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De-politicize the Bible and the Quran
  
 

This article is an updated version of Chapter Eight in my book Oil and God - Sustainable Energy will Defeat Wahhabi Terror.

 

 

Introduction 

For most Arabs, the Palestineissue is bound to the Arab identity. Arab frustration over the Israel-Palestine conflict can be gauged from the fact that thirty-nine years after the signing of a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel (March 26, 1979), and twenty-four years after the signing of a similar treaty between Jordan and Israel (October 26, 1994), despite the goodwill of the Egyptian and Jordanian governments, relations with Israel have been limited to small diplomatic missions, with minor or no cultural, educational, or economic exchanges. 

 

Arab Opinion Index, a poll conducted in 12 Arab countries in 2016 by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Doha, Qatar, found that 89% of the 18,310 respondents believed that Israel poses a threat to the region's stability.[1]Ten years earlier, matters were not much different. A poll conducted by the Egyptian government in August/ September 2006 found that 92% of Egyptians regard Israel as the greatest threat to Egypt.[2]

 

Israeli policies in the Middle East have been driving otherwise moderate Muslims toward orthodoxy and the orthodox toward jihadism. Israeli denial of any connection between humiliating Arabs and Palestinians and the growth of jihadism is similar to Saudi Arabia’s denial of any connection between its Wahhabi way of life and 9/11.

 

The victory of Hamasin the January 25, 2006 parliamentary elections in the West Bankand the Gaza Strip and the control that Hamas imposed over the Gaza Strip in June 2007 should be a reminder that this conflict is driving the Palestinians and Arabs into the hands of radicals. As the Palestinian problem festers, downtrodden Palestinians and Arabswill turn to God for deliverance. Despair, belief in predestination, jihad injunctions, martyrdom, and paradise will continue to be a jihadist factory.

 

This chapter focuses on the root causes of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It will show that Arab antagonism toward Israel is not against Judaism as a religion. Rather, it is against Zionism, a political movement. It proposes a one-state solutioninstead of the two-state solution, envisioned in the 1993 failed Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

 

Islam’s Veneration of Judaism

Islam venerates Judaism. Arabs believe that they share a common ancestry with the Jewish people, and regard the Jewish people as their Semitic cousins. Arabs believe that their ancestry goes back to Ismail (Ishmael), the son of Abrahamby the Egyptian slave woman Hagar, and the half-brother of Ishaq (Isaac), the son of Abraham with Sarah, to whom the Jewish people trace their descent.   

 

The Qur’anpraises Abraham as the first Muslim, and describes Islam as the “religion of Abraham.” Muslims believe that Islam was revealed in order to restore the religion of Abraham to its original tenets: 

 

Qur’an 2:130:And who, unless he be weak of mind, would want to abandon Abraham's creed, seeing that We have indeed raised him high in this world, and that, verily, in the life to come he shall be among the righteous?

 

Qur’an 3:33:God did choose Adam and Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Imran above all people.

 

Qur’an 3:95:Say God speaks the truth. Follow the Religion of Abrahamthe upright, who was not of the idolaters.

 

Qur’an 4:125:Who can be better in religion than the one who submits himself to God, does good, and follows the way of Abrahamthe true in faith? For God did take Abraham for a friend.

 

Today, names like Dawoud (David), Ibraheem (Abraham), Ishaq (Isaac), Mousa (Moses), Sara (Sarah), Sulaiman (Solomon), Yacoub (Jacob), Yousef (Joseph), Zakariyya (Zakaria), and Sham’oun (Shimon) are common in Arab societies. Until the Zionist-led Jewish migrations into Palestinestarted in earnest, Jewsin the Arab and the Muslim worlds had centuries of generally peaceful relations. 

 

Arabs and Jews enjoyed a generally tranquil coexistence for centuries. Notwithstanding the intolerant Verses of the Qur’an and the claimed stories about the harsh treatment of the Jewish tribes in Medina, the majority of Muslims have generally been, over the centuries, moderate and tolerant of other faiths. Tolerance can be seen through the mostly peaceful treatment that the “People of the Book,” Christiansand Jews,received in Muslim lands. Except for short periods during the long sweep of Islamic history, primarily during the reigns of four Arab caliphs, out of a total of ninety-one Muslim rulers—fifty-five Arab caliphs (632-1258) and thirty-six Ottoman Sultans (1280-1924)—Christiansand Jews were generally treated decently. Discrimination, when it happened, included the display of distinctive markings on their homes and clothes, exclusion from public office, and demolition of places of worship. 

 

The four caliphs who discriminated against Jews and Christians were the Umayyad Omar-II in Damascus(717-720), the Abbasid Haroun al-Rasheed (786-809) and al-Mutawakkil (847-861) in Baghdad, and the Fatimid al-Hakim in Cairo (996-1021). Another period of discrimination followed the final expulsion of the Crusaders from Syria. In the early 1300s, two Mamluk sultans, Qalawoon and al-Nasir, discriminated against not only People of the Book, but also against Muslim sects that helped the European Christian Crusades during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, including the Isma’ilis, and the Nusayris (today’s Alawites).

 

During the Umayyad dynasty (661-750),Christiansand Jews enjoyed considerable tolerance upon the payment of land and poll taxes.[3]During the Abbasid dynasty (750-1258), they filled important financial, clerical, and professional positions.[4]Hitti describes how the Jews fared under Muslim rulers:

 

In 985, al-Maqdisi found most of the money-changers and bankers in Syria to be Jews ... Under several caliphs, particularly al-Mu’tadid (892-902), we read of more than one Jew in the capital and the provinces assuming responsible state positions. In Baghdaditself, the Jews maintained a good-sized colony, which continued to flourish until the fall of the city [1258]. [Rabbi] Benjamin of Tudela, who visited the colony about 1169, found it in possession of ten rabbinical schools and twenty-three synagogues; the principal one, adorned with variegated marble, was richly ornamented with gold and silver. Benjamin depicts in glowing colors the high esteem in which the head of the Babylonian Jews was held as a descendant of David and head of the community.[5]

 

In 1492, the Ottoman Sultan, Bayezid-II (1481-1512) allowed Jews driven out from Spain and Portugal to settle in the Ottoman territories, where they were able to rebuild their lives after being expelled from Iberia.[6]In Mesopotamia, Spain, North Africa, Egypt, and Ottoman Turkey, Jews lived peacefully under the moderate Hanafi rite of the Ottoman Sultans.[7]Indeed, had the sultans forced their Christian subjects in the Balkans in the sixteenth century to convert to Islam, the sectarian wars that devastated the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s would probably not have happened.   

 

Here, a further quotation from the novel Coningsby written by British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, Britain’s first and so far only prime minister of Jewish parentage (1868 and 1874-1880) is relevant. On the golden age of Muslim Spain, Disraeli wrote:

 

“That fair and unrivaled civilization in which the children of Ishmael rewarded the children of Israel with equal rights and privileges with themselves. During these halcyon centuries, it is difficult to distinguish the followers of Moses from the votary of Mohamet. Both alike built palaces, gardens, and fountains, filled equally the highest offices of the state, competed in an extensive and enlightened commerce, and rivaled each other in renowned universities.”[8]

 

The fact that around 850,000 Jews migrated from the Arab world around the time of Israel’s creation in 1948 and shortly after suggests that the Jews of the Arab world must have found it sufficiently agreeable to live among Arabs for centuries.[9]In 1917, a third of the population of Baghdad, for example, were Jewish.[10]

 

Hadthe Jews of Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen had the inclination to move away from Arab communities, they could have moved to the non-Arab territories of the Ottoman Empire during the four centuries when the Arab world was under Ottoman rule (1517-1918). 

 

Genesis of the Arab-Israeli Dispute

Two events during the first half of the twentieth century humiliated and embittered the Arab peoples. The first was the Sykes-Picot Agreement, struck in the middle of the First World War (May 19, 1916) between London and Paris, two years and five months before the allies had actually won the war against the Ottoman Empire (November 11, 1918). The Agreement carved up and divided the Levant between Britain (Iraq, Palestine, and Jordan) and France (Syria and Lebanon). That the Agreement was concluded secretly behind the back of the Sharif of Mecca, Hussein bin Ali, is all the more painful. Sharif Hussein had declared the Arab Revolt on June 10, 1916 against his Muslim Sunni Ottoman co-religionists to fight on the side of Christian Britain and France in return for hazy promises of Arab independence after the war (see Chapter Nine).

 

The second event that embittered the Arab world was the Balfour Declaration (November 2, 1917). The British Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour, offered lands Britain never owned in Palestine to the Zionist Federation. The offer was made well before winning the First World War against Istanbul (November 11, 1918). The fact that the Declaration could not wait until Britain and the allies had actually won the war and Palestine became mandated by the League of Nations to Britain opens to speculation the reason(s) that lurked behind London’s rush to promise Lord Rothschild a home in Palestine. 

 

That the Sykes-Picot Agreement and the Balfour Declaration took place within eighteen months from one another and were one year before the end of the First World War suggests a possible exchange of benefits relating to the war effort between Britain and Lord Rothchild.  The letter reads:[11]   

 

Dear Lord Rothschild, 

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations, which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:

 

“His Majesty’s Government views with favour [sic] the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours [sic] to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” 

 

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation. 

 

Yours sincerely,  

Arthur James Balfour 

 

The part of the Declaration which specified: “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine,” was ignored. According to Jewish sources, the defeat of Arabs in the 1948 war resulted in the creation of around 650,000 refugees.[12]According to Palestinian sources, “over 800,000 Palestinians were expelled from 531 towns and villages, in addition to 130,000 from 662 secondary small villages and hamlets, making a total of 935,000 refugees.”[13]

 

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister (1948-1953 and 1955-1963) reportedly told Nahum Goldmann, the president of the World Jewish Congress, “If I were an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: We have taken their country ... We come from Israel, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: We have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?”[14]

 

Palestinian Population’s Size Since 1893

Had Palestine been uninhabited in the nineteenth century, a refugee problem would not have arisen. To justify Palestine as a Jewish home, Zionist leadership promoted the slogan: A land without people to a people without a land. However, as far back as 1893, the lowest estimate of the number of Palestinians, Muslims and Christians, was 410,000.[15]According to the 1922 census, Mandatory Palestine had a population of 673,000 Palestinians (589,000 Muslims plus 84,000 Christians) and 71,000 Jews.[16]In 1948, there were 1,415,000 Palestinians and 700,000 Jews.[17]Most recently, on New Year's Day 2017, of Israel’s population of 8.63 million, included 1.8 million (20.8%, according to Jewish Virtual Library) Palestinian Israelis.[18]The Palestinian Israelis are the Palestinians who remained in what became Israel in 1948. Their number in 1948 was about 156,000, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.[19]Palestinian Israelis increased by 11.5 times in three generations. At the end of 2016, the Palestinian population worldwide was estimated to be 12.7 million living under the Palestine Authority (4.9 million), Israel (1.53 million, according to Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics), the Arab world (5.6 million) and foreign countries (0.7 million).[20]

 

The number of Jews who migrated from the Arab world was estimated to be 850,000 and of this number, 586,000 went to Israel.[21]That the number of Palestinian refugees in 1948 was rather close to the size of the Jewish migration from the Arab world is notable. It is as if there was an invisible hand, a deliberate plan, to exchange Palestinians for Jews from Arab countries.

 

The exodus of 850,000 Jews from Arab countries within a relatively short period of time around the middle of twentieth century must have been accomplished with the acquiescence of Arab rulers. The exodus raises questions over Arab rulers’ cooperation with their British Mandate masters in Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan as well as with Zionist leaders to let their Jewish citizens go to Israel, even cause them to go.

 

Politicizing the Bible and the Qur’an

Israel’s founding on a biblical covenant in the Old Testamentprecipitated a vexing religio-political conflict between Muslims and Jews. After thirteen centuries of generally tranquil coexistence, Arab political and religious leaders, particularly in Arab countries bordering Israel, were faced with a politicized Bible to encourage migration to Palestine; namely, 

 

Genesis 15:18: The Lord made a covenant with Abraham, saying, ‘unto thy seed have I given this land from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.

 

However, the time to lay claim to the Promised Land is in dispute. Elon Gilad describes the timing as possibly the biggest theological question in modern-day Judaism. Gilad wrote in Haaretz:[22]

 

The Land of Israel was promised to the Jews, and yes, God will one day, in his own time, return the Jews to their land and give them control of it, but this will only happen in the future when the Messiah arrives.[23]

 

Jerusalemis Islam’s third holiest sanctuary after Meccaand Medina. It is yet another religious cause that pulls the Muslim world together in the conflict with the Bible.Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad put his footon the Rock inside the Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem before He ascended to Heaven on His Night Journey (Isra’). Chapter (Surat) 17 of the Qur’an is named The Journey by Night(Surat al-Isra):

 

Qur’an 17:1:Glory to Him Who transported His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose environs We have blessed.[24]

 

Arab and Palestinian Reaction to Genesis 15:18: Since 1948, three generations of Palestinian refugees have existed in primitive, squalid, and overcrowded camps in abject poverty, ill health, and hopelessness, relying on meager United Nations handouts. The number of Palestinian refugees eligible for United Nations Relief and Works Agency(UNRWA) services is five million.[25]Arab countries have been unwilling to settle these refugees within their own borders, partly, in order to maintain their Palestinian identity.  

 

To Arabs, the affliction of the Palestinian refugees represents a warning of the fate that could be awaiting millions of Arabs who live in the landfrom the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates. The two parallel blue lines across Israel’s flag are seen by Arabs as if they represent the Nile and the Euphrates. 

 

Arab fears are compounded by the apocalyptic beliefs of some influential American fundamentalist Christian evangelicalswho fantasize about a second coming of Christ and who see the Jewish settlements in the West Bankand the future rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple on the sacred Dome of the Rock Mosque, as steps in God’s unfolding plan. 

 

Helpless, Arab religious and political leaders counter, by invoking divine covenants of their own, which have been dormant for centuries. Intolerant Verses have been resurrected to arouse Arab and Muslim passion. Also, tales of the troubled relationship the Prophet had with the Jewish tribes of Medinafollowing his migration from Meccain 622 are now recounted.  Arabs drew lessons from the symbolism of substituting Friday for the Sabbath, and changing the direction of Qiblahduring prayer from Jerusalemto Mecca.

 

In the confrontation between the Bible and the Qur’an, Islam pulls Muslims of different nationalities together. Muslims belong to the universal nation of Islam (umma). Islam supersedes nationalism and ethnicities. The Qur’an demands that Muslims aid each other as if they were one body:

 

Qur’an 3:103:And hold fast, all together, unto the bond with God, and do not draw apart from one another.

 

Qur’an 103:1-3:Enjoin one another to truth and enjoin one another to endurance.

 

The Prophet reportedly said that Muslims are brothers,[26]that the relation of one believer to another is like a building whose parts support one another,[27]and that the solidarity among Muslims in their mutual love, mercy, and sympathy, is like that of a body; if an organ aches, the whole body sympathizes with it with sleeplessness and fever.[28]

 

President Trump Hands Jerusalem to Israel and Moves the US Embassy: The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by President Donald Trump on December 6, 2017 adds immeasurably to the humiliation, anger, and despair of Palestinians and Arabs.[29]Jerusalemis the third holiest Muslim sanctuary after Meccaand MedinaOn December 10, 2017, Arab foreign ministers called on Mr. Trump to rescind his decision, warning that the move threatens to plunge the whole region into “more chaos, violence, bloodshed and instability.”[30]Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas,speaking to Palestinian faction leaders in Ramallah on January 14, 2018, described Mr. Trump’s "deal of the century” as “the slap of the century.”[31]The European Union’s foreign policy chief assured President Mahmoud Abbas at a meeting in Brussels on January 22, 2018 that the European Union supported his ambition to have East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.[32]In their closing statement, Arab leaders at the Arab League Summit meeting on April 15, 2018, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia rejected Trump’s decision on Jerusalem as "null and illegitimate."[33] Saudi Arabia renamed this year's summit "Quds [Jerusalem] Summit" and King Salman said: "We confirm that East Jerusalem is an inseparable part of the Palestinian land."[34]

 

Muslim and Christian leaders protested against the Jerusalem move. The Grand Sheikh of Cairo’s al-Azhar Mosque, Ahmed al-Tayeb, issued a statement on December 8, 2017 rejecting a meeting request by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to Cairo on December 20, 2017.[35]Similarly, the Pope of the Coptic Church in Egypt,Tawadros II, announced on December 9, 2017 the cancellation of his scheduled meeting with the U.S. Vice President over the same issue.[36]In the event, Mr. Pence’s visit was postponed until January 20, 2018. He met in Cairo with the President of Egypt only.[37]

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, leader of the preeminent Shi’ite seminary, the Najaf Hawza, said this about Trump’s action: “This decision is denounced and condemned. It has hurt the sentiments of hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims, but it will not change the fact that Jerusalem is an occupied land that should return to the sovereignty of its Palestinian owners no matter how long it takes.[38]

 

To add insult to injury, the U.S. President tweeted on January 2, 2018: 

 

We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more.[39]

 

Jerusalem is not a Trump property to take off the table. Jerusalem is an existential issue to Palestinians and Arabs, just as it is to the Jewish people. The future of Jerusalem, must be decided by the Arabs and the Jews. In handing the entirety of Jerusalem to Israel, Mr. Trump did not take “the toughest part of the negotiation off the table”. He aggravated the conflict greatly. He put, possibly, the final nail in the coffin of the Oslo Accords and the two-state solution. He abdicated America’s role as a fair honest mediator. 

 

Mr. Trump stated thatIsrael “would have had to pay more” in future negotiations in return for his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.[40]The statement is naive, if not cynical. Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party was quick to unanimously urge legislators on December 31, 2017, albeit, in a non-binding resolution, to move well beyond Jerusalem and annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, lands that Palestinians want for a future state.[41]Given the history of the proliferation of the settlements since the Oslo Accords, the non-binding resolution today is a short distance from becoming binding tomorrow.

 

The US President lacks the right to give Jerusalem to Israel. United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), 1850 (2008), and 2334 (2016) condemn all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.[42] Specifically, resolution 2334 of December 23, 2016

 

1Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace,

 

2Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respects all of its legal obligations in this regard,

 

3Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations,

 

4Stresses thatthe cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution, and calls for affirmative steps to betaken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperiling the two-State solution.[43]

 

On May 15, 2018, Trump moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.[44]

 

President Trump Starves UNRWA of US Funds: Coinciding with Mr. Trump’s threat on January 2, 2018 to cut off funds to the Palestinian Authority,[45]the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations threatened to stop funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). On January 16, 2018, the U.S. said it would provide $60 million to UNRWA while withholding a further $65 million.[46]On January 17, 2018, UNRWA said it would launch a global fundraising appeal in hopes of making up for funding cuts announced by the United States.[47] At the Arab League Summit meeting on April 15, 2018, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, King Salman announced a $50 million donation to UNRWA.[48] 

 

US Senator Bernie Sanders, comparing the $50 million donation to the extravagance of the Saudi Crown Prince, Muhammad bin Salman said: "So I say to the crown prince and the other multi-billionaire leaders in the region, stop just talking about the poverty and distress in Gaza, do something meaningful about it ... I heard the other day that the Saudi king pledged $50 million to UNRWA, the UN agency that works with Palestinian refugees. Fifty million dollars is not a small sum of money, but let us not forget that it is ten percent of what the crown prince paid for a yacht."[49]

 

UNRWA was established following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) of December 8, 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programs for Palestine refugees. The Agency began operations on 1 May 1950. In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate. 

 

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN member states.[50]Out of a $668-million budget in 2016,the U.S. contributed over $130 million, andthe European Union, with over $106 million, was second in funding size.[51] The agency provides humanitarian assistance to more than six million registered Palestinian refugees ineducation (515,000 students in 677 schools, costing 54% of the agency’s budget), healthcare (143 primary health facilities, with 9 million annual patient visits, costing 17% of the agency’s budget), and relief and social services (9% of the agency’s budget). Additionally, the agency provides emergency response help to 460,000 refugees impacted by the conflict in Syria. It also made a total of 437,000 micro loans aggregating $494 million.[52]

 

On August 31, 2018, describing UNRWA as “irredeemably flawed," the State Department announced that the Trump administration is ending all funding for the organization.[53] A spokesman for UNRAW said, "we reject in the strongest possible terms the criticism that UNRWA’s schools, health centers, and emergency assistance programs are 'irredeemably flawed'."[54]

 

Lurking behind the pressure is a US plan to force the host countries of the UNRWA camps, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, plus GCC and other countries that employ Palestinian workers to permanently settle them where they reside, something which Israel wants and would warmly applaud.

 

The right-of-return was enshrined in the United Nations General Assembly resolution number 194of December 11, 1948:

 

The United Nations General Assembly adopts resolution 194 (III), resolving that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”[55]

 

President Trump Cuts Aid to the Palestinian Authority: Mr. Trump’s threatened in tweets on January 2, 2018to withhold aid payments to the Palestinian Authority for being “no longer willing to talk peace” with Israel.[56]On August 24, 2018, he cut more than $200 million in U.S. aid to Palestinians.[57]PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi accused the Trump administration of using “cheap blackmail as a political tool,”  and J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group, called the Trump administration’s move a “moral outrage and a major strategic blunder.”[58]

 

Trump’s actions leave the Palestinian Authority with the option to dissolve itself and hand the Israeli government the responsibility of providing municipal services and security in the occupied territories.Createdin 1994, following the signing of the Oslo Accords,the Authority has been reduced to a mere service provider for the Israeli government in the occupied Palestinian cities, towns, and villages. 

 

In addition to preserving the peace in Palestinian territories, the Authority’s security forces have been cooperating closely with Israel’s security forces to preserve the peace in Israel. The Authority allocates a substantial proportion, a third, of its annual budget to security.[59]

 

Further Anti-Palestinian Actions: Mr. Trumpordered cutting $25 million earmarked for the care of Palestinians in East Jerusalem hospitals on September 8, 2018[60]and on September 10, 2018, he closed the PLO office in Washington D.C.[61]

 

Within four months (May 15, 2018 - September 10, 2018), Trump reversed decades of US policy in Palestine/Israel. He moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, ended US financial assistance to UNRWA, the Palestinian Authority, and East Jerusalem’s hospitals, and closed the PLO office in America. Trump’s Goliath versus David tactic is intended to crush the spirit, to break the will of the Palestinian people to resist Israel’s occupation and surrender to Mr. Netanyahu’s conditions. 

 

Attempts for a Solution: The Oslo Accords:On December 6, 1988, a meeting in Stockholm, Sweden was arranged by Swedish Foreign Minister Sten Andersson for Yasser Arafat and a PLO delegation and five prominent American Jewsled by Rita Hauser, chairwoman of the International Center for Peace in the Middle East.[62]A joint statement following the two-day meeting said that the Palestinian parliament in exile had accepted in the previous month ''the existence of Israel as a state in the region'' and ''declared its rejection and condemnation of terrorism in all its forms.''[63]At a news conference, Mr. Arafat said, ''We accept two states, the Palestine state and the Jewish state of Israel.''[64]

 

On December 13, 1988, Arafat delivered an 80-minute speech before the United Nations General Assembly in Geneva.[65]The State Department called the speech too ambiguous in parts.[66]Frantic efforts by Arafat’s aides and confidants in his circle of close friends redrafted and clarified the ambiguous parts to US liking. The next day, December 14, 1988, at a news conference in Geneva, Arafat elaborated upon his previous day’s speech. He outlined Palestinian “rights to freedom and national independence according to Resolution 181, and the right of all parties concerned in the Middle East conflict to exist in peace and security ... including the State of Palestine and Israel and other neighbors-according to Resolution 242 and 338.”[67]“As for terrorism,” Arafat declared, “we totally and absolutely renounce all forms of terrorism, including individual, group and state terrorism.”[68]

 

The conclusion by March 1991 of the Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – February 28, 1991) against Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait created favorable conditions for US peace-making efforts. On March 6, 1991, President George H. W. Bushtold Congress, “The time has come to put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.”[69]

 

The Gulf War brought disaster to the Palestinians in GCC states, especially Kuwait. Since the 1950s, Palestinians were welcomed to work in Kuwait. By the time of the Iraqi invasion, around 400,000 were living in Kuwait, a high proportion of them had lived there for decades. Arafat took the wrong side in the war. He supported Saddam Hussein. Nine Arab states[70]took part in the American coalition against Saddam. Within three months after Kuwait was liberated in March 1991, the great majority of Palestinians, possibly 95%, were expelled.[71]The Gulf War left the PLO on its knees; impoverished and isolated. In 1991, Arafat was desperate for a miracle to steady his damaged ship.

 

The Madrid Peace Conference was held between October 30, 1991, and November 4, 1991. By 1993, the talks had become deadlocked and were overtaken by secret Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Oslo, Norway. These negotiations produced the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles (the “Oslo Accords”) of September 13, 1993.[72]

 

Private Efforts on the Road to Oslo

The Seeds of Peace Camps: Meanwhile, in the spirit of Stockholm and Oslo, peace seeking Americans and Palestinians were building bridges between Israelis and Palestinians. John Wallach, an award-winning author and journalist, inaugurated in the Summer of 1993, the first Seeds of Peace summer camp in the State of Maine to “inspire and cultivate new generations of global leaders in communities divided by conflict.”[73]The first camp included 46 Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian, and American teenagers.[74]They spent the summer weeks living together and learning from each other.[75] 


The Hausman/Masri Friendship: During the summer of 1990, a meeting in London was arranged for Leonard J. Hausman, director of the Institute of Social and Economic Policy in the Middle East at Harvard University[76]with Munib al-Masri, a prominent Palestinian businessman, a very close personal friend and confidant of Yasser Arafat for decades. By 1993, the Hausman/Masri connection led to Palestinian youth attending the Seeds of Peace programs. Notably,President Clinton invited the participants in the 1993 camp to be present at the signing of the Oslo Accordsbetween the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993.[77] 

 

The Hausman’s Institute of Social and Economic Policy in the Middle East helped the establishment of Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.[78]The Hausman/Masri connection helped the establishment of the Seeds of Peace organization and the delivery of the Oslo Accords. 

 

Failure of the Oslo Accords: As part of the Oslo Accords, letters were exchanged on September 9, 1993 between the Chairman of the PLO, Yasser Arafat, and the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin. In Mr. Arafat’s letter, he accepted Israel’s right to exist. In return, Mr. Rabin recognized the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people.[79](For the letters, see Appendix 1 to this chapter). In the Declaration of Principles,the Oslo Accords envisioned an interim period of five years of negotiation, starting no later than May 1996, with the aim of agreeing on serious issues including the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, Israeli settlements, security, and borders. 

 

Twenty-five years later, the Accords are effectively dead. None of the serious issues was resolved, with no hope in sight for a just end. The failure of the Oslo Accords confirmed the fears of some of Masri’s closest associates/friends who had warned him of the dangerous path he was pursuing.

    

On the twentieth anniversary of the Oslo Accords, Ron Pundak, one of the two Israelis who conducted the negotiations with PLO representatives in Oslo (the other was Yair Hirschfeld), “blamed Rabin and his foreign minister... Shimon Peres for the fact that the process did not yield a final-status agreement.” In an interview with The Times of Israelon September 15, 2013, Pundak said that he had “no doubt whatsoever” that “Arafat truly sought peace with Israel.”[80]

 

Among the reasons behind the failure is Israel’s insistence on adding the condition of a “Jewish state” to Israel’s “right to exist,” notwithstanding that the Declaration of Principleswas silent on such a condition.[81]Similarly, the peace treaties between Israel and Egypt (March 26, 1979)and Israel and Jordan (October 26, 1994)were also silent on this issue. 

 

This new condition, is seen by Palestinians as filibustering the peace process to death. The Palestinians reject the new condition because it represents an existential risk to the Palestinians in Palestine. A purely “Jewish state” would jeopardize the rights of the more than 1.5 million Palestinian Israelis. A purely “Jewish state” is impossible to create unless the Palestinian Israelis vanish. A “Jewish state” would put an end to the right of return of the refugees, a serious issue. The Arab League Summit in Kuwait on March 26, 2014, rejected the notion of Israel as a Jewish state: “We express our absolute and decisive rejection to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.”[82]

 

On July 19, 2018, the Israeli parliament adopted a new law defining Israel as the national home of the Jewish people. It downgraded Arabic from an official language to one of “special status”. To the Palestinian Israeli community, the new law enshrines a new era of official government discrimination against them.[83]  


The Arab Peace Initiative (API): When the two sides failed to reach agreement on the “serious issues” of the Oslo Accords during the five-year interim period, Saudi Arabia promoted The Arab Peace Initiative (API). The Arab League summit in Beiruton March 28, 2002 proposed to the Israeli Government a resolution for the Palestinian and Arab dispute with Israel on the following terms:  

 

In return for:

a)   Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967.

b)   Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.

c)    The establishment of a Sovereign Independent Palestinian State on the Palestinian territories occupied since the 4th of June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza strip, with east Jerusalem as its capital.

 

The Arab countries affirm the following: 

a.    Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region. 

 

b.    Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.

 

The Initiative was agreed by the 22 member states of the Arab League. It was re-endorsed at the 2007 Arab League Summit in Saudi Arabia[84]and again at the 2017 Arab League Summit in Jordan.[85]It was also endorsed in June 2002 by the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and earned the support of the Quartet mediators’Roadmap for Peace in the Middle East, composed ofthe United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia.[86]

 

Successive Israeli governments rejected the Initiative’s terms. In June 2016, the Israeli newspaper Haaretzquoted Benjamin Netanyahu as saying, “Arab nations must revise the deal to reflect Israeli demands... If they bring the proposal from 2002 and define it as 'take it or leave it' – we’ll choose to leave it.”[87]However, Israeli business and security leaders found merits in the Initiative. On November 20, 2008, a group of over 500 former Israeli security elites and diplomats, led by retired Major General Danny Rothschild launched a campaign in the Israeli media endorsing the API and urging the Israeli government to take advantage of the proposal and not miss an opportunity for peace and security. 

 

In April 2011, leaders from Israel’s business sector, civil society, academia, and security establishment, including former Shin Bet heads Yaakov Peri and Ami Ayalon, former Mossad chief Danny Yatom, retired IDF General Amram Mitzna, and former Minister of Public Security Moshe Shahal launched a proposed response to the API known as the Israeli Peace Initiative (IPI). Though unaffiliated with the Israeli government, this was the first major effort by a group of Israelis to seriously engage with the API. It did not garner the support and traction it needed amongst Israeli politicians to be implemented.[88]

 

The Difficulties with the Two State Solution

A long list of intractable thorny issues stands in the way of the two-state solution. The list includes Jerusalem, borders, security for Israel and Palestine, water rights, Jewish settlers, the status of the Palestinian Israelis, and the right of return for the refugees. Twenty-five years since the signing of the Oslo Agreement on September 13, 1993, the two-state solution proved to be illusionary. None of these issues has been resolved. When President Bill Clinton,Prime Minister Ehud Barak,and President of the Palestinian Authority Yasser Arafat attempted to tackle these issues at Camp Davidin July 2000, the negotiations collapsed, paving the way for the second intifada.

 

Even if a miracle could patch-up a two-state agreement, an emasculated and an impoverished Palestinian state sitting next to the most powerful and prosperous country in the Middle East would eventually prove unsustainable. And, the extremists on both sides would ruin the agreement. Armed with the Bible’s Genesis 15:18, emboldened by Israel’s military might, Zionist extremists would want the entirety of Palestine, even the “land from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” In reaction, Palestinians would again turn to God. They would engage in holy jihad, driven by the belief in predestination, tantalized by the promise of paradise, and “instructed” by God in the Qur’an to fight those who wage war against Muslims(2:190), slay them ... and drive them out of the places whence they drove Muslims out(2:191), fight them until there is no more oppression(2:193), and ... [to] strike terror into the enemies of God(8:60). 

 

Even if a two-state agreement were to be signed, the masses in Arab countries, and Muslims in general, would continue to shun a Zionist Israel. Judging from Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and with Jordan, relations failed to develop beyond small diplomatic missions. For a two-state solution to be credible, it must be part of a process that would lead to a single-state solution.

 

A Single State Solution

A single, democratic, and secular state for Palestinians and Jews based on equal citizenship and constitutional protection of religious and ethnic identities promises amore realistic solution. With a single Arab/ Jewish state, Arabs in neighboring countries will no longer have an excuse to boycott their Jewish cousins. A single state would commingle Arabs and Jewsinto an inseparable mix, paving the way for recognition by Arab governments. More important than governmental acceptance, however, would be the acceptance by the masses in the Arab world and Muslims everywhere. Economic, cultural, educational, and social interaction would follow. The two sides would quickly learn how much they could benefit from one other. 

 

In addition, a single state would eliminate the key obstacles to a two-state solution— the aforementioned issues of Jerusalem, security, settlements, refugees, Palestinian-Israelis, water, and borders—and would allow Arabs and Jewsaccess to the entirety of Palestine. The Jews would realize their dream of living in all of Palestine, and the Palestinianswould feel that they, too, inhabit the entirety of the country. 

 

The advantages of a single-state solution are not naïve fantasies. If history is any indication, Arabs and Jews can live together in peace, as hundreds of thousands of Jews lived in Arab countries for centuries before migrating to Israel around 1948. The Jews of the Arab world who had lived in Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen and who settled in Israel could be a positive link with the Arab world, today and in the future. The Jews of the Arab world represent a good proportion of the Jewish population of Israel today. They share with the Arab peoples many cultural traits, customs, habits, food, music, dance, and, for the older generation, the Arabic language. 

 

The Jewish population in settlements, estimated in 2016 to be 756,000 in 148 settlements (406,000 in128 locations in the West Bank plus 350,000 in 20 locations in East Jerusalem)[89]could become instruments of integration between Palestinians and Jews, not segregation; a mixture of Jews among Arabs would be as difficult to unscramble as removing the Palestinian Israelis from Israel. 

 

The contention that since the Qur’an contains intolerant Verses against the Jews, conflict between Muslims and Jews is unavoidable, does not stand the test of time. Except for relatively short periods under the reign of four out of ninety-one Muslim rulers since the advent of Islam, these Verses remained effectively dormant for thirteen centuries until the Zionists declared their mission. 

 

A Blurred Vision: Creating a Zionist state instead of having a home for the Jewish people in the holy land invited the hostility of the Palestinian people, the Arab masses, and Muslims everywhere. Had Zionism limited its ambitions to Jews living among the Arabs of Palestine, and adhered to the Balfour Declaration’s stipulation that, nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, the vicious Muslim and Arab/ Jewish conflict of the past seventy years may not have occurred. A hundred years after the Balfour Declaration, Lord Roderick Balfour, a great-great-nephew of foreign secretary Balfour, said that Israel, by mistreating Palestinians, is failing to honor the terms of the document. “I have major reservations,” he said in an interview with the London Telegraphnewspaper on October 22, 2017. There is this sentence in the Declaration, “Nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. Well, that’s not being adhered to. That has somehow got to be rectified.”[90]

 

In provoking the enmity of Muslims, Zionism has done a disservice to the Jewish people. Islam shares much in common with Judaism(see above:Islam’s Veneration of Judaism).Muslims and Jews do not have fundamental religious conflicts, such as the issue of the blood of Jesus, which stands between Christians and Jews. Arabs are bewildered as to why Zionism has rewarded them with occupation, dispossession, and humiliation.

 

In Christian Europe, centuries of maltreatment of Jews culminated in the horrors of the Holocaust. Today, American evangelical Christianity acts as if exploiting Zionism would expedite the return of Christ. Evangelical support of Zionism, however, must not obscure the fact that dispensationalist dogma predicts the mass slaughter of Jews by the Antichrist and the conversion of the few surviving Jews to Christianity.[91]Absurdities such as premillennial dispensationalism, the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Antichrist, and the Millennium will not bring peace to the Middle East. Meanwhile, it is morally flawed for Zionism to take advantage of evangelical dogma.

 

Smart bombs and nuclear weapons cannot force a genuine acceptance of a Zionist Israel. Seventy years and nine wars later failed to deliver Palestinian surrender.[92]The long-term prosperity of the Jewish people in the Middle East require the genuine welcome of Israel by its neighbors. For Israel to be welcomed, it must become a good neighbor. 

 

Harmonizing Prosperity:The gulf between impoverished Palestinian neighborhoods sitting next door to prosperous Israeli garden cities and villages must be remedied. Mountains of investment dollars will be required to harmonize this unpleasant scene. Not only Israel must underwrite the cost. The United Kingdom, which enabled the Zionist project in the first place and the United States, which empowered Israel since 1948, must bear a major proportion of the cost.[93]The lifting of East Germany out of relative poverty by West Germany since their unification in October 1990, is a good precedent.

 

Whether it would be a good bargain to exchange an unstable two-state solution for a single durable state embracing Jews, Muslims, and Christians is a question Israel’s Jewish people alone can answer. 

 

What if the Stalemate Persists?

Arabs resent the labeling of their struggle against the occupation as terrorism while the occupier’s actions are considered self-defense. Originally the victims, the Arab masses have been portrayed as the villains. For Israel and the US to deny responsibility for having helped create the sparks of anger and humiliation felt by the Arabs is deluded and dangerous. A just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would be an important weapon in the fight against jihadism and terrorism.

 

With huge military superiority and Washington’s unlimited support,Israel is the hegemonic power in the Middle East. Palestinians and the Arab states are underdeveloped, weak, and divided. The Arab peoples are ruled and abused by non-representative tyrannical kings and rulers-for-life presidents. As the Palestinian problem festers, Arabswill continue to turn to God for deliverance.What was al-Qaeda a few years ago has metastasized into a variety of more extreme strands of jihadists in many countries.

 

The Jewish people, having suffered persecutions and injustices over the long sweep of history more than any other peoples should appreciate more than anyone the plight of the subjugated Palestinians. Indeed, Jews have led liberation and social justice movements for oppressed people over the long sweep of history (see below: Avraham Burg’s article). The fact that he Palestinian Authority is demonized because it refuses to surrender to Israeli terms is unfair. The Palestinians did not take anything from Israel. It is Israel who should return a part of what it took. 

 

Israel’s hegemonic power should not be used to stonewall the Oslo Accords and the Arab Peace Initiative. For a durable long-term peace, the Bible cannot be at war with the Qur’an. Unless the Bible’s is depoliticized, the Qur’anwill not be depoliticized, and wars between Arabs and Jews could go on for a thousand years.

 

Religious wars often defy political solutions. Had it not been for politicizing the Bible and the Qur’an, the Arab-Israeli conflict would have been a political conflict open to political solutions. The Zionist projectignited a vexing religious conflict between Muslims and Jews. Regional wars in 1948, 1967, 1973, and wars in Lebanon (1982 and 2006), and the Gaza Strip (2008, 2012, 2014) plus numerous incursions have not solved the conflict. Indeed, the conflict has become worse.

 

Mr. Trump has escalated the religious nature of the conflict. He added fuel to the fire. Future protests against his actions by Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims will become fodder for the likes of FoxNewsand Breitbart. They will fan the fires of Islamophobia. Attacks and counter attackswill add validation and credence to Samuel P. Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations hypothesis.

 

Men and women of conscience and wisdom in Israel must prevail over Zionist extremists who want to force the occupation through helicopter gunships in the name of the Old TestamentIsrael should pursue ethical policy toward the Palestinian people. As long as Israeli society fails to reach a just solution with the Palestinians, the Zionist project will remain morally lacking. 

 

The following is how Avraham Burg, former speaker of Israel’s Knesset (1999-2003) and a former chairman of the Jewish Agency sees the challenges facing Israel. Fifteen years later, with three wars against Gaza plus a land, sea and air blockade, and a frozen peace process, Avraham Burg’s vision and wisdom are more needed today than ever.  

 

 


The End of Zionism

Israel must shed its illusions and choose between racist oppression and democracy[94]

                                                                                                    

The Zionist revolution has always rested on two pillars: a just path and an ethical leadership. Neither of these is operative any longer. The Israeli nation today rests on a scaffolding of corruption, and on foundations of oppression and injustice. As such, the end of the Zionist enterprise is already on our doorstep. There is a real chance that ours will be the last Zionist generation. There may yet be a Jewish state here, but it will be a different sort, strange and ugly.

 

There is time to change course, but not much. What is needed is a new vision of a just society and the political will to implement it. Diaspora Jews for whom Israel is a central pillar of their identity must pay heed and speak out.

 

The opposition does not exist, and the coalition, with Ariel Sharon at its head, claims the right to remain silent. In a nation of chatterboxes, everyone has suddenly fallen dumb, because there's nothing left to say. We live in a thunderously failed reality. Yes, we have revived the Hebrew language, created a marvelous theatre and a strong national currency. Our Jewish minds are as sharp as ever. We are traded on the Nasdaq. But is this why we created a state? The Jewish people did not survive for two millennia in order to pioneer new weaponry, computer security programs or anti-missile missiles. We were supposed to be a light unto the nations. In this we have failed. 

 

It turns out that the 2,000-year struggle for Jewish survival comes down to a state of settlements, run by an amoral clique of corrupt lawbreakers who are deaf both to their citizens and to their enemies. A state lacking justice cannot survive. More and more Israelis are coming to understand this as they ask their children where they expect to live in 25 years. Children who are honest admit, to their parents' shock, that they do not know. The countdown to the end of Israeli society has begun.

 

It is very comfortable to be a Zionist in West Bank settlements such as Beit El and Ofra. The biblical landscape is charming. You can gaze through the geraniums and bougainvilleas and not see the occupation. Travelling on the fast highway that skirts barely a half-mile west of the Palestinian roadblocks, it's hard to comprehend the humiliating experience of the despised Arab who must creep for hours along the pocked, blockaded roads assigned to him. One road for the occupier, one road for the occupied.

 

This cannot work. Even if the Arabs lower their heads and swallow their shame and anger forever, it won't work. A structure built on human callousness will inevitably collapse in on itself. Note this moment well: Zionism's superstructure is already collapsing like a cheap Jerusalem wedding hall. Only madmen continue dancing on the top floor while the pillars below are collapsing. 

 

We have grown accustomed to ignoring the suffering of the women at the roadblocks. No wonder we don't hear the cries of the abused woman living next door or the single mother struggling to support her children in dignity. We don't even bother to count the women murdered by their husbands. 

 

Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should not be surprised when they come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centres [sic] of Israeli escapism. They consign themselves to Allah in our places of recreation, because their own lives are torture. They spill their own blood in our restaurants in order to ruin our appetites, because they have children and parents at home who are hungry and humiliated. We could kill a thousand ringleaders a day and nothing will be solved, because the leaders come up from below - from the wells of hatred and anger, from the "infrastructures" of injustice and moral corruption. 

 

If all this were inevitable, divinely ordained and immutable, I would be silent. But things could be different, and so crying out is a moral imperative. 

 

Here is what the prime minister should say to the people: the time for illusions is over. The time for decisions has arrived. We love the entire land of our forefathers and in some other time, we would have wanted to live here alone. But that will not happen. The Arabs, too, have dreams and needs. 

 

Between the Jordan and the Mediterranean there is no longer a clear Jewish majority. And so, fellow citizens, it is not possible to keep the whole thing without paying a price. We cannot keep a Palestinian majority under an Israeli boot and at the same time think ourselves the only democracy in the Middle East. There cannot be democracy without equal rights for all who live here, Arab as well as Jew. We cannot keep the territories and preserve a Jewish majority in the world's only Jewish state - not by means that are humane and moral and Jewish.

 

Do you want the greater land of Israel? No problem. Abandon democracy. Let's institute an efficient system of racial separation here, with prison camps and detention villages. 

 

Do you want a Jewish majority? No problem. Either put the Arabs on railway cars, buses, camels and donkeys and expel them en masse - or separate ourselves from them absolutely, without tricks and gimmicks. There is no middle path. We must remove all the settlements - all of them - and draw an internationally recognised [sic] border between the Jewish national home and the Palestinian national home. The Jewish law of return will apply only within our national home, and their right of return will apply only within the borders of the Palestinian state. 

 

Do you want democracy? No problem. Either abandon the greater land of Israel, to the last settlement and outpost, or give full citizenship and voting rights to everyone, including Arabs. The result, of course, will be that those who did not want a Palestinian state alongside us will have one in our midst, via the ballot box. 

 

The prime minister should present the choices forthrightly: Jewish racism or democracy. Settlements, or hope for both peoples. False visions of barbed wire and suicide bombers, or a recognized [sic] international border between two states and a shared capital in Jerusalem. 

 

Why, then, is the opposition so quiet? Perhaps because some would like to join the government at any price, even the price of participating in the sickness. But while they dither, the forces of good lose hope. Anyone who declines to present a clear-cut position - black or white - is collaborating in the decline. It is not a matter of Labour versus Likud or right versus left, but of right versus wrong, acceptable versus unacceptable. The law-abiding versus the lawbreakers. What's needed is not a political replacement for the Sharon government but a vision of hope, an alternative to the destruction of Zionism and its values by the deaf, dumb and callous.

 

Israel's friends abroad - Jewish and non-Jewish alike, presidents and prime ministers, rabbis and lay people - should choose as well. They must reach out and help Israel to navigate the road map toward our national destiny as a light unto the nations and a society of peace, justice and equality.

 

 

Chapter 8 - Appendix 1  

 

Letters from PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, from Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, and from PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat to Norwegian Foreign Minister Johan Holst.[95]

 

Letter from PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin

 

Mr. Prime Minister,

The signing of the Declaration of Principles marks a new era in the history of the Middle East. In firm conviction thereof, I would like to confirm the following PLO commitments: 

 

- The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.

- The PLO accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.  

- The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process, and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations.

- The PLO considers that the signing of the Declaration of Principles constitutes a historic event, inaugurating a new epoch of peaceful coexistence, free from violence and all other acts which endanger peace and stability. Accordingly, the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline violators.

 

In view of the promise of a new era and the signing of the Declaration of Principles and based on Palestinian acceptance of Security Council Resolution 242 and 338, the PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel's right to exist, and the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid. Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant.

 

Sincerely,

Yasser Arafat

Chairman, Palestine Liberation Organization 

 

 

Letter from Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

In response to your letter of September 9, 1993, I wish to confirm to you that, in light of the PLO commitments included in your letter, the Government of Israel has decided to recognize the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and commence negotiations with the PLO within the Middle East peace process.

 

Yitzhak Rabin

Prime Minister, Israel 

 


Letter from PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat to Norwegian Foreign Minister Johan Holst

 

Dear Minister Holst,

 

I would like to confirm to you that, upon the signing of the Declaration of Principles, the PLO encourages and calls upon the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to take part in the steps leading to the normalization of life, rejecting violence and terrorism, contributing to peace and stability and participating actively in shaping reconstruction, economic development and cooperation.

 

Sincerely,

Yasser Arafat 

Chairman, Palestine Liberation Organization 

 

 



Chapter 8 - Appendix 2 

The Arab Peace Initiative - Full Text[96]

 

The text of the Agreement reached at the Arab League Summit in Beirut on March 28, 2002.

The Council of the League of Arab States at the Summit Level, at its 14th Ordinary Session, 

· Reaffirms the resolution taken in June 1996 at the Cairo extraordinary Arab summit that a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East is the strategic option of the Arab countries, to be achieved in accordance with international legality, and which would require a comparable commitment on the part of the Israeli government. 

· Having listened to the statement made by his royal highness Prince Abdullah Bin Abdullaziz, the crown prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in which his highness presented his initiative calling for full Israeli withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied since June 1967, in implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, reaffirmed by the Madrid Conference of 1991 and the land for peace principle, and Israel's acceptance of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in return for the establishment of normal relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel.

· Emanating from the conviction of the Arab countries that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties, the council: 

1. Requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well. 

2. Further calls upon Israel to affirm: 

a)     Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights to the lines of June 4, 1967, as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon. 

b)     Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194. 

c)     The acceptance of the establishment of a Sovereign Independent Palestinian State on the Palestinian territories occupied since the 4th of June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza strip, with east Jerusalem as its capital. 

3. Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following: 

a)     Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region. 

b)     Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace. 

4. Assures the rejection of all forms of Palestinian patriation which conflict with the special circumstances of the Arab host countries. 

5. Calls upon the government of Israel and all Israelis to accept this initiative in order to safeguard the prospects for peace and stop the further shedding of blood, enabling the Arab Countries and Israel to live in peace and good neighborliness and provide future generations with security, stability, and prosperity. 

6. Invites the international community and all countries and organizations to support this initiative. 

7. Requests the chairman of the summit to form a special committee composed of some of its concerned member states and the secretary general of the League of Arab States to pursue the necessary contacts to gain support for this initiative at all levels, particularly from the United Nations, the security council, the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the Muslim States and the European Union.

 

 

 



[1]Devon Haynie “Poll: Arabs See US as a Threat,” US News,(April 11, 2017).

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2017-04-11/poll-arabs-believe-israel-us-are-biggest-threat-to-the-region

[2]Denmark ‘Egypt’s Foe,’ Says Poll,” BBC,(November 1, 2006).

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6107160.stm

[3]Philip Hitti,History of the Arabs, 10thed. (MacMillan Press Ltd London), 1970. P. 233.

[4]Ibid, P. 353.

[5]Ibid, PP. 356-357.

[6]Bernard Lewis,The Jewsof Islam(Princeton University Press,Princeton, New Jersey, 1987), P. 50.

[7]John Garraty and Peter Gay, editors,The Columbia History of the World, (New York: Harper & Row, 1981, PP. 289-290).

[8]Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby, or The New Generation,(Kessinger Publishing, Whitehish, MT, 2004), P. 179,

http://www.amazon.com/Coningsby-Generation-Benjamin-Beaconsfield-Disraeli/dp/1419113887/ref=reader_auth_dp/102-7296008-3005735

[9]In a BBC report on Israeli Jews from Iraq published in May 2007, Yakov Reuveni remembered his youth in the 1940s: “We used to eat with them, sleep with them, go to school with them; the Arabs and the Jews went to the same high school. During the Shi’ite festival of Muharram we would take part in the procession and along with our Arab friends, beat our chests to remember the epic battle of Karbala . . . After school we would go out to the date palm grove with the freshly caught fish from the river Hidekel, which we would barbeque in the fields over an open fire . . . Jews shared almost all aspects of life with their Arab neighbors”. Another interviewee, Eli Mizrakhi, whose family came from northern Iraq said, “Most of us still feel connected to the country where we or our ancestors came from. Our parents and our grandparents still remember many things from their Iraqi past and they bring them to us, with food, music, language.”

Lipika Pelham, “Israelis from Iraq Remember Babylon”, BBC,(May 7, 2007),

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6611667.stm

[10]Julian Worricker, “BBC WS Claims Israeli ‘Pressure’ and ‘Incentives’ Led Jews to Flee Iraq,” BBC World Service, (November 21, 2017).

https://bbcwatch.org/2017/11/21/bbc-ws-claims-israeli-pressure-and-incentives-led-jews-to-flee-iraq/

[11]Jewish Virtual Library,“Balfour Declaration: Text of the Declaration,” (November 2, 1917).

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/text-of-the-balfour-declaration

[12]Michael Bard, “The Exodus of 1947-48” Jewish Virtual Library, (updated August 2015).

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/refugees.html

[13]Palestine Land Society, “Al-Nakba Anatomy.”

http://www.plands.org/en/books-reports/books/right-of-return-sacred-legal-and-possilble/from-refugees-to-citizens-at-home

[14]Paul Craig Roberts, “The Genocide of a Land,” Foreign Policy Journal,(August 22, 2016).

https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/08/22/the-genocide-of-a-land/

[15]MidEastWeb, “Population of Ottoman and Mandate Palestine, The Population of Palestine Prior to 1948,” 

http://www.mideastweb.org/palpop.htm

[16]Ibid. 

[17]Sami Hadawi, Palestinian Rights & Losses in 1948: A Comprehensive Study. (Saqi Books, London,1988).

[18]Jewish Virtual Library, “Vital Statistics: Latest Population Statistics for Israel,” (May 2017).

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/latest-population-statistics-for-israel

[19]MidEastWeb, “Population of Ottoman and Mandate Palestine,

[20]State of Palestine, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, “Palestine in Figures 2016,” (March 2017).

http://www.pcbs.gov.ps/Downloads/book2261.pdf

[21]Jewish Virtual Library,Fact Sheet: Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries.”

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jewish-refugees-from-arab-countries

[22]Elon Gilad, “If the Messiah Isn't Here Yet, Does Israel Belong to the Jews?,” Haaretz,(March 24, 2017).

https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/.premium-1.779154

[23]Ibid.

[24]The “Sacred Mosque” is believed to be at Mecca. The “Farthest Mosque” is believed to be at Jerusalem.

[25]United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Palestine Refugees.

https://www.unrwa.org/palestine-refugees

[26]The Six Books,Sahih Muslim,traditions 6526 to 6540, PP. 1126-1127.

[27]Sahih al-Bukhari, traditions 481, P. 40 and tradition 6026, P. 510; and Sahih Muslim, tradition 6585, P. 1130.

[28]Sahih Muslim, traditions 6582 and 6585 to 6589, P. 1130.

[29]Steve Holland and Maayan Lubell, “Trump Recognises Jerusalem as Israel's Capital, in Reversal of Policy,” Reuters,(December 6, 2017).

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-trump-israel/trump-recognises-jerusalem-as-israels-capital-in-reversal-of-policy-idUKKBN1DZ053

[30]Andrew England, “Arab ministers sound warning on Trump’s Jerusalem decision,” Financial Times,(December 11, 2017).

https://www.ft.com/content/91e5b398-ddb6-11e7-a8a4-0a1e63a52f9c

[31]Jerusalem Embassy: Abbas Says Trump Plan 'Slap of the Century',” BBC,(January 15, 2018).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-42684082

[32]Robin Emmot, “Abbas wins EU backing for Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem,”Reuters,(January 22, 2018).

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-israel-abbas/abbas-wins-eu-backing-for-palestinian-capital-in-east-jerusalem-idUKKBN1FB1NM

[33]Arab leaders mute on Syria strikes at Saudi summit,” Al Jazeera, (April 15, 2018).

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/04/arab-leaders-mute-syria-strikes-saudi-summit-180415174014924.html

[34]Ibid.

[35]Egypt’s al-Azhar Head Rejects Meeting with US Vice President over Jerusalem,” Egypt Independent,(December, 9, 2017).

http://www.egyptindependent.com/egypts-al-azhar-head-rejects-meeting-us-vice-president-jerusalem/

[36]Egypt’s Coptic Pope Rejects Pence Meeting over Jerusalem,” The Times of Israel,(December 9, 2017).

https://www.timesofisrael.com/egypts-coptic-pope-rejects-pence-meeting-over-jerusalem/

[37]Jeff Mason,Pence Tells Egypt's Sisi that U.S. Still Backs Two-State Solution,” Reuters,(January 20, 2018).

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-egypt/pence-tells-egypts-sisi-that-u-s-still-backs-two-state-solution-idUKKBN1F90YT

[38]Al-Sayyid Ali al-Hussainin Al-Sistani official Website.

[39]Jeff Mason,Pence Tells Egypt's Sisi that U.S. Still Backs Two-State Solution,” Reuters,(January 20, 2018).

[40]Amir Tibon and Noa Landau, “Trump Threatens to Cut Palestinian Aid; Says Israel Would Have 'Had to Pay' for Jerusalem Recognition,” Haaretz, (January 3, 2018).

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-trump-threatens-to-cut-palestinian-aid-israel-would-have-had-to-pay-for-jerusalem-move-1.5630315

[41]Rami Amichay, “Likud Party Calls for De-Facto Annexation of Israeli Settlements,” Reuters,(December 31, 2017).

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-israel-palestinians-likud/likud-party-calls-for-de-facto-annexation-of-israeli-settlements-idUKKBN1EP0M4

[42]14 delegations (out of 15) voted in favor of Resolution 2334 and one abstention (U.S.). United Nations, Security Council, “Israel’s Settlements Have No Legal Validity, Constitute Flagrant Violation of International Law, Security Council Reaffirms,” (December 23, 2016).

https://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sc12657.doc.htm

[43]Ibid.

[44]As U.S. Embassy moves to Jerusalem and Gaza rages, where is Trump's promised peace plan?,” USA Today, (May 15, 2018).

https://eu.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/05/15/embassy-jerusalem-gaza-erupts-no-trump-peace-plan-editorials-debates/611401002/

[45]Rodrigo Campos, “U.S. Threatens to Withhold Aid Cash to Palestinians,” Reuters, (January 2, 2019).

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-palestinians-aid/u-s-threatens-to-withhold-aid-cash-to-palestinians-idUKKBN1ER1WV

[46]Arshad Mohammed, “U.S. Withholds $65 Million in Palestinian Aid After Trump Threat,” Reuters,(January 16, 2018).

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinians-usa/u-s-withholds-65-million-in-palestinian-aid-after-trump-threat-idUSKBN1F52GA

[47]After US Cuts, Palestinian Refugee Agency Seeks Donations,”TheNewArab,(January 17, 2018).

https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2018/1/17/after-us-cuts-palestinian-refugee-agency-seeks-donations

[48]Saudi king announces $150 million for East Jerusalem,” France 24, (April 15, 2018).

http://www.france24.com/en/20180415-saudi-king-announces-150-million-east-jerusalem

[49]Amir Tibon, “Bernie Sanders Slams Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince, Says Israel 'Overreacted' to Gaza Protests,” Haaretz, (April 16, 2018).

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/bernie-sanders-slams-netanyahu-says-israel-overreacted-in-gaza-1.6009159

[50]United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), “Who We Are?”.

https://www.unrwa.org/who-we-are

[51]United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), “Frequently Asked Questions”.

https://www.unrwa.org/who-we-are/frequently-asked-questions

[52]United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), “How We Spend Funds.”

https://www.unrwa.org/how-you-can-help/how-we-spend-funds

[53]US ends aid to Palestinian refugee agency Unrwa,” BBC (September 1, 2018).

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-45377336

[54]Ibid.

[55]United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), “Resolution 194.”

https://www.unrwa.org/content/resolution-194

[56]Rodrigo Campos, “U.S. Threatens to Withhold Aid Cash to Palestinians,” Reuters, (January 2, 2019).

[57]David Brunnstom, “Trump cuts more than $200 million in U.S. aid to Palestinians,” Reuters, (August 24, 2018).

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-palestinians/u-s-to-redirect-over-200-million-in-aid-from-west-bank-gaza-idUSKCN1L923C

[58]Ibid.

[59]In 2012, the Authority allocated $3.9 billion out of $11.9 billion:

“West Bank and Gaza Public Expenditure & Financial Accountability (PEFA). Public Financial Management Performance Report,” The World Bank, Report No. AUS3141,(June 17, 2013),PP. 101-102.

http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/221731468329969745/pdf/AUS31410REVISE0rt0September0202013.pdf

[60]Trump cuts $25 million in aid for Palestinians in East Jerusalem hospitals,” Reuters, (September 8, 2018).

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-palestinians-hospitals/trump-axes-25-million-in-aid-for-palestinians-in-east-jerusalem-hospitals-idUSKCN1LO0O0

[61]Trump administration announces closure of Washington PLO office,” Al Jazeera, (September 10, 2018).

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/trump-administration-close-plo-office-washington-dc-180910064915646.html

[62]The four members were: Menachem Rosensaft, Drora Kass, Stanley Sheinbaum, and Abe Udovich. 

 “Arafat Meets 5 U.S. Jewish Leaders in Sweden; Israel Irate,” Los Angeles Times,(December 6, 1988).

http://articles.latimes.com/1988-12-06/news/mn-1015_1_american-jewish-leaders

[63]“ARAFAT SAYS P.L.O. ACCEPTED ISRAEL,” The New York Times, (1988)

https://www.nytimes.com/1988/12/08/world/arafat-says-plo-accepted-israel.html

[64]Ibid.

[65]Arafat and the General Assembly came to Geneva because George Shultz refused to give the Palestinian leader a visa to enter the US. 

R.C. Longworth, “Shultz Helps Arafat Get Right Words,” Chicago Tribune, (December 15, 1988).

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1988-12-15/news/8802240683_1_palestinian-leader-yasser-arafat-renounces-terrorism-plo

[66]Ibid.

[67]Ibid.

[68]Ibid.

[69]The Madrid Conference, 1991, US Department of State, Office of the Historian.

https://history.state.gov/milestones/1989-1992/madrid-conference

[70]Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE.

[71]Megan O’Toole, “Palestine-Kuwait relations: 'Ice has started to melt',” Al Jazeera, (August 6, 2015).

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/08/palestine-kuwait-relations-ice-started-melt-150805072107680.html

[72]The Madrid Conference, 1991, US Department of State, Office of the Historian.

[73]Seeds of Peace. 

https://www.seedsofpeace.org/about/

[74]Ibid.

[75]Twenty-five years later, more than 7,000 youngstersfrom the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, and the United States benefited from the Seeds of Peace experience.

Ibid.

[76]Debra Bradley Ruder, “Planting Seeds of Peace,” The Harvard Gazette, (September 8, 1994).

https://www.seedsofpeace.org/planting-seeds-of-peace-the-harvard-gazette/

[77]Seeds of Peace.

[78]Debra Bradley Ruder,Planting Seeds of Peace.”

[79]Jewish Virtual Library, “Israel-Palestinian Peace Process: Declaration of Principles On Interim Self-Government Arrangements ("Oslo Accords"),” (September 13, 1993).

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/declaration-of-principles

[80]Raphael Ahren, “No Regrets, Many Laments, from the Architect of Oslo,”The Times of Israel,(September 15, 2013).

https://www.timesofisrael.com/no-regrets-many-laments-from-the-architect-of-oslo/

[81]Text: 1993 Declaration of Principles”BBC,(Last updated:November 29, 2001).

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/middle_east/israel_and_the_palestinians/key_documents/1682727.stm

[82]Jack Khoury, “Arab League Rejects Israel as Jewish State,” Haaretz, (March 26, 2015).

https://www.haaretz.com/arab-league-nixes-israel-as-jewish-state-1.5339646

[83]Israel passes Jewish nation law branded 'racist' by critics,” The Independent, (July 19, 2018).

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-jewish-nation-state-law-passed-arabs-segregation-protests-benjamin-netanyahu-a8454196.html

[84]Avi Isaaccharoff, “Arab States Unanimously Approve Saudi Peace Initiative,” Haaretz, (March 28, 2007).

http://www.haaretz.com/news/arab-states-unanimously-approve-saudi-peace-initiative-1.216851

[85]Adam Rasgon, “Arab Leaders at Summit Endorse Two-State Solution.”

[86]The roadmap: Full text,” BBC, (April 30, 2003).

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2989783.stm

[87]Barak Ravid, “Netanyahu: Israel Will Never Accept Arab Peace Initiative as Basis for Talks with Palestinians,” Haaretz,(June 13, 2016).

http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.724725

[88]S. Daniel Abraham, “Arab Peace Initiative,” Center for Middle East Peace.

http://www.centerpeace.org/explore/arab-peace-initiative/

[89]“Israel Report: More than 400,000 Settlers in West Bank,” Middle East Monitor, (February 19, 2016).

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160219-israeli-report-more-than-400000-settlers-in-west-bank/

 

[90]Stuart Winer, “Current Lord Balfour Says Israel Failing to Live up to 1917 Declaration,” The Times of Israel,(October 22, 2017).

https://www.timesofisrael.com/current-lord-balfour-says-israel-failing-to-live-up-to-1917-declaration/?utm_source=current-lord-balfour-says-israel-failing-to-live-up-to-1917-declaration&utm_medium=desktop-browser&utm_campaign=desktop-notifications#

[91]Paul S. Boyer,When US Foreign Policy Meets Biblical Prophecy,”Alternet, (February 20, 2003),

https://www.alternet.org/story/15221/when_u.s._foreign_policy_meets_biblical_prophecy

[92]1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, Lebanon wars in 1982 and 2006, and three wars against Hamas in Gaza (2008, 2012, 2014).

[93]In the integration of East and West Germany an example.

[94]Avraham Burg, “The End of Zionism,”The Guardian, (September 15, 2003). 

Reprinted with permission of The Forward, which translated and adapted the essay from an article that originally appeared in Yediot Aharonot.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/comment/0,10551,1042071,00.ht

 

[95]Jewish Virtual Library, “Israel-Palestinian Peace Process: Letters of Mutual Recognition,” (September 9, 1993).

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/israel-palestinian-letters-of-mutual-recognition-september-1993

[96]Arab Peace Initiative: Full Text, The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/mar/28/israel7



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