[..] Israel however, cannot expect the Palestinians to change unless it offers some quid pro quo, a concrete goal that is realistic, desirable and yet attainable, as opposed to the dream of destroying Israel held out by the Palestinian unity government. And Israel can’t hope to dig itself in forever behind the position of no negotiations with the unity government, and to maintain the support of the US and European governments for this position, unless it offers something in return.
Contrast this with The End of the â€œEra of Peaceâ€ by Moshe Sharon
Therefore here is the reality as it truly is:
The end of the era of make-believe â€œpeaceâ€ has arrived. There never was any such thing. There is only the era of war â€“ past, present and future â€“ and that alone must be dealt with and preparations must be made only for its difficult developments.
There is No Peace in the â€œHouse of Warâ€
The Muslims consider the State of Israel to be an advance position of the â€œhouse of warâ€ established on Islamic territory conquered from Islam. This territory is nothing less than a sacred Islamic endowment, a Muslim waqf, that was expropriated from Muslim hands in a momentary tragedy and therefore must be returned to Islamic hands. Israel therefore must first disappear. All paths to that end are legitimate. Sometimes various sophisticated political tools have to be employed. It is possible and permissible, according to Islamic law, to reach a cessation of combat, a temporary postponement of the jihad, as Mohammed did with his enemies. (Recently the Hamas following exactly Muhammad precedence suggested 10 years armistice â€“ hudnah â€“ with Israel). Ceasing combat for a fixed period of time is sometimes necessary for the purpose of regaining strength, rearming, revitalization and in order to lull the enemy to sleep. Cessation of combat can even have the characteristics of a â€œpeace agreementâ€ as then the enemy is willing to sacrifice vital interests and, without paying attention, expose itself to the Muslim attack that will eventually come. What the Jews, for example, call â€œpeace agreementsâ€ are nothing more than a tactic in the jihad â€“ Holy War, which is the ideal situation, not peace.
The Arab League will most certainly express support for Palestinians at their upcoming summit, and hold out Israeli concessions as the price of cooperation regarding Iraq and Iran, as well as those nice low oil prices. The US, Russia and Western Europe will be tempted by these pressures, as well as lucrative trade opportunities. The Arab peace plan calls for recognition of Israel, but like the Palestinian unity platform, it insists on return of all territories conquered in 1967 and right of return for Palestinian refugees. It is therefore not a realistic basis for peace, but it is attractive as “the only game in town and as a concrete set of principles. While neither the Arab plan or the Palestinian plan are a basis for peace, the current situation cannot continue indefinitely, nor can the Palestinians be moved from their obdurate folly by vague talk about a political horizon or generalities about a better future.
Most of the non-Muslim nations of the world are probably agreed that a reasonable solution to the conflict will be along the lines of the Clinton bridging proposals or the Geneva accord or the Ayalon-Nusseibehpla n, which are alternate ways of stating approximately the same thing. They all posit a territorial exchange that will give the Palestinians a demilitarized state in about 100% of the pre-1967 territory, a capital in Jerusalem, and settlement of Palestinian refugees outside of Israel, in return for a formal and genuine peace agreement and an end to the conflict that has plagued both peoples for nearly a hundred years. A real and final end, not a “Hudna” like the Hudna of Hudibiyeh that will be terminated by a Muslim conquest. Palestinians must understand and accept that there will not be a second battle of Khaybar, in which the Jews are vanquished, not now and not in the future.
Israel accepted the Clinton bridging proposals in principle, but the precise offer was ever made publicly and was never official. Now is the time for Israel to launch a broad, detailed public peace offensive on those lines, and to seek the support of the Quartet, the EU and all fair-minded countries for the same program. The proposal should be sufficiently detailed so that everyone can understand what it entails. Maps and major proposals must be spelled out publicly, so that people like Jimmy Carter cannot falsify the truth. There will be no “Bantustans” in the offer and no possibility to dismiss it as Bantustans. Everyone will know exactly what they are being asked to support. Negotiations, when they are held, will be within a framework that is known in advance. The Palestinian side will understand that they cannot get a state without offering peace, and the Israeli side will understand that they can’t get peace without ending the occupation. If a large coalition unites behind the same plan it has a reasonable chance of success. If it fails, if the Palestinians do not agree, at least there will be an international peace camp that is united around a concrete program and holds out that program as a goal.
But what if it succeeds? The conclusion of such an agreement should be a victory and a cause for national celebration by both the Palestinians and the Israelis. The occupation will come to an end. The Palestinians will get their own state at long last, and the refugees will end their long exile. The Israelis will get the peace we have dreamed of since 1948 and before, the negotiated settlement that was the stated object of the Six Day War. The Middle East and the world will be able to turn their attention to other more urgent problems.
If you will, it is no legend.