By Israel Zwick, CN Publications
[..] The Palestinian Arabs have portrayed themselves as â€œpoor, oppressed, suffering people who are struggling for liberation and self-determination.â€ They condone and excuse their barbaric violence against Israeli civilians as â€œlegitimate resistance operations against the harsh Israeli occupation and aggression.â€ In contrast, the defensive security measures of the Israeli government are repeatedly condemned as â€œviolations of the humanitarian rights of the Palestinian people.â€
In response to these repeated vilifications by international non-governmental organizations, the Government of Israel should perhaps adopt a simple â€œbroken recordâ€ response. To every condemnation of their defensive measures, they should simply respond, â€œFirst the Arabs must stop their incitement and violence.â€ Israeli spokesmen would respond to criticism with the following simple statements:
Stop the incitement and violence and there will be no security fence.
Stop the incitement and violence and there will be no checkpoints.
Stop the incitement and violence and there will be no travel restrictions.
Stop the incitement and violence and there will be no military incursions.
Stop the incitement and violence and there will be no targeted killings.
Stop the incitement and violence and there will be no arrests.
Stop the incitement and violence, and then there will be peace, harmony, and tranquility.
Another oft repeated statement is, â€œThe best defense is a good offense.â€ Instead of Israel having to repeatedly defend itself from fallacious accusations, Israel should start going on the offensive and make demands from the Arabs as preconditions for peace negotiations. The following demands should be considered and repeated often:
1. Acceptance. The Arabs must accept that Jews have strong historical, religious, and cultural ties to the Holy Land. Jews have every right to live and establish communities in the environs of Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem, Shechem, Shiloh, and other historical sites. Jews should even have the right to live in Arab countries where they lived for 2000 years until they were forcibly expelled.
2. Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State. On a map of the Middle East, the State of Israel is barely visible. About 6 million Jews live in an area of about 25,000 sq. km. They are surrounded by 22 Arab countries with over 300 million Arabs living in 14 million sq. km. The Arabs must recognize that Israel will remain a Jewish state with a Jewish flag, a Jewish national anthem, Jewish street names, Jewish national holidays, and Jewish schools. Of course, the Arabs living there will still enjoy full democratic and civil rights. Israel will not become a binational Arab and Jewish state. If there are 22 Arab Muslim states, there can be one Jewish state.
3. Negotiation and Compromise. There will always be disputes and disagreements between people sharing the same space. Spouses have disputes, parents and children have disputes, and special interest groups have disputes. In civilized societies, the disputes are resolved by negotiation, compromise, and due process of law to avoid violent conflict. The Arabs must learn to accept negotiation and compromise. They still have not deviated from Yasir Arafatâ€™s original demands in the peace talks of July 2000. That is, a) Israel must return to the jagged, indefensible borders of May, 1967 including the division of Jerusalem, b) Israel must dismantle Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and c) Israel must allow the descendants of the 1948 and 1967 refugees to return to Israel. The Arabs cannot present these demands as a fait accompli. If there is to be a lasting peace, there must be dialogue, negotiation and compromise.
4. Renunciation of Violence. The Arabs must publicly and repeatedly renounce the use of violence from their public forums, schools, mosques, media, and textbooks. Violence and martyrdom should not be glorified as a means for resolving disputes.
5. Reliability and Consistency. When we go into our automobiles we expect them to start up and get us to our destination. If we donâ€™t get reliable performance from automobiles, we repair them or dispose of them. We should expect the same from agreements with our neighbors. Mutual agreements must be consistently reliable to maintain trust. To date, the Arabs have not adhered to any agreement made with the State of Israel. To develop trust, Arabs must demonstrate that their agreements are reliable.
These should be the minimal starting points for negotiations between Israel and her Arab neighbors. If the Arabs cannot accept these minimal conditions of civilized society, they should not be given international support.