Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald examines the situation Israel faces as Mahmoud Abbas prepares to meet with President Bush:
“The Palestinian Authority at the weekend was carefully preparing its list of demands for Israel, optimistic that next week’s summit between PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas and US President George W. Bush will result in renewed diplomatic pressure on the Jewish state.” “” from today’s Jerusalem Newswire
Abbas’ good behavior will last just as long as he needs to get the Israelis to retreat from their perfectly justified — legally, morally, historically — presence in the West Bank, just as he succeeded in doing in Gaza. Sharon, an obstinate and foolish man, has been made much of as a warrior but has never had the leisure to think clearly about the nature of the opposition to Israel. One wonders if he has even begun, or those who support him have even begun to understand that the deepest wellsprings of Arab hatred for Israel are clear: they come out of Islam, out of the absolute refusal to contemplate a permanent non-Muslim sovereignty within dar al-Islam.
Abbas’s feigned sweet reason at this point is utterly transparent — or should be to those who understand what the Middle East and Arab Muslims are all about. Imagine not Abbas, but someone still more plausible and soothing in manner — say, Sari Nusseibeh. And imagine a visit by Nusseibeh to Yad Vashem (god, how the supposed “supporters” of Israel in the West, many of them simply too lazy to learn about Islam, would eat that up), and all sorts of cosmetic gestures.
The grim fact remains: Israel is dealing not with a moral question. Morally, historically, legally, Israel has a perfect right to hold onto all of the territories it captured in the 1967 war of defense (including Gaza, which it has now voluntarily relinquished). This is true given the numbers of wars it has had to fight, given the terms of the Palestine Mandate itself, given the mistreatment of Jews who were first exiled, and then maltreated wherever they lived, and not only in Europe, but — which keeps being overlooked — throughout the Muslim lands, where they endured lives of humiliation, degradation, and insecurity, despite all the propaganda about the “convivencia” in Spain, and the wonders of Haroun al-Raschid, and the sanitized view of the Ottoman treatment of the dhimmi.
No, it is a military question. Gaza sits astride the traditional invasion route into Israel. As was Gaza, any further Israeli withdrawal — whatever interpretation is given to this withdrawal in Jerusalem or Washington — will be interpreted throughout the Muslim world as another triumph, born of clever negotiation and the weariness brought about by the endurance of years of suicide attacks against civilians. Israel has a long record of complete failure in its negotiations. Again and again it has traded tangible assets for mere promises — in 1949, in 1956, in 1967, in 1973, in 1979, in 1994, in 2005 in Gaza, and in the years throughout.
It cannot be otherwise. The only point that Condoleeza Rice and everyone else involved, should be raising — expressly raising and not hiding from public view — is the Treaty of al-Hudaibiyya. Everyone involved in “peace negotiations” in the Middle East needs to read at least Majid Khadduri’s Law of War and Peace in the Law of Islam, for a start, and to memorize the previous treaties between Muslims and Infidels. These would include, of course, the treaties that John Quincy Adams discussed in his own record of the American dealings with the Barbary states (a record of constant chicanery and breaching of solemn agreements); the Ottoman record of “reform” (i.e. better treatment of non-Muslim subjects) promised to the European powers, a record constantly broken throughout the nineteenth century, and only observed when military force was brought to bear; and the long record of Arab treaty-breaking with Israel.
Forget about negotiations and treaties. Figure out how to make sure that Israel can ensure its own military superiority — in such a way that the Arabs and other Muslims are convinced that the results of further attack will be so harmful to them that they will have to refrain. It may not work, given the fanaticism to which Islam, unconstrained, always tends, but it is far better than the madness of continuing to push Israel back — or allowing it to do it to itself.
Sharon should be restrained from his own foolishness. Cooler heads, informed about Islam, should stay his hand.
Abbas is trivial. So is Nusseibeh. So is any temporary Arab “Palestinian” leader. What counts is what is permanent in the Islamic world: Islam itself — as the secularist opposition to the Shah found out to their sorrow, and as secularist beneficiaries of Kemalism will soon find out in Turkey.
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice should be given Majid Khadduri’s book, and a summary of the Muslim law concerning treaties with Infidels. And please, let it NOT be given by the sinister likes of David Satterfield, the man who at Taif sat there smiling, as the Saudis forced into the Lebanese Constitution a clause that required Lebanon to recognize its “Arab identity” for the first time, something that the Maronites had fiercely rejected for generations. Satterfield, and many of his colleagues, have never studied or understood Islam. And it is too late for them now.
Others must be trained. A knowledge of Arabic is not essential. A knowledge of Islam is.