Following are excerpts from an interview with PLO Ambassador to Lebanon Abbas Zaki, which aired on ANB TV on May 7, 2009:And he is exactly right.
Abbas Zaki: What is needed is a settlement, not a hudna [truce]. After 45 years of struggle, we have the right to reach a conclusion to this conflict, rather than extending the hudna, enabling Israel to expand on a daily basis.
My advice is: we should not give Israel a hudna, because whenever Israel is given a hudna, it consolidates its position and becomes more deeply rooted. What hudna? If they do not withdraw from the 1967 lands – what hudna? Israel will become a fact on the ground, and we will end up as small enclaves, and should be driven out with time.
Therefore, it is high time that we found a final, comprehensive solution. The Arabs talk about a comprehensive solution and present initiatives, and the world talks about a solution, yet we say: Let's stick to the hudna. No, my friend. I personally joined Fatah somewhat belatedly, in 1962. Work out how many years that is. Should I keep on extending the hudnas? Impossible. We want a solution now.
They talk about a two state solution, and when that is achieved...even Ahmadinejad, the leader of the rejectionists throughout the region, said he supports a two-state solution. Nobody fools anybody.
With the two-state solution, in my opinion, Israel will collapse, because if they get out of Jerusalem, what will become of all the talk about the Promised Land and the Chosen People? what will become of all the sacrifices they made--just to be told to leave?
They consider Jerusalem to have a spiritual status. The Jews consider Judea and Samaria to be their historic dream. If the Jews leave those places, the Zionist idea will begin to collapse. It will regress of its own accord. Then we will move forward.
This is the real reason that Arabs insist on Jerusalem - not because of their love of the city that they ignored for a thousand years, but because they know that the Jewish connection to the city is so strong and so powerful.
As a result, the Arabs aren't scared of secular Israelis, socialist kibbutzim, Israeli robotic jeeps, drones or even the IDF altogether. They believe that all of those can be defeated by appealing to liberal sensibilities of the West and slowly chipping away at the resolve of the Zionists who desperately want peace more than anything else.
What they are scared of are Jews who are unapologetically proud of their Judaism and of their deep, emotional ties to the Land of Israel.
While they consider everyone else a pushover - they are patient, and will wait decades to wear them down - the Jews who have a pure, emotional, and especially religious connection to the Land are the ones that they know they cannot defeat. Because deep down they know that their own connection to the land is derivative, a mere shadow of the Jews' deep love of Israel.
They know that the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque were close to being ruins before the Jews started returning to the Land of Israel in large numbers. They know that they showed almost no interest in Palestine before the 20th century.
They know that if the Jews had not started moving back to Palestine, their own mythology would never have started.
This is why their goal is Jerusalem. This is why they raise a stink at every new building built or purchased by Jews, at every synagogue, at the slightest hint of Jewish permanence in the city that Jews have been praying towards and crying over for millenia.
And this is why Jews - even the ones who, for whatever tragic reason, don't feel the same connection that their ancestors did - cannot compromise on Jerusalem.