The Western world, in particular the United States and Israel, have not yet come to grips with the gravity of the global conflict. This is a war that fanatic Islam, which now engulfs the whole Islamic world, has declared on the West. The eradication of Israel by force from the heart of the Islamic world is seen as a necessary step for the successful march to victory in the rest of the world. The naming of Israel as the â€œSmall Satanâ€ represents this idea: once the small abomination is eliminated, the big one will also be destructible.
The failure of Israel and the United States, as well as Europe, to see that the world is in a state of war is characterized by the seasonal birth of â€œpeace initiatives.â€ That Israel has convinced itself that â€œpeace is an option,â€ even â€œthe only option,â€ in spite of the fact that its enemies are actively preparing its destruction, is one of the astonishing phenomena of our times. These â€œpeace plansâ€ always contain three components: the withdrawal of Israel to the pre-1967 armistice lines, the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and â€œthe return of the Arab refugeesâ€ into the diminished state of Israel. The aim of such plans is clear: to create the strategic conditions that render Israel defenseless, and to destroy it from within by flooding it with the Arab â€œrefugees.â€
Who are these â€œrefugees?â€ How is it that they have been on the worldâ€™s agenda for the past 60 years? To understand this, the most astounding abnormality of modern times, it should be emphasized that the term â€œrefugees,â€ in the case of the Arab ones, has been constantly used by the media, the international community, the United Nations and every individual country inaccurately and dishonestly. Every war creates refugees, but in all other cases, the term â€œrefugeeâ€ describes a temporary condition. Only in the case of the â€œArab refugeesâ€ (â€œPalestinianâ€ is a rather new term) has this temporary condition been successfully turned into a permanent status bequeathed and transmitted from one generation to another. The United Nations has spent billions in creating and maintaining the sophisticated machinery of UNRWA, formed not to solve the refugee problem but to keep it alive, knowing very well that by now hardly a few thousand of the original refugees from 1948 are still alive.
The dishonesty of the international community cries out to heaven because it is clear that the Arabs are keeping this ever-multiplying, unique refugee problem for only one purpose â€“ the destruction of the Jewish state. Nobody is interested in the over six hundred and fifty thousand Jewish refugees who were thrown out of Arab countries following the establishment of the State of Israel, and were settled by Israel. These Jewish refugees have also multiplied, but as free and rehabilitated human beings. They and their descendents also number several million people. However Israel, like any other civilized country, does not consider â€œrefugeeâ€ to be an inherited status.
The Arab goal of eliminating Israel is now shared by the Arab citizens of Israel who openly define the establishment of the State, whose prosperity and security, freedom and democracy they enjoy, as â€œnakbahâ€â€”â€œcatastrophe.â€ Their representatives in the Knesset, who swear allegiance to â€œthe State and its laws,â€ demand the elimination of the Jewish character of Israel and the abolition of the â€œLaw of Returnâ€ which guarantees that the State of Israel is the Jewish Home. They also demand that all its Jewish symbols (flag, emblems, national anthem) be eliminated, that it become â€œthe State of all its citizensâ€â€”in other words, it should be prepared to turn into an Arab state.
The Europeans and to a large extent American political leaders and media have fallen victim to years of Arab-Leftist-anti-Jewish-anti-Zionist propaganda and are convinced that by establishing another Arab state on the tiny territory of Palestine, all the conflicts in the world, or at least most of them, will come to an end. There is no need to explain, yet again, the fallacy of these ideas.
There is no way that the Arabs in particular, and the Muslims in general, can or will accept the permanent existence of a Jewish, that is to say a non-Arab, non-Muslim state, in the heart of what they regard as the Arab-Islamic homeland. Palestine, in their eyes, is exclusively Islamic and the claim of any non-Muslim to any part of it on historical or religious grounds is false. Any Muslim who dares to give up any of the Muslim rights to it signs his own death warrant.
Moreover, any agreement with the Jews, which goes beyond a limited armistice or ceasefire is by its very nature null and void. The only agreement with non-believers that is permitted by Islamic law is one that enables Islam to strengthen itself, so that when the time comes it can resume the war of Jihad under better conditions. Such a ceasefire or armistice is based on the postulate that the infidel enemy will mistake it for peace, lower its defenses and slide into a slumber of tranquility, thus turning itself into an easy target. In Arabic armistice is called hudnah but it can be rendered by the word sulh, which is the term used by the Muslims to describe a treaty concluded with a defeated enemy. In European languages and in Hebrew the last term is mistakenly translated as â€œpeace.â€ This translation suits the Muslim Jihadi plans very well: the infidels rejoice in the â€œpeaceâ€ and Islam can meanwhile gather its forces for the â€œnext round.â€
Thus the maximum that Israel can expect is a limited ceasefire, taking into consideration that the Arab side will violate it at any time, as the Palestinians have been proving on a daily basis since the signing of the Oslo Accords in September 1993. There is, therefore, only one guarantee against war and the annihilation of Israel: military strength and the constant display of this strength by winning small skirmishes as well as major wars. Anything that even seems like an Israeli military setback is an invitation to another war. The Arabs and Muslims observe ceasefires only under the threat of terrible retribution. Nothing else. Any Israeli or Western leader who thinks that the Arab signature on a document guarantees that it will be kept is deluding himself and displaying dangerous ignorance.
The â€œpeace treatyâ€ between Israel and Egypt is usually quoted as being a successful agreement, which has been kept for nearly thirty years. This is an impressive length of time but it is also a false assessment. There is no real peace between Israel and Egypt. To begin with, President Sadat was assassinated soon after signing the treaty, precisely because Muslim fanatics in his own country regarded his mere signing it as an act of treason. In their eyes, and in the eyes of countless Muslims all over the world, he broke a golden rule by legitimizing the Jewish state. Since then, the Egyptians have turned the treaty into a mere armistice agreement. Israel is not treated as an independent partner to peace but more as a dhimmi state, subordinate to Egyptian whims and compelled to accept Egyptian self-declared superiority. At the same time, eager to prove to itself that the peace is â€œworking,â€ Israel chooses to ignore all the Egyptian violations of the treaty, including Egyptian anti-Semitism and the intensive Egyptian anti-Israeli activity in every international forum.
Apart from the no-war situation that exists between the countries, which admittedly, is not a minor matter, and the maintenance of a minimal diplomatic representation, none of the lofty expressions adorning the peace agreement have been honoured. Examples can be found in some of the provisions in Annex III to the peace treaty that deal with economic and cultural relations. Article 2, item 2 of Annex III says: â€œ As soon as possible â€¦ the Parties will enter negotiations with a view to concluding an agreement on trade and commerce for the purpose of promoting beneficial economic relations.â€ Article 3, item 2 of the same annex says: â€œThey agree on the desirability of cultural exchanges in all fields, and shall, as soon as possible and not later than six months after completion of the interim withdrawal, enter into negotiations with a view to concluding a cultural agreement for this purpose.â€ Article 5, item 3 of the same annex states: â€œThe Parties shall seek to foster mutual understanding and tolerance and will, accordingly, abstain from hostile propaganda against each other.â€
The most blatant violation of the agreement is the anti-Semitic propaganda which has been spreading from Egypt to the whole world and which includes anti-Semitic publications such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf as well as countless â€œoriginalâ€ publications by Egyptian and other Arab â€œintellectuals.â€ In this horrific anti-Semitic festival, the most prolific is the state-controlled and state-directed media. Israel is presented as the ultimate enemy that must be annihilated. Jews are portrayed as the scum of the earth and Egyptian writers, artists, cartoonists, and intellectuals in general compete with each other as to who can be more inventive in degrading the Jews and vilifying Israel.
If there is any tourism, it is one-sided: A few Israelis go to Egypt but no Egyptians come to Israel. The economic relations between the two countries consist of not much more than the purchase of oil and gas from Egypt by Israel. In spite of great efforts made by Israel, there are no real cultural relations between the countries. An exception is the Israeli Academic Centre in Cairo that Israel virtually compelled Egypt to accept. Hardly any Egyptian dares to come near the Centre, and the Hebrew courses it offers have been used mainly by Egyptian intelligence officers. No similar Egyptian academic centre has been established in Israel.
In short, it is peace on paper for which Israel has paid dearly, foolishly setting a precedent according to which the aggressor is rewarded by the victim of his aggression. Egypt lost four wars that it initiated against Israel. In the 1967 war, it lost the whole of Sinai and the Gaza Strip, both of which it had been holding illegally. However, under the 1979 peace agreement, Israel returned to the Egyptian aggressor everything it had lost (Egypt never demanded the return of Gaza). Such a thing has never happened before. No aggressor has ever been rewarded for his aggression by the victorious victim of his aggression. However, in the case of Israel and the Arabs, Israel has created the precedent, making aggression a â€œno-lose gambleâ€ for the aggressor. The Israel-Egypt agreement established the model for all the later â€œpeaceâ€ negotiations between Israel and the Arab countries (including the Palestinian Arabs) that are actively contemplating its destruction. They are all looking for the same style of â€œno-loseâ€ treaty. The latest bid of Syria is the most striking.
The Syrian lost the Golan Heights in two successive wars of aggression against Israel in 1967 and 1973. Only an abnormal country would seriously think of rewarding the Syrian aggressors by turning over to them the highly strategic territory they lost. It is as if Germany were to be given back the 44,310 square miles it lost following its aggression in World War II. Regarding this, Professor Lloyd Cohen of the School of Law, George Mason University, remarked: â€œThe Israeli case is even stronger. Unlike belligerent Syria, Germany is now a peaceful country, and an ally to its neighbors. In addition, the land taken from Germany was land of historic German settlement and development (East Prussia, Lower Silesia, Breslau). Under those circumstances were it to be given sovereignty over, let us say, the Kaliningrad Oblast (East Prussia) it would be far more reasonable than granting Syria sovereignty over Jewish villages in the Golan.â€
Meanwhile Egypt is preparing for war. It has built an army of one million soldiers. Who are the enemies of Egypt that compel her to keep such a huge army backed by many thousands of the best American tanks produced locally by permission of the U.S., a huge air force, and a gigantic arsenal of missiles? Whom are the soldiers urged to fight? Whom are they taught to hate? Isnâ€™t it clear that Israel, its people, its land, and its army are the targets of these extensive, intensive and expensive Egyptian preparations? Isnâ€™t it rather strange, even treacherous that the building, equipping and supporting of this huge Egyptian military buildup against Israel is carried out with the full knowledge, support and encouragement of the United States of America, and financed by the American taxpayer? It is treacherous because while Israel is the most faithful ally of the United States, it is impossible that the American government does not realize that this huge Egyptian army could at any moment move on Israel with or without a pretext.
As far as the Palestinian signature on agreements with Israel is concerned, it took Arafat just a few days after he had signed the Oslo agreements before he announced, on May 10, 1994, in front of a cheering Muslim crowd in Johannesburg: â€œI do not consider this agreement to be more than the agreement which was signed between our Prophet Muhammad and Quraysh.â€
There was hardly a Muslim who did not understand the message: the Prophet Muhammad concluded a ten years armistice agreement with the tribe of Quraysh at Hudaybiyah near Mecca in 628. He annulled it unilaterally once he had finished building up a strong army. At the time of Muhammad, the agreement held for about two years; Arafat sent his bombs to explode in buses and restaurants in Jerusalem, and elsewhere in Israel, within weeks of solemnly signing the document announcing the inauguration of the â€œera of peace.â€
Arafat never planned to keep the agreement. â€˜Abd al-Bari â€˜Atwan the famous editor of al-Quds al-Arabi felt free to report on Lebanese television an interview he had conducted with Arafat in Tunisia in 1994. Arafat told him: â€œBy God I shall drive them mad. I shall turn these agreements into a disaster for them. Not in my days, but in your time you shall see the Jews running away from Palestine. Only be patient.â€
The Arabs, led by the Saudis, have now issued an ultimatum to Israel: either Israel accepts the Arab â€œpeaceâ€ plan which means putting her on a direct route to disappearance or â€œbear the consequences.â€ The government of Israel and the U.S. are elated: the Arabs are â€œtalking peace.â€
The most frightening part of this Arab plot is that it excited President Bush so much that he decided to convene a â€œpeace conferenceâ€ to promote it. At this conference Israel is in the role of defendant facing its accusers: the Arab League, the Egyptians, the Jordanians, the Americans (influenced, to some extent at least, by the traditional pro-Arab views of the State Department), and the European Union as well.
What do the Muslims, particularly the perpetrators of the concentrated attacks on the Americans and Israel that began in the early 1990s, make of this development? Wouldnâ€™t they think that they are on the way to victory not only over Israel but also over the West in general?
The Muslims are now convinced that terror is the most effective weapon in their arsenal. They have discovered that no matter what they do, the chorus of the Western media will condemn the Israelis and the Americans. Some writers in the West have even defined terror as â€œthe weapon of the weak.â€ This is an understanding, even supportive, definition: since the weak are the under-privileged, according to the false concepts of the Left in the Western world, it follows that its weapon of terror should gain our sympathy.
The hasty Israeli withdrawal from Gaza for no reason and without any gains whatever, the destruction of two-score thriving and productive villages, and the turning of ten thousand Jews into refugees has been the best proof that terror is an efficient tool. The high-flown words and fiery promises of the Israeli government that â€œnowâ€, following the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, Israel would retaliate with full force against even a single shot, was proved within one day to be as empty as such hollow pronouncements in the past.
Gaza has become the forefront of Muslim terror. Israeli towns and villages are being attacked from it daily. The border with Egypt is open for the constant flow of arms, ammunition, missiles and explosives in huge quantities and of excellent quality. Israel goes on talking about the need of the Palestinian Authority â€œto do moreâ€ to fight terror. The army has been given orders to shoot into open spaces that, in the Israeli laundering of words, are defined as â€œspaces used for launching missiles.â€
For more than a year now three Israeli soldiers, two in Lebanon and one in Gaza, have been kept captive and Israelâ€™s only reaction is an offer to release thousands of terrorists to get at least one of them back. What the Arabs understand from this behavior is that the Israelis have lost the ability to defend themselves let alone to retaliate. When they retaliate as they did in Lebanon it was with so many restrictions that the retaliation ended with the Islamic side stronger, bolder, more daring and ready for the next encounter, and the Israeli side divided, frightened and indecisive.
There is no reason for the Palestinian Authority to fight terror when it is a terrorist body itself, organizing and supporting terror groups like the Tanzim, the Aqsa Brigades and similar bodies, some even disguised as the armed forces of â€œAbu Mazenâ€â€”the walking joke called the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority who, in reality, is one of the small warlords of the Palestinians, supported by American, Israeli and European money.
Neither America nor Israel need another false and damaging â€œPeace Conference.” What Israel and America really need on all fronts is a clear-cut victory. Victory is the key word, not peace. Victory is needed to prove to the Moslems in general and the Arabs in particular that against their ethos of death stands the ethos of life, protected by the arms of democracies that are resolved to punish them where it hurts most. This is the only way to stop the warlords of Syria who were encouraged by Hizbullahâ€™s performance in the last encounter with Israel. This is the only way to stop in mid-course the messianic saber-rattling of Ahmadinejad who aims at using the atom bomb whenever he can produce it.
In the Middle East negotiations are a method to win time. Time is what Hamas and some dozen Palestinian terrorist groups need: they need time to arm themselves with more deadly missiles. The Syrians need time to absorb the huge amounts of modern weapons supplied by the Russians and paid for by the Iranians. The Hizbullah needs time to upgrade its arsenal of weapons and entrench itself deeper in South Lebanon. Ahmadinejad needs time to complete the enrichment of enough nuclear material to produce his first A-bombs.
Negotiations come only after victory, not before victory and not instead of victory. Negotiations before victory are the ultimate sign of weakness and are a clear sign of fear and defeatism; it is a sure recipe for a devastating war. The enemy aim in negotiations such as these is to improve its positions in the forthcoming war, which it has planned before the negotiations and while negotiating. Thus, Syria wishes, by negotiations, to improve its strategic position by luring Israel into giving up the Golan Heights and exposing the whole north of Israel to a Syrian surprise attack. The same can be said of the Palestinians and their Arab brethren who wish to turn Israel into a coastal, indefensible strip of land. The Arabs have learnt from recent history that democracies can be lured to agree to terms that endanger their very existence if these terms are written down on paper and are accompanied by a signature.
Who can forget Neville Chamberlain returning from Munich after succumbing to Hitlerâ€™s demands, waving a piece of paper and announcing â€œpeace in our timeâ€? This was the introduction to the most horrible war in human annals. Similarly, one can hardly forget the pictures of Rabin, Peres and Arafat first at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in 1994 and then in front of the White House in 1995 (â€œOslo 2â€)â€”all smiles and handshakes, announcing the end of the conflict. These â€œpeaceâ€ prizes and promises led to the most terrible terror war Israel has experienced, resulting in the death of over 1500 men women and children, the injury of over 5000 and the creation of a permanent terror entity in its midst.
Unfortunately not every one is ready to learn the lessons of the past. Most of the Oslo fools are ready to go the same way again. After all it was Peres who said more than once that there is nothing to learn from history.
The deadly words â€œpeaceâ€ and â€œnegotiationsâ€ should have long been obliterated from Israeli and Western lexicons. These are seductive words; they addle the brain and lead one to do stupid things. As long as they are not replaced by that one wonderful word victory, Israel and Western civilization are in mortal danger. Islam thrives on the ethos of Jihad and therefore does not know any concept save â€œvictory.â€ From its inception, Islam has been guided by the principles of war against non-Muslims: triumph and conquest. These have always been regarded as signs of divine approval and support. If Israel and the West wish to live, the Islamic triumphal drive must be confronted on the battleground with the same principle of victory and triumph backed by the moral superiority of life-cherishing civilizations and the scientific superiority of modern weaponry.
Moshe Sharon is professor of Islamic History at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.