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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Goodwill gestures never work with Arabs

Today, an Arab member of Knesset suggested that Israel release every Israeli-Arab terrorist in jail - some 150 of them - as this move would "open a new page in Israeli-Arab relations."

On Tuesday,
Jordan's King Abdullah II urged Israel to end its occupation of Arab land to guarantee peaceful coexistence with the world's Muslims. "Israel, the European states and the United States should realize that the Palestinian issue does not only concern the Palestinians but also has the sympathy of all Muslims from Indonesia to the Maghreb states," the king said in an interview with AFP. "If Israel wants to coexist with more than a billion Muslims, it should end its occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands."

In both cases the Arabs are advocating Israel make unilateral concessions to gain the goodwill of the Arab world and therefore peace will result.

Sounds great, right?

Except for the fact that pretty much every single concession Israel made in the past for peace has been met with more hatred and terror, not less.

  • Israel withdrew from large areas of the West Bank after Oslo - and was rewarded with a huge terror infrastructure being built there.
  • Israel withdrew from Lebanon behind UN-drawn boundaries - and was rewarded with a more powerful Hezbollah that turned southern Lebanon into a terror statelet.
  • Israel withdrew from Gaza - and was rewarded with a terrorist haven that attracts Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda as well as many other homegrown Palestinian Arab terror groups.
  • Israel unilaterally stopped essentially all operations in Gaza for four months - and was rewarded with hundreds of rockets being sent almost daily into Israel.
  • Israel has released thousands from prison in the past for very few abducted Israelis - and was rewarded with more terror, more kidnappings, and 20%-25% of the released terrorists reverting to terror again.
So, "goodwill gestures" simply do not work.

They are treated not as confidence-building measures, but rather as signs of weakness that can then be exploited.

Which means that Arabs asking for "goodwill gestures" do not plan to reciprocate in the least. Even King Abdullah's statement is a joke - he knows as well as anyone that most of the billion Muslims he is backhandedly threatening Israel with will not accept Israel even within the Green Line. And the 10% or 25% or whatever that may feel slightly better about Israel after such a suicidal move will revert to their hate as soon as Palestinian Arabs find another al-Dura or Koran desecration or wild rumor to rile up the Arab street against Israel again.

The romantic Western notion of how good deeds will inevitably follow good deeds simply does not apply in this region of the world, and it is always a fatal error to ascribe Western notions of reciprocity to Arabs.

Let's see some real goodwill on the part of the Arabs - real concessions. Because the fact is, only Israel will respond to goodwill gestures favorably.