At least as important as what was said recently about the Israeli/Palestinian peace process, is what’s not being said.
Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert this week backed away from what was always an unrealistic target date for Mideast peace by year’s end.
As always, the main sticking points remain the disposition of Jerusalem and Palestinian “refugees.”
At the same time, Olmert said Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem pose a danger to Israelis, hinting that Israel might want to cede control of those areas.
Reading between those lines, one sees Olmert’s hope that walking away from East Jerusalem will make the Arabs stop wanting to murder the Jews. But like the evacuation of Gaza, such a thing would likely only further embolden the Arabs who continue to envision a Jew-free Middle East, if not a Jew-and Christian-free world.
The reason those neighborhoods pose a danger to Israelis isn’t because of the traffic or the sewer system or anything mundane like that. It’s because a percentage of the Arabs in those neighborhoods are bent on anti-Semitic violence.
While the Palestinian side, naturally, accused Israel of committing “a clear violation of the Annapolis agreement,” by releasing an honest assessment of the chances of achieving peace in the next six months, Washington seemed to get the picture.
“I think we’ve always said that we wouldn’t be able to get a final peace deal in terms of everything being resolved, but we would have this way forward that would outline all the steps that they would have to take to move forward,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.
And Olmert spokesman Mark Regev said the lack of agreement on Jerusalem did not need to derail the entire process. Jerusalem’s fate would continue to be discussed after the other issues are agreed upon, he said.
The Associated Press story notes that Israel captured the eastern part of Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it. It further notes that Palestinians claim the eastern sector as capital of their future state, which has longed bothered me.
So what if they claim it? I claim Paris for a summer home. Does that give me a right to it?
I’ve never understood why the world seems to find the idea of Jews living in the “Palestinian” areas an intolerable provocation, but Arabs living in Jewish areas is so natural that no one would consider suggesting otherwise. The one man who openly did advocate for a permanent separation, Meir Kahane, was assassinated by an Arab in New York some years back.
In fact, Kahane had gained a reputation among many Israelis, Jews and much of the rest of the world, as a Nazi nut for his contention that Israel will never be safe until the Arabs are removed to outside its borders.
The AP story notes that Palestinians account for about one-third of Jerusalem’s 750,000 residents, that most are not Israeli citizens, but all have access to Israeli social benefits and can move throughout Israel.
I’d be interested to learn how many Jews in the West Bank and Gaza (or Saudi Arabia for that matter) have access to the social benefits and freedom of movement of the Muslims there. I’d guess it’s relativley few, since Jews aren’t really allowed to live there — something the world seems to have no particular problem with. No one is called a Nazi nut for suggesting a Jew-free Arab state.
But the freedom of movement afforded Jerusalem’s Arabs has led to a string of recent attacks in the city in which Palestinians have killed and tried to kill Jewish civilians. And any retaliatory action, like curtailing that freedom of movement, would be blasted internationally as collective punishment. Unlike random violence against Jews, which, I guess, isn’t, since no one’s complaining.
Olmert suggests the solution might be to give up control of neighborhoods where the Arabs live, but if history teaches us anything, it’s that this type of appeasement doesn’t work.
East Jerusalem residents “can move freely around the entire country, and there is no way of knowing what they might do,” an official quoted Olmert as saying.
So, naturally, we should throw up our hands? Isn’t that what they’re going for? Isn’t that the goal of terrorists, generally — to so terrorize the populace that they capitulate to their demands, no matter how odious?
And anyone tempted to think Palestinian violence is really a function of the intolerable irritant that is the Jewish state, need only read the rest of the AP story. It says that “Fatah forces arrested dozens of its rival Hamas members throughout the West Bank on Monday in retaliation for similar moves by the Hamas rulers in Gaza. The mutual raids came after a bombing on Friday night that killed five Hamas militants in Gaza.”
The Palestinians and the Islamic world in general, seems to the untrained eye to thrive on violence. Just today the news was filled with reports of deadly bombings in Turkey and India. Suggest the Islamists have a propensity for violence, though, and the “Arab street” will erupt in violent outrage over the very idea.
When my family and I were in Israel last year, we saw one piece of graffiti along the freeway on the way in from the airport.
Scrawled in huge Hebrew letters were the words, “Kahane was right.”
I’m just saying.
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