Friday, November 09, 2012

Imagine: Peace in the MidEast

Lennon Memorial in Central Park, New York City

A Strategy for Peace with the Palestinians -Max Singer

Peace is not possible now because Palestinian society is not yet ready to give up the goal that it has shared with the Arab world since before Israel was created:
to prevent the establishment of and eliminate the existence of a Jewish country.

This can be known from the statements and actions of Palestinian leaders. It is confirmed by the Palestinian leadership's denial of Jewish history in the land and the systematic teaching of hatred of both Israel and the Jewish people in 
Palestinian schools and official propaganda.

The current political environment in the Arab-Muslim world is too hostile towards Israel and the West for there to be any hope of a decisive change in Palestinian opinion at this time. It is only when the Arab-Muslim debate about hostility to the non-Muslim world changes that the Palestinians will be able to consider giving up their goal of eliminating Israel. Eventually, there will be Palestinians who lead their people away from war.

The most effective way for Israel to pursue peace is to act to convince Palestinians that Israel wholeheartedly believes in its own rights to the land, has an unshakeable determination to protect itself against all challenges, and is growing in power. When more of the Arab world is ready to give up its effort to defeat the West and the goal of removing the Jewish state from "Muslim territory," there will be opportunities to pursue peace. 
The writer is a Senior Fellow and Trustee Emeritus at the Hudson Institute.
(Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)



LHwrites said...

Interesting.peace would be wonderful and I also do not see the Palestinians ready for it. The end of the article are all things Israel must do to protect its sovereignty but I would not couch those as the steps for peace. The steps for peace are allusive as of yet.

Bruce said...


feldyviol said...

I think that last paragraph seeks to articulate the classic "hawkish" strategy. But it is missing a crucial element, and that is communicating to the Palestinians and the Arab world in general that Israel is interested in peace -- and willing to compromise to get it. In other words, that there is something to be gained by making peace with Israel. This strategy proved effective with Sadat's Egypt (after failing to defeat Isreal in the Yom Kippur war), and against the PLO (who became willing to negotiate after loosing their last front with Israel in Lebanon).

But without communicating the willingness to compromise -- in actions as well as words -- it is not a strategy for peace, but rather a strategy for war.

It is foolish to "imagine peace" by imagining the other side capitulating.

(Incidentally, ever thought that the Palestinians might be using the same strategy against Israel? Read that last paragraph point by point, and imagine it from the other side)

Bruce said...

Dear feldyviol,

Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

I believe that Israel has effectively communicated its interest in peace many times in the course of this conflict. It was Abba Eban who noted that "the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

Unlike you, I sincerely believe [and have been convinced by their posture] that Palestinians do not really desire their own state, but rather really only wish to erase the Jewish one. Thus, anything that pressed the Palestinian Arabs to realize this goal cannot be met furthers the likelyhood of peace.

Thankx for reading!
Bruce :}

feldyviol said...


Having spent a few years closely studying Palestinian political history (through the mid-90s) I agree wholeheartedly with Abba Eban's assessment about their talent for missing opportunities. The biggest opportunity I believe they missed was the period in which the vast majority of Israelis were willing to make significant concessions for peace.

But I cannot agree with your assessment that the Palestinians are more interested in destroying Israel that having their own state. Have you ever spoken with a Palestinian? I mean, from a perspective of wanting to understand what it is they really want? I think they want what Israelis want: to be sovereign and secure in their ancestral homeland. Unfortunately, it's the same homeland, and so we both must compromise. The vast majority on both sides want a state, but are deeply conflicted about the compromise. Both sides are convinced at the moment that the other side isn't interested in compromise. I haven't followed Abbas closely, but in the case of Netanyahu I'm convinced that it is true.

One last thought, after which, unfortunately, I feel I must bow out of the conversation (purely for the selfish reason that I don't have the time for it): If you believe the Palestinians -- as a people -- are less interested in a state than in destroying Israel (and really -- have you met a Palestinian?? They know full well they can't destroy Israel. They think that fighting is the only way to prevent Israel from destroying them), then I'm afraid you are misrepresenting yourself by identifying your blog as non-ideological.

Bruce said...

Dear feldyviol,

Thankx again for your comments.

i hope you are correct in your experience leads me to a different conclusion...perhaps those you've talked to are the minority. Polls of the Palestinian polity reveal a mixed bag, but those interested in
"living along side a Jewish Israel in peace" usually poll under 10%.

No problem that you cannot converse...i still thank you for taking the time to read my blog...really grateful.

By the way, i don't consider my position ideological. There was a time when i was a committed peacenik...i was an original member of the New Jewish Agenda, etc. My history is decidedly left. But i base my conclusions on what i see, not what i hope.

Bruce :}