Thursday, November 20, 2008

Who Said Arabs Don't Want Peace?

In an unprecedented move, the Palestinian Authority took out full page ads in all of the major 3 Israeli newspapers outlining, in Hebrew no less, the Arab peace proposal

This is a big deal for several reasons.

First, it shows that the Palestinian Authority recognizes that most Israelis want peace.

Second, it goes above the heads of the politicians. This was always the reason I couldn't join AIPAC. . . because it supports the Israeli government. I love Israel, I'm not always such a big fan of the Israeli government.

Finally, it means that the ball has been put in Israel's court. The idea that there is 'no partner for peace' will be challenged by this latest move and requires a response.

The ad starts out, "Fifty-seven Arab and Muslim countries will establish diplomatic relations with Israel in exchange for a full peace accord and the end of the occupation."

Obviously issues of East Jerusalem and Palestinian refugee status will stand in the way. But screw it, hand over East Jerusalem, it isn't essential. And the city of peace deserves some peace.

As for refugees, allow them a fair option, if they can prove that they have a legitimate claim to land, give them the option of citizenship or fair recompense.

Follow the Ayalon plan for defensive settlements along the greenline, and let the PA be fully responsible for Gaza, hellhole that it is.

You can read an article about this interesting turn of events here.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

this is a bit naive

Y? said...

It is rather hard to respond to a comment as non-specific as this, but I will never-the-less try to do just that.

You will notice that I make no assumptions as to how earnest the PA is in pursuing this particular peace plan.

I am merely pointing out that a move (or PR stunt depending on your point of view) like putting full page Hebrew ads in the major papers is fairly significant.

Jacob Siegel said...

Dear Y?,

(The original blog entry to which this entry responds is located at http://stloujew.blogspot.com/2008/11/who-said-arabs-dont-want-peace.html)

Thanks for your post. I agree with you that this move by the Palestinian Authority is significant, in that it indicates a willingness to work through democratic and peaceful channels to influence public opinion. However, your further dismissal of the problem as nearly solved, I feel, warrants attention.

You seem to suggest that, given the Palestinian Authority's willingness to take out three ads in a newspaper, the rest of the problems that have plagued the peace process for decades, such as East Jerusalem and the refugee problems, will be easy to solve. In fact, the opposite is true. These two issues have been the death of every attempt at peace since the 1950's, through the Oslo Accords and into the early 2000's.

Why? Consider, for example, the refugee problem. Palestinians living in Israel without citizenship, and those in the Palestinian territories, demand the "right of return" to return to the land they (or, more often, their parents and grandparents) held. Fatah supporters typically date this right to 1967, whereas Hamas supporters date it all the way back to the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. And the Hamas demands and Israeli concerns seem irreconciliable. If Israel were to allow citizenship to the Palestinians demanding it, the population of Israel would become more than half Muslim, which the explicitly Jewish state rejects as a solution. And the Palestinians owned land in 1947 in pockets throughout the entire region, and giving back those pockets doesn't seem satisfactory to either side. Monetary recompense could work, but who to recompense? The refugees displaced are mostly dead, and their children have lived their entire lives elsewhere.

To sum up: Palestinians are angry, and understandably, about being kicked off their land. They want it back; but to have it back would mean becoming citizens. Israel is worried, understandably, about becoming a state with a minority of Jews. Considering the hate expressed by terrorists throughout the region, the Jewish population could well be annihilated if such an event happened.

Three ads in a newspaper is a start, but please keep in mind the complexity of the issues when you dismiss them as "not essential," which you summarily did for East Jerusalem.

Thanks. Happy Blogging.