To understand the Middle East, you must understand history

Welcome to the wonderful world of FaReid Ibrahim, where logic and ethics don’t get in the way of argument and polemics. He wrote a fantasy article a few weeks ago, which I disparaged (quite effectively, I think). Now, he returns to the pages of the Cynic, with more slander and half-truths about Israel. Let us examine Mr. Ibrahim’s “points”, and see if their blatant falsehoods can point us in the direction of the truth.

It appears that Mr. Ibramin believes that the following statements are true:1. The Israelis should let Palestinians vote and become citizens of Israel.2. Israelis are colonialists. (He’s obsessed with this one. It makes me think he’s a reader of the Socialist Worker.)3. The Israeli offer at Camp David was not a reasonable deal for the Palestinians.

He also says some other wacky stuff, but these three arguments are the most egregious. Mr. Ibrahim would like Israel to allow the Palestinians full rights as Israeli citizens. That is a simply delightful idea, except for one key fact: Palestinians don’t want to be citizens of Israel. They have attempted to destroy Israel since 1948 (the first war the Arabs started with Israel). The PLO, whose charter included the stated goal of the elimination of Israel, was created in 1964. That is three years before Israel won the West Bank and Gaza, and took control over those lands. It is quite clear that the Palestinians have a historical and present desire to murder Israelis. They do it weekly. Therefore, I think even Mr. Ibrahim could understand why Israel might be a wee bit reticent in allowing Palestinians full rights. You don’t have to believe me. Just read the words of that peace-loving, “elected leader” of the Palestinians, Yassir Arafat: “We know only one word: jihad,jihad, jihad. When we stopped the intifada, we did not stop the jihad for the establishment of a Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem. And now we are entering the phase of the great jihad prior to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem…We are in a conflict with the Zionist movement and the Balfour Declaration and all imperialist activities.” (Dehaishe refugee camp, 1996) Wow. Sign that guy up for a voter registration card. Mr. Ibrahim just loves the neo-communist lingo about Israel. He drops phrases like “imperialistic greed” and “expansionist-militaristic” like they actually mean something.Here’s the problem: it shows an absolutely atrocious knowledge of history. After the Israelis conquered the Sinai Peninsula in the 1967 war (another war initiated by Arabs), they had a choice. Israel could have annexed a large, useful piece of land and use it to increase military and economic strength. Conversely, Israel could have given the land back to Egypt in an attempt to foster peace. What did Israel, this “imperialistic” monster, this “expansionist-militaristic” demon, do? It gave back the Sinai. That’s funny behavior for a country that wants to control the whole Middle East.

Of course, there are other examples of Israel’s willingness to give back land for peace . . . like the 2000 Camp David accords. According to Mr. Ibrahim, Israel’s offer of 96% of the West Bank, Gaza, and capital rights in Jerusalem to the Palestinians was horrible. 96% sounds pretty good to me, considering Israel would relinquish a defensive buffer zone that is essential to Israel’s survival. When the Camp David talks failed, the U.S. government praised the Israelis for their bravery for their generous offer to the Palestinians, and castigated the Palestinians for their intransigence. The Palestinians could have had their own state, a viable state, but they said, “No gracias.” Yassir Arafat didn’t want the deal, because he gets much more mileage out of jihad and Palestinian suffering. If the Palestinian Authority cared at all for its constituents, it would end the murder of Israelis, and get to work on feeding and housing the Palestinians. Yet, the PA spends its money on arms and propaganda against Israel. The suffering of Palestinian people is sad and horrible . . . and it’s caused by their leaders, not their Jewish neighbors.