Two statements issued by Hamas leaders, one in Damascus and the other in Gaza are perhaps most revealing about the prospects of an Israeli-Palestinian peace. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh unequivocally stated Hamas's position on Israel at a rally last weekend saying, “ I tell you with all honesty, we will not recognize Israel, we will not recognize Israel, we will not recognize Israel.” And Khaled Meshaal reiterated Haniyeh’s feeling saying that Israel is a “cancer that must be pulled out by its roots.”
The supposedly secular Fatah party that was created by Arafat and is led today by Palestinian Authority President and Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) themselves) is committed to the “armed struggle” and the liquidation of the Jewish State in stages.
Although common Palestinians might privately yearn for prosperity and peace, the activists believe that everything must be subsumed to the armed struggle. Such buzz-words as democracy, women’s rights, rule of law, and economic prosperity have no meaning in the Palestinian strategy, albeit, employed on occasion to appease Western opinion. For this reason, U.S. and Israeli efforts to appeal to the Palestinians on common-sense pocketbook interests carry little resonance.
While Hamas is committed to the Islamic umma and would like Palestine to resemble Iran, the “secular” Fatah has no social or economic policy. Their political policy and aims could summed up as “armed struggle.”
Quite simply put, those ruling the Palestinians today do not seek to provide economic and social security for their people. If jobs would be created and the economic condition improved, Palestinian willingness to pursue the armed struggle would diminish. That is why the Palestinians did nothing with the resources left by the Israelis in Gaza. Instead of using the hothouses to develop an export industry: Fresh flowers to be exported to Europe as the Israelis did, the Palestinians simply destroyed every shred of Israeli memory.
After 41 years of armed struggle and in spite of the deceitful Oslo “Peace Accords” the Palestinian leadership has little to show for it. Killing Israelis civilians during Arafat’s Intifadah (2000-2004) did not bring the Palestinians political or economic gains. On the contrary, the living standard of the Palestinian people deteriorated, and education was adversely impacted. The glorification of martyrdom and the preaching of hate and intolerance towards Jews and Israel damaged the fragile minds of Palestinian children. Moreover, the Palestinian leadership brought many ordinary Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere close to starvation.
The much-heralded news that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) – the forerunner of the Palestinian Authority – changed the Palestinian Covenant on paragraphs dealing with Israel’s right to exist was nothing but a smoke screen to appease President Clinton. Farouk Kaddoumi, the PLO’s “foreign minister” confirmed last week to the Jordanian newspaper Al-Arab, that the Covenant was never changed.
In April 1996, the Peres government allowed many terrorists to enter Israel for a three-day Palestinian National Council (PNC) session on the issue of changing the PLO charter. The clauses calling for Israel 's destruction were to be removed, and afterwards, then-Prime Minister Peres called the outcome “the most important development in the last 100 years.” In fact, however, as even left-wing politicians later said, what actually occurred was only a bureaucratic decision by the PNC to establish a committee to discuss the matter.
Moshe Sharon, Professor of Islamic History at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem pointed out (Outpost, November 2006):
The time has come for the Jews in that little patch [Israel], who live in a bubble that they created for themselves and inside of which they play peace games, to internalize the simple, clearly manifest truth: there is no peace nor will there be peace in the Middle East as long as an independent Jewish State exists in which Jews and Muslims enjoy equal rights. There is not and there will not be peace in the Middle East unless it is in accordance with Islam: the total destruction of the Jewish State, the destruction of most of its Jewish residents and the transformation of Palestine into an integral part of the Muslim world.
Sharon goes on to say that “The (Palestinian) Muslims consider the State of Israel 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.”
The best that Jewish Israel would be able to receive from the Palestinians is a hudnah, a 10-year armistice. The Prophet Muhammad set the precedent for a temporary postponement of jihad when in 628 A.D. he signed the Treaty of Hudaybiyya with his Meccan adversaries. Professor Sharon pointed out, “Holy War (jihad) is a strategy and therefore the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are a sort of interlude.” These agreements are between governments, in which the Arab side fulfills only the bare minimum…Egypt, which committed itself to stopping the atrocious propaganda against Israel andnormalize relations, is the leader of antisemitic activities in the Arab World.”
The Israeli public it appears, is less given to illusions of peace than its leaders (particularly its left-wing leaders). The Israeli daily Haaretz reprts (in Novemebr 7, 2006, issue) that according to the Peace Index finding 68 percent believed that there was no chance for peace, the same percetage recorded in October 2001. The figure wasonly 40 percent at the end of the 1990s.
The Western mind it seems is now incapable of accepting reality when dealing with the Islamic Middle East. That reality dictates that peace agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors are at best temporary truces or hudnahs. Successive Israeli governments have seen it as their duty to keep hope for peace alive in spite of the grim facts on the ground of Arab rejectionism of Israel right to exist. Israeli leaders self-delusion is not only dangerous for Israel’s survival, it fosters American peace plans that waste resources, dash hopes, and ultimately undermines Israel security and territorial integrity.
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