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Only a balance of power can force Israel to make peace
Saudi Gazette Newspaper, Sunday, September 22, 2013
By RAY HANANIA
The 1967 Arab-Israeli war was one of the most humiliating events for Arabs. In less than six days, Israel exposed the emptiness and bluster of the Arab leaders at the time.
Six years later, the Arab world attacked Israel and while they failed to restore Palestine, they restored Arab pride. They proved that despite Israel’s military might, it could be defeated. On Oct. 6, 1973, the Arab war against Israel’s brutality lasted 20 days.
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Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat reached out in a genuine gesture to Israel’s prime minister at the time, the former terrorist and murderer Menachem Begin, and offered to recognize Israel on behalf of the Arab world if Israel agreed to return the land it occupied during the 1967 war.
It was a simple request that represents the only possible foundation for a genuine peace. But instead, Begin and almost every successor after him, played games with peace by twisting the facts and lying about peace. Instead of Israel withdrawing, it has expanded its control over the occupied Palestinian land.
Now, 40 years later, Arab pride has been crushed again. Israeli leaders have exploited Arab peace gestures. In place of diplomacy, and as a result of Israel’s fundamental rejection of Arab and specifically Palestinian rights, some extremists have resorted to terrorism and horrific acts of suicide bombings and the targeting of civilians.
As we reminisce about that moment of pride 40 years ago, there is only one lesson to be learned: Israel only responds to peace when there is an equal balance of power between it and the Arab world.
Although Sadat failed to achieve peace because of Israeli deceit, his military assault proved that the Arab world could confront Israel on the battlefield. Sadat showed that it might take many more wars but it would only be one victory for the Arabs that would undermine Israel and reestablish the legitimate rights of the Palestinians to their land. And that’s why peace has failed ever since.
Begin and nearly every Israeli leader after him engaged in political deceit. Although Begin played the part of the peacemaker with Sadat, the truth is that Begin was clever and sought to make peace for the strategic purposed of dividing the Arab world.
And Begin, the founder of the first Middle East terrorist organization that blew up civilians, took hostages and murdered innocent prisoners in cold blood, was adamant that he would never make peace with the Palestinians.
Begin was willing to surrender the Sinai and maybe even the Golan Heights. But once Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt, there was no need to make peace with Syria, which was controlled by the brutal dictatorial Assad regime.
The October War was a victory for morality, principle and justice. The Arabs did not attack Israel to destroy it, as Israeli propaganda and the biased Western mainstream media asserted. Instead, the Arabs attacked Israel with the specific goal of taking back the land Israel stole in 1967.
Truth can be painful, but it needs to be said. Israel stole a lot of land from the Arabs beginning with its creation in 1948, in 1956 and then in 1967. In 1948, the world against the interests of justice partitioned Palestine into a ridiculous checkerboard state of seven areas, three Jewish, three Arab and with Jerusalem as an “international zone.”
But even before the partition, Israel’s pre-state terrorist militias attacked many Arab villages expelling Christians and Muslims. More than 700,000 Arab civilian refugees were forced from their homes at gunpoint, and in 1967, another 600,000 were forced to flee.
Instead of allowing the refugees to return to their homes, as required under the Fourth Geneva Convention (that Israel does not recognize, by the way), Israel gave their property to Jewish immigrants from Europe and the Arab world who were encouraged to settle in Israel.
All Israel had to do was return the land it occupied in 1967, the 30 percent of Palestine that included the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Arab East Jerusalem. And, it would have to return the Sinai to Egypt and the Golan Heights to Syria.
Begin returned the Sinai like a used car salesman, putting provisions on the Sinai that basically removed Egypt’s sovereignty from the land mass. Egypt signed an empty worthless peace accord that humiliated Egyptian pride. That was followed by another empty, worthless peace accord with Jordan. Syria remained helpless, incapable of doing anything under the brutality of the Assad regimes.
It is a tragedy because 40 years ago the Arabs were willing to make peace. Israel chose instead to play a game of divide and conquer. Divide the Arab world and conquer the rest of Palestine.
Many people said that Israel was willing to make peace because Begin was a hardliner and only an Israeli hardliner could make a deal that Israelis would accept. But the real reason for peace was that the Arabs showed Israel that if push came to shove, they could match Israel on the battlefield in a war, something that they are incapable of doing today. And because the Arab world, today, is incapable of fighting Israel on the battlefield, Israel has resorted to its old ways. Only a determined, united Arab world can force Israel to make the peace it has fought so hard to reject.
— Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. He can be reached at www.TheMediaOasis.com or follow him on Twitter @RayHanania
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