US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said on Sunday that although the Trump administration’s long-anticipated Middle East peace plan is “pretty much completed,” the release of the proposal will be delayed by several months.
Friedman told reporters that Israel’s April elections “are a factor, but not the only factor” in the postponement. Trump wants to release the plan “in a way that gives it the best chance of getting a good reception.
“The challenge to a peace plan” said Friedman, “is making the case for a much more sober assessment of the realities in this region.”
In this article, we look to understand the political “realities” and look at one possible plan to be released after the Israeli election. The Oslo Peace Process was a failure; notwithstanding that failure, Western commentators and Israeli leftists still want to come up with a peace plan for a “two-state solution”. However, the militant Arabs, known, since 1967, as Palestinians, and the radical anti-Jewish state of Iran, all promise the destruction of the Jewish state, implying the genocide of another 6 million Jews.
American leftist elites and others around the world have been so intent on defeating, deriding and defaming Trump that they spend their time portraying him as an incompetent buffoon when he is anything but. In so doing they generally miss his rather substantial accomplishments – paving the way for North Korea to join the family of nations by limiting their nuclear ambitions, terminating the idiotic Iran agreement, its right to obtain nuclear weapons in a few years, ramping up sanctions against Iran, dealing at long last with the problems caused by illegal immigration on the Southern border, and pausing undesirable immigration from certain rogue Islamist states.
Those who follow American diplomacy are eager for the coming revelation of the contents of what Trump portrays as the “Deal of the Century” – a deal for peace between Israel and the Arabs.
Efraim Karsh, British-Israeli professor, founding director and emeritus professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King’s College London and director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, has stated:
“Contrary to conventional wisdom, there is nothing inevitable about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as evidenced by the largely peaceful Arab-Jewish relations during the Mandate era (1920-1948). Had Palestinian Arab leaders heeded the yearning of their constituents for coexistence with their Jewish neighbours rather than embark on a relentless campaign to obliterate the Jewish national revival, there would have been no 1948 war and no dislocation. Had they not impeded the development of Palestinian civil society and rejected all offers of statehood in subsequent decades, all the way to the present, the Palestinians would have long had their independent state.
“This reality was fully recognized as early as 1948 by millions of contemporary Arabs, Jews and foreign observers of the Middle East. As Palestinian refugees at the time told a British fact-finding mission to Gaza, ‘they have no quarrel with the Jews — they have lived with the Jew all their lives and are perfectly ready to go back and live with them again.’ Sadly, these historical facts have been erased from public memory by decades of propaganda and revisionist history.”
Damon Lenszner of the Israel Advocacy Movement has done a video carried on Israel Unwired at https://israelunwired.com/start-the-new-year-destroying-the-lies-of-jewish-voice-for-peace/
where he makes the valid point that:
“The real issue is that, by and large, the Arabs in the Middle East and in much of the world do not accept the right of the Jewish people to a State in Israel. It’s really as simple as that. You change that, and you’re well on your way to getting to the bottom of the problem.”
The Arabs turned aside all Israeli efforts after the Oslo Accords to get gradual sovereignty in a state in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”). Israel tried to give up Gaza but when the Gazans chose the path of perpetual war through their loyalty to Hamas, they created a nightmare for both their residents and the residents of nearby Israeli towns, often under missile attack from Gaza.
The Arabs’ failure to accept the Jews’ historical bond with Palestine is a mistake. Not just a tactical mistake, but a profound theological mistake and a failure to accept a reasonable interpretation of verses in the Qur’an.
This failure was compounded by the ideology of Jew-hatred passed from the Nazi friend al-Husseini to PLO chairman Yassir Arafat when they both lived in Egypt. Arafat promoted this genocidal approach to the Jews, and thereby ruined life for generations of so-called Palestinians who could have chosen to accept and cooperate with the Jews, and created of life of freedom, education in science and technology and the arts, rather than a life of terrorism and child-abuse.
The answer is to declare that the 2-state solution is dead because the Israelis offered it and the Palestinians rejected it three times in different “peace” initiatives.
At present, Sunni Arabs from Saudi Arabia and increasingly from Egypt and Jordan understand that the real threat to their governments and their stability comes from Shi’ite Iran and its sponsored terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. They have nothing to fear from Israel and instead now understand, whether they admit it publicly or not, that Israel will act for their benefit too in holding Iran in check.
Now it is clear why Trump could not take a tougher line on the brutal murder of the Saudi agent/journalist Khashoggi in Turkey and why he cannot speak out about the continued abuse of Saudi women and mistreatment of foreign laborers. His toleration is the price of Saudi quietude once the Deal of the Century begins to unfold.
Jordan and Egypt both have peace treaties with Israel, and they, along with the Saudis, are key to the coming peace plan.
To understand what follows, one has to go back in history nearly 100 years. Canadian scholar of Islamism and modern political history, Professor Salim Mansur, has written that an eventual deal must be “consistent with historical facts since 1917-18 and, more importantly, since 1921 when Churchill in Cairo, authorized by his government, partitioned the Palestine Mandate given by the League of Nations to Britain along the River Jordan and created the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan, now Jordan, to seat Britain’s Hashemite allies in Amman after they were driven out of Hejaz by the Saudi chieftain Abdulaziz ibn Saud.” Transjordan was to have been divided as to 78% to for the Arab state, Jordan, and 22% for the Jewish state, Israel, but Europe, especially Britain, messed it up in their efforts to placate Arabs and give them more than the 22%..
Daniel J. Arbess, writing in the Wall Street Journal on January 3, 2019 lays out in an essay called “The True-State Solution” the general provisions of a deal that would be informed by history, reality, Islamic reform and economic benefits, as follows:
“Palestinians have always been the majority in Jordan, though they haven’t been treated as such since its creation as a British-appointed Hashemite monarchy in 1921. The true-state solution would enfranchise the Palestinians. Jordan would extend citizenship to, and assume administrative responsibility for, Arabs now living on the West Bank of the Jordan River—including the cities of Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jericho—which would be Israeli territory. West Bank Jordanians could receive financial support to relocate across the river to Jordan itself if they wish, or remain as permanent residents (but not citizens) of Israel.
Israelis would be free to live anywhere west of the Jordan River. Variations of this “Jordan option” have received increasing attention across the region in recent years.”
Arbess reminds us of the division in the the Palestinian Mandate and how the Arabs pressured their British friends to further divide the Jewish 22%, with more land for the Arabs, in what became the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947. “The Jewish Agency for Palestine immediately accepted that plan. But when the General Assembly passed the resolution recognizing Israel’s independence, the Arab states immediately launched a war, which squandered the Partition Plan’s window for an Arab state on the West Bank.”
Jordan was left in possession of what the Arabs call the West Bank, but which the Jews call Judea and Samaria due to its historical status as Jewish land.
Jordan first attempted to annex the West Bank but then retracted the annexation and when Jordan and other Arab states invaded Israel and lost, this left Israel in full possession of the territory, which no Arab country had wanted.
The Palestinian leadership under Arafat, evolved from the terrorist group called the Palestinian Liberation Organization. It first fought with Jordan and in the “Black September” violence, Arafat and his organization were expelled from Jordan by the King. It was only then, that the Palestinian leadership, by now in exile in Tunisia, came up with the plan to persuade their friends in Britain and then everyone else that the Israelis had “occupied” this land, which of course is false both historically and legally. They made up the notion that a “Palestinian” people had some claim to land in the West Bank, called in Jewish history, Judea and Samaria.
The Israelis have indicated that they cannot make a deal without including Gaza in it. There is talk of creating free housing near Cairo and also the funding of Egyptian access to the nearby gas fields. Once Gaza is vacated and Hamas is destroyed, things will work out if the deal is properly funded. Gaza was previously emptied of its Jews by the Israelis and now it is time to empty it of its Arabs. Egypt may decide to build a whole new hotel and entertainment district along the coast.
It is estimated that at least 75% of Gazans want to get out of Gaza now, so once the opportunity of jobs and free housing is offered, we can expect them to choose that over the present option of living in “Hamastan”, a truly awful place, with rockets and missiles embedded in apartment buildings, hospitals and schools.
There are a number of cases both successful and unsuccessful where brand new cities have been built on empty sites. Israel created the city of Mod’in, Brazil created the city of Brasilia, and there are others. In Egypt the new city should be near Cairo. In Jordan, it could be planted beside an existing small to medium sized city. Before the housing would be started, the new city could be given a university or technical college and also some industries and then the new city could grow around those.
The problem is that we, in the West, and Muslims in the Middle East, have for too long accepted a distorted view of Islamic theology that makes perpetual war between Muslims and Jews unavoidable. The meek Western appeasers of radical Islam or Islamism, feel too weak to demand of Muslims, to whom they give money and other support, that they listen to theologians of Islam who make sense in the modern world rather than incite war.
There are some great Muslim intellectuals who are drawn to reform by freeing the religion of Islam from the evil political ideology of Islamism. Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum of Democracy in the U.S. and Professor Salim Mansur of Western University in London, Ontario are two eminent thinkers. Mansur, in his important new book, The Qur’an Problem and Islamism,states: “Modernization might be resisted and delayed, as Islamists remain determined to impede it, but it is ultimately irresistible. Its benefits are greatly desired and sought after by swelling numbers of Muslims. In time, historians will note that the brutal conflicts that followed September 11, 2001 were the last desperate failed attempts on the part of those Muslims bent upon restoring a civilization—mistakenly identified as the embodiment of their faith—that was comatose, if not dead.”
There is a solution that can go hand-in-hand with the Deal of the Century. The solution involves empowering progressive Muslim scholars who actually support a religious interpretation that allows Muslims to live beside a Jewish state in peace. One that warrants study is Shaykh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi, a prominent Imam from Italy.
In his essay “What the Qur’an Really Says” (http://www.templemount.org/quranland.html) makes the case for Islamic agreement that the Land of Israel is for the Jews, by citing relevant sentences from the Qur’an.
Palazzi, a prominent imam from Italy, argues that the Qur’an says that Allah gave the Land of Israel to the Jews by quoting Qur’an, “Night Journey,” chapter 17:100-104.
Shaykh Prof. Palazzi comments:
“God wanted to give Avraham a double blessing, through Ishmael and through Isaac, and ordered that Ishmael’s descendents should live in the desert of Arabia and Isaac’s in Canaan.
“The Qur’an recognizes the Land of Israel as the heritage of the Jews and it explains that, before the Last Judgment, Jews will return to dwell there. This prophecy has already been fulfilled.”
“Viewing the Jewish return to Israel as a Western invasion and Zionists as recent colonizers …has no basis in authentic Islamic faith.”
Jordan and Egypt must be courted to come up with an agreement of compensated immigration, from Gaza into Egypt and from Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”) into Jordan.
My sources in Israel tell me that the Deal is likely to be some variation on getting as many so-called Palestinians out of Judea and Samaria and into Jordan, once the King of Jordan is deposed or agrees to abdicate, and financial incentives are given, likely in the form of free housing in new cities created in Jordan and the construction of nearby industrial zones. Jordan is practically out of water, so the creation of a desalination plant in Israel with the water going into the Sea of Galilee and then over to Jordan will be a big part of it.
Those Arabs who choose not to move to Jordan will stay in Judea and Samaria with permanent resident status without full citizenship for a period of time until they decide to move to Jordan. Remember, that Palestinians outside of Jordan have never been granted citizenship rights by Arab countries but, this way, financial inducements will be made for those who join their people in the Palestinian state of Jordan and it is no small matter that they will end the era of being oppressed by other Arabs. Those who refuse to leave will still be allowed to work in Israel. This will take years of effort to finalize.
There are Jordanian Palestinians who are now advocating the removal of King Abdullah. These forward thinking intellectuals and politicians, some in exile, want friendly relations with Israel as they want their people to be able to work in Israel or in new industrial zones with Israeli participation. They are opposed to the Boycott Israel movement, contending that the main result is the loss of Arab Palestinian jobs in industries being boycotted. They decry the cooperation between the King and the Muslim Brotherhood, even ISIS.
They say that Palestinians in Lebanon are oppressed and in their homeland are ruled by a Hashemite King; they feel that they are oppressed in terms of democratic possibilities and job opportunities in Jordan. The proponents of this plan sometimes refer to it as the “Jordan is Palestine” plan.
The Israelis have indicated that they cannot make a deal without including Gaza in it. There is talk of creating free housing near Cairo and also the funding of Egyptian access to the nearby gas fields. Once Gaza is vacated and Hamas is destroyed, things will work out if the deal is properly funded. Gaza was previously emptied of its Jews by the Israelis and now it is turn to empty it of its Arabs.
Egypt may decide to build a whole new hotel and entertainment district along the coast. It is estimated that at least 75% of Gazans want to get out of there now, so once the opportunity of jobs and free housing is offered, we can expect them to choose that over the present option of living in “Hamastan”, a truly awful place, with rockets and missiles embedded in apartment buildings, hospitals and schools.
Dollars that might otherwise be used for military purposes and dollars that come from foreign aid could be put to work subsidizing new housing in new Arab Muslim cities instead of going into the pockets of Abbas or Hamas. In Egypt the new city should be near Cairo. In Jordan, it could be planted beside an existing small to medium sized city. Before the housing would be started, the new city could be given a university or technical college and also some industries and then the new city could grow around those.
We patiently await the final details of the “Deal of the Century” from the President who sees himself as the best dealmaker in America. He will need all the skills he has, both in formulating the deal and then selling it to the parties and neighbouring countries and the NGOs who have made their living off of the oppression of the Palestinians. The usual collection of anti-Semitic leftists and Islamists will try to stop it. Europe can be counted on to keep up its anti-Israelism to take citizens’ attention away from the mess caused by stupid policies at home. I remain optimistic that there is a possibility of understanding the problems and background in a better way, and from that understanding can flow a successful deal.
Howard Rotberg is the founding publisher of Mantua Books (www.mantuabooks.com), Canada’s sole conservative and pro-Israel publishing house. He is the author of four books including The Second Catastrophe: A Novel About a Book and its Author, Tolerism: The Ideology Revealed, and his most recent, The Ideological Path to Submission … and what we can do about it.