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A Proposed Peace Strategy for the Arab-Israeli Conflict PDF Print E-mail

by Dr. Ahmed Saad
Exclusive for Al Waref
Since the 1948 establishment of the Israeli state in Palestine, both peaceful and military approaches were pursued to address the Arab-Israeli conflict.  However, time has proven that the current peace strategy has architectural defects and a proposed modification is presented herein to correct it.

The major Peace Initiatives since 1967

1. In 1967, Security Council Resolution 242 was passed – calling for the "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict".

2. The Egyptian 1973 victory was followed in 1977 by President Sadat’s visit to Israel. The signing of the Camp David Accords in September 1978 was followed by the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty in 1979.

3. The 1991 Madrid Conference was sponsored by the United States and the Soviet Union with participation of Egypt, Jordan (with representation of Palestinians), Lebanon, and Syria. The conference eventually lead to a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan in 1994.

4. The 1993 Oslo Accords were sponsored by Russia and the U.S. For the first time, direct negotiations took place between Arafat and Rabin, leading to future relations between the two parties. As a result of these accords, the PLO recognised the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.

5. Various attempts were made (including at Taba in 1995, the Wye River in 1998 and Sharm el-Sheikh in 1999) to speed up the withdrawal and self-government provisions of Oslo. Then in July 2000, there were talks between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat with the mediation of President Clinton.

6. The Saudi Peace Plan, introduced in March 2002 at an Arab summit in Beirut, was later endorsed by another Arab summit in Riyadh in 2007.

7. The 2003 Road Map, preceded by President Bush statement that there should be a two-state solution, was drawn-up by the "Quartet" - the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations.

8. The Annapolis Peace Talks conference was held on November 27, 2007 under the slogan of a two-state solution and was attended by Palestinian and Israeli Prime Minsters, the US Secretary of State, and other invitees. Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed to seek a final-status peace accord by the end of 2008.

It is obvious that all these efforts have failed and did not resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The Inception of the Arab-Israeli problem

The First Zionist Congress was held in Basel, Switzerland, from August 29 to August 31, 1897. Theodor Herzl, who organised this Congress, later wrote in his diary: "If I were to sum up the Congress in a word – which I shall take care not to publish – it would be this: At Basle, I founded the Jewish State.”

The relationship between Zionism and Judaism is highly controversial; some see Zionism as an outgrowth of Judaism, others as its antithesis. Judaism itself has different shades and not all Jews are Zionists and not all Zionists are Jewish. There are in fact many Jewish movements that consider any form of Zionism as heresy and that the existence of the so-called "State of Israel" is illegitimate.

It is not the intention here to investigate relationship between Judaism and Zionism; however it suffices to say that the resultant interaction between Zionism and most shades of Judaism is strong support for the State of Israel.

The Jewish communities and Zionists in the US and Europe are very well organised and exercise much more influence on the US and European governments policies.  The impact is certainly of higher magnitude than the number of Jews in these countries as percentage of the population.  These Jewish and Zionist organisations provide the state of Israel, directly or indirectly, with financial, technological, military, moral and international political support essential for Israel’s survival.

The American Administration and Government Foreign Policy strategy and execution thereof  is the resultant of interactions between the Administration, its advisors, the Senate, the Congress, the State Department, the National Security Council, American and Jewish Think Tanks, Universities and the  Jewish Lobby.

The Jewish dominance is not limited to shaping the American foreign policy but extends to almost all walks of American life and plays an important role in shaping the American society and American thinking.  It would be wrong to assume that this dominating influence is something alien to the American way of life, separate, or even separable from what defines America and American way of life.

It is the first assertion of this article is that the combination of these Jewish and Zionist groups and societies represent one of the prime principals of the Arab-Israeli problem.

To drive this point home, it is believed that the Saudi Royal family’s influence on the Saudi Arabian way of life and politics is less intrinsic than the Jewish influence in the United States.

The American government’s engagement in Arab-Israeli issues has effectively been on behalf of the Jewish and Zionist entities, representing their views (that shaped the American Foreign Policy) and serving their objectives (as the dictates of US foreign strategy).  This may explain the feeling in the Arab world that the President of the United States of America has been reduced to a ventriloquist's dummy, pitifully reciting the Israeli cabinet line. Reality is that the American Government executes its Foreign Policy Strategy developed and influenced by different players. As an agent the American government hands are somewhat tied and could not take real risks or bold decisions.

The consequence of this assertion is that there has been no resolution to the Arab Israeli problem as one of the principals (Jewish and Zionist influencers) have been missing from direct interaction and engagement with the Arabs and the Israelis. In other words continuing to negotiate with the Israeli and the USA government is essential but not sufficient to solving the problem.

The second assertion of this article is that it is in the interest of the Arab side to engage with the Jewish and Zionist organisations in the USA and Europe and make sure that they understand that the Arab side is genuine about peace and that the security of the State of Israel is not under any risk.

As principal in the Arab Israeli problem the Jewish and Zionist influencers would certainly have the Interest of Israel as their main objective. However, they must be fully aware of the following facts:

 In time, future Jewish generations living in the US and Europe would be less interested in supporting Israel, as Holocaust unifying culture fades and the centricity of Israel in the Jews lives moves to the periphery.
 The only sure way to Israel’s security and survival is to resolve her problems with her neighbours.
 Israel’s aggression and inhumane treatment of the Palestinians is resulting in inevitable deep hatred and even more desperation and could result in unthinkable and desperate actions by oppressed Palestinians and other Arabs.
 The military strength of Israel, while it may provide territorial security, does not and cannot protect the Israeli population against conventional and unconventional weapons of mass destruction. Such weapons may not be easy to procure and produce now, but they will inevitably be more accessible to groups as well as individuals as their technology improves.  
 This continued Israeli violation of Palestinian human rights would result in accumulation of negative world opinion against Israel.  Once it reaches a critical mass, even the mighty Jewish and Zionist influencers would not be able to stop its negative effects on Israel.

For the Arab side can convince the Jewish and Zionist influencers to participate in the peace negotiations would strengthen the Arab cause strongly because:
 Having this principal and the real power behind Israel and the American Government at the negotiating table (along Israeli, Arab, and American representatives) weakens the Israeli government position, as Jewish and Zionist influencers will be aware of the direct facts and will be more immune to Israel’s emotional blackmail.
 When the Jewish and Zionist influencers have direct relationship and better understanding of the Arab side as well as the humanitarian dimension, they shall have a more rational view of the situation.
 Israel understands the importance of the Jewish and Zionist powers and realizes that it cannot force its opinion on them as they do on the US government.

If we accept the assertions of this article, the Arab side must change its strategy vis-a-vis the Arab Israeli problem in the following ways:

 Engage with the Jewish Zionist influencers in the USA and Europe at governmental level and at Civil Society levels.
 Endeavour to secure a representation of the American-Jewish-Zionist in all future talks with Israel
 Re-calculate the priority of future negotiations
 Adjust the Arab approach to the Arab-Israeli problem – by pursuing a one common Arab objective, proper deployment of Arab vast resources, and serious coordination of Arab governmental efforts.

Engagement with Jewish and Zionist Influencers
The objective of this engagement is simply to lobby the Jewish and Zionist Lobby in the USA and Europe:

 Present to them facts about the genuine Arab desire for peace, and that includes safe and secure Israeli borders.
 Correct the old impression that Israel has been feeding the Jewish-Zionist influencers that Israel is a victim and on the verge of being demolished by Arabs.
 Show with facts and figures (including visits to the Palestinian Refugee camps) the sub-human conditions the Palestinians live under, and the carnage caused by Israeli aggression
 Advocate and convince that the direct involvement of the Jewish and Zionist organisations’ representatives in future peace talks is essential for their success 

Governmental Engagement Approach::
 All Arab Embassies should have well-informed and eloquent advocates that engage with the Jewish and Zionist organizations, attend their public meetings, publish in their journals, develop personal relationships with key individuals, and invite them to visit Palestine to see first-hand the conditions there.
 All heads of Arab States must make it an objective to visit and present to the Jewish and Zionist organizations the Arab views in all their foreign visits and international conferences.
 Establish research centres in Washington, D.C. with the objective of advancing Arab causes.
 The Arab league should divert some of its effort towards engaging with the Jewish-Zionist influencers.
 Arab universities and research centres should take advantage from the abundance of Arab and Jewish scientists in the US and Europe, by inviting them as visiting professors and develop joint research projects with them to benefit from their expertise.

Dr. Ahmed Saad
Switzerland, 9 April 2009
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