Just try to imagine what would have happened had Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stood before some Jewish forum and exclaimed that “from now on we won’t allow the presence of one Arab in our independent Israel with Jerusalem as its capital.”
The cacophony of condemnation from abroad, we can safely assume, would instantly surge into hysterical pandemonium. Livid politicos, their press and the public opinion they mold would seethe and fume as if nothing more racist were utterable. Inside Israel, the righteous ruckus would be no less frenzied and deafening.
But we can heave a sigh of relief. Luckily these words could never conceivably cross Netanyahu’s lips. This unkind sentiment, however, isn’t unfamiliar in our neighborhood. The Palestinian Authority’s head honcho and self-styled moderate keeps serially mouthing it – though in reverse.
Addressing a recent emergency session of Arab League foreign ministers in Doha, Qatar, Mahmoud Abbas unabashedly declared that “when an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is established, we won’t allow the presence of one Israeli in it.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, this is the Arabic version of the German-minted Judenrein – “clean of Jews.” Yet no Arab diplomat was discomfited or shocked. Abbas consistently accentuates the same sentence with only trivial verbal variations. In December 2010, for instance, he put us on notice that “I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land.”
He was most specific on July 28, 2010, when, in an uber-compromising mood, he intoned: “I’m willing to agree to a third party that would supervise the [possible future Israeli-Palestinian] agreement, such as NATO forces, but I would not agree to having Jews among the NATO forces, or that there will live among us even a single Israeli on Palestinian land.”
Presumably, in the spirit of liberal pluralism, Abbas would subject all prospective peacekeepers to the toughest of scrutinies to make sure that not even a camouflaged part-Jew manages to sneak in and contaminate Palestine’s legitimately Judenrein jurisdiction. Such understandable precautions would plausibly comprise the sort of progressivism which the Western world countenances.
Clearly the international community relishes reviling ultra-tolerant Israel while it ignores and even justifies crude Arab racism. But there’s more here than glaring hypocrisy.
The fact that Abbas never neglects to emphasize that Israelis (which really means Jews) would be strictly banned from his state should signify how impossible it is to reach any workable and sincere peace. Abbas, the world’s pampered, petulant child, harbors no qualms about denying Israel any quid pro quo for what he demands of it.
Thus Abbas upbraids Netanyahu for “demanding recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. We have rejected, and will reject, this demand. We know what his intention is. He wants to undermine the Palestinian-Arab presence inside Israel and prevent the return of refugees.” In other words, rather than be accepted as rightfully a Jewish state, Israel is in fact regarded at most as a multinational temporary entity and a candidate for impending Arabization. It wouldn’t be left in peace unless it submitted meekly to said Arabization and the eradication of its Jewishness.
It’s fair and proper for Israel to contain a large Arab minority, and to be further overrun by millions of hostile Arabs, but it’s entirely out of the question for any Jews to remain living in Judea.
That such racist stipulations are fine and dandy with the dysfunctional family of nations constitutes the single most gigantic obstacle on the path of peace. There’s nothing for which Abbas may agitate – no matter how inequitable or unreasonable – that is likely to get shot down. Not unexpectedly, outright impunity and invulnerability whet his appetite and embolden him to press for ever more and more besides. The sky is the limit. Overseas onlookers are sure to indulge his every whim.
Such license for limitless Palestinian mischief renders any peace agreement unlikely. No Israeli government, no matter how conciliatory and forthcoming, can contract an accord with the PA. Peace is foiled because the Palestinians aren’t restrained. The very amenable Ehuds – Barak and Olmert – got nowhere despite having made egregiously generous offers. In the end, everything hinged on whether or not Israel would commit suicide. Even the appeasement-minded Ehuds couldn’t quite bring themselves to slit our collective throat.
There’s no getting away from the fact that whatever pipe-dreams are promoted in our midst, they entail the most complex of arrangements because this land is so tiny and the communities so intricately intertwined. No clear divisions are possible. Therefore, the indispensable prerequisites for any sort of compromise are goodwill, mutual respect and plain honesty.
The practical minutiae of hypothetical understandings – all technically cumbersome – would be impossibly difficult even were the best of intentions prevalent. As is, only terminally naïve wishful thinkers can take for granted that the cooperative spirit would descend upon us from cloud nine and color our existence a blissful pink.
Infantile credulity in vague idyllic future harmony is hardly a reliable policy guideline. In this context, past experience is far more instructive. We have already attempted to implement deals that called for coordination and teamwork. These were hardly as complex as would be mandated, say, in Jerusalem streets. Yet even these relatively straightforward arrangements ended up highlighting the palpable paucity of honorable intentions.
The Oslo concoction created an infrastructure of joint patrols. One such covered the slender strip between Arab Kalkilya and Israeli Kfar Saba. Things seemed to proceed without a hitch on September 29, 2000 – until, out of the blue, Israeli Border Police officer Supt. Yosef Tabaja, 27, was murdered by the Arab partners with whom he had just shared a midmorning snack. After they ate, bantered and had a laugh together, the Palestinian patrolmen knelt to pray. Then they rose, approached the Israelis with drawn weapons and fired, screaming, “Allahu akhbar (God is Great)!”
Tabaja was shot in the head at close range. Another Israeli, Shalom Malul, was wounded but managed to drive off. Official Israel expressed surprise because the joint patrols were regarded as a feather in the cap of peace. “Things were going so well until now,” quipped then-prime minister Barak in disbelief. The second intifada was about to erupt.
Can greater goodwill be dependably predicted for future joint patrols? Can mutual respect be rationally anticipated when the PA unremittingly repeats that no Jew may reside east of the Green Line but that everything west of the Green Line is envisioned as space to be inundated with vengeful Arabs?
By no objective criteria can this credibly augur well for coexistence – particularly given the conspicuous absence of a cacophony of condemnation abroad for Abbas’s blatant racism. No change is likely until censure for Arab hate surges globally into hysterical pandemonium; until livid foreign politicos, their press and the public opinion they mold, seethe and fume; until a frenzied and deafening righteous ruckus arises from within Palestinian society.
But we better not hold our breath.
Dear Ms. Honig,
I can only add that I am not holding my breath.
I’ve often thought how is it possible for a people who have suffered so much injustice and brutality over a long history ,how could they allow this farce of all farces to continue for so long ?
Not even the Bulldozer had the fortitude to stop it.
Why didn’t any Israeli leader end it when the Palestinians proved over a thousand times their Nazi inclinations ?
The only conclusion I’ve been able to come up with is that Israel has chosen to pass the buck,expecting others to make decisions they alone should have made.
You see yourselves as too small,too week,too feeble, unable to make your own decisions on your own destiny and have to defer to others you have proven to have great undeserving faith in.
This fearful lack of convictions and total lack of leadership has assumed that others bigger powers,a fair and balanced international community would see the reality of the situation and stand up on Israel’s behalf.
After history’s record how did Israel buy into this delusion of fairness at the hands of the nations ?
Is this what the schools,the Shimon’s,the Rabbi’s are brainwashing,teaching the fertile minds of Israel ?
How could so many buy such a load of crap that only brings destruction to their door ?
Israel can’t be that stupid ?
To go against the flow of lies that has poisoned the minds of naive Jews in Israel I tell you the truth ; Islam is evil at it’s core and an even greater threat to Israel and Jews than Hitler was.
Peace is impossible with this evil scourage,you defeat it or it’s defeats you.
Once Arabs are free from Islam ,Israel will have true and lasting peace.
An Israel that said to all;
THE BUCK STOP’S HERE !
and this farce peace ends here and now.
That Israel would have self respect and not be borderline terminal.
Definition of ‘terminally naïve wishful thinker’ –
Every single Israeli/Jew who believes in the two state final solution.
Looks like the terminal’s far outweigh the sane who love and choose life over stupidity and suicide.
@ Marcel- Your way of describing Israel is quite disturbing to me, and that’s putting it mildly. You seem to be under the false impression that Israel is a weakling, a country that can’t make it’s own decisions, one that you state has chosen to “pass the buck”. You could’nt be more wrong if you tried. There could never be, now or ever, a country as strong as Israel. They have stood their ground, and have fought against endless attacks, and won every one of them. I resent your anti-Israel sentiment. Why don’t you try to peddle your put downs somewhere else.
The plain hostility displayed by Abbas against ALL the Jews is most despicable but also most valuable.
The so called peace process is WRONG and suicidal and it would lead to Israels demise on the one way or the other…
Judea and Samaria and of course Jerusalem are NOT negotiable ! So there are NO concessions to make and Abbas is the dream partner for not even to think to blink.
He is a real foe to LOVE, as he is as flexible as a concrete block, he will always make the wrong moves and he is checkmate on from the very beginning.
Thanks g…d he has never heared of Niccoló Machiavelli…
“Abbas, the world’s pampered, petulant child” – or its favourite Holocaust denier.
“In the end, everything hinged on whether or not Israel would commit suicide.”
There are slow suicides, more insidious because less obvious.
Marcel, its not as easy for Israel as you think it is.
Always remember the rest of the world has put Israel under a microscope.Whatever we do, whatever we say is blown out of proportion by the evil muslims.We know exactly what they want,they have proved it many times. Whilst our leaders are waiting for the world to see the muslims as they really are,Obama & his admin are trying to shrink our land.
Israel must not feel any pangs of guilt, must not give in to the pallie’s demands. Jerusalem must never be divided & no we must not ever vacate any part of Judea & Samaria.This is our land & we must protect & defend it forever.
The arabs have enough land outside Israel to form their state.They have Gaza, there they can rule themselves into oblivion.We Israelis are not allowed into Gaza,Jericho etc,
why should they be allowed to enter Israel freely?
As for Bibi our Prime Minister, I pray he stands strong & will never let us down.
Sarah- fantastic article. A very simple but profound point, and needed to be spelled out. These are the type of talking points all those Israeli Advocacy programs should be clinging too, but won’t out of fear of how true it rings.
Racism is unfortunately widespread. The Jewish people have embraced their own category called anti-Semitism. God bless Shem…but the term is a misnomer from the very beginning. Semites have populated history from ancient times…the Akkadians of Sumerian fame were Semites…though not the Sumerians themselves…Arabs are Semites…Amorites…Phoenicians…there were many Semitic groupings. But the Jewish people have ‘decided’ that they need their own category of racism…God only knows why.
The term anti-Semitism seems to have first been used for the first time by Wilhem Marr…who also founded the infamous League of Antisemites. Marr was a well known racist and his ideas contributed to the acute racism of the Nazi regime.
So the Jewish people have adopted a piece of racist terminology…based on the social pseudo sciences of Germany and Europe in the 19th century…and use this terminology…namely ‘anti-Semitism’ to describe their plight.
Anti-Semitism is racism and should be called such…people are tired of hearing about anti-Semitism from the long suffering Hebrew tribes…they don’t listen anymore…but they are more likely to listen to ‘racism’ as it is increasingly an issue around the world.
Racism essentially means that people are treated badly because of a perception that they are of a different race…in Madam Honig’s example…Arabs are having tea with their Jewish border guard counterparts…laughing and joking…and then the Arabs get up and try to kill both border guards…killing one.
The same thing happened in Hebron in 1929.
The vicious slaughter of innocents was carried out by their Arab neighbours…Jews and Arabs here had lived side by side for hundreds of years…attended each others weddings…attending the births of their neighbors’ children…then one day the Muslim neighbors decided to slaughter their Jewish neighbors.
Much of the Middle Eastern Arab world could be said to be racist… Saudi Arabia is quintessentially racist…but the recent cultures of Jews, Greeks, Christians, Armenians and others…until recently found in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East…have been ethnically cleansed.
These were cultures that flourished over thousands of years…rich, diverse…colourful cultures…gone…ethnically cleansed in the last hundred years by Muslim populations…of course they don’t want Hebrews in the Palestinian Territories…God forbid….this is purely and simply racism of the worst sort.
S H Cohen
My pacifist pro-Israel friend (I am unreservedly pro-Israel) doubts that Abbas publicly renounced Israelis living in a Palestinian state. I would like to be able to present her with specific, reachable U45Tdocumentation of at least a few of his statements. Can anyone help me in this regard?
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