Arab League 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)
Our media – forever plying an advocacy agenda and tendentiously promoting hyped
humbug – showed no interest in focusing on Ramallah figurehead Mahmoud Abbas’s
latest song and dance. Denied resonance, the story expired virtually
Most Israeli news consumers were highly unlikely even to have
detected any fleeting resemblance between Abbas’s three “no's” and the three
“no's” enunciated so bombastically in Khartoum exactly 44 years and one day
Representatives of all Arab League members and the PLO hobnobbed in
Sudan on August 29, 1967, soon after the Six Day War. On September 1, they
published their resolution, popularly dubbed the three “no's”: “no peace, no
recognition, no negotiation with Israel.”It would serve us well to
recall that this was when Israelis delusionally awaited, as Moshe Dayan phrased
it, “a telephone call” from Arab leaders.
We sincerely convinced
ourselves that given the new circumstances in the region, there’s no alternative
for the Arab world but to shake off its refusal to accept Israel and to effect a
Had the Arabs operated according to our patterns
of logic, this indeed should have been the outcome.
But the idealistic
expectations that our enlightened rationale would guide the reactions of others
were (and, alas, still are) pie-in-the-sky.
Then-foreign minister Abba
Eban promised we’d be “unbelievably generous in working out peace terms.” In
direct talks with official Arab interlocutors, he stressed, “everything is
This past August 27, two days short of the anniversary of
the Khartoum summit’s opening, Abbas chose to echo its rejectionist sentiments.
He announced three “no's” of his own: no to recognizing a Jewish state, no to
tolerating Jewish settlement blocs and no to forgoing the demand that Israel be
overrun by untold millions of hostile Arabs (marketed to all and sundry as the
Right of Return).
THIS IS all fundamentally significant, not least
because we find ourselves at the outset of what we’re told will be a fateful
September – the month in which a great tsunami will violently engulf us both in
the diplomatic arena (at the UN General Assembly) and right on our own turf (via
orchestrated terror campaigns touted as grassroots demonstrations).
has just definitively defined what it’s all about, even if we were distracted
and loath to listen to him – as we almost always are.
Speaking on the eve
of a last-ditch EU meddling effort geared to initiate another negotiation round
before Abbas’s projected UN extravaganza, he set conditions. He’ll agree to
talks if their outcome is fully determined a priori and imposed on
He’ll send his representative to palaver with Israeli negotiators
if Israel consents beforehand to shrink back to the 1949 armistice lines and if
it ceases forthwith all “settlement” construction, including in
beyond-Green-Line Jerusalem neighborhoods.
The construction freeze,
needless to emphasize, applies to Jews only – in the spirit of goodwill to all
men (except for some).
This, in effect, is Abbas’s counterpart to
Khartoum’s no-negotiation stipulation. Abbas has set up a hurdle so high that it
becomes unsurpassable and thereby makes further negotiations
Next comes Abbas’s present-day equivalent to Khartoum’s
no-recognition proviso. While not identical in wording, its bottom line is no
different from its 44-year-old prototype. Abbas repeated insolently that
recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is out of the question – not now, not
ever, no way, nowhere, under no condition.
This isn’t a semantic quibble.
It means refusal to accede even to the 1947 UN Partition Resolution minimum,
which determined that the Jewish people deserve a state. To crush said
resolution, seven Arab armies attacked newborn Israel but lost, triggering their
piteous lamentations to this day.
As long as the very notion of the
rightful existence of a Jewish state is denied, the irredentist ambition to
eradicate Israel as a Jewish state will fester and rule out even a remote
likelihood of lasting peace.
THE ARABS’ current tactic is to admit that a
state called Israel is a reality in their midst, even if an unwelcome one. But
current realties can be changed. If Israel is judged as illegitimate, then the
temptation will forever remain to eliminate this illegitimacy. Hence refusing to
accept the rightful existence of a Jewish state is nothing less than proclaiming
the intention to keep on challenging and destabilizing it till a more convenient
opportunity presents itself to wipe it off the map altogether.
This is a
potent, dominant and recurring Arab theme – not pedantic hair-splitting by a
deliberately obstructionist Israel. Herein lies nothing less than the core
issue. At stake isn’t the creation of a second Arab state in original Palestine
(Jordan, occupying some 80% of the British Palestine mandate territory, being
What actually hangs in the balance is the ongoing survival of
the Jewish state. The Palestinian ploy, in fact, is nothing but a weapon to
wield against the Jewish state, foremost by disguising the antagonistic aims
Yesteryear’s uninhibited bluster about throwing the Jews into
the sea was a public relations flop.
However, the reverse is true for the
new-style upmarket prattle that portrays Jews as ogre conquistadors who deny the
ancient Palestinian nation the self-determination forcibly usurped from
This canard goes over big. It seemingly doesn’t offend liberal
niceties, while appealing to the postmodern zeitgeist and to that latent
Judeophobia still lurking sinisterly throughout Europe.
How will this
veiled plot to obliterate Israel be carried out? Here we arrive at Abbas’s third
“no.” His tool will be the Right of Return, i.e., the right uniquely reserved
for assumed descendents of so-called Palestinian refugees to inundate Israel.
This will render it ripe for full Arabization, shorn eventually of any shreds of
Jewish identity – down to the last vestiges, like its name, emblem, flag and
We won’t even raise the macabre specter of bloodshed.
Little imagination is demanded of anyone who knows the history of this country
since the mid-19th century and the accompanying shouts of itbah el-yahud
(slaughter the Jews).
FINALLY, THE rejection of settlement-bloc
compromise should squash any lingering pipe dreams among Israelis hoping that
it’s possible to reconcile Abbas’s insistence on the 1967 demarcations with
Israel’s inability to again compress itself, ever-vulnerable, into those
existentially threatening confines.
Abbas delivered an inconsiderate kick
in the teeth to those of us who clutch at hallucinations about land-swaps that
would leave us with significant settlement blocs.
preconditions are that we squeeze ourselves back into what super-dove Eban
dubbed “the Auschwitz lines,” that we forget about Jewish state legitimacy and
that we agree to the Arab takeover of the defenseless-cum-illegitimate entity
provisionally going under the name of Israel.
Remember, besides rudely
spurning Israel’s outstretched hand in 1967, the Khartoum conferees underscored
their three “no's” by reaffirming “the Palestinians’ right to regain the whole
of Palestine,” i.e., destroy the State of Israel.
That was precisely
Abbas’s message last week – albeit in somewhat more discreet words. Still, what
was, is what is –even if we don’t like it.
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