Israel wants peace and the fact is that most Arabs want peace as well. But the history of the impasse in peace negotiations has such a long history and so many complications that it is almost impossible to discuss without people first reading quite a bit of history. But some “facts” that have been tossed about lately need to be corrected. First, the notion that Israel threw out all the Arabs in 1948 is not only false, but somewhat absurd. Consider how the fledgling state, with no real army, had the means to do such a thing. They in fact begged the Arabs to stay in their homes. Other Arab countries shooed them out so that they would not be in the way while they attacked and “threw the Jews into the Sea,” as they declared. After the war, some did come back. Another point that needs to be clarified is that millions upon millions are available for “poor” Palestinians. Yes, they are poor and they are exploited—for the most part by their Arab brothers who see them as important pawns in their war against Israel, it appears to be a great way to make Israel look culpable for their transient, unstable and wretched situation.
And for those who think Israel is intransigent, don’t forget that Israel has already given back a great deal of land, especially in proportion to their tiny state. Look at a map and get some notion of the scale of things in the Middle East. Israel is the size of our tiniest state, surrounded hundreds of millions of Arabs. For those who think Israel does not want peace, please remember that Israel made peace with Jordan, with Egypt. Most importantly, Israel almost made peace with the Palestinians. Except that Arafat backed out. They came so close and he then decided he preferred the status quo. The same Arafat who spent millions meant for his people on himself and his wife who was living it up in Paris. The Palestinians loved him, and he took advantage of them at every turn, just as Hamas does to the people in Gaza.
In regard to nonnegotiable items, there are some items that cannot be on the table. For example, until Israel took over the Golan, they were sitting ducks for Syria and there was nothing they could do about it—except to control the Golan. Do you think Syria is really short of land? There is no doubt that the fierce Syrians would use the Golan for launching attacks one more, even if some accord were to be signed? Too many lives are in the balance to take such a chance on that small but vital small piece of land. Certain boundaries are necessary and important to protect Israel’s security.
Finally, there is Jerusalem. Christians have the Vatican, Bethlehem, and a number of other holy places, and for Muslims, it is Mecca. For Jews, it is Jerusalem, the city of King David and the city invoked in so many Jewish prayers. Since the city has been unified, it has also been open to all religions, and everyone’s places of worship have been protected. Not so before. Is there anyone who would say that Berlin should once more be divided? The capital of Israel is Jerusalem. How do you divide a country’s capital? How bizarre is it that a country wins a war, no, several wars, and then the world demands it give back the land. I cannot think of any other such instance. It’s like saying the United States should give back the land taken from Mexico. Was the U.S. government a better example in their dealings with Native Americans and their land? In contrast, the Jewish State has tried to be fair—to the Palestinians and to itself.