission. This Commission reported that the Arabs were very concerned about Jewish expansion and that steps should be taken to redress these feelings. The resulting Passfield White Paper recommended that Jewish immigration should be stopped and that Jews should not be able to acquire new land. It also suggested a new legislative council which was biased more towards the Arabs. Once again, Arab intransigence failed to take advantage of the situation offered to them. When the Arabs refused to take part in a conference at which Zionists were present, the council lapsed.
The Passfield recommendations were not fully implemented. A combination of Zionist pressure, British official ambivalence and the accession of Hitler in Germany all allowed some immigration to continue. And, when the British failed to fully prevent sales of land to Jews, the Arabs decided to implement a non-cooperation policy and a boycott of British goods. Jews were also unhappy at the idea of these restrictions, even if they weren't fully implemented, and more riots and protests resulted.
Increasing militancy and organisation by the Arabs resulted in the formation of the Arab High Committee in 1936. This virtually coordinated whole-scale attacks and riots directed towards Jews over the next three years. Another commission was put together under Lord Peel in 1936. Yet again, Arab intransigence led to their boycotting of its procedures until just before it left. The almost inevitable conclusion that the committee reached was that there was impossible for the Arabs and Jews to live and work together. It therefore recommended partition - despite the population relocations and upheavals that would be necessary.
The Arabs responded to the commission with yet more riots and violence. The British felt compelled to disband the Arab High Commission and deport its leading members. Meanwhile, they also appointed yet another commission to examine the Peel commission report. The Woodhead report felt that the Peel commission was too generous to the Jews in terms of land to be set aside, but that the principle of partition was still maintained. All be it on a much smaller scale for the Jews. This had the effect of losing the support of the Jews, who thought that it was still inadequate, and yet didn't reconcile the Arabs who were against any partition.
As it happened, international events were eclipsing the luxuries of negotiated settlements in Palestine. The rise of Hitler inevitably cast the Jews into the camp with the British, who were unquestionably the lesser of two evils. The Arabs however, also needed to be coaxed into submissiveness so that the Suez Canal could be maintained in relative tranquility. With this in mind, the British published yet another White Paper which was heavily biased in favour of the Arabs. It stated that there would be no partition of Palestine and that Jewish immigration would be limited to 75,000 a year for the next five years and that the Arabs could veto any immigration after that period. Jews had no option but to throw in their lot with the allies and most of them cast aside concerns for their dreams of a homeland in order to concentrate on the destruction of the virulently anti-semitic German Reich. Arabs were similarly pacified by these concessions to them. Palestine settled down to a relatively quiet time during the Second World War. The major concern being the approaching Italians and Germans who advanced towards the Suez. The battle of El Alamein removed any real threat to Palestine in this period.
ECONOMICS OF EMPIRE
Despite the massive upheavals and difficulties between the two competing communities, economically, Palestine was a surprisingly successful colony. And this was despite the fact that the colony had virtually no natural resources. Even the farmland was not that great. In fact, the main reason for success of Palestine was probably a strange combination of the competition between the Arabs and Jews and the synthesis that they also provided for each other. In competitive terms, both communities wanted to prove themselves better and more abler than the other. They both realised that economic success for their community would probably be the clinching factor in demonstrating their ability to govern themselves. The synthesis came about in matching the economic and technical sophistication of the Jews with the hardworking and relatively cheap Arabs who had an excellent understanding of the local terrain and economy. They both could offer qualities that the other community could utilise.
The economic success of the colony was inevitably curtailed with the worldwide depression of the 1930's. Although, relatively, it did not suffer as badly as most other colonies and countries did. A more serious challenge to the economic success of this colony was the terrorist campaigns that were conducted with increasing severity following the end of the Second World War. Both communities were involved, although the Jews were much more the active of the two. Although the terrorists principally aimed at military targets, the fact that this was a directly ruled colony meant that the local authorities would force the colony to try and pay for any damage done anywhere. This put a serious strain on the budget of the colony. In fact, the costs of this campaign were so high that the colony had to try and get money from an exhausted Britain. The difficulty that both Palestine and Britain had in covering the costs of this campaign were to be a major reason for the British to withdraw so quickly and completely.
ROLE WITHIN THE EMPIRE
In many ways, Palestine was an accidental acquisition. More a spoil of war than an actively sought after colony. It's only real strategic importance to the British was the fact that it was near the Suez canal. This seemed as if it might become important during the Second World War with the Axis powers nearing Cairo - but in the end proved superfluous.
Other than that, there was no particular reason for Britain to have control over it. Limited attempts were made at using it as a stop over base for communications to Asia. Roads linked Palestine to Transjordan and Syria and on into Iraq and the Persian gulf. Attempts were made at refuelling planes and seaplanes on their way between India and Britain. None of these schemes proved to be outstandingly significant or important. It felt more as if the British were trying to find reasons to justify its existence as a colony. The best thing that could be said about the colony was that it was relatively self-sufficient.
The rise of Mussolini's Italy with aspirations to recreate a Roman Empire in the Mediterranean did see Britain redouble its commitment to the region. The rise of Fascism meant that Britain had a delicate path to walk between appearing to be strong without provoking a war. Goodwill visits by the Royal Navy in to friendly ports such as those on the Eastern Mediterranean were all part of that balancing act.
WITHDRAWAL FROM EMPIRE
As the Second World War came to a close, the Jews felt that it was time to redress the imbalances of the 1939 White Paper. A number of factors contributed to giving them the diplomatic initiative. The first was the fact that so many Jews had fought so loyally with the Allies against the Germans and that the Jewish Agency had done so much to help the Allied war effort within Palestine itself. Another, was the guilt felt by the Allied powers as they uncovered the full extent of German designs against the Jews at concentration camps throughout Central Europe. Equally important was the fact that the Americans were becoming increasingly sympathetic to their claims and disproportionately powerful in Post-War Europe. Another more sinister development was the fact that the most important Jewish terrorist groups had all come together into a coalition. Thus, they could present a concerted military front for the first time. This they used to increasingly destructive means as they turned their terrorism against a war weary British military establishment.
The Labour Party's granting of independence to India in 1947 pulled the rug from any strategic value in holding colonies such as Palestine. British soldiers who wished to be demobilised increasingly resented being posted to Palestine to hold the line between Arabs and Jews who sought advantage over one another whilst not worrying about striking the forces of Law and Order in between. Jewish terrorist groups in particular saw British soldiers and police as an obvious soft target representing the regime denying them free entry after the horrors of the Second World War had laid bare the extent of their suffering in Europe.
The British entered into yet another commission, although this time together with the Americans. The Anglo-American commission published a paper heavily in favour of the Jews. It recommended an immediate end to restrictions on land purchases, on immediately allowing admission to 100,000 European Jews and the creation of a bi-national state under United Nations tutelage. This last option was a new one for the British and one that they took advantage of just as soon as they could. Economically tired and war weary the British were in no mood to fight to maintain a mandate that was proving so troublesome and irksome. The relatively anti-imperial Labour government was keen to cut these imperial knots and indeed was already planning to lose the most important of all British colonies; India. Therefore, Britain leapt at the opportunity of off-loading this problem to the United Nations and invited a UN commission (UNSCOP) to examine the problem whilst they hastily made preparations to withdraw.
UNSCOP found little that was new other than the feeling of urgency. Yet again, the Arabs boycotted the proceedings which gave the Jews an excellent opportunity to plead their case. It recommended to the General Assembly that partition was the only option that could work for both parties, although it was to be mitigated by an economic union. The British, relievedly, had completed their withdrawal of forces by 1948. Not long after this the Jews were to declare independence to which various surrounding Arab countries responded by invading the new Israel. The highly motivated Jews not only withstood the onslaught of the Arabs but actually turned them back and captured many areas that were not designated to them by the United Nations. A new nation had been formed out of the imperial mandate.
Ever since the start of the second Palestinian intifada, a row has raged over who was responsible for the breakdown of the peace process. Now, for the first time, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak has weighed in, accusing Yasser Arafat of being a liar who talked peace while secretly plotting the destruction of Israel. Interview by Benny Morris
· This is an edited version of an article which appears in the current edition of the New York Review of Books. Barak's interview with Morris was a reply to an article by former US negotiator Robert Malley and Hussein Agha
in the New York Review of Books.
Malley and Agha also respond to Barak in the current issue.
The Guardian, Benny Morris, 23 May 2002
The call from Bill Clinton came hours after the publication in the New York Times of a "revisionist" article on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. On holiday, Ehud Barak, Israel's former prime minister, was swimming in a cove in Sardinia. According to Barak, Clinton said: "What the hell is this? Why is she turning the mistakes we [ie, the US and Israel] made into the essence? The true story of Camp David was that for the first time in the history of the conflict the American president put on the table a proposal, based on UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, very close to the Palestinian demands, and Arafat refused even to accept it as a basis for negotiations, walked out of the room, and deliberately turned to terrorism."
Clinton was speaking of the two-week-long Camp David conference in July 2000 which he had organised and mediated and its failure, and the eruption at the end of September of the Palestinian intifada which has continued since. Halfway through the conference, apparently on July 18, Clinton had "slowly" - to avoid misunderstanding - read out to Arafat a document, endorsed in advance by Barak, outlining the main points of a future settlement. The proposals included the establishment of a demilitarised Palestinian state on some 92% of the West Bank and 100% of the Gaza Strip, with some territorial compensation for the Palestinians from pre-1967 Israeli territory; the dismantling of most of the settlements and the concentration of the bulk of the settlers inside the 8% of the West Bank to be annexed by Israel; the establishment of the Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem, in which some Arab neighborhoods would become sovereign Palestinian territory and others would enjoy "functional autonomy"; Palestinian sovereignty over half the Old City of Jerusalem (the Muslim and Christian quarters) and "custodianship," though not sovereignty, over the Temple Mount; a return of refugees to the prospective Palestinian state though with no "right of return" to Israel proper; and the organisation by the international community of a massive aid programme to facilitate the refugees' rehabilitation.
Arafat said no. Enraged, Clinton banged on the table and said: "You are leading your people and the region to a catastrophe." A formal Palestinian rejection of the proposals reached the Americans the next day. The summit sputtered on for a few days more but to all intents and purposes it was over.
Today Barak portrays Arafat's behaviour at Camp David as a "performance" geared to exacting from the Israelis as many concessions as possible without ever seriously intending to reach a peace settlement or sign an "end to the conflict".
"He did not negotiate in good faith; indeed, he did not negotiate at all. He just kept saying no to every offer, never making any counterproposals of his own," he says. Barak shifts between charging Arafat with "lacking the character or will" to make a historic compromise (as did the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1977-79, when he made peace with Israel) to accusing him of secretly planning Israel's demise while he strings along a succession of Israeli and Western leaders and, on the way, hoodwinks "naive journalists".
"What they [Arafat and his colleagues] want is a Palestinian state in all of Palestine," says Barak. "What we see as self-evident, [the need for] two states for two peoples, they reject. Israel is too strong at the moment to defeat, so they formally recognise it. But their game plan is to establish a Palestinian state while always leaving an opening for further legitimate demands down the road. They will exploit the tolerance and democracy of Israel first to turn it into 'a state for all its citizens', as demanded by the extreme nationalist wing of Israel's Arabs and extremist leftwing Jewish Israelis. Then they will push for a binational state and then demography and attrition will lead to a state with a Muslim majority and a Jewish minority. This would not necessarily involve kicking out all the Jews. But it would mean the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. This, I believe, is their vision. Arafat sees himself as a reborn Saladin - the Kurdish Muslim general who defeated the Crusaders in the 12th century - and Israel as just another, ephemeral Crusader state."
Barak believes that Arafat sees the Palestinian refugees of 1948 and their descendants, numbering close to four million, as the main demographic-political tool for subverting the Jewish state. Arafat, says Barak, believes that Israel "has no right to exist, and he seeks its demise". Barak buttresses this by arguing that Arafat "does not recognise the existence of a Jewish people or nation, only a Jewish religion, because it is mentioned in the Koran and because he remembers seeing, as a kid, Jews praying at the Wailing Wall". Repeatedly during our prolonged interview, which was conducted in his office in a Tel Aviv skyscraper, Barak shook his head - in bewilderment and sadness - at what he regards as Palestinian, and especially Arafat's, mendacity: "They are products of a culture in which to tell a lie... creates no dissonance. They don't suffer from the problem of telling lies that exists in Judaeo-Christian culture. Truth is seen as an irrelevant category. There is only that which serves your purpose and that which doesn't. They see themselves as emissaries of a national movement for whom everything is permissible. There is no such thing as 'the truth'."
Speaking of Arab society, Barak recalls: "The deputy director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation once told me that there are societies in which lie detector tests don't work, societies in which lies do not create cognitive dissonance [on which the tests are based]."
But Barak is far from dismissive of Arafat, who appears to many Israelis to be a sick, slightly doddering buffoon and, at the same time, sly and murderous. Barak sees him as "a great actor, very sharp, very elusive, slippery." He cautions that Arafat "uses his broken English" to excellent effect.
Barak was elected prime minister, following three years of Benjamin Netanyahu's premiership, in May 1999 and took office in July. He immediately embarked on his multipronged peace effort - vis-a-vis Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinians - because he felt that Israel and the Middle East were headed for "an iceberg and a certain crash and that it was the leaders' moral and political responsibility to try to avoid a catastrophe". Barak said he wanted to complete what Rabin had begun with the Oslo agreement, which inaugurated mutual Israeli-Palestinian recognition and partial Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank and Gaza Strip back in 1993. Barak says that, before July 2000, Israeli intelligence gave the Camp David talks less than a 50% chance of success. The intelligence chiefs were doubtful that Arafat "would take the decisions necessary to reach a peace agreement". His own feeling at the time was that he "hoped Arafat would rise to the occasion and display something of greatness, like Sadat and Hussein, at the moment of truth. They did not wait for a consensus [among their people]. They decided to lead."
Barak dismisses the charges levelled by the Camp David "revisionists" as Palestinian propaganda. The visit to the Temple Mount by the then Likud leader, Ariel Sharon, in September 2000 was not what caused the intifada, he says. "Sharon's visit, which was coordinated with [the West Bank security chief of the Palestinian Authority] Jibril Rajoub, was directed against me, not the Palestinians, to show that the Likud cared more about Jerusalem than I did. We know, from hard intelligence, that Arafat [after Camp David] intended to unleash a violent confrontation - terrorism. [Sharon's visit and the riots that followed] fell into his hands like an excellent excuse, a pretext."
One senses that Barak feels on less firm ground when he responds to the charge that it was the continued Israeli settlement in the Occupied Territories, during the year before Camp David and under his premiership, that had so stirred Palestinian passions as to make the intifada inevitable: "Look, during my premiership we established no new settlements and, in fact, dismantled many illegal, unauthorised ones. Immediately after I took office I promised Arafat, 'No new settlements' - but I also told him that we would continue to honour the previous government's commitments, and contracts in the pipeline, concerning the expansion of existing settlements. But I also offered a substantive argument. I want to reach peace during the next 16 months. What was now being built would either remain within territory that you, the Palestinians, agree should remain ours - and therefore it shouldn't matter to you - or would be in territory that would soon come under Palestinian sovereignty, and therefore add to the housing available for returning refugees. So you can't lose."
But Barak concedes that while this sounded logical, there was a psychological dimension that could not be neutralised by argument: the Palestinians simply saw, on a daily basis, that more and more of "their" land was being plundered and becoming "Israeli." Regarding the core of the Israeli-American proposals, the "revisionists" have charged that Israel offered the Palestinians not a continuous state but a collection of "bantustans" or "cantons".
"This is one of the most embarrassing lies to have emerged from Camp David," says Barak. "I ask myself, why is he [Arafat] lying? To put it simply, any proposal that offers 92% of the West Bank cannot, almost by definition, break up the territory into noncontiguous cantons. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip are separate, but that cannot be helped [in a peace agreement, they would be joined by a bridge]." But in the West Bank, Barak says, the Palestinians were promised a continuous piece of sovereign territory except for a razor-thin Israeli wedge running from Jerusalem through from Maale Adumim to the Jordan River. Here, Palestinian territorial continuity would have been assured by a tunnel or bridge.
Barak also rejects the "revisionist" charge that his body language toward Arafat had been unfriendly, that he had, almost consistently during Camp David, avoided meeting the Palestinian leader, and that these had contributed to the summit's failure. "I am the Israeli leader who met most with Arafat. He visited Rabin's home only after [the assassinated leader] was buried on Mount Herzl [in Jerusalem]. He [Arafat] visited me in my home in Kochav Yair where my wife made food for him. I also met Arafat in friends' homes, in Gaza, in Ramallah."
The former prime minister believes that since the start of the intifada Israel has had no choice "and it doesn't matter who is prime minister" (perhaps a jab at his former rival and colleague in the Labour party, the dove-ish-sounding Shimon Peres, currently Israel's foreign minister) but to combat terrorism with military force. But he believes that the counter-terrorist military effort must be accompanied by a constant reiteration of readiness to renew peace negotiations on the basis of the Camp David formula. Nevertheless he holds out no chance of success for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations so long as Arafat and like-minded leaders are at the helm on the Arab side. He seems to think in terms of generations and hesitantly predicts that only "80 years" after 1948 will the Palestinians be historically ready for a compromise. By then, most of the generation that experienced the catastrophe of 1948 at first hand will have died; there will be "very few 'salmons' around who still want to return to their birthplaces to die".
He points to the model of the Soviet Union, which collapsed after roughly 80 years, after the generation that had lived through the revolution had died. In the absence of real negotiations, Barak believes that Israel should begin to prepare unilaterally for a pullout from "some 75%" of the West Bank and, he implies, all or almost all of the Gaza Strip, back to defensible borders, while allowing a Palestinian state to emerge there. Meanwhile Israel should begin constructing a solid, impermeable fence around the evacuated parts of the West Bank and new housing and settlements inside Israel proper and in the areas of the West Bank that Israel intends to permanently annexe to absorb the settlers who will move out of the territories. He says that when the Palestinians will be ready for peace, the fate of the remaining 25% of the West Bank can be negotiated.
At one point in the interview, Barak pointed to the settlement campaign in heavily populated Palestinian areas, inaugurated by Menachem Begin's Likud-led government in 1977, as the point at which Israel took a major historical wrong turn. But at other times he pointed to 1967 as the crucial mistake, when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza (and Sinai and the Golan Heights) and, instead of agreeing to immediate withdrawal from all the territories, save East Jerusalem, in exchange for peace, began to settle them. Barak recalled seeing David Ben-Gurion, Israel's founder and first prime minister (1948-53 and 1955-63), on television in June 1967 arguing for the immediate withdrawal from all the territories occupied in the six-day war in exchange for peace, save for East Jerusalem.
"Many of us - me included - thought that he was suffering from [mental] weakness or perhaps a subconscious jealousy of his successor [Levi Eshkol, who had presided over the unprecedented victory and conquests]. Today one understands that he simply saw more clearly and farther than the leadership at that time."
REASONS WHY PEACEFUL RESOLUTIONS
FOR THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT ALWAYS FAIL
Gatestone Institute, Tawfik Hamid, August 1, 2019
Dr. Tawfik Hamid, the author of Inside Jihad: How Radical Islam Works, Why It Should Terrify Us, How to Defeat It,
is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.
The rejection of the 1947 UN Partition Plan by the Arab nations, and their declaration of war against Israel rather than their acceptance of peace, was the first clear indication that the Arabs' desire was never to provide a state for the Palestinian people, but rather has been from the beginning to erase Israel from the map. Pictured: An Arab Legion platoon on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City in 1948. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)
We must salute Jared Kushner's attempt to bring a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. That said, the Palestinians' unsurprising rejection of the peace offer requires some scrutiny, especially the true causes of the perennial failure to achieve lasting peace.
Without understanding them, every attempt to solve this conflict, every attempt to make true peace in the Middle East, will always fail.
As an insider with a background as both a Muslim and an Arab, please allow me share with you some insight into the problem.
1. THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT IS NOT ABOUT BORDERS. IT IS ABOUT THE EXISTENCE OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL.
In 1947, the United Nations Partition Plan -- Resolution 181 -- gave the Palestinians and Arabs control over most of the Holy Land. The rejection of the plan by the Arab nations, and their declaration of war against Israel rather than their acceptance of peace, was the first clear indication that the Arabs' desire was never to provide a state for the Palestinian people, but rather has been from the beginning to erase Israel from the map. This destructive intent is memorialized in the Hamas Charter, which unashamedly asks for the eradication of the State of Israel. This intent is also aligned with the Iranian leaders' continuous entreaties to destroy Israel. An evaluation of relevant social media commentary in the Arab world demonstrates a genuine desire by many -- if not most -- of the Arab population to see the destruction of Israel and the killing not just of all Israeli Jews but of all Jews:
NARRATED 'ABDULLAH BIN 'UMAR:
I HEARD ALLAH'S APOSTLE [MUHAMMAD] SAYING, "THE JEWS WILL FIGHT WITH YOU, AND YOU WILL BE GIVEN VICTORY OVER THEM SO THAT A STONE WILL SAY, 'O MUSLIM! THERE IS A JEW BEHIND ME; KILL HIM!' " -- SAHIH AL-BUKHARI, VOLUME 4, BOOK 56, NUMBER 791
2. THE CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE LAND
After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, several Arab nations were created by fiat. The Arab world accepted this without any problem, as these were Muslim-majority countries. Rejecting the state of Israel was related to the fact that it is a Jewish rather than a Muslim country. In fact, on several occasions I have asked Arab Muslims (including raising the point on Aljazeera TV) [See: 40:44 - 41:04] whether they would continue fighting Israel if its entire population converted to Islam. The answer is a unanimous "NO." My answer to that is always, "Then the problem has nothing to do with the land, as many claim, but with the Jewishness of the State of Israel."
3. DELUSIONAL WAY OF THINKING
Delusions are defined as fixed beliefs that contradict reality. This way of thinking among many in the Arab world impedes any peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. For example, many in the Arab world strongly believe that the Jews are the cause of the economic collapse of nations. This idea is belied by the fact that when the Jewish community was a viable component of Egypt prior to 1952 revolution, the Egyptian economy was in far better condition than it was after President Nasser expelled the Jews from the country. Any rational person can see that if the Jews were the cause of the economic collapse of nations, the economy of Egypt should have improved significantly after they were kicked out of the country. Delusional people do not see (nor do they want to see) such logic
4. INABILITY OF THE ARAB MIND TO ADMIT ITS WRONGDOINGS
Many in the Arab world falsely believe that Israel expelled all Arabs. In fact, there are nearly two million Israeli Arabs who live in Israel as citizens, making up 20% of the population. Many in the Arab world tend to ignore that it was the Arabs who expelled the Jews -- in a humiliating way -- from countries such as Egypt, Iraq and Algeria. Arabs' failure to admit their own mistakes and crimes against their Jewish communities adds another obstacle to peaceful resolutions to the problem.
5. CONSPIRACY THEORIES
nalysis of the Arab and Muslim media and honest evaluation of comments on social media in the Arab and Muslim world show that Arab street tends to believe that any problem that occurs in the Arab world must be an "Israeli conspiracy," or, at very least, "It can't be the Arabs' fault!" For example, When, for example, sharks attacked several tourists at Egypt's Red Sea coast in 2010, many Arabs, including officials, originally accused Israel of planning the attack. Shortly after that, Saudi Arabia detained a vulture on "charges" of spying for Israel. When rats were accused of being trained by Israelis to drive Arabs from the Old City of Jerusalem, the award-winning journalist Khaled Abu Toameh drily noted , "It is not clear how these rats were taught to stay away from Jews, who also happen to live in the Old City."
Such terrible self-deception, which must stem from a feeling of supremacy (or inadequacy), and the shifting of blame for all problems in the Arab world onto Israel instead of admitting one's own wrongdoings, have reached pathological and self-destructive levels in the Arab world.
6. PSYCHOLOGICAL PROJECTION
Psychological projection is a mental mechanism in which people defend themselves against unconscious impulses that they might consider unflattering or forbidden, by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who has wishes that he does not want to admit to, will accuse other people of having them, such as greed, bigotry or sexual urges that might frighten him -- as a way of shifting the blame.
In this manner, despite the clear discrimination against non-Muslim minorities in most of the Arab and Muslim world (denying equal rights in church construction, for example), many in the Arab world point the finger only at Israel when they talk about discrimination.
It would be hard not mention in this context that the only place I have found discrimination in Israel was by Muslims, at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where non-Muslims are not permitted to enter. (Sadly, because non-Muslims are seen as unclean). By contrast, I -- with my Muslim background -- was freely allowed to visit the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem without any objection from the Israeli authorities.
7. UNPRECEDENTED LEVELS OF ANTISEMITISM
Nothing better illustrates the level of antisemitism in the Muslim world more than the statement of Soad Saleh when she justified Muslims raping Jewish women to humiliate them. Soad Saleh is a well-known scholar at Al-Azhar University, the most reputable Islamic university in the world. She is actually considered by many in the Arab street to be "moderate"!
Not a single well-known Islamic scholar stood up against her evil views. She remains in her position at Al-Azhar University and was not punished at all.
Such barbaric views are not limited to people like Soad Saleh. Unfortunately, careful evaluation of social media comments on issues related to the Arab-Israeli conflict shows beyond doubt that these beliefs are widespread in the Arab world.
It would be extremely difficult -- perhaps impossible -- to reach any peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict without first addressing this unrepentant antisemitism in the Arab and Muslim world.
8. LACK OF PRAGMATISM
Another factor that impedes any peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict is a general lack of pragmatism in the Arab world. For example, despite the many economic benefits to Egypt from the peace treaty with Israel (such as the return of the Sinai Peninsula and renewed access to the Suez Canal, both of which were a boon to trade and tourism), many Egyptians and the Arab of other nations still reject and refuse to follow the peaceful path of President Anwar Sadat. Arab resistance to peace with the Jewish people, despite the economic gains that resulted from the Camp David Accords, was clearly demonstrated when tens of thousands of Egyptians attacked and burned the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.
This kind of unpragmatic approach to the problem will always be an obstacle to solving the conflict only via economic incentives.
9. IDEOLOGICAL FACTORS
The strong ideological belief held by many Muslims that they MUST fight the Jews before the end days, and kill all of them, is another major obstacle to achieving true peace in the Middle East. It is important to note that such a belief is mainly based on a Hadith of Prophet Mohamed rather than the Quran itself.
10. LACK OF REFORMED UNDERSTANDING OF ISLAM
Traditional interpretations of Islam tend to limit the verses that speak positively about Jews to the past and on the contrary generalize the verses that were critical of the Jews in specific situations.
For example, many Muslims see the following verse as limited to the past: "Children of Israel, remember My favor which I have bestowed upon you and that I preferred you over mankind" (Quran 2: 122). By contrast, the verse that has been used to call all Jews "pigs and monkeys" was actually limited only to specific group among the Children of Israel who refused to obey the Torah in a particular situation at a particular time and place. Without going into sophisticated theological analysis, the main point is that if such verses are understood in a different way so that the first verse is not limited to the past and the second one is seen in it its historical context, Arab-Israeli relations would be much better today.
While a bias against Jews starts at home -- it is not as if this view appears only on the first day of school -- children are fed a curriculum in much if the Arab and Muslim world that reinforces these prejudices. Saudi textbooks, for instance, while recently banning all influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, have not yet done the same for anti-Jewish, anti-Christian or anti-Sufi bias.
A Saudi textbook from 2016-2017, for instance, on Hadith (the sayings and actions attributed to the Prophet Muhammad), "baselessly alleges that Zionism aspires to world domination and a 'global Jewish government.'" (Now that is projection: world domination is what Salafi Islam aspires to; Judaism does not).
Palestinian textbooks are basically no different. The European Union is currently funding a study into Palestinian textbooks, brought about by the findings of the non-governmental organization IMPACT-se, which found in May that "the new Palestinian school [material] for the 2018–19 academic year... was 'more radical than those previously published.'"
"Most troubling," the NGO reported, "there is a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects in a more extensive and sophisticated manner..."
Meanwhile, no one is being educated for peace.
When we add onto all that the sad reality that Palestinian politicians are using the conflict to get billions of dollars in donations, we can understand why this conflict has so far not been solved.
THE NAZIS AND THE PALESTINE MOVEMENT
TJ Singh based on the book ‘The Collapse of the West’ by Francisco Gil-White 2016 (15.11)
Haj Amin al-Husseini is the father of the Palestinian Movement. He created PLO/Fatah (now better known as the ‘Palestinian Authority’), the organization that will govern any future Palestinian state. And he was
mentor to Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, the leaders of that organization. Husseini was also, during World War II, a top Nazi leader who co-directed with Adolf Eichmann the death camp system that murdered between 5 and 6 million European Jews, also known as the Final Solution. These facts are not widely known or understood. Neither has their implication for our
understanding of Israeli ruling elite behavior been properly appreciated.
PLO/FATAH AND IRAN: THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP
FACESHIRHOME 2015 (9.54)
PLO/Fatah, now better known as the “Palestinian Authority,” will govern a Palestinian State in the militarily strategic territories of Judea and Samaria (or “West Bank”) if the Middle East “peace process” concludes with a “Two-State Solution.” Given that Iranian leaders daily promise the destruction of Israel, most people assume that PLO/Fatah has nothing to do with Iran. It would be absurd,
THE PALESTINIANS SAY ‘NO’