The “Roadmap to Peace” in the Middle East

by | Jan 5, 2003

With whom are the Israelis supposed to make peace? The proposed “roadmap to peace” in the Middle East has an intrinsic unknown. Peace must involve at least two parties. On one side we have the Israelis who are genuinely interested in peace, but who is on the other side? With whom are the Israeli supposed […]

With whom are the Israelis supposed to make peace?

The proposed “roadmap to peace” in the Middle East has an intrinsic unknown. Peace must involve at least two parties. On one side we have the Israelis who are genuinely interested in peace, but who is on the other side? With whom are the Israeli supposed to make peace? It cannot be the “Palestinians” because such a “peace” is meaningless. The “Palestinian” Arabs, under their current political leadership are not a stable, politically independent entity with which a long-term peace can be made.

To create a new Arab state with sole purpose of having a legitimate partner for a tenuous peace with some Arabs seems unreasonable, as it would be an unwarranted reward for indiscriminant brutal terror. In any case it is unlikely to eliminate Arab terror. Even if the “Palestinian” leadership changed significantly and the Arabs in the “disputed territories” eliminated their terrorist organizations to form a genuinely demilitarized state, Israel would remain the target for Arab terror and potential Arab military aggression. Arab terror will continue as long as Arab Islamism maintains its grip on the Middle East, even after al-Qaida is eradicated by the U.S. On the other hand, until the regional conflict between the Arab and Jewish nations is resolved, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, of any kind, might critically restrict Israel’s political maneuverability and military defensive options.

Moreover, peace with the “Palestinian” Arabs is meaningless because they are a minute part of a large nation, which is in a continual state of war with the Jewish nation from the day Israel was established, before there were any “occupation” or “settlements,” which are considered major hurdles on the “roadmap to peace.” That war is not limited to an area west of the River Jordan, it extends all over the Arab world where Jews were massacred by the thousands, more than killed by Arab terror in the Land of Israel since 1978. The “Palestinian” Arabs are not the real enemies of the State of Israel with whom lasting peace must be eventually achieved.

In the 1935-39 “disturbances” Arabs terrorists, trained, equipped and supported by Iraq, murdered 630 Jews in Mandatory Palestine — these were not “Palestinian” Arabs.

In 1948 five Arab armies attacked the fledgling State of Israel – these were not “Palestinian” Arabs.

In 1953-56 Arab infiltrators from Egypt indiscriminately murdered Israeli Jews — these were not “Palestinian” Arabs.

In 1967 four Arab armies tried to eradicate the Jewish state — these were not “Palestinian” Arabs.

In 1973 two Arab armies tried a sneak attack on Israel to accomplish what they failed to do in 1967 — these were not “Palestinian” Arabs.

In 1991 there was an unprovoked attack of Iraqi scud missiles on Israeli urban centers — these were not “Palestinian” Arabs.

During the 1981-2002 period huge amounts of money and war materiel, plus numerous “volunteers” were smuggled into the “disputed territories” from different Arab counties, particularly from Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, to demoralize the Israelis by a war of attrition. Islamist Iran joined this Arab war effort, declaring it a “holy” war of Islam against the “infidel” Jews, who according to Qur’an are descendents of monkeys and pigs. This war, which was dramatically intensified after the Oslo accords, and even more so following the Camp David peace negotiations with the “Palestinian” Arabs, has cost so far more than 1200 Israeli lives, predominantly civilians, including men, women, children and babies.

“Palestinian” Arabs took an active part in this latest phase of the Arab war, providing most of the terrorist manpower, including more than 200 suicide-bombers. However, it is clear that without the tremendous flood of Arab support in money, supplies, training and ideological incitement (mainly from Cairo and Riyadh) the despotic leadership of the “Palestinians” could not have maintained an effective war of attrition against the Jewish state. To maintain this war the “Palestinian” Arabs sacrificed their personal freedom and livelihood. Instead of enjoying a standard of living unmatched by the masses in any Arab country – as they did before the Intifada began — they live now in despicable misery. Ironically, a major part of the monetary compensation of these underpaid mercenaries, who are ready to die for the “Arab Cause” (ridding the Near East from non-Muslims), ended up in secret Swiss bank accounts of the “Palestinian” corrupt leadership.

The U.S. Administration’s “roadmap” calls for a halt of terror and democratization of the “Palestinian” Arab society. However, even if these goals were achieved, which is quite doubtful, a peace agreement with the Palestinian Arabs would be worthless as long as more than 98% of the Arabs remain in a perpetual state of explicit or implicit war with the State of Israel. What would prevent the Arabs from repeating the military assaults of 1948, 1967 and 1973? One often hears talk about internationally recognized borders of Israel – but will Norway, Sweden, Germany, Russia, the Ukraine, France or Spain send their troops within hours to repel an Arab aggression against Israel? At best they will condemn the Arabs in the Security Council, just as they condemned Iraq. International borders, recognized or not, are only as good as they can be defended against aggressors. The 1948 armistice line (the June 4th 1967 “border-line”) is not defensible against a ground attack by armored divisions. We saw what happened in 1990 to Kuwait, which regained its territory only thanks to its oil reserves, after most of its assets were gone. Fortunately the Kuwaitis are Arabs, so they were not massacred en mass. If Israel faced a similar predicament, judging from Arab rhetoric and past behavior, very few Jews would remain alive in their homeland following an Arab conquest.

The 1978 peace treaty with Egypt did not prevent that country from becoming a major supporter of Arab anti-Israeli terror, after Sadat’s assassination in 1981. Since that time, Egypt has been trying to achieve the destruction of Israel by other than by military means. Without Egyptian active help, including incessant anti-Jewish incitement, Arab indiscriminant terrorism against Israeli civilians would not have been by far as severe, and the chances for a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict would have been so much better.

On the other hand, the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan has been meaningful so far, for two reasons: First, the Israeli-Jordanian relationship has been shaped by the dependence of the Hashemite Kingdom on Israel, politically and militarily, long before the official peace treaty in 1994. Second, for its self-preservation, the Jordanian political leadership does not tolerate Islamist activities and insurgence of terrorist organizations. Unlike Egypt, Iraq and the PLO, Jordan never manifested brutal animosity toward Israel. However, contrary to its self-interests, Jordan joined the 1967 anti-Israeli campaign. Notably, once Israel recaptured Judea and Samaria from Jordan, it did not try to break down the Hashemite kingdom, which was well within its power, because Jordan has been a buffer against Iraqi aggression.

Let us assume that the Iraqi regime will be non-aggressive in the near future (they will have a lot to rebuild in the post-Saddam era), and a similar change in Iran will remove that country from being in league with the Arabs. The removal of the Iraqi threat is absolutely critical for a peaceful existence of Israel – it alleviates the eminent danger of an armored attack from the east and north. However, this still leaves the threat of the Arab Islamic militants in Cairo, Riyadh, Khartoum, Damascus and Tripoli, in addition to those in remote Arab states. Those despotic Arab states will have a hard time to tolerate a truly free Arab “Palestinian” society for fear that it will destabilize their own regimes. They will also have a hard time to give up the political glue – the common open hatred of Jews and Americans, which prevents an open struggle between Saudi Arabia and Egypt (after Iraq is neutralized) for the hegemony of the Arab nation. In the long run it will be Egypt with its much larger population and multitude of academic institutions (including the leading Islamic theological schools) that will dominate the region. This will certainly be true when the Saudi oil runs out and/or the demand for oil diminishes.

With whom are the Israeli supposed to make peace? With Egypt! But this must be a true peace that will last longer than the leader who signed it. Such a peace can be genuine only when a revolutionary regime change will take place in Cairo, and Egypt adopts a truly Western form of government including Western values. Separation of Islam from politics would be essential. Once this peace takes effect it would become the “central station” on the political “roadmap for peace” in the Middle East. And not only in the Middle East — it would also help to resolve the much more dangerous Islamic-Western conflict. The territorial disputes of the Israelis with the “Palestinian” Arabs will then be readily settled to the satisfaction of all parties concerned.

Such a dramatic change in Egypt is not a remote possibility, because Egypt, like Iran under the Shah, has been substantially westernized before Nasser came up with his pan-Arab dream. A secular Realpolitiker like Anwar Sadat may bring Egypt back into the Twenty First Century. That would be a realistic starting point on the “roadmap to peace.”

Michael Anbar, PhD, is a professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Buffalo.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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