A New Peace Plan for the Middle East

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It is obvious by this time that the so-called “peace plan” intended to resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has reached an impassable stalemate. It is simply not working nor will it ever work. The Oslo Accords are a dead letter. The “road map” does not apply to the existing political terrain and is  going nowhere. Anyone who follows it is sure to get lost. As for the unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood, this would produce only a phantom state, the specter of border closings, reduced economic activity and greater abrasion along the frontiers. It cannot supersede a negotiated settlement. Similarly, the notion bruited about by clueless or duplicitous intellectuals of a “bi-national state” or a “single state of all its citizens” is code for the destruction of Israel and is therefore a non-starter. What, then, is to be done?

Clearly, every round of negotiations has proven to be not only unproductive but often regressive, leaving the parties further back from a desired resolution than they were when they started. The problem is that the strategy of incremental concessions of land for peace demanded of Israel has been misapplied or, in effect, applied in reverse. All the interested parties—the Quartet, the Palestinians, the American president in his various wayward declamations, even the Israeli leadership—have internalized the wrong bundle of premises, for example: the Israeli heartland of Judea and Samaria is really the “West Bank,” a sobriquet for Fatahland; the instruments  of international law, such as the League of Nations Mandate, the San Remo Conference and Article 80 of the UN Charter, which legislate in Israel’s favor, can be dispensed with; half of Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, belongs to the Arabs; the Palestinians are a unified people and should be regarded as a “nation”; the Armistice Lines of 1949 constitute, to quote Jonathan Kay of the National Post, a “de facto border”; and territory legitimately won in a defensive war must be returned, in complete defiance of international covenants and of customary practice among all the nations of the world. None of these assumptions are valid, and it is primarily for this reason that every démarche for peace has inevitably failed.

In order to make some sense of this distortion, the issue should be placed in the larger context of anti-Jewish suspicion and antipathy. There is an implicit presumption or conviction regarding things Jewish and matters Israeli that animates individuals, groups and countries, an unacknowledged function of latent (and not so latent) antisemitic sentiment, namely, Jews have to pay. They have to pay for the world’s troubles via the well-known mechanism of scapegoating. They have to pay for their statistically disproportionate achievements in science, technology, commerce, medicine and the arts, which account for the ubiquitous phenomenon of envy and resentment to which they have been millennially exposed. (Jews number a fraction of 1% of the world’s population, yet make up approximately 20% of Nobel laureates.) And they have to pay for the unprecedented accomplishment of building a successful nation in the midst of desert and malarial swamp and in the face of the unremitting violence of hundreds of millions of hostile neighbors, a feat avowedly beyond the ability of most peoples. Therefore, according to this twisted logic, it is the Israelis who must pay for peace, not their adversaries who have done their utmost to ensure that the prospect of peace continues to recede.

This is the tacit mindset that prevails, one which has the force of an instinct and the deep penetration of a kind of secret epistemology, and is rarely questioned or brought into the light of consciousness. As Muslim scholar Salim Mansur asserts, it is “a uniquely lethal form of bigotry” that must deny “Israel’s role as a nation, an idea, a religious inspiration, an historic reference, an ethical compass, and as people of the book (the Bible) in the formation of Western civilization.” This is why the Israeli-Palestinian peace deliberations are constantly skewed to the benefit of the latter. This is why Israel is expected to give and the Palestinians are encouraged to take.

And this is why the entire diplomatic process must be re-valued if any progress is ever to be made. The terms and elements of the controversy need to be placed on a proper footing and the participants made to understand that they have approached the impasse from the wrong direction. When Barack Obama in his May 19 speech at the State Department declared that “The status quo is unsustainable and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace,” the toggling adverb “too” does not alter the fact that he got it entirely backwards. After all, what have the Palestinians done to “advance a lasting peace”? Forswear terrorism in conformity with UN Security Council Resolution 1377? Revamp their educational system that teaches hatred of Israel and Jews? Rein in the bellicose media? Prohibit antisemitic sermons in mosques? Revise their Charter in which the demise of Israel is presaged? Tone down their belligerent public rhetoric? Remove the keffiyeh curtaining the map of Israel?

It is not the Israelis who should be suing for peace but the Palestinians, which would redound to their undoubted advantage. The Israeli leadership should inform the Palestinian team that it is eager and willing to arrive at a peaceful resolution of the ongoing embroilment and accept Palestinian sovereignty in the “West Bank” if the Palestinians for their part are ready to cede sundry territorial chunks to Israel and agree to transfer the affected populations to designated regions within the new Palestinian state. What is supposed to be good for the goose is even better for the gander. The Palestinians will make further appropriate concessions, such as renouncing terror, accepting the bustling city of Ramallah as their capital, recognizing Israel as the state of the Jewish people, and solving their refugee problem—for, historically speaking, it is their refugee problem—in the same way as Israel found room for Jewish citizens displaced from Arab countries after 1948. Additionally, the absurd concept of territorial “swaps” will be mothballed. Naturally, Gaza remains a problem. Whether it should revert to Israel and the Gazans welcomed to Palestine as fully empowered citizens, or pursue a hyphenated liaison with the PA, or strike off on its own as a quasi-independent enclave will have to be determined in the course of negotiations.

Moreover, Palestinians should abjure the propagation of arrant nonsense, such as PA president Mahmoud Abbas’ preposterous claim of Canaanite ancestry going back 9000 years—a double zinger—and the corresponding fantasy that the Jews are “incidental to history,” possessing no cadastral lien on the Holy Land. Their own scripture proclaims differently, as they would discover if they re-read Surah 17, ayah 1 of the Koran, which mentions the Temple at Jerusalem. A durable peace cannot be based upon the shimmer of a consensual mirage.

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  • StephenD

    What a treat to read the words of such a wonderful mind!
    Though I despise the UN I say if we must maintain our membership, David Solway should be our Ambassador!

  • ajnn

    solway gets the facts right, but the 'identity politics' wrong. the palestinian arabs have BECOME a people.

    • David Solway

      Dear ajnn

      You're right to an extent, but it was something of a recent historical accident and the element of immiscibility is still there. See my The Big Lie for a discussion of this development.


    • ObamaYoMoma

      You are right to a certain extent. They are a people created out of whole cloth with the help of the Soviet KGB as a disinformation campaign to camouflage the Islamic world’s permanent and genocidal jihad of conquest under the cloak of nationalism. However, their national struggle for statehood has always been a lie, as their real motivation is to render Israel back to Dar al Islam via the imposition of Sharia.

  • BarKohkba

    Your tireless commitment to the truth and literary artistry is truly inspirational. But is not essays such as this an exercise in futility? The "Palestinians" have absolutely no intention of making peace with Israel. Their lies, propaganda, and pandering to century's old anti-Semitic rhetoric has actually been rewarded by the rest of the world. The only viable "2 State" solution would be Jordan and its 70 percent “Palestinian” inhabitants overthrowing their minority controlled kingdom (real apartheid, by definition) and subsequently absorbing the non-Jordanian “Palestinians". That will leave Israel to control ALL lands to the Jordan River and afford a contiguous Palestinian State. Gaza, will have to be dealt with by Egypt annexing the Strip and bestowing Egyptian sovereignty over the area. Gazan’s may be given the option of immigrating to Jordan or remaining in Egypt. Of course there is no incentive to exact a solution such as this for corruption, anti-Semitism, and Western acquiescence to fundamental Islamism has obfuscated the dispute to an irretrievable level.

  • sedoanman

    Israel should adopt the 58-State position, meaning the Arabs carve a Palestinian state out of their own territories. Maybe that will stop this comedy of errors.

  • Harold P

    I agree with everything you say, but you are preaching to the converted. The general population will not believe this, their minds have be poisoned against Israel and Jews. They see the Palestinians as oppressed people and the Jews as the oppressors. The poor Palestinians are the victims, no matter what they do and say. What is needed is columns like this to appear in the the main stream media where it will be read hopefully by the uncommitted who may come to believe that Israel is not the demon it is portrayed to be.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Israel is maligned in the World press but what's new in that, Islamist oil
    money has purchased the integrity of almost all media and thus the complete
    negativity of all things Israel. Muslims have been on the march in what we
    shall call the West, pushing Islam down peoples throats and cursing Israel
    all the way. Cowards not wanting to be targeted by Islamist thugs sell
    out Israel and as we see in America many leftist Jews stoop to this crass
    villiany also. Eventually the UN will call for the creation of the Palestinian
    State and when it does the UN should change its flag to one of red with a
    venimous snake in the center. The battle is good over evil and Islam is
    the enemy of us all. Hopefully we will get rid of Mullah Obama and elect
    a President and Congress that has moral strength………………..William

  • ObamaYoMoma

    I agree the truth needs to be exposed and that truth is the jihad of conquest the Islamic world is waging perpetually against not only the Jewish unbelievers in Israel but also against all unbelievers around the world as well such as the Hindu unbelievers in Kashmir and Jammu is permanent, the so-called Palestinian people are really the proxies of the Islamic world, and the jihad of conquest being waged perpetually against Israel is permanent and will continue to be waged perpetually against Israel as long as Israel continues to exist, regardless of any and all fake peace processes used to weaken Israel and to dupe gullible useful idiots or otherwise until the Western world wakes up and renders the Islamic world too weak to wage jihad against unbelievers.

    As a matter of fact, the greater global jihad at large being waged perpetually against all unbelievers around the world is also permanent and will also continue to be waged perpetually against unbelievers as long as unbelievers continue to exist that haven’t been forced to submit to the authority of Islam or otherwise until the West renders the Islamic world too weak to wage jihad against unbelievers.

  • Joseph Troll

    The Big Lie (Part 1)

    By Sharon Nader Sloan
    (Sharon Nader Sloan, Esq., is a Lebanese-American.)

    "The West Bank is occupied Palestinian land." This phrase is frequently repeated, as a given, by all the governments of the world and by the entire news media.

    This idea that the West Bank is occupied Palestinian land has been accepted by almost everyone. Yet it is, in fact, the greatest lie ever perpetrated on the whole of humanity.

    If you think this is an outlandish statement, please read on and decide for yourself.

    Palestinians claim that Palestine is their land, and that Jerusalem is their capital, and that Israel is occupying their land. To resist occupation, they assert the right to send suicide bombers into crowded bus stations, pizza parlors, etc., and kill innocent men, women and children. And all Arab and Muslim countries support them in their claims and actions against Israel.

    Because of this alleged occupation of Palestinian land by Israel, because of this alleged crime committed against their Palestinian brothers, all Arabs hate Israel and want to destroy it.

    To anyone who is familiar with the facts, and has an objective eye, all this must be fascinating. Because never before has a complete lie, on such a large scale, been so successful.

    First, if Arab animosity toward Israel is based on their love and support for their Palestinian brothers – and in wanting their Palestinian brothers to have their own state – where was that love and support before the Jewish state existed? Where were they when the kingdom of Jordan ruled Palestine? Why were they not accusing Jordan of occupying Palestinian land? Why did not the Arab world and the United Nations call on Jordan to stop occupying Palestinian land? Second, where were the Palestinians themselves, with all their grievances and claims, when Jordan occupied the whole West Bank, including Jerusalem?

    Did you know that? Did you know that for 19 years, Jordan occupied and ruled the whole West Bank, including Jerusalem? Why didn't they clamor for a Palestinian state then?

    All this time, did we hear a word about Palestine being occupied by the kingdom of Jordan? Did we hear anything about a Palestinian state? Or about Jerusalem being the capital of Palestine?

    No, we did not.

    Why not?

    Because there never existed a Palestinian state.

  • Joseph Troll

    The Big Lie (Part 2)

    And in the entire history of nations, Jerusalem was never the capital of any country other than that of ancient Israel and modern Israel. So how can there be a claim on Jerusalem as the capital of a state that never existed?

    One of the problems here is that so few people know the history of the world. Hence, lies and more lies, repeated often enough, are assumed to be facts.

    I have heard many scholars, including an Arab journalist, question the very notion of a Palestinian people. What, they ask, makes a people? Well, there are four elements that define a people: language, religion, culture and cuisine. For example, the Chinese and Japanese are both Oriental. Still, they are two different peoples, because they each have a different language, a different religion, a different culture and a different cuisine.

    The Palestinians speak the same language, follow the same religion, manifest the same culture and eat the same cuisine as all other Arabs. They are really Arabs who happen to live in a region called Palestine.

    Palestine is not – and never was – the name of a country, or the name of a people.

    It is the name of a region – just like Siberia is a region, not a country. There is no Siberian country, nor is there a Siberian people. It is a region. Just like the Sahara is a region, not a country. There is no Saharan country, nor is there a Saharan people. The Arabs living in that region are Libyans, Moroccans, etc. It is a region.

    Because Palestine is a region, not a country, England was able to carve out half of it and give it to the Arabs living on the other side of the Jordan River and call it the kingdom of Jordan. Because Palestine is a region, the United Nations was able to divide the rest of it between the Jews and the Arabs living there. Had the Arabs accepted the United Nations resolution, there would have been a newly created Arab state called Palestine. Instead, they rejected the United Nations compromise and went to war to destroy Israel. They lost the war. Hence, no Palestinian state.

    Here are some cold facts.

    King David built the city of Jerusalem, and King Solomon, David's son, built the holy temple. This commonwealth of Israel lasted for a thousand years. There was only one break, when, 400 years after King David, the Babylonian invaders occupied the land for 70 years. Then, with the help of Cyrus the Great of Persia – yes, Persia – Israel came back to the land, rebuilt the temple and ruled for another 600 years.

    Then, the Romans came and ruled the land, then the Crusaders ruled the land, then the Ottoman Empire ruled the land, then the British Empire ruled the land, then Israel returned to its homeland and built a modern Jewish state. It was never – repeat, never – a Palestinian state.

    So what is all this talk about occupied Palestinian land?

    They certainly have a right to live there freely and happily. Nobody wants to move them away from their land. But from where comes the right for a Palestinian state? Is it because they live there?

    Imagine if the Mexican-American community in California, whose numbers are greater than the number of Palestinians in the West Bank, decides tomorrow to claim that the United States is occupying their land, because they live there and they want their own Mexican state. Imagine if, when the U.S. government says, "No, you can live here, but you cannot have sovereignty, you cannot have your own state," they start sending suicide bombers, shooters, mortars, etc. into the rest of the country. What do you think would happen?

    This is precisely why there was never any suggestion of a Palestinian state – not under the Romans, not under the Crusaders, not under the Turks, not under the English and not under the Arab kingdom of Jordan – until after Israel was again established in its homeland.

    I believe it is the big lie of our generation, and we are all buying into it.

    Whatever you believe, don't you think these facts deserve to be raised when discussing Middle East policies?