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When Israeli media commentators report on current events or explain political developments or interview public officials they employ a fixed mindset along with a politically correct lexicon. The media's terminology features peace process for national suicide, "disengagement for the expulsion of Jews from Gaza and territories for Judea and Samaria. Anyone who points out that "Palestinians" on the "West Bank" were Jordanians up until 1988 when King Hussein relinquished his claim to the area is either ignored by the media commissars or branded a 'right-wing radical'.
Even more exasperating for anyone who values the truth is that the media's frame of reference is based on erroneous assumptions that, when taken as a whole, guides (actually misguides) Israel's policies and actions so that existential threats continue at a dangerous level and peace prospects become more remote. The media, in effect, sets the national agenda that leading politicians and government ministries inevitably adopt. Its Weltanschauung plays a decisive role in government actions or inaction.
Self-destructive thinking began right after the Yom Kippur war in early 1974. Israel's loses were enormous and its self-confidence was severely shaken. The same Labor party leadership that was responsible for the intelligence fiasco that facilitated the Egyptian and Syrian surprise attack asserted that we must find a way to accommodate our Arab enemies and make peace with them. At this juncture, the peace movement was born on the assumption that another Yom Kippur debacle could mean the end of Israel. From the mid 1970s on, people who felt that Israel should become more powerful and deter her enemies by her might based on a firm belief in the fundamental justice of the Zionist endeavor were criticized, disparaged and dismissed by the media commanders. Victory over enemies was no longer in fashion. Citizens distrustful of Arabs were no longer part of the consensus (a concept created by the media). Advocates of an Arab transfer program were accused of racism.
Peace proponents further claim that we must integrate ourselves into the Middle East because this is where we live. Israel, of course, is in the geographical center of the Arab world (22 countries on 5 and a 1/2 million square miles) but they clearly do not want us here.
While Syria and Egypt define themselves as Arab republics, they reject Israel's wish to define itself as a Jewish state. Egypt and Jordan as well as other countries such as Greece extend de facto recognition to Israel but do not accept it de jure.
Shimon Peres (his name means 'vulture') and his supporters believe that Israel has to ingratiate and integrate itself into the region. They rarely relate to machinations and conflict in the Arab world. Arabs routinely kill each other by the thousands in Algeria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Most Arab governments have little or no legitimacy and are headed by dictators. As tense dictatorships, Egypt and Syria exhibit little respect for human rights and use unlimited police powers to deter or imprison political opponents especially Moslem fundamentalists. Most Arab countries (the Gulf principalities are interesting exceptions) can potentially explode at any moment and Israel is likely to be the first to suffer. A rational observer would question the wisdom of expanding ties to an unstable Arab world but the consensus-creating media and "peace" promoters are less cautious. They have their own standard of rationality that ignores inconvenient facts on the ground created by Hamas, Hizbullah, the Moslem Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and other jihad groups that are well-entrenched almost everywhere in the Arab world.
UN reports detailing socio-economic problems in the Arab world corroborate Ford Foundation-sponsored research as well as World Bank evaluations that document development failures in the Arab world. Falling behind East Asia and South America, the Arab Middle East is not a safe place for Israeli investments. Furthermore, both Egypt and Jordan (the two Arab countries with which Israel has peace treaties) do their utmost to keep their involvement with Israel to an absolute minimum. Both are extremely critical of anything Israel does. The production of anti-Semitic literature and TV programs is a major industry in Egypt. Mainstream Israeli commentators admit that the peace with both countries is a cold peace. A more accurate assessment, however, would describe relations with Jordan and Egypt as frozen stiff.
The wise men and women of the media (including Defense Minister Ehud Barak during an interview on Israel Radio on November 26, 2009) frequently declare that 'time is working against Israel' but none of these prophets ever provide any details. Actually, time seems to be working in Israel's favor. Every year the economy gets stronger. The Tel Aviv stock market attracts foreign investors. Overseas Jews buy apartments here and many settle in as new immigrants. Cultural activities are rich and varied. The quality of life keeps improving. Public opinion polls confirm that, despite all our problems, Israelis are quite content and even proud of the country's many accomplishments.
By contrast, the Arabs face huge problems that they don't seem capable of solving. For example, Syria and Iraq have exceptionally serious water supply problems that have already forced tens of thousands of farmers to abandon their fields and move to city slums where they seek menial employment just to survive. Also, the Kurdish minorities in these countries suffer from oppression thus contributing to inter-ethnic tensions. Egypt's population explosion offsets any economic progress it makes. The possibility of a Moslem Brotherhood takeover is very real and would quickly turn Egypt into another Iran and drastically change the balance of power in the area. Corruption is rampant in the Arab world because family and clan interests always take precedence over provincial, national or pan-Arab concerns. To assert that 'time is working against Israel' is simply not supported by the facts. Even Israel's birthrate is holding its own vis-a-vis the declining birth rate in some Arab countries, most notably in "Palestine".
Arab spokesmen, the Israeli mainstream media and most politicians blindly refer to the "Palestinian nation" when formulating their solutions to the never-ending conflict (i.e. Arab aggression). It is an unquestioned assumption that the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza as well as those residents in the refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere constitute a distinct nation. The fact that there is no specific Palestinian history, culture, language or religion is ignored. Arabs who call themselves "Palestinians" are loyal to their families, clans and home towns. For instance, Jerusalem Arabs look down on the less sophisticated residents of Hebron. Strong reliable relationships are invariably between members of the same extended families, clans, tribes and towns. It is said that Mahmoud Abbas is an unacceptable leader because he hails from Safed. Internal dissention in the various Arab communities living under Israeli rule proves that "Palestinian nationalism" exists only in the minds of media pundits and NGOs working to undermine Israel or advance a dangerous "peace" plan such as the Saudi initiative of 2002.
"Peace" enthusiasts like to use the phrase 'end of the conflict' as if the messiah is due any day now. Ironically, peace appears more remote today than it did in 1993. The current fad today is to advocate the creation of a Palestinian state within temporary borders. Even Prime Minister Netanyahu now agrees to a demilitarized Palestinian state. Given the popularity of private terror militias throughout the Arab and Islamic worlds, this idea cannot be taken seriously and probably got a lot of laughs from Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad operatives. Arab ("Palestinian") spokesmen who have reacted to these proposals have rejected them outright and go on to blame Israel for lack of progress in the "peace process".
Despite Arab maneuvers to cut Israel down, Israelis dedicated to the "peace process" continue to talk about the 'end of the conflict'. As soon as a comprehensive agreement is signed, according to the dreamers, we will enjoy peace forever and live happily ever after. This mode of thought, unfortunately, ignores the fact that written agreements between Arabs themselves are made and broken almost instantly. Cease fire arrangements with enemies are acceptable when Arabs feel that they need time to re-group and re-arm so as to be better prepared for the next round of hostilities. Peace, according to traditional Arab thinking is, by definition, temporary. However, Israelis interested in buying a new car or flying to Switzerland to ski simply refuse to contemplate the temporary nature of any peace accords with Arab neighbors.
After all, Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO, who have clearly lost the backing of large sectors of the "Palestinian" people, are 'peace partners'. The "peace" zealots are bewitched by the term 'partner'. Most Israelis don't seem to know that a real partner is someone who shares your objectives and works with you to achieve them. Unfortunately, 'Palestinian peace partners' do not cooperate with Israel (unless they have no choice or want to influence US envoys) and have a long-range aim to demolish the Jewish state. By no stretch of the imagination can one call Abbas and his cohorts 'partners' but Israeli "peace" stooges insist on using this word.
The latest peace spin claims that a two-state solution is 'in our own interest'. Well, is a Hizbullah-run south Lebanon with 40,000 or more missiles aimed at the whole country in Israel's interest? Is a Gaza Strip ruled by a belligerent Hamas whose main purpose is to destroy Israel in our interest? A Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria will, in all likelihood, resemble south Lebanon and Gaza. Palestine will, no doubt, cultivate ties with Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Iraq (after the US army departs) as well as a host of terror organizations dedicated to 'wiping Israel off the map'. How can anyone, in view of the realities on the ground, believe that a Palestinian state will 'live side by side with Israel in peace'?
The intoxicated "peace" worshippers along with Bibi Netanyahu answer this question by advancing an economic argument. All that the "Palestinians" need, they say, is tons of money and a grand economic development plan. Well, over the past few decades, billions of dollars of aid from the US, UN, European Union and Saudi Arabia have been injected into the Palestinian economy with practically no results. Most of the money from Saudi Arabia went into financing arms procurement and terror attacks. Corrupt leaders (led by Egyptian-born Yasser Arafat) pocketed huge sums and the rest still goes to pay bureaucrats, the families of suicide bombers and "activists" in the "resistance".
A most uncomfortable truth overlooked by the economic development school is the fact that the Palestinian economy (during the "occupation") until 1993 blossomed in tandem with Israel's economic progress. Arab "Palestinian" workers enjoyed higher incomes in comparison to Arabs elsewhere but as soon as the Palestinian Authority came into existence the economic situation deteriorated precipitously. With the onset of Arafat's Intifada war in 2000, the economy almost collapsed.
In the Arab system of values, economic development is not a priority. Dignity, honor and respect are far more important. Revenge and retribution for perceived attacks and insults are paramount in the Arab mind.
The Palestinian leadership, with the UN's cooperation, has over the past sixty years succeeded in convincing kind-hearted humanitarians around the world that "Palestinians" are a weak, oppressed people living under a brutal Israeli "occupation" or in dismal refugee camps in surrounding Arab countries. They have invented a new right, the "right of return". The UN's Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) has been feeding, clothing and caring for these Arabs, their children and grandchildren since 1951. The "right of return" plan is to inject hundreds of thousands of Jew-hating Arabs into Israel or an adjacent Palestine. Economics has very little to do with this because it is a question of principle and honor.
Back in 1993 when the "peace" process got started, left-wing proponents promised that no refugees under any circumstances would be settled in Israel. "Peace" enthusiasts claimed that a decisive impetus behind the "peace" process was to force the "Palestinians" to rehabilitate their refugees elsewhere in the Arab world. But no one, not Arafat nor Abbas today or any other Arab leader has ever waived the sacred "right of return". On the contrary, all Arab spokesmen (speaking in Arabic) adamantly demand justice and "justice" for Arabs means implementing the "right of return" which, in effect, means the end of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
Once all the problems outlined above are resolved, the Arab world will "normalize" relations with the 'Zionist entity'. Normalization has not yet been defined, but many of Israel's leading politicians are crazy about the idea of having full diplomatic relations with Arab countries. Again, reality plays little or no part in Israel mainstream thinking. For example, diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Egypt have gone from hot to cold to hot many times. In fact, the Saudis financed an assassination attempt on Nasser in 1958. The same is true of Saudi-Iraqi relations over the years. The Saudis supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran but attacked his forces after he invaded Kuwait in 1990. On February 14, 2005 several hundred kilos of explosives murdered ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri along with fifteen or more individuals in Beirut. As a result, diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Syria were seriously strained because Hariri was a Saudi protégé. Just two weeks ago the Egyptians recalled their ambassador from Algeria after a hotly contested football match in neutral Sudan.
Japan had an ambassador in Washington when it bombed Pearl Harbor. Similarly, full-fledged diplomatic representation throughout Europe in 1939 did not prevent WWII. None of these historical facts make much of an impression on Israel's "peace" lobby. For them, having embassies in Arab capitals is an end in itself.
Observers in the US or UK or South America or Japan who want to know why there is no peace in the Middle East have to re-read George Orwell's 1984 or peruse an article by Lawrence M. Krauss in the December 2009 issue of Scientific American. It is entitled "War is Peace". The author, a theoretical physicist, severely criticizes politicians and others for taking positions on Medicare and other issues that are contradicted by scientifically proven facts. Krauss writes: "I cannot stress often enough that what science is all about in not proving things to be true but proving them to be false. What fails the test of empirical reality, as determined by observation and experiment, gets thrown out like yesterday's newspaper."
Likewise, it is about time to throw out the sham "peace" process because it has been (and still is) founded on FALSE assumptions and avoids taking uncomfortable realities into consideration. The first step in the direction of a real peace entails purging the media and its followers in the establishment (i.e. politicians, leftist academics and the agenda-driven judiciary) of its misleading euphemisms. More important, fraudulent concepts akin to wishful thinking have to be eliminated. Until now, the Israeli public has been misinformed, misled and duped by its opinion manipulators who have created a make-believe world.
It is about time that Israeli leaders and friendly Americans abandon the media's delusive 'peace in our time' fantasy in favor of plain old-fashioned truth, PRAGMATISM and realpolitik.
Zvi November was born in Brooklyn NY and has lived in Israel since 1969. He has worked as teacher, youth counselor, probation officer and employment advisor. He has a degree in social anthropology and has written on the inherent contradictions of Israel, "a complex nation-state whose five or more populations disagree on almost every issue." His book, "Israel in Reality," was published by Trafford in 1970; it is available at www.iUniverse.com, Barnes and Nobel (www.bn.com) and Amazon (www.amazon.com). This essay was submitted November 29, 2009.
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