Wednesday, May 20, 2020


The problem with the Deal of the Century is that like all peace plans before it, its premise is flawed. Trump’s peace plan is based on the idea that the Arabs prefer prosperity to killing Jews. The plan also presumes that Arabs will settle for some, and not all of the land. Finally, Peace to Prosperity is predicated on the notion of perpetual Arab refusal: that the Arabs will once again say no.
The first idea: that Arabs prefer peace, is flat-out false. The Arabs prefer death above all, as expressed in this PA textbook, in use since 2006:
 “O heroes, Allah has promised you victory... Don't talk yourselves into flight… Your enemies seek life while you seek death. They seek spoils to fill their empty stomachs while you seek a Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth... Death is not bitter in the mouth of the believers. These drops of blood that gush from your bodies will be transformed tomorrow into blazing red meteors that will fall down upon the heads of your enemies."
[Reading and Texts Part II, Grade 8, p. 16]
The second idea: that Arabs will settle for bits and pieces of land is debunked an average of at least several times a day on American college campuses, every time a student (or Roger Waters) chants, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Or every time the PA broadcasts on its official media channels that all of Israel is "Palestine."

But the third idea, that the Jews are safe entering these negotiations because the Arabs always say no, puts the Jews in the position of negotiating in bad faith. This can only fan the flames of hatred against the Jewish people, leaving them vulnerable to accusations of insincerity and morally questionable behavior. Negotiating by pretense is not a good look for the Jewish people in a world rife with antisemitism. 
We know that President Trump means well. Trump has done much to earn the gratitude of Israel and the Jewish people. But that doesn’t mean we have to look the other way when he tries to make a deal with a people who don’t want a deal, using Jewish land as the bargaining chip.

In every peace deal, current plan not excluded, it is always Israel who is called upon to make the important sacrifices; Israel that must give up bits and pieces of Jewish indigenous territory. All in the name of achieving every American president's impossible dream: peace in the Middle East.
Would that it could be so. But the Arabs “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” said Abba Eban in 1973, during the Geneva peace talks. With Trump’s peace plan, once again it is the Arabs who are offered opportunities. For they stand to gain, Israel to lose.

Anwar Sadat admitted as much. "After all, I got back … the Sinai and the Alma oil fields, and what has Menachem got? A piece of paper," said Sadat in a 1980 interview appearing in the New York Times
The Arabs get money, land, a state. The Jews get what? The absence of violence? A building freeze? Permission to say they are sovereign over their indigenous territories?
None of these things are real as compared to cash and land. The Jews get nothing but promises and statements of intent. They only give: only lose.
The Trump plan is well meant, but paternalistic. It tells the Arabs that if they behave for four years, they will get all the spoils of war: the money and the land. But if there are any violations, the deal ends, and Israel is off the hook from here on in as far as the Arabs are concerned, no muss no fuss.
But what practically, would this mean? That when Peace to Prosperity inevitably falls apart and Arabs resume their attacks on Jewish Israelis, that the violence directed at Israel will no longer be considered to be Israel’s fault? That everyone will stop blaming the victim of terror: Israel?
Is this our prize? Our spoil? And by the way, does anyone believe the world will sign off on this idea of Israel no longer being held accountable for the Arab violence against it? Or if the world does absolve Israel, will they mean it? Can Germany, for instance, be anything other than Germany—that is to say, incorrigibly antisemitic?
The main problem with Peace to Prosperity or any peace deal, of course, is that once the deal is concluded, it sets a precedent for the next round of failed negotiations. We know that whatever was on offer now, will not be enough the next time—that the ante will need upping for the next go-round.
Because that is how it always goes. Each successive peace plan is accompanied by ever more titillating tracts of (Jewish) land. And the world will keep pretending that the Arabs just want a state and will settle for less than all the land from the river to the sea. Peace to Prosperity, like all the other plans, makes this same pretense, speaking in the language of compromise, “Both Israelis and Palestinians have long-standing negotiating positions but also must recognize that compromise is necessary to move forward.”

But the only compromise stipulated, as always, is Israeli compromise. It is one-sided. It is Jews giving up their land. Both parties already understand this. And by the way, should the Jews refuse to "compromise," to give up Jewish land, all bets are off, negotiations fail, and the Arabs don’t get their money. So here again, the Jews are forced into an ugly choice, of a sinister bent: give up land or look stingy, mean, and ungrateful: a people who does not want peace.
Let’s imagine one possible outcome of Peace to Prosperity: that the Arabs promise to renounce violence and to recognize the Jewish State of Israel. Is it right or logical that the Jews should give up land—their most prized possession—for a promise and some recognition? Especially when we have never seen any indication of good faith from the Arabs or a renunciation of terror in all the years we have lived side by side if separate lives?
The text of Peace to Prosperity tells us that, “A peace agreement will be forged only when each side recognizes that it is better off with a peace agreement than without one, even one that requires difficult compromises.”
But the Arabs prefer death to peace with the Jews. They would rather die killing Jews. There is nothing anyone can give them that they would prefer to this outcome. Not money and not land. What room is there for compromise?
Word on the street is that the Jews can and should trust Trump, because he's been good to us thus far. And there is no doubt that Trump's intentions are good. He genuinely desires to make this deal: to make peace in the Middle East.

But this "deal" like all other deals, asks the Jews to give up Jewish land, as if Jewish land were something that might be bartered. This betrays a misunderstanding of the connection of the Jewish people to their land. The Land of Israel is central part to Judaism: an intrinsic part of God's covenant with Abraham.

The Jews are known as the People of the Book, and for having 613 commandments to observe, a people of rules and regulations. But a number of the commandments can only be performed in Israel. Forced to barter our land, we lose our religious liberty.

We recognize that no outsider can fully understand our connection to the land; not even a President Trump. But is it too much for us to ask the world to accept that our connection to the land exists—to stop asking the Jews to pretend or accept that Jewish land is fungible?

Indigenous territory isn’t something you can give away. Israel remains the indigenous land of the Jewish people, something holy and precious. We must not be so cavalier as to allow the land to be used as bait, and especially not assuming that the Arabs will once again say no.

President Trump no doubt means well, but it is wrong to treat the land with this way, to use it as currency. We must end the this situation in which Jews are asked to cut off bits and pieces of themselves. It's a sign of Jews in submission, and it's disrespectful to the land, as well.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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