“Barack Obama is to pursue an ambitious peace plan in the Middle East involving the recognition of Israel by the Arab world in exchange for its withdrawal to pre-1967 borders, according to sources close to America’s president-elect.” — from this news article
This might work, if:
1. If Islam did not exist.
2. If the doctrines that are inculcated into the minds of Muslims were not so clear, so consistent, and so deeply imbedded.
3. If instead of being told that they had a duty to remove all obstacles to the spread and dominance of Islam all over the world, Muslims were told that they should accept unbelievers as equals and not try to subjugate them under Sharia.
4. If in the minds of Muslims the recapture of territory deemed to have once been part of Dar al-Islam were not at the top of the list. It is at the top of the list because Muslims may once have possessed that, no matter when, no matter how, no matter for how long or short a time. This is because land that had once become part of Dar al-Islam and is then repossessed by non-Muslims constitutes an even greater and permanent affront to Muslims than the fact that parts of the world have as yet never been conquered by Islam, when Believers know (for they are taught) that the whole world belongs to Allah, and to the Believers, the “best of peoples” (Qur’an 3.110).
5. If there were anything in the historical record to suggest that these deep beliefs were not taken permanently to heart. They explain not merely the uncompromising attitude (which can hide, or disguise, or make palatable to powerful non-Muslims whose aid is sought to pressure other non-Muslims) toward Israel, but a great many other attitudes. The notion that if Kashmir were yielded to Muslim rule, that the pressure on India from Muslims in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and within India, including acts of terror, would do more than most temporarily diminish, is also false.
6. If there were some evidence that in the past negotiations and “treaties,” the Muslim Arabs had ever shown themselves willing to stick to such treaties and not, as Majid Khadduri notes, always and everywhere regard such treaties with Infidel states or peoples as made to be broken (on the model of Al-Hudaibiyya).
7. If the Israelis in particular had any evidence save for a few words that the difference between the Fast Jihadists of Hamas and the Slow Jihaidsts of Fatah were differences on ultimate goals and not merely on tactics and timing.
8. If the re-establishment of the Jewish commonwealth in modern Israel were not the incredible achievement it is. This commonwealth has been built in what was a dusty backwater of the Ottoman Empire. Despite every effort by the local Muslim Arabs to destroy it, Israel managed to be built and to thrive, and to offer an example. It is an example that remains unrecognized, but it is an example nonetheless that has had a civilizing effect. Israel is an example of an advanced polity in the midst of darkness, not least in its treatment of minorities. Compare the treatment of all non-Muslim and non-Arab minorities everywhere in Arab-dominated land, from Kurds and Berbers and Copts and Assyrians to black African Christians, pagans, and even Muslims).
9. If Israel did not have a perfect right to hold onto what was after 1948 the “West Bank.” This is because of the express terms of the Mandate for Palestine. That Mandate was set up for the establishment of the Jewish National Home.
10. If that territory, seized by the Jordanians, had not then come into the possession of Israel by force of defensive arms in the Six-Day War, so that Israel’s claim is reinforced by all the ordinary rules of territorial adjustment after a successful war of self-defense. See how the map of Europe was rewritten after each of the two last world wars. Start with Italy’s claim to the Alto Adige, which was once the Sudtirol and 98% ethnic German. It was awarded to Italy, and quite rightly.
11. If Israel had the vast financial resources of the Muslim Arabs, who have received more than eleven trillion dollars since 1973 alone, because of an accident of geology.
12. If Israel did not need to hold onto the heights of Judea, the traditional invasion route.
13. If the history of the Jews had not been written in Judea and Samaria and the loss of that territory would not deal an incalculable blow to Israeli morale.
14. If the local Arabs really were this entirely factititous “Palestinian people” invented out of the local Arabs, for clear propagandistic reasons, only after the Six-Day War. See Zuhair Mohsein, see a thousand others.
15. If Israel did not depend on the aquifers under the “West Bank.”
16. If the Arab leaders, and even the leaders of Fatah, did not make completely clear to their own people that what they were smilingly saying to the Americans and the rest of the West could not possibly change their real intentions. Those who had come to realize that an all-out immediate assault was not possible were pursuing the salami strategy.
17. If Mahmoud Abbas himself had not shown, like Arafat, but far more plausibly and cunningly, with a great show of no-one-here-but-us-mild-mannered accountants, those true intentions on so many occasions.
18. If the Arabs had any ability to grasp the very idea that smaller peoples too, the Jews but not only the Jews, had a right to their own states, states that existed not as rump states, essentially dhimmi-states that could be dispensed with if the non-Muslims managed not to show the proper dhimmi attitude. And how long would it take the Arabs to find that anything at all, including the “treatment” of Arabs in a state reduced to retreat behind what even Abba Eban once called “the lines of Auschwitz,” could be used as a pretext to fight against that rebellious dhimmi-state.
19. If the Arabs gave any sign that they would now be satisfied not with 14 million square miles of territory, but with the addition of a territory so tiny to them, but that meant life-and-death to the Israelis.
20. If the Arabs were willing to start treating other non-Arab and non-Muslim peoples (those Berbers, those Kurds, those Assyrians, those Maronites, those black Africans in Darfur and the southern Sudan and everywhere that they have been enslaved, still, by Arabs), not only with semi-decency, but as if they too had a right to their own autonomy or states.
21. If there were not every reason for the well-informed to recognize that an insidious game was being played, one that could be played only because so many in power, in a display of “pensee unique,” simply have not bothered to find out what it is they need to know in order to think carefully about the fate of Israel and about the entire Middle East, and North Africa. Indeed, they have not thought about the fate of the entire world, given that Islam now spreads its tentacles deep into Western Europe, where the understanding of the ideology of Islam has been slow, and given that the attempt to push Israel back can only lead to tears, and will use up all kinds of energy and capital that should be devoted to learning about and coming to grips with the problem of Islam. Instead, those who presume to lead and instruct us continue to perform salti-mortali so as to pretend that there is no permanent problem.
Given the worldview that Islam inculcates, and given the fact (spelled out by many scholars, but one might begin with Majid Khadduri’s War and Peace in the Law of Islam) that no treaty signed by Muslims with Infidels should be permanently obeyed, but regarded as necessarily to be breached when the occasion presents itself — given all this and so much more that one could set out here, it is madness and cruelty and wickedness, for those who presume to make policy in this area to continue to ignore the real history of the Middle East, and the history of the Jews, and the history of how all the non-Arab and non-Muslim peoples are treated by the Arabs, and have been treated over the past 1350 years.
Above all, it is madness for anyone to be kept on in a policy-making position who still has not bothered to study Islamic doctrine and its impact in Israel, or Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan, or in the countries of Western Europe and their own growing domestic distempers. Yet they still has not bothered to do so, so long now after the 9/11/2001 attack. That day should have led but did not lead those whose duty it is to instruct and to protect us to hit the books, that is, the texts of Islam — the Qur’an, the Hadith, the Sira — and the studies of Islam by the hundreds of great Western scholars who wrote in the age (roughly, 1870-1970) before the Great Inhibition set in.
Instead, these leaders have not known where to turn. They have been greatly impressed with the smiling diplomats or accommodating and gracious and so-generous Arab hosts — from Prince Bandar with his well-practiced schtick, to the “plucky little king” Hussein of Jordan, now replaced by the same slightly less-attractive, but still plausible (Deerfield! a beautiful wife! perfect English! what else do you want?) son and his entourage. Then there are the assorted smoothies who have managed to persuade the Americans that if only, if only, that pesky little Israel were put out of its misery, and brought kicking and screaming to make the deal that — as the James Bakers and Edward Djerijians and even the most exhausted, end-of-our-mental-tether Israelis seem to think might be possible — “everyone knows the broad outlines of.”
But those “everyones” are wrong. Those “everyones” do not know. They do not understand, the texts, tenets, attitudes, atmospherics of Islam. That is what they do not know, and that, I’m afraid, is just about everything that, in an intelligent and well-run polity, they would be required to know.