Peace in Israel or a Palestinian State?
In one of the most curious proposals for Middle East peace ever made, France recently presented Israel and the Palestinians with an invitation to participate in an international conference in Paris this coming summer. The idea of a peace symposium is not unique and certainly not strange, as many powerful nations including the United States have repeatedly tried to establish an all too elusive reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians, between the Jews and Arabs. The last such attempt, mediated by US Secretary of State, John Kerry, disintegrated in April 2014.
Yet, this one-sided plan from France borders on the bizarre. Some might even consider it preposterously pathetic. I would agree with that assessment, were it not for the potentially ominous consequences of France’s comply-or-else summons. Although the fine print details of the proposal have not yet been publicized, the basic agenda imposed by France has been clearly explained by the French ambassador to Israel. Which is: If Israel refuses to participate in the conference; OR, even if Israel does attend and diplomatic efforts fail to presumably reach some sort of agreement for some kind of peace, then France will by default recognize the existence of a Palestinian State within the borders of Israel.
Strangest of all, the French seem to be saying that it’s either peace in Israel or a Palestinian State … one or the other. The validity of this deduction is underscored by the fact that France knows all too well that Israel would never agree to a Palestinian State under the current pre-negotiated conditions imposed by the Palestinian Authority Fatah in the West Bank and certainly not by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Likewise, the Palestinians have shown absolutely no inclination whatsoever to relax their hard-core demands.
Demands such as: East Jerusalem as capital of a Palestinian State, Israel’s return to pre-1967 territorial borders, and full right of return of all post-1948 Arab refugees. But most significant of all: persistent Palestinian refusal to even recognize Israel as a sovereign Jewish State—the only such state in the world and one that is officially recognized by the United Nations collectively and virtually all non-Muslim countries individually.
Even the most uniformed on Middle East affairs would probably recognize that this is a unilateral ultimatum that heavily favors the Palestinians and unequally places Israel at a huge disadvantage in the collective eyes of practically every nation on earth. Never mind whether it would be the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank or Hamas of the Gaza Strip who would be the governing authority of this recognized Palestinian State or what the boundaries would be … all particulars could be sorted out later between the two rival Palestinian factions.
But could they be sorted out? Perhaps, but not without guns and knives. As it stands right now, there is no indication at all that either Hamas or the Palestinian Authority is willing to allow the other to be the ruling administration of the current territories occupied by their people, let alone a Palestinian State. However, neither France nor virtually any other nation really cares about the gory details, as long as a Palestinian State is achieved. (The details would be gory, because civil war among Arabs in Israel would be the inevitable result of the formation of a Palestinian State, unless Israel has a say in who will govern the Palestinians. Moreover, it’s crystal clear that Israel would not condone Hamas as this administrative body).
All the Pressure is On Israel
Thus, it would be a win-win for the Palestinians and a lose-lose for the Israelis.
Why? Because any “peace conference agreement” between the Palestinians and Israelis undoubtedly would be heavily slanted toward Palestinian demands, whether a Palestinian State was agreed to or not. The harsh reality of this implausible proposal is that the Palestinians have no incentive whatsoever to reach any peace agreement with Israel. Why would or should they, when France will unilaterally recognize a Palestinian State, “if the peace negotiations fail.” Or, perhaps even if Israel refuses to participate in the first place.
(This is the Palestinian State Desired by Palestinians)
The Palestinian Authority and/or Hamas can impose impossible conditions on Israel for “peace,” as they having nothing to lose by not negotiating in good faith. With everything to gain if no peace accord is reached; because France’s intention is to recognize a Palestinian State absent any agreement and presumably absent any negotiations at all. Doesn’t matter in the eyes of the French (and all nations who now or will later support France’s proposal) whether this potential lack of agreement is Israel’s fault, or the Palestinian’s fault, or both. Yet, given France’s support for the “Palestinian cause” most assuredly it will be Israel’s fault.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu called the French initiative, “mystifying.” That’s the classical understatement. In response to France’s untenable proposal, Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon affirmed Israel’s continuing support for, “direct negotiations with the Palestinians.” But that Israel is against, “…attempts to predetermine the outcome of negotiations.”
That statement is as diplomatic as a diplomat can get, while still getting the point across that the conditions imposed by France for such a proposal disproportionately favors the Palestinian position, while relegating Israel to the status of culprit should the peace conference fail. And, rest assured, the Palestinians will see to this failure.
Also, Israeli Foreign Minister, Alon Ushpiz met with France’s ambassador to Israel, Patrick Maisonnave; but refused to discuss the details of that meeting, i.e. whether Israel would comply with the French plan and join the Palestinians in such a peace conference.
What makes the French proposition even more ludicrous, if not hypocritical, is that before the peace conference offer was made, France knew what the Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister, Riad Al-Malki had said just the day before while visiting Japan with PA President Mahmoud Abbas: “We will never go back and sit again in a direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”
To appease France and other nations who have or will undoubtedly support such a convention, and also to consider all options that would unilaterally force Israel into an ostracized corner of world criticism (in keeping with the political strategy of Palestinian propaganda/lies to demonize Israel), Palestinian official, Ahmad Majdalani immediately contradicted Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Al-Malki’s statement of no more negotiations with the Israelis.
According to Majdalani, the Palestinians support the French initiative!
In one day’s time, the Palestinians reversed their position of no more negotiations with Israel for any reason, to a professed willingness to attend this biased (my way or the highway) forum under the pretense that if a powerful nation like France suggests more negotiations, then why not attend? But with the clear implication that the Palestinians need not make any concessions whatsoever during this conference.
Why should they when the United Nations has already granted the Palestinian Authority (and the Palestinians in general) non-member observant status in the UN. Much like other nations were eventually granted full UN membership after beginning with observer status. And, for example, Sweden, accepting in principle a Palestinian State, even though such a state does not exist. And now France adding its proposed recognition of a Palestinian State, with the obvious inference that it will do so if Israel doesn’t cooperate.
(Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu at a News Conference While in Berlin, Shortly After Hearing of France’s Proposed Peace Conference. His Expression Matches His Response that France’s Proposal Was Baffling)
Anti-Semitism is unfortunately alive and doing well all over the world, especially in Europe and most glaringly in France. Although the French government periodically issues purported support for Israel, the large Muslim population in France as well as many of the French, themselves, still harbor a strong and virulent animosity toward the Jews. Enough so that the French are now willing to confront Israel with our way or the highway ultimatum.
*Note: As with any generalization, my observation of France’s hostility toward Jews and Israel certainly doesn’t include all of the French, as there are some who truly support the existence of a Jewish State in general and Jews in particular.
Do the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs Really Want a State of Their Own?
The answer: Yes and No. With the, “yes,” side of the answer only requiring a short and not so sweet explanation: Most Palestinians want a Palestinian State in place of a Jewish State, not alongside Israel.
With the answer of, “no,” involving more elaboration, which will be done in the remainder of today’s article.
The majority of Palestinians do not (at least yet) really want or need a state of their own. Unless as indicated, it could somehow replace the State of Israel. As explained in a few prior Eye of Prophecy articles, especially one devoted to the subject almost exclusively, there are several reasons for Arab reluctance for a state of their own. One reason: They wouldn’t know what to do if they did become a State … seriously. At least not the so-called moderate among them. Conversely, the radical Palestinians, especially those in the Hamas camp, would know exactly what to do: Begin a series of coordinated attacks against Israel, while seemingly protected by statehood status.
What the Palestinians want most of all is simply for the international community to take sides against Israel. This would give more credibility to their underlying objective of a Palestinian State not just within certain borders of Israel, but a state replacing all of Israel. Because to the Arab and most non-Arab Muslims, there is no such thing as Israel. All one needs to do is talk to any Palestinian on the street, or listen to their prolific propaganda, or read their school curriculum, or examine their maps of Palestine. For example, some Palestinian officials have recently demanded that all Jews in Palestine should be required to return to the country from which they immigrated (to Israel).
Practically speaking, however, the Palestinian have no answers to some heavy-duty questions should a Palestinian State be recognized by France (or other nations), potentially followed by a United Nations resolution to declare a state of Palestine within Israel’s borders.
As already alluded, one such question is who would govern such a country. If today, or tomorrow, or the near future, or even years from now, a Palestinian State was actually approved by the UN or even by the P5 + 1 (United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany), there would be an immediate power struggle (civil war) between Hamas of the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank.
Another huge hurdle would be the actual territorial boundaries of such a Palestinian State. Which is why Israel must agree to such borders for purpose of their national security and national heritage and identity. That means that Israel would not surrender the Golan Heights, nor ever accept an official partition of West and East Jerusalem. Certainly, not to allow the Palestinian capital to be East Jerusalem, which includes Temple Mount. So, if France recognizes a Palestinian State, will they arbitrarily define these borders? Will they demand that the Jews vacate all settlements within the West Bank, including East Jerusalem? Would they unilaterally declare East Jerusalem as the Palestinian State Capital? Will they insist that Israel return the Golan Heights back to Syria? And, if Israel did, who or what in Syria would control the Golan Heights … given the fighting and anarchy already taking place in that war-torn country.
(Valley Beneath One of the Golan Heights Strategic High Points)
But the biggest obstacle of all: For years and years neither Hamas nor the Palestinian Authority has agreed to just two basic conditions requested by the Israeli government in order for the Jews to consider approval and acceptance of a Palestinian State: (1) Recognition of Israel itself as a sovereign Jewish State. (2) No Palestinian capital in (East) Jerusalem. It’s that simple. Israel is saying that a Palestinian State is feasible if the Palestinians would merely acknowledge the sovereign State of Israel, and agree to put a Palestinian capital anywhere in such a state except Jerusalem. Without these two concessions, all other negotiable issues are irrelevant.
Because the Palestinians refuse to even contemplate these two conditions but also because they continue to make other impossible demands, such as right of return of all so-called Arab refugees from the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948, 1967, and 1973, it’s little wonder that their leaders refuse to, “sit again in direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.” Unless, that is, prominent nations like France agree to recognize a Palestinian State should peace conference negotiations fail. It’s obvious that such a proposal gives the Palestinians a great deal of incentive to see that such negotiations do, in fact, fail.
*Note: This “right of refugee return” would result in millions of Arabs inundating Israel with the understandable result of making it untenable for a Jewish State to exist. The fact of the matter is that many Arabs who left Israel during these wars did so voluntarily. Others left because they were so ordered by their own Arab armies attacking Israel. Because most of them had nowhere to go, they were placed in refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon and Syria. They were NOT forced out of Israel by the Jews.
Here are some (italicized) excerpts from the Eye of Prophecy article entitled, A Palestinian State (No, say many Arabs!) that dovetails with today’s article. Posted on 4-11-14.
In today’s world, news flows from the Middle East, especially Israel, like water through a ruptured dam. United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, just returned from his 11th shuttle diplomacy trip to Israel, and plans on returning in the next few days. Although both the Israeli and Palestinian sides are showing signs that Kerry is wearing out his welcome, our administration continues its’ relentless march toward a two-state “peace agreement” solution between Israel and the Palestinians. At the core of such an arrangement is a not so hidden agenda within the framework of the US proposals that would require Israel to return to 1967 borders. To the Israelis this is unthinkable, and irony of all ironies, it is also a serious problem with the majority of the 1.5 million Israeli Arabs living in Israel!
Why would so many Arabs NOT want a Palestinian State? Isn’t that what all Arabs long for in Israel? Isn’t that the reason for past terrorist attacks on Israeli Jews? Or, the incessant demands by the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas and its rival counterpart Hamas in the Gaza Strip for Palestinian rights? Or the greater majority of world opinion to end so-called Israeli settlement occupation of certain territories within Israel? What is so problematic about a Palestinian State that is mapped along what many refer to as pre-1967 borders, that are not really borders at all … in the sense of a border between the US and Mexico, or France and Germany, or even between Israel and Jordan. Rather, these internal borders are more like cease-fire lines.
Who knows exactly what (how many) issues must be resolved before a final roadmap to peace is finished? Who can predict exactly what boundaries will encompass a Palestinian State; if, indeed, that is even possible in the first place? Who could possibly imagine that Israel would divide its capital by granting total sovereignty of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians or seriously jeopardize its security by yielding the Golan Heights to Syria? But there is one thing that Israel seems prepared to do up front, in response to non-stop Palestinian and international demands, including US plans, that Israeli West Bank settlements be evacuated (after the fashion of the Gaza Strip extradition).
From an article in an Israeli daily newspaper, Ma’ariv, we read that Israel has responded to the American proposals, by suggesting that Israeli Arab communities currently within Israel and under Jewish sovereignty be transferred to the Palestinian Authority as part of any future land swap; which, in turn, would return Jewish settlements of the West Bank to total Israeli sovereignty. Actually, this idea is not all that new, but it tends to fit with future boundaries suggested by Secretary John Kerry.
And as Palestinian journalist, Khaled Abu Toameh writes in his article for Gatestone Institute, “It was hard this week to find even one Israeli Arab who publicly supported the proposal.” Khaled goes on to say, “Arab Knesset members … do not want to wake up in the morning and discover that they are citizens of a Palestinian state. It is much easier for them to accuse Israel of racism than to admit that they do not want to be part of a Palestinian state.”
At face value that seems and sounds incredible—that Palestinians wouldn’t want to be governed by their own people. But after further review, it’s all too practical and easy to grasp. Pretty much ever since Israel became a nation, and especially since 1967 when hundreds of thousands more Arabs suddenly became citizens of Israel, those Israeli Arabs have been far better off than their Palestinian brothers living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Although there’s still a lot of hostility emanating from Israeli Arabs toward Israel, they understand that Israeli citizenship affords them much more freedom, democracy, a higher standard of living, movement throughout Israel, more places to shop for and buy the things they want and need; in short, a better way of life. The last thing they want is an abruptly changed life in a Palestinian State, controlled by a Palestinian government that could just as quickly take away many of the privileges they currently enjoy as Israeli citizens.
I have seen first-hand this inexplicable, almost bizarre dichotomy between the real-life benefits experienced by so many Arabs with Israeli citizenship, juxtaposed with their historical (ancient) anger toward Israel that (irrationally and illogically) simultaneously floods their heart and soul.
On the last day or next to last day of a trip to Israel that my sister and I made in March, 2006, we returned from the Western Wall and Temple Mount to our hotel in Jerusalem via a taxi. The taxi was driven by an Israeli Arab who I estimated to be about 63 years of age.
As with many Israeli taxi drivers, he was talkative and asked what brought us to Israel. My response was that I was doing research for a book (what at that time was my first book, a novel, called O Israel, and published in 2007). One thing led to another and I asked him whether he and his people the Arabs were better off under Jordanian rule or Palestinian authority or under Jewish government. I’ll never forget his answer. He replied that things were definitely better living in Israel (as an Israeli citizen) than under the old Jordanian government and (implying) under the PLO in the West Bank. He cited such things as jobs, schools, goods, freedom to move around, and opportunities in general. But then he abruptly halted his modest praise of this freedom in Israel, and said emphatically (a close paraphrase), “The Jews are wrong. This is still our land. They took it from us.”
The fact is that, with the exception of the aforementioned regions captured by Israel in 1967 (most of which were given back to Palestinian functional control), Israel has not taken any land from the Arabs. The Jews purchased nearly all the land where they currently reside, despite the evidence that it was given to them by the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and again by the UN in 1947. For that matter, any land captured in war, even by means of aggressive expansion has historically been conceded to the conqueror. None of Israel’s wars had anything to do with a deliberate attempt to annex more property and/or displace Palestinians. They were all conflicts of self-defense and national survival. Yet, they still returned most of the land gained through the blood of their soldiers and civilians. Think for a moment about our own Revolutionary War against the British. We gave not a single acre back to England; instead we went Westward Ho and accumulated millions of more acres all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Yes, the views expressed by our taxi driver exactly mirror the mindset of the Arabs in Israel, even the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (if they would admit it): We know we’re much better off as citizens of Israel, but they are still our eternal enemy.
With regard to a Palestinian State, it’s vital that we dispel two myths: (1) The Palestinians want a Palestinian State alongside of Israel. They do not; they want a nation to replace Israel. If they cannot have such a state, then they really don’t want or need sovereignty that would be a constant source of friction, not only with Israel but among their own people vying for supremacy to rule.
(2) That Israel is the main obstacle to a negotiated peace and/or a Palestinian State. Also, not true, although most of the Western world is under that impression … thanks to Palestinian propaganda in particular and Arab hype in general. But also responsible for this falsehood is leaders of prominent nations including, unfortunately, the United States; that is to say the current Presidential staff.
How much influence, then, would France exert and on whom, should the French government unilaterally recognize the two separated territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as an undivided Palestinian State? When, in fact, they are two distinct geographical areas in Israel, separated by a crucial corridor of Israel itself, and headed by two heated rivals … Palestinian Authority Fatah and Hamas.
Concerning Israel, herself, such a declaration or recognition would have little national impact. Meaning that Israel will not and cannot allow any foreign nation or even the United Nations to arbitrarily and capriciously create a Palestinian State unless a firm agreement is reached on the boundaries of that state, the capital of that state, and a few other less significant but nevertheless important conditions that Israel can at least tolerate.
Regarding the Muslim nations of the world and countries who support (in varying degrees) those Islamic nations, such a declaration would have a profound influence. If for no other reason than France is one of the three most powerful nations of Europe. France is also on the Security Council of the United Nations and one of the influential P5 +1 group of nations.
Such recognition by France would probably not generate any international legal backing; nor would an independent (of Israel’s input) acknowledgment of a Palestinian State mean that such a country would actually exist. It would, however, once again put incredible unwarranted global pressure on Israel to support such a recognition or bear the consequences of more intensified, but unjustified criticism and erroneous accusation that Israel is, for example, an apartheid state.
I agree with the clearly accurate analysis written in an article about France’s outlandish proposal, as posted in the online news source, United with Israel (not just because the article tracks with my assessment of what’s really taking place):
“The Palestinians are hoping that Israel encounters heavy international pressure, while they concede nothing in direct negotiations, which they have been systematically avoiding.”
That article concludes with: “France has threatened that if its diplomatic efforts fail, it will unilaterally recognize a Palestinian State. Israel says such a move provides an incentive for the Palestinians to refuse to compromise or negotiate directly. It insists a Palestinian state can only come about through direct negotiations, which the Palestinians consistently refuse to enter.”
Things to Ponder
We all need a solemn reminder what God Almighty has to say about the Promised Land of Israel. Not only will the Lord have the final say, but it goes without saying that peoples and nations would do well to heed his promises and warnings.
Long after God bequeathed the land of Israel to Abraham, then to Isaac, and then to Jacob, he divinely affirmed this everlasting land covenant to Moses and the Hebrews. Read with me the Lord’s declaration to Moses:
“Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!’” (Exodus 6:6-8).
“I am the Lord,” says it all. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the lower court, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of heaven and earth.
Most know the story of what happened after God issued this decree to deliver his people from Egyptian bondage and bring them to the Land promised to their ancestors and to them. Nothing less than some of the greatest miracles ever recorded … the ten plagues of Egypt. Followed by splitting of the Red Sea, manna from heaven for forty years, a river gushing from solid rock, the very presence of God on Mount Sinai and in the Tabernacle Holy of Holies, and the finger of God literally writing the Ten Commandments on solid stone tablets … and more!
May I ask a question? If the only true and living God rescued the Jews from Egyptian oppression and brought them to the Promised Land of Israel through a series of miracles and judgments against those who sought to destroy the Hebrews, why wouldn’t he judge peoples and nations in today’s world who also seek to destroy Jews in Israel and Israel itself? Based on hundreds of prophecies and promises in Scripture, the answer is absolutely obvious. God will defend and protect the Jews now that they are fulfilling the Lord’s magnificent plan to reinstate them to the Promised Land and restore them as his special possession from all nations of the world. Those who seek to destroy or even oppose Israel will answer to God, himself.
The Palestinians, Arab nations, Islamic countries, Europe, the United Nations and, yes even the United States would do well to sit up and take notice that God’s promises to Israel are just as valid today as they were when he brought Pharaoh and Egypt to their knees.
The stunning prophecies of Israel’s physical and spiritual restoration are unfolding before our 20th and 21st century eyes. God’s people have returned to the Land of Israel and have made it beautiful and prosperous again. Graciously, they have allowed the Palestinians to occupy (yes, it’s the Palestinians who are the occupiers) territories that are truly a significant part of the Promised Land of Israel … Judea and Samaria (called the West Bank) and the southwest coast, currently called the Gaza Strip.
Moreover, on the authority of Scripture and on peril of God’s wrath, this land must not be divided into two states or divided at all. All of it belongs to Israel, not the least of which is Jerusalem, the city that the Bible says God loves above all cities of the world. In that regard, even the Jews must be cautious about giving away any part of the land (permanently). To do so would be to deny the divine title-deed given to Israel in perpetuity.
Listen to the words of God Almighty to a prophet of Israel:
“The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads. Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history. But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place. And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance…
“Then my people living in the Negev will occupy the mountains of Edom. Those living in the foothills of Judah will possess the Philistine plains and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria. And the people of Benjamin will occupy the land of Gilead. The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath…” (Obadiah 1:15-20).
(Map of the Promised Land Given by God to the Jews … Includes Portions of Modern Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan)
The places listed in these verses represent and comprise all of modern-day Israel and more … as the original Promised Land was much larger than today’s Israel. And so it will be again.
“…And the Lord himself will be king!” (Verse 21).