Filed under: Palestine
Israel has always been open and willing to conclude peace agreements with Arab and Muslim countries, as long as its existence and security is not put in danger. In the Arab world, many believe that the road to Washington runs via Jerusalem. Even if this is not the case (anymore), this belief served everyone's interest; Jordan and Egypt gained better relations to the US as well as considerable financial aid, and Israel attained (cold) peace with two Arab nations and more recently (1996) a trade partnership with Qatar. Since the coalition is pretty much trapped in Iraq's quagmire, the situation in the region changed dramatically. Iran and the Shiias are on the wave and they have found themselves powerful satellites, namely Hezbollah, Syria and Hamas. For the time being it does not matter that Hamas is Sunni and Iran Shiia, as long as they are fighting a common enemy.
There was Madrid, Oslo and Camp David, Beirut summit, the famous Road Map and now the Saudi plan, which is actually the resuscitated plan of King Abdullah, presented earlier at the Beirut summit.
The Media Line reported that, "Members of the Arab League, meeting in Riyadh, have unanimously approved the 2002 Saudi peace initiative. One abstention came from Ismail Haniyye, the Hamas leader who serves as prime minister in the Palestinian government. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas voted in favor. In his remarks to the assemblage, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal threatened that, 'If Israel refuses (to accept the plan) that means it doesn't want peace. Then (the conflict) goes back into the hands of the lords of war.' But European Union foreign affairs envoy Javier Solana urged the league not to see the plan as a take it or leave it proposition, but rather to "get the negotiations started. In any negotiations there are changes in positions, because negotiations are like that." After the plan was initially unveiled in 2002, the issue of a Palestinian "right of return" was added. Recently, Israeli leaders have called on the Arab world to drop that provision, seen as a deal-breaker by the Israelis, so that progress can be made in negotiations based upon the plan. The Arab leaders (as expected) rejected the idea."
Some of the obstacles are as follows:
-decades old hatred (both sides) and the urge to gain through revenge the lost dignity of the Islamic Ummah (that is one sided), status of Jerusalem and that of refugees - which are two of the points Hamas always said that are not negotiable, normalization of relations with Syria (by returning the Golan heights, the Arab brevetted invention called 'peace for land' -- going back to 1967 borders while there is in place the Hudna, a period of calm till Arab Muslims and Iran grow strong enough to eradicate Israel.
I did not even mention the Israeli security concerns because they become completely irrelevant when its partners won't settle for anything less than its destruction.
At the Riyadh summit, the Saudis made efforts to stabilize the relationship between Hamas and Fatah, not for the sake of the Palestinians, as some idealists would hope, but rather to minimize the Iranian role in the Palestinian affairs and the region. Saudi Arabia is a family owned business whose sole priority is retention of power for a family only three generations away from herding camels in the desert. They cannot allow Shiias (it is common knowledge by now that the Wahhabi abuses the Shiia minority) to take over their land and consequently over the wealth.
It is always good to remember that Hamas is actually acting as the Muslim Brotherhood branch in the territories. The fact that it carries a different name does not alter its ideology and core principles. Far from being a democratic leader, although that is what he claims to be, President Mubarak at least recognized the Muslim Brotherhood cancerous ideology that spread from Egypt to Gaza long before 1948 and much more virulently afterwards. Briefly put the MB is as perilous as the Nazi ideology was because they want to establish the perfect, global Islamic Caliphate. Obviously they not only promote violence and terror against the others (non Muslims) but their clerics release fatwas saying that the Jihhadists (translating, criminals) are emissaries of God, which is actually conform with the teachings on Quran, Hadith and Sunnah. From this perspective the writings of Sayyed Qutb, Michel Aflaq and al Banna are intellectually challenging and revealing from an ideological point of view. As Shahada says, which is the initial declaring of faith, "There is no sovereign legislator other than Allah and Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) is His slave and final Messenger." The Caliphate being established after God's rule rises above all principles, theories etc we can come up as simple human beings. MB (as Hizb ut Tahrir) summarizes the Islamic foreign policy as following: 1) dawah (primary invitation to the true belief and the only God) followed by intellectual debate/discussions with the elites of the Jews and Christians, namely the People of the Book. The others are considered apostates from the get go and they do not deserve to be engaged at an intellectual level since they cannot appreciate the greatness of God in the first place. 2) There will be a period of toleration when the non Muslims - male only - will be required to pay the jizya, the protection tax and 3) preparation for an offensive Jihad. As in the past, the Catholic church/Crusaders helped people understand, by any necessary means, how unsafe and foolish of them is to reject the gospel preached I can say today that what goes around comes around, even if centuries later.
At the surface the conflict may involve the desire of acquiring more wealth, of becoming regional and global players, etc but the essence of this struggle is the search and recognition of our moral identities as human beings. I would have thought that in a Godless world (or close to be so), religion is the last thing we can be greatly influenced by, but in the light of the past years this assessment proves to be, if not a fallacy, then at least a loophole vision of the current events.
I do not doubt for a minute that the Palestinians have freely chosen Hamas, knowing well that Hamas represents the forces of Islamic terrorism. They also overwhelmingly backed Fatah and Arafat when he aligned himself with the Soviets back in the cold war. This is exactly why the Palestinian people have lived in misery and will continue to do so. Given a choice, they always chose the forces of hatred and fanaticism. Therefore, it is pointless to proceed with any peace plans, much less the idiotic plans set up by the Saudis of all extremists! The phony negotiations with the unrepresentative and endlessly dishonest Abbas are delaying what is the only practical path to eventual peace -- the complete destruction of Hamas just as Nazism had to be completely annihilated to allow peace to come to Europe. The leftists are still deluding themselves that peace and stability can be achieved with terrorist entities.
But how do you deal with an extremist, terrorist movement when those who are part of it have a creed so strong, so irrational and yet so very convincing to themselves that they see death in the struggle against oppression as a victory not a defeat. In fact they yearn not for victory of this world but the next. Prophet Muhammad says that the best action in Islam is fighting oppression, better than any prayer, fasting, charity or kindness is to deliver mankind from the oppression of man made and man imposed rules to the rule of the Just, and who is more Just that the one who Created Man? How exactly can one fight this ideology with reason and diplomacy? No more need to be said.
Writing about the "eagerness" of the Arab Muslims to live peacefully side by side with Israel, Charles Krauthammer said, "The world will soon be awash with 40th anniversary retrospectives on the war -- and on the peace of the ages that awaits if Israel would only return to June 4, 1967. But Israelis are cautious. They remember the terror of that unbearable May when, with Israel possessing no occupied territories whatsoever, the entire Arab world was furiously preparing Israel's imminent extinction. And the world did nothing." Hamas simply does not negotiate, it dictates. Do we let the terrorists take over while we stick our heads in sand?! I hope not.