If President Trump wants to achieve a serious Middle East peace deal, he will have to challenge the State Dept. dictums, which have brought over 50 years of failure.
President Donald Trump sees himself as a deal-maker and describes peace in the Middle East as “the ultimate deal.” The New York Times recently reported that Trump’s team is drafting a Middle East Peace Plan. While its specifics remain to be unveiled, it will likely not differ substantially from previously failed “peace plans”.
President Trump differs from his predecessors Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama in terms of style. However, “peace in the Middle East” still refers to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The problem with this definition is that it validates the US State Department’s and its European counterparts’ discredited position, that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the “core conflict” in the Middle East.
The Middle East, in the post-Arab Spring era, is literally falling apart in front of the world’s eyes. As far as the establishment in Washington and Brussels are concerned though, the troubled region’s main problem is the construction of Jewish balconies built in Judea and Samaria.
Few Israelis or serious Middle Eastern observers dispute that it is highly desirable to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict, which has often been described as the world’s most intractable conflict. While this claim is highly debatable, one thing is certain: few if any conflicts in human history have been more distorted beyond recognition than the conflict between Muslim Arabs and Jews.
A casual glance at a geographic map of the Middle East region is sufficient to realize the absurdity of linking all the huge region’s many troubles to a tiny Jewish state the size of New Jersey.
It requires a wild suspension of disbelief to suggest that the Arab world’s pathologies, Iran’s imperialist aggression or the ongoing destructive Sunni-Shia struggle, are somehow linked to the number of Jews living in Judea and Samaria.
In reality, the Arab-Israeli conflict is merely one out of many Middle Eastern conflicts and a sideshow compared to the far more lethal inter-Arab violence and the renewed conflict between an Iranian-led Shia Islam and the Arab Sunni world.
At least 465,000 people have been killed in Syria alone since the ongoing civil war erupted in 2011. This means that four times more people have been killed in six years in Syria than during 100 years of the Arab-Jewish conflict.
Not only are the vast majority of Muslims in the Middle East killed by other Muslims; the chronic inter-Arab and Muslim violence is unrelated to Israel or the Arab-Israeli conflict. Its roots are far older than the Arab-Israeli conflict and would surely continue, even if all Jews were uprooted from Judea and Samaria.
The Arab-Israeli conflict has not only been vastly inflated, its factual roots have been abandoned in favor of anti-Israel fiction and pro-Arab appeasement.
According to the US State Department and the EU, the core of the Arab-Jewish conflict is the absence of a 23rd Arab state. It has been suggested that the first casualty of war is truth and this is certainly the case with the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict. History might be out of fashion but historical and contemporary facts speak for themselves.
The establishment of the artificial Arab state Transjordan in 1921 on 78 % of the British mandate of Palestine did not facilitate Arab-Jewish coexistence. Quite the contrary: Since the Peel Commission suggested to partition the remaining 22 % of the land between Arabs and Jews in 1937, Arab leaders have systematically rejected any two-state solution.
There is a very good reason for this Arab intransigence. Unlike most conflicts, the Arab-Jewish conflict is not territorial but existential. PLO and Hamas differ in style but both reject the existence of a Jewish national homeland within any borders.
The same “moderate” Abbas regime that speaks about “peace” in English on CNN and BBC, brainwashes its population that Jews are “evil occupiers” regardless if they live in Judea and Samaria or in Tel Aviv and Haifa.
This is the reason why the Arab leaders rejected the UN partition plan in 1947, why PLO rejected the Camp David peace plan in 2000 and why the Arab-Jewish conflict continues today.
The fact that the US has informed PLO that its Washington office will be closed unless Ramallah enters serious peace talks with Israel is a small but insufficient step in the right direction. It is a welcome contrast to former President Obama, who rewarded Arab extremism and systematically blamed Jerusalem for the Arab refusal to make peace with the Jewish state.
However, Washington’s latest move fails to recognize the real core of the Arab-Jewish dispute: Muslim Arab rejection of Jewish nationhood and political self-determination within any borders. Since Washington stresses that it is not cutting ties with PLO, it is giving Ramallah no real incentive for genuine moderation towards Israel.
Compromises can be meaningful in order to solve territorial conflicts between parties that disagree on borders but recognize each other’s right to exist. Demanding that Israel cedes territory to a genocidal enemy bent on her destruction will only perpetuate the Arab-Israeli conflict and increase the aggression against the Jewish state.
Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and Lebanon is a painful reminder of this understated reality. Western critics, who claim that a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria undermines peace, should revisit the history books that amply document pre-1967 Arab aggression against Israel.
The real impediment to genuine Arab-Jewish peace is not the number of Jewish balconies in Judea but the Muslim Arab refusal to recognize the existence of a reborn homeland for the Jewish people within any borders.
Daniel Kryger is a writer and a political analyst. He lives in Israel.
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