By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
Political-correctness suggests that the resolution of the Palestinian issue is predicated upon a dramatic Israeli land-concession and the establishment of a Palestinian state: the two state solution.
Moreover, political-correctness has subordinated Middle East reality and long term national security to the achievement of the holy grail of peaceful-coexistence between Jews and Arabs west of the Jordan River. In the process, the “holy grailers” have oversimplified the highly-complex, unpredictable, violent, intolerant, fragmented Middle East. This is the same school of thought, which applauded the 1993 (Oslo Accord) and 2005 (uprooting all Jews from Gaza) sweeping Israeli concessions – which, in fact, escalated terror, war and hate education – and misperceived the Arab Tsunami, in 2011, as an “Arab Spring,” the “Youth Revolution” and the “transition towards democracy.”
Political-correctness has preferred talk and assessment-based subjective “hope” over centuries-old, well-documented, objective walk-based realism.
While political-correctness has failed to advance peaceful-coexistence, it has forced the Arabs to outflank Western pressure (on Israel) from the maximalist side, radicalizing their demands, and further intensifying the obstacles to peace.
Political-correctness resembles a surgeon, who focuses on the spot of the surgery, ignoring the complex medical history of the entire body and its bearing upon the surgery.
For instance, the sustained Arab war against the Jewish State has taken place in the Middle East, which has featured a systematic, regional state-of-war, terrorism, subversion, provisional one-bullet-regimes, tenuous policies and agreements, short-lived ceasefires and the lack of civil liberties since the seventh century appearance of Islam. These have been almost entirely intra-Islamic, intra-Arab wars, reflecting the (so far) unbridgeable ethnic, tribal, cultural, religious, historical, ideological battles, which has dominated the region, totally unrelated to Israel.
The Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue are not “the Middle East conflict” or the top priorities for Arab policy-makers, irrespective of the Arab talk, which has, historically, deviated from the Arab walk.
Contrary to political-correctness, the Palestinian issue has never been the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a crown-jewel of Arab policy-makers, nor a core-cause of regional turbulence; but for Arab talk, unsubstantiated by Arab walk.
Political-correctness has assumed that “everyone wishes peace, prosperity and civil liberties,” ignoring the fact that the dictatorial Arab regimes have systematically denied their people such prospects. While most Arabs may hope for regional peace, and are not preoccupied with Israel, the concept of the majority-rule is yet to assert itself in Middle East political reality.
Political-correctness has considered Islam to be another religion of peace, overlooking its fundamental tenets. For example, the constant battle between the Abode of Islam and the eventual subservience of the Abode of the “Infidel”; the determination to spread Islam, preferably peacefully, but via war if necessary; the duty to dedicate one’s life to Jihad (Holy War) on behalf of Islam; the option to conclude provisional agreements - and to employ double-speak (Taqiyya), when negotiating - with the infidel; etc.
Arab attitudes toward Israel derive from the fourteen-century-old Islamic intolerance of Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and other “infidels,” who claim sovereignty in “the abode of Islam.” The key issue has never been the size – but the existence - of the “infidel” Jewish State on land, which is, supposedly, divinely-ordained to be ruled by “believers.”
Political-correctness has ignored, or down-played, another chief-obstacle to peace: the Palestinian track record from the wave of terrorism of the 1920s, through their alliance with Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Iran’s Ayatollahs, Saddam Hussein, North Korea and Venezuela, their training of international terrorists in Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen, and their current hate-education, incitement and terrorism. Such a track record attests to the anti-US impact of the proposed Palestinian state.
Would it be reasonable to assume that Israel’s withdrawal from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (which would drastically erode its posture of deterrence, unlike Israel’s substantial land concession to Egypt – the Sinai Peninsula) would cause the Arabs to grant to “the infidel Jewish State” peaceful-coexistence, which they have denied fellow “believers” since the seventh century?!
Would it be reasonable to assume that the Arab Middle East, which has been merciless towards weak, vulnerable fellow-Arabs, would display compassion towards a highly vulnerable “infidel” Jewish State, if it is reduced to a 9-15 mile-wide sliver along the Mediterranean, over-towered by a mountainous Palestinian state?!
The unfathomed gap between Middle East reality and the two-state-solution was demonstrated in 1993 when Israeli Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, promoted the two-state-solution and his vision of peace in “The New Middle East” (Henry Holt publishing). Attempting to rationalize Israel’s dramatic concession of its most strategic mountain ridge to the PLO, Peres asserted: “Arafat is a national symbol, a legend in his own time (p. 17)…. The international political setting is no longer conducive to war (p. 80)…. We must focus on this new Middle East reality… wars that will never be fought again (p. 85)…. We must strive for fewer weapons and more faith…. You could almost hear the heavy tread of boots leaving the stage…. You could have listened to the gentle tiptoeing of new steps making a debut in the awaiting world of peace (p.196)….”
In 1994, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Arafat, Peres and Rabin “for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East.” It was praised by the political, academic and media establishments, which chose to ignore Arafat’s track record, underlined by his 1959 and 1964 founding of Fatah and the PLO terror organizations, calling for “the liberation of Palestine” eight years and three years before the 1967 War, respectively.
In other words, the Palestinian focus has been the de-legitimization and destruction of the pre-1967 Israel, as highlighted by the 2017 Palestinian Authority K-12 school curriculum (established in 1993 by Mahmoud Abbas), Palestinian media and Fridaysermons in Palestinian mosques.
The “two-state-solution” gospel is a miniaturized replica of the 1938 “hope”-driven Anglo-German “peace-for-our-time” initiative of the British Prime Minister Chamberlain, who sacrificed national security clarity on the altar of a peaceful holy grail. He appeased a rogue regime, yielded the most strategic Czechoslovakian land to Germany, reflected feebleness and whetted the aggressive appetite of Hitler; thus producing a robust tailwind for the Second World War.
Will contemporary policy-makers avoid – or repeat – severe blunders?