The Right Coast

November 17, 2004
Peace in the Middle East?
By Maimon Schwarzschild

Richard Baehr, unfortunately, has it right about Arafat, and about the (forlorn) chances of peace between Israel and the Arabs:
The overwhelming political sentiment of the Palestinian community remains the same as it has been for a century - that no Jewish-majority Israeli state can exist, that Israel’s creation was an original sin, and that in the end, it must disappear.

There was not in 2000, and still is not today, an intersecting set of concessions Israel can make and still be Israel (and not another Arab-majority state), and what the Palestinians expect from a final deal with Israel. The Palestinians proved in 2000, when they chose war over peace, that the concessions they demand from Israel mean the end of Israel. The most significant concession is a right of return for 4 million or more Palestinian “refugees” to Israel, rather than to a new Palestinian state. Arafat made clear at Camp David and thereafter, that he would not give up the right of return for the refugees. For this demand is at the heart of the conflict - the historical grievance that Palestinians have held close to their hearts for over half a century.

The refugees and their descendants have been systematically told they were all run out of Israel by the Zionists. In their new countries or lands they were housed in camps (except in some cases by Jordan), and in a few cases (e.g. Lebanon) never allowed to travel or leave the camps. They have been fed a steady diet of hatred of Israel, and the Jews. Their jailers have been other Arabs, and the United Nations relief organization UNWRA, anxious to keep alive a determined, angry and violent loathing of Israel. In no other place in the world are refugees from a conflict a half century old still called refugees and not resettled.

The frenzy at Yasser Arafat’s funeral was revealing. Arafat would have been pleased. No cries of “peace with Israel” or “we want a state” were to be heard. Rather the screams were for jihad, and death to the Jews and to Israel. Arafat was the ultimate rejectionist, or resister. His cause was the struggle to reverse 1948 - to bring the Palestinians back to Israel proper, and kill the Jews or at best bid them farewell.
Not very cheerful. But it is delusional to pretend that facts aren't facts.