Did you hear the big news about peace in the Middle East? I’m not all that surprised if you didn’t, but it is news, nonetheless. In a meeting in Saudi Arabia, Arab leaders talked about how they were so ready to have peace with Israel. Yay! Peace in our time! They said that the Arab nations would establish normal diplomatic ties with Israel just as soon as Israel stopped being such a bully to its neighbors. Speaking of neighbors, let’s look at the map to the right showing the Arab nations in green and that tiny sliver of Israeli blue. With that map in mind, here is what Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said at the recent meeting about the necessary steps to peace with Israel:
“Once Israel returns occupied land and comes to an agreement with the Palestinians, returns occupied land to Syria and comes to an agreement with them, and it resolves its land issues with Lebanon, Arab states will immediately establish relations.”
Faisal is saying that the Israelis need to give up the lands they paid for in blood when their oh-so-peaceful Arab neighbors attacked them, not once, but four times. And notice that it is Israel’s responsibility to kiss and make up with the Palestinians, Syria, and Lebanon before the Arab states in green will even recognize that there is a nation-state called Israel. Until then, we will see more maps with no Israel. Captain Ed of Captain’s Quarters has a reminder of what this land-for-peace idea has produced in the not-so-distant past:
The Saudis want Israel to commit to the concept of land for peace. Yet when Israel withdrew from Gaza, pulling out their settlements along with the IDF, did peace erupt all over? Most decidedly, no. The Palestinians used Gaza as a launch pad for their rockets, dropping them indiscriminately into Israeli towns, with only Palestinian incompetence keeping more civilians from dying. When that stopped amusing them, Hamas crossed into Israel to abduct Gilad Shalit, whom they still hold for ransom. Under those circumstances, why would Israel accept land for peace when they know they will not get it?
But even if Israel were to pretend that giving up its land would yield positive results this time around, the “peace offer” outlined by Faisal would still require Israel to apologize for its existence to people who indiscriminately launch rockets into its civilian population. And these people have made it clear that they don’t want to make nice with Israel; they just want Israel to vanish away. It reminds me of the famous scene in Goldfinger, with James Bond strapped to a table and a deadly laser moving closer to him. Bond asks the villain, “Do you expect me to talk?” The response is, “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” That, in essence, is what the Arab world has been saying to Israel for sixty years now.
Land for peace is the talk of the Arab conference, as stated by an anonymous former Saudi official: “What we’re saying is, accept the principle of land for peace, that it’s the basis for future negotiations, then we can work out the details.” But the cesspool Gaza has become demonstrates clearly that swapping land for peace should be as anathema to Israel as swapping freedom for security is to Americans. But based on what Faisal said at the Arab conference, land for peace seems to be the Arabs’ one-trick pony. “We cannot change the plan because it offers peace, and changing it would mean we’re no longer offering peace.” Yeah, it’s great discussing issues with someone who is so willing to compromise.
But why should the Arab nations want to compromise when Prime Minister Olmert is willing to compromise for them? Cox and Forkum did a good job of showing Prime Minister Olmert’s attitude toward any peaceful gesture by Israel’s Arab neighbors.
I just think it’s hard to discuss peace with any group whose flag shows exactly how they plan to achieve peace.