Israel, the time is now

The Arab states have also grown tired of Palestinian infighting and foot-dragging when it comes to negotiations.

By ARI INGEL
April 8, 2018 21:05
A Palestinian wears an 'Anonymous' mask and holds a Palestinian flag during protests in Gaza

A Palestinian wears an 'Anonymous' mask and holds a Palestinian flag during protests in Gaza. (photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/ REUTERS)

One of the few Jewish leaders to foresee the impending doom of European Jewry in the interwar period was Ze’ev Jabotinsky. In a speech given on October 24, 1938, in Warsaw, Poland, he stated:

“It is already three years that I am calling upon you, Polish Jewry... that a catastrophe is coming closer, I became gray and old in these days, my heart bleeds, that you, dear brothers and sisters, do not see the volcano which will soon begin to spit its all consuming lava. I see that you are not seeing this because you are immersed and sunk in your daily worries. Today, however, I demand from you trust... listen to me in this 12th hour. In the name of God! Let any one of you save himself as long as there is still time, and time there is very little... Whoever of you will escape from the catastrophe, he or she will live to see the exalted moment of a great Jewish Wedding, the rebirth and the rise of a Jewish state.”

Jabotinsky died in 1940, before the true horrors of the Holocaust and before the establishment of the State of Israel. But that was not his only prophetic prediction. In an essay he published on November 4, 1923, entitled “The Iron Wall,” Jabotinsky foresaw the predicament Israel finds itself in today.

At that time, the more popular Socialist Zionist view was that the Arabs of Palestine would eventually accept a Jewish presence in Palestine because of the wealth and development it would bring to the region. Jabotinsky, on the other hand, believed the Palestinian Arabs would never trade their homeland for wealth; that the Arabs living there would refuse “new partners or collaborators” and would never “give up their fatherland for a good railway system.” He stated that the only way the Arabs would ever accept the State of Israel is if it were a matter of fait accompli; if Jews maintained a proverbial “iron wall.”

Today, the Palestinian Authority has seemingly given up on the military option for conquering Israel by force, and Hamas appears to have followed suit for now as well, after finally realizing following its war with Israel in 2014 that the costs were too great.

However, while the State of Israel has created a security Iron Wall, it has not yet created a political one. With the ability to utilize the Internet and social media to mobilize the masses and spin their own narrative, the Palestinians believe they can still delegitimize Israel politically.

This is why the time is now for Israel to make a major push for a peace deal, and by doing so outmaneuver Hamas and the PA, forcing their hand.

The Gulf States along with Egypt and Jordan see Iranian expansion throughout the Middle East as the major threat to their own stability, while they see Islamic State (ISIS), al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic fundamentalist groups, including Hamas, as the region’s second-biggest threat.

Conversely, these Arab countries now see Israel as a natural ally in this fight, and as a strong economic trading partner. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) is looking to diversify the Saudi economy and is an admirer of Israel’s “dynamic and technologically driven economy.” In a far-ranging interview with The Atlantic, MBS stated: “Israel is a big economy compared to their size and it’s a growing economy, and of course there are a lot of interests we share with Israel. If there is peace, there would be a lot of interest between Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and countries like Egypt and Jordan.” He went on to state “the Israelis have the right to have their own land.” Former Qatari prime minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, echoed these sentiments earlier this week via Twitter.

The Arab states have also grown tired of Palestinian infighting and foot-dragging when it comes to negotiations, which they now see as an impediment to their own security and prosperity. As former US Middle East envoy Aaron David Miller recently stated, they see the Palestinians “as a money pit that they continue to support without much result” and the Palestinian leadership as “directionless, dysfunctional and corrupt.”

Meanwhile, in Washington, Israel may never again see the sort of support they are receiving from the Trump administration, and it’s an administration that is motivated to get a major win and conclude “the ultimate deal.” This window may not stay open long though. With the mobilization of the progressive base of the Democratic Party, there is a distinct possibility that we see a leftist, who is openly hostile to Israel, become president in 2021. It’s worth noting that according to a recent Pew Poll, the progressive wing sympathizes more with Palestinians than with Israel, by a margin of 35% to 19% and growing.

In case anyone was wondering where Jabotinsky stood on the idea of a two-state solution, this quote from his book The War and the Jew is telling:

“A homeland for the Jews means a land where they would dwell only among Jews, or would at least constitute a majority sufficiently overwhelming in numbers to eliminate the possibility of pogroms, or economic ousting, or even the uneasy distress of the unwanted lodger.”

Israel should not squander this rare period of support, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would do well to heed the words and urgency of the Likud Party’s spiritual founding father, Jabotinsky, in that 1938 speech. A catastrophe is coming if Israel doesn’t fortify its Iron Wall and its home of the Jewish people while they can. It’s the 12th hour and the clock is ticking.

The author is an attorney and member of the Creative Community for Peace, an entertainment industry organization that represents a cross-section of the creative world dedicated to promoting the arts as a means to peace and to countering the cultural boycott of Israel.


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