April 21, 2024

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Dear President Trump: A peace deal isn’t the same thing as peace


Donald Trump loves deals. He’s made that fact the centerpiece of his career, and the title of one of his books is “The Art of the Deal.”

And he has said that he wants to continue that path to make a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Arab leaders.

In November, days after winning the election, he called a peace treaty “the ultimate deal.”

“I’ve always heard that perhaps the toughest deal to make is the deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Trump said to Abbas when he visited the White House. “Let’s see if we can prove them wrong.”

There is only one problem.

A deal isn’t the same thing as peace.

Israel brokered peace deals with Jordan and Egypt. Both of them are cold peace deals, but they have been solid for decades.

Yet Palestinians cannot be trusted to hold on to any deal, for one very simple reason.

Unlike Jordan and Egypt, they claim all of Israel as their own.

They might accept Israel as a temporary entity, but they consider all of the boundaries created by Westerners in the early 1920s for the British Mandate to be their “historic lands.” (Egypt considers parts of the Negev to be its territory and Jordan might have some slight claims but they do not claim the entire Israel the way the Palestinians do.)

Yasir Arafat has remained the undisputed leader of the Palestinians even after his death. Mahmoud Abbas would never dare to do anything Arafat wouldn’t do.  Arafat, and the Palestinian leaders, were very consistent since 1974 with the “phased plan” which included:

The Liberation Organization will employ all means, and first and foremost armed struggle, to liberate Palestinian territory and to establish the independent combatant national authority for the people over every part of Palestinian territory that is liberated. This will require further changes being effected in the balance of power in favour of our people and their struggle.

The Liberation Organization will struggle against any proposal for a Palestinian entity the price of which is recognition, peace, secure frontiers, renunciation of national rights and the deprival of our people of their right to return and their right to self-determination on the soil of their homeland.

Any step taken towards liberation is a step towards the realization of the Liberation Organization’s strategy of establishing the democratic Palestinian state specified in the resolutions of previous Palestinian National Councils.

In light of this programme, the leadership of the revolution will determine the tactics which will serve and make possible the realization of these objectives.

A PLO peace deal with Israel is not meant to be permanent. It is meant as an introduction to the next phase, whether it is “right to return” or new diplomatic pressure or increased terror or even military battles and rockets and tunnels that will be much harder to defend against.

Every Palestinian knows this. It is not a secret. Arafat said it in a speech broadcast hours after he signed the first peace agreement with Israel.

“[the agreement] will be a basis for an independent Palestinian state in accordance with the Palestinian National Council resolution issued in 1974 … The PNC resolution issued in 1974 calls for the establishment of a national authority on any part of Palestinian soil from which Israel withdraws or which is liberated.”

 Arafat repeated this idea a number of times, referring to the “oath” of Arab dominance over all of Palestine.  In 1996, for example, he said

“They will fight for Allah, and they will kill and be killed, and this is a solemn oath…Our blood is cheap compared with the cause which has brought us together and which at moments separated us, but shortly we will meet again in heaven…Palestine is our land and Jerusalem is our capital”

There are plenty of other relevant quotes from Palestinian officials. For example, PLO official Abbas Zaki said that a two-state solution is the spark that will lead to Israel’s collapse.

The Palestinian people, when polled on the topic, admit that they only accept a two-state solution as a stage to become a single Arab state. 66% said this explicitly in a poll in 2011, and in 2014, 60% said that this should be the goal for the following five years.

To Palestinians, a deal is not final. It is a stage. Peace with Israel isn’t a goal; Arab dominance over Israel and eventual destruction of Israel is the goal.

No matter how the deal is worded, and what provisions are placed inside the document to forestall Palestinians from implementing the next phases, they will continue to teach their children that all of Israel is illegitimate and stolen land from them. They did it during the optimistic days Oslo process 24 years ago  and they do it today, what incentive do they have to teach peace?

A peace deal is not the same as peace, and even a cold peace is not possible with people who say, over and over, that their goal is the eventual destruction of their “peace partner.” The best deal would buy a little time, but nothing else.

It would take generations to change the situation as it is.

Chasing a deal is the wrong message. In this case, where Palestinians claim the entire region as their own, a peace deal might be possible  – but peace is certainly not.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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