Why the Arab - Israeli Conflict cannot be solved by the current Palestinian Leadership / Ray Cook

I previously wrote about Palestinian rejectionism and how it would mean that no peace is possible with Israel because the Palestinian Authority has never had any other goal than the destruction of the State of Israel and this has not changed since the formation of the PLO in 1964 and it was also the goal of the Arab League before it.

Hamas, the Islamist organisation that runs the Gaza Strip is also dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

Tawfik Hamid is an Egyptian academic who has surprising views on Israel and the Middle East.

Dr Hamid is a true moderate who rejects fundamentalist interpretation of the Qur’an and advocates peace with other religions and especially Israel. Dr Hamid is not unique but he is certainly a rarity. If only his views were spread at the same rate as Islamism, peace and security for the region and the world would be greatly enhanced.

In an article I read at newsmax.com Dr Hamid describes what he calls ‘The Real Reasons Behind the Arab-Israeli conflict’.

He soon rejects the current accepted views of the Arab and Muslim world:

The view that solutions for the Arab-Israeli conflict have failed because of what some in the Muslim world call the “expanding and colonizing ideology of Zionism” is unfair and devoid of truth. Israel proved its dedication to peace when it withdrew from Sinai, Lebanon, and Gaza in hope of peace with its neighbors.

He then moves to the territory I covered in my aforementioned article as his first reason:

Until Palestinian leaders, in both Arabic and English speeches, declare that Israel is their legitimate neighbor whom they no longer will strive to overrun, their participation in negotiations is fake, hypocritical, and doomed to fail. It is impossible to negotiate with a partner about borders if this partner does not accept your existence to begin with.

The second reason is what he calls the ‘selfish mentality’ of the Palestinian leadership. Again, this is similar to my view that the PA paints itself into a corner because it is more interested in self-preservation and populism than making peace. For Hamid:

Palestinian leaders seem to be interested in proving their “merit” by destroying Israel than in gaining a better life for their people. True leaders must be ready to make concessions to ensure a better life for their people.

Until Palestinian leaders are ready to make such concessions to the Israelis, the problem will not be solved.

Reason number three is that the international community (and this is broadly the Western democracies) are naive in their belief that the PA is ‘moderate’ when it is no different to Hamas in its desire to eradicate Israel which leads to a refusal to recognise Israel’s right to exist and this is buttressed by extreme anti-Semitic propaganda in the media.

For his fourth reason Dr Hamid makes the astute point that:

… the Palestinian leadership prefers to live — and to make their population live — in delusions rather than in reality.

Just recently, an official Palestinian report claimed that a key Jewish holy site — Jerusalem’s Western Wall — has no religious significance to Jews. It is impossible to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict if the Palestinian leaders insist on living in such delusions instead of admitting the archeological reality that Jerusalem’s Western Wall is Jewish. Problems are not solved by living in fabrications and lies but rather by facing and admitting realities.

One might add that for decades the Waqf, the Islamic authority that oversees the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif have been busy destroying the most important archaeological site in the world by digging and burrowing into the layers of Jewish temple history that lie beneath the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque.

What is effectively a propping up of the Hamas government in Gaza is reason number five. Dr Hamid believes that Palestinians in Gaza have not had to pay the price for their choice. This is a rather eccentric view when you take into account what happened during Operation cast Lead.

What Hamid is referring to is that Hamas were supposed to provide an Islamic solution to the problem. Not allowing them to fail means that they are not weakened. Radical Islam still has its heroes. The economic support from the US and the EU means that the full force of Islamist failure to deliver is ‘masked’.

This is an interesting argument. Israel’s blockade and its embargo have partly been designed to weaken Hamas. Yet this strategy is failing because of the politically correct humanitarian criticisms coming from EU governments which deplore Hamas but also deplore the embargo and blockade. The proscribe Hamas as a terrorist organisation but prop it up with aid which means that Hamas’ policies are sweetened.

Dr Hamid is saying that the West is acting against it own interests because it is helpless in face of international human rights activism.

Dr Hamid then goes into a little fantasy excursion proposing an extremely aggressive Israeli political response to non-cooperation from the PA/Fatah in the peace process:

Israel, for instance, could announce that it will build a certain number of new West Bank towns every year, or will annex land in the West Bank each year, unless and until Fatah and Hamas accept the minimal principles necessary for Israel to participate in any further negotiations.

These principles would include:

Declaration of the right of the Jewish state of Israel to exist;
Cessation of both verbal incitement and physical violence against Israeli civilians and;
Implementation of all previous agreements between Palestinians and Israelis.
But even Hamid admits that the US and the EU would ‘balk’ at these tactics. That is to put it mildly. It would also alienate a lot of Israelis! In the immortal words of John McEnroe: he cannot be serious and perhaps this rather spoils a good article.

Dr Hamid ends by castigating President Obama for pressurising Israel whilst the Palestinians smile with glee from the sidelines. Dr Hamid believes that the only strategy the PA would respond to is to show the PA that their recalcitrance has negative consequences. In this I believe Hamid is very wrong. Such a strategy would provoke violence and strengthen Hamas, Hizbollah and Iran.

Despite Dr Hamid’s naivety when it comes to tactics, his general analysis is correct, and how pleasant it is to hear an Arab saying these things, albeit from the safety of an American university.


Live Aid, Gaza and humanitarian disasters

Posted: 27 Dec 2010 10:47 AM PST

TweetA few days ago I happened to be watching, once again, the documentary about Live Aid first shown 5 years ago on the 20th anniversary of the event.

Like millions of people on the actual day, I was enjoying the performances until we got to the part where they showed the film of the starving Ethiopian children and experienced again the horror of millions of people dying from famine, whilst we in the first world get increasingly obese.

And then it struck me; here was a genuine disaster where the whole world was mobilised by the efforts of one inspired man. So if Gaza is such a humanitarian disaster, and if people are really starving as so many in the anti-Israel organisations and commentators and journalists would have us believe, where are the images? Why are there no Live Aid type concerts? Where is the international outrage? Not the outrage of those with a political agenda, but the outrage which comes of genuine humanitarian concern?

As ever, I do not deny that many in Gaza do not have the greatest standard of living or quality of life, but is it not telling that the world actually understands real disasters, such as Haiti and the Pakistan floods. The world realises that the difficulties in Gaza, though real, are not in the same league as Haiti or Pakistan, let alone Ethiopia.

The only people fixated on trying to tell us that there is a humanitarian issue worthy of international attention are the flotillaniks and aid organisations whose agenda is to break the blockade, embarrass Israel and keep Gaza on the UN agenda. They are doing a fine job, often aided by UNWRA, but it does seem to me that the message that there is a humanitarian disaster worthy of the name is growing a little weak. And the idea that it is only Israel that is responsible for the conditions in Gaza is also beginning to pale.

Let’s not forget that Egypt also has an land embargo and one third of Gaza’s border is with Egypt.

Israel delivers thousands of tonnes of food and other aid and equipment every week through crossing points. Israel delivers electricity through its grid. Israel provides medical aid to thousands of Gazans a year. Shops in Gaza are well-stocked with food and white goods.

Yet Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, declare that their goal is to destroy Israel but complain that Israel is a little wary of the free passage of marine traffic into the Gaza strip. What nation in history whose enemy declared that its goal was to destroy it has provided the means for that enemy’s people to survive, although not thrive? And these are the same people who voted Hamas into power in the first place.

We hear how Gaza is a prison camp, that there is a humanitarian disaster, that Israel must end the ‘siege’. Bear in mind, also, that Hamas holds Gilad Shalit captive without access to the Red Cross. Bear in mind that rockets are fired daily into Southern Israel. Still Israel sends in the trucks.

How many countries have organised food aid for Gaza? How many worldwide broadcast concerts have the pro-Palestinian groups in Europe arranged to raise money?

So, as I said, I was thinking, maybe the world is not fooled. Maybe they actually understand it’s more about politics and less about suffering. Aid convoys and flotillas my have a small effect on the conditions in Gaza but their real purpose is political, not humanitarian.

No, the Gazan people are pretty well provided for by UNWRA, the EU, the United States and Israel. If they could get rid of Hamas, they might actually begin to thrive.

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters (without spaces) shown in the image.