For Arabs, Israel’s “occupation” of Judea, Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza in 1967 and subsequent settlement is only part of the problem.
The real issue is Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 as a Jewish state.
No “peace plan” – even the most extreme which requires Israel to withdraw from all territory conquered in 1967 – will solve the Arab/Muslim problem of allowing a nominally Jewish state to exist in any form.
From the Arab perspective, therefore, there are two overlapping “occupations:” one in 1948 and the other in 1967. Resolving one while legitimizing the other is (for them) unacceptable. Jewish sovereignty and self-determination – Zionism – are anathema.
That’s why President Obama’s “peace plan” won’t work; it assumes that Arabs are interested in accommodation. No matter what concessions Israel makes, however, they will not be enough as long as Israel itself remains in any form. Because Zionism, as the Arab and Muslim world sees it, is racism – an evil that must be eradicated.
Focusing on eliminating settlements, therefore, is not the real issue. Diplomatic and economic relations with Israel may be practical necessities; that does not mean acceptance of Israel’s right to exist as the “Jewish national home.”
Even if all the “outposts” are destroyed, what will be done with 300,000 Jews living in Judea and Samaria, and nearly the same number living in neighborhoods of Jerusalem established after 1967?
And even if all of those Jews could be resettled within Israel’s 1949 armistice lines, this would not resolve the issue of Israel’s existence as a state in which the dominant symbols, language and culture are Jewish; a state that offers preference and assistance to Jewish immigrants; a state whose identity and purpose are linked to the Jewish people.
As most military and strategic experts have pointed out, a return to the armistice lines of 1949 would severely reduce Israel defensive capabilities.
Obama’s peace plan does not deal with Arab claims for properties – the bogus “right of return” – lost as a result of launching a genocidal war against Jews, supported by the armies of five Arab nations. Nor is there mention of UNRWA, which has supported Arab claims, intransigence and hostility for 60 years.
Who will control and protect Jewish holy sites and archeological sites? And who will ensure vital water supplies from mountain aquifers?
Without a clear strategy and detailed planning, Obama’s peace surge will ignite the next explosion of Arab violence against Israel, with added fuel from the Palestinian brigades trained and supplied by the United States under Gen. Keith Dayton.
Advanced missiles and weaponry in the hands of Hamas and Hizbullah, and support from Iran, Libya and other Arab and Muslim countries, will place Israel on the edge of a second Holocaust.
The struggle is not over dividing territory, but whether Israel deserves to exist at all. The reason that issue is not on the table is because no Arab leader has or will accept Israel’s right to exist, or even acknowledge basic facts of history, for example that there was a Temple or even a Jewish Commonwealth.
Aggravating the situation is the reemergence of Jew-hatred, especially in Europe, evident in the recent Swedish blood libel against Israel and the official support given by EU countries to anti-Jewish causes in the form of anti-Israel advocacy.
Characterizing IDF actions in self-defense, for example, in Gaza against Hamas, in Lebanon against Hizbullah, or against Palestinian terrorists as “war crimes” has become a legitimate way of demonizing Jews-as-Israelis.
Equating the Jewish star with the Nazi swastika and portraying Israeli soldiers as neo-Nazis have become legitimate expressions of opposition to Israel itself.
Linking Jewish settlements with Arab terrorism and incitement beggars the difference between building homes and the slaughter of innocent people.
Failure to understand what Arabs really want and what Israel can afford to risk, particularly when coupled with an ideology based on simplistic solutions, cannot be the basis of sound realistic policy. It contributes to the view that Israelis (Jews) are devils.
The next war will not be over settlements, or Jerusalem, or a second Arab Palestinian state of any kind. It has been and will continue to be over Israel’s right to exist altogether.