Land for Peace

Dr. Gerhard Falk

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk


"Land for Peace":  A "Liberal" Illusion


   The assault of the Palestinians on Israel and the concomitant Muslim attack on all Jews and on our synagogues around the world was predicted by those who understand Arab culture and the Arab way of thinking. Among these are a number of American newspaper columnists like George Will and Charles Krauthammer. The most discerning of those who never trusted the formula “Land for Peace”, which was the basis of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians these seven years, is the former Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.

   When Netanyahu was elected Prime Minister of Israel in May of 1996 by a clear majority of 11% of the Jewish vote, but less than one percent of the total Israeli vote including the so-called Israeli Arabs, he made it clear that he intended to demand that the Palestinian Authority under Yassir Arafat abide by all the agreements they had made with the previous Israeli administrations ever since the signing of the “Oslo” accords in 1993.

   This insistence on reciprocity was new to Israeli politics. However, the former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was murdered on November 4, 1995, was not as hasty in acceding to every Palestinian demand as was his successor Shimon Peres, who went so far as to arm the Palestinians. In his delusion about a “new” Middle East, Peres gave the Palestinians the weapons which they are now of course using to kill Jews. Peres also handed the Palestinians any and all territory they demanded and would have returned to the indefensible boundaries of 1967 if he had not lost the election in 1996.

    Now the “Oslo” accords between the Palestinian Authority and Israel were signed by the Palestinians and clearly included the Palestinian obligation to stop the bombing of civilian targets in Israel. Nevertheless, 61 Jews were murdered by the Palestinians in bomb attacks on Jerusalem and Tel Aviv buses after the Oslo agreements were signed. In addition, and contrary to the Oslo accords, the Palestinians kept up their anti-Jewish hate campaign, their denial of the Holocaust and the inclusion of anti-Jewish hate propaganda which has become the stimulus for the outbursts of violence practiced by Palestinian children and adolescents upon their Jewish neighbors.

    Benjamin Netanyahu understood all that and recognized that agreements with Arafat are of little value. One reason for the failure of the Palestinians to stick to their agreements is that tyrants and dictators like Arafat need violence to stay in power. Peace is not in the interest of Arafat since a peaceful Palestine would lead to demands for democracy and the end of the corruption now practiced by the so-called Palestinian Authority.

    There is however, another reason why agreements with the Palestinians cannot be trusted. That is the Arab culture per se. Surely we can all agree that people act according to that which they have been taught. In that respect every culture differs. When it comes to holding to one’s agreements, the Jewish view is that we do not and will not violate our word, written or oral. That is the reason for the absolute honesty which governs the Jewish diamond market in New York, where there are no written contracts but only the word of the Jewish merchants. That Jewish word is better than a written contract.

    In the Arab view all that is meaningless. Mohammed, the founder of Islam, also held the view that agreements were to be kept only as long as they were to his advantage. For example, in 628 C.E. Mohammed agreed to a ten year truce between his army and a local tribe called the Quarish. When it appeared that the Quarish relied on that truce, Mohammed attacked and killed almost all of them after the treaty was less than two years old. He dealt similarly with the Jews living in Arabia at that time. Using Mohammed as an example, Moslems everywhere consider it legitimate to violate any treaty and negate any agreement if it is in their interest to do so. That is their culture. That is their point of view and nothing will change that. Therefore anyone dealing with the Arabs must keep that in mind. Arabs are not members of Western culture.  Ordinary ethics do not apply to them.

    Benjamin Netanyahu knows that and those who understand Arab culture also understand that. One does not speak English in China and one does not expect American or Israeli behavior in Palestine. Except for Jewish and other “liberals”, of course.

    Many years ago, during the nineteenth century, when most Jews lived under Russian  oppression, the word “liberal” applied to those who sought to gain their liberty from Russian tyranny by joining political parties ready to battle the Czar, the Kaiser and other tyrants.

    Now, however, in this country and in Israel, the word “liberal” has changed its meaning. Here “liberals” are those who seek to end racial injustice, promote social programs, help the poor and insure voting rights for everyone. American Jews have been in the forefront of all these causes. The consequence of this Jewish involvement has been that as early as 1933 the most prominent American civil rights leader, Marcus Garvey, sent a message to his followers praising Hitler and the Nazi treatment of the Jews. In 1935 riots against the Jews of Manhattan were organized by Sufi Mohammed, another civil rights leader. In 1966 followers of the civil rights leader Horace Bond were told “Jews control the media and seek to stab all minorities in the back.” In the 1990’s the New York City radio station WBAI, devoted to minorities and civil rights, broadcast “Hey, Jew boy with that yarmulka on your head, you pale faced Jew boy, I wish you were dead.”

    Nevertheless, large number of Jews fought for the rights of others, but not the rights of Jews, for years. During the voter registration drives in the 1960’s Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, two Jews from New York, were murdered in Mississippi in that cause. Today, Leroi Jones, a prominent civil rights leader, calls Goodman and Schwerner “artifacts” and “paintings on the wall.”

     Likewise in Israel, Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak trusted the Palestinians and are now “in shock” to discover that Arafat and his cronies chose to use violence instead of negotiating a “final status agreement” with Israel. In fact, Barak was elected in May of 1999 because the “liberal” establishment in the United States and in Israel blamed Netanyahu for not making even more concessions to the Palestinians than had already been agreed upon. Winning with the help of the Arab vote, although losing if only the Jewish vote were considered, Barak went even beyond Peres in making concessions to the Palestinians. Barak was even willing to divide Jerusalem and hand Arafat the Jordan Valley, which has no Arab population and is vital to the survival of Israel. But even that was not enough for Arafat. Arafat wanted the total surrender of Israel with a view of using the extensive land demanded by him as a staging area for the introduction of heavy weapons into Israel (Palestine) itself. The idea is obvious. Once rendered defenseless, Israel is to be destroyed by simultaneous attacks upon Israel by the 187 million Arabs surrounding it and by attacks within its borders.

    The demands of Arafat were so extreme that even his best friend, President Bill Clinton, admitted that the Camp David “summit” in July of 2000 failed because Arafat refused to compromise. And so, the “peace process” has been exposed for what it always was - a one sided capitulation of Israel to all Palestinian demands.

    Fortunately, Arafat acted too early. By attacking Israel now he acted before he had the weapons and the territory with which to destroy Israel. Too weak to carry out his purpose, Arafat has demonstrated the utter failure of the Peres-Barak policies. Hopefully, this exposure will lead to the end of the Barak government and the election of those who live in reality and who believe the Arabs who run through the streets screaming “kill the Jews.” These people mean what they scream and would do it if they could.

    Therefore, separation is the only solution to this dilemma. The Arabs, in or out of Israel, cannot keep the peace. Their agreements are worthless. Hate and murder are their only contribution to the “peace process”.  Hence, the exclusion of all Arabs from Israel must be achieved if peace is to be achieved. Israeli “liberals” have learned that lesson the hard way as, hopefully, we have. If we have not, then we, as our German Jewish ancestors before us, will wait until it is too late. In the early 1930’s there were many German Jews who refused to leave “the fatherland” until they could no longer leave except by way of the trains to Auschwitz and Buchenwald. We expect no such outcome here or in Israel. Nevertheless we once more recite that age old Hebrew proverb attributed to the great Hillel: "Im ayn anee li mee li.” “If I am not for myself, who is for me?”



Home ] Up ]