The Escher-Aiken Roadmap to Peace

As these words are written, Secretary of State John Kerry has announced agreement with Israel and the Ramallah government to restart peace talks, a Foreign Ministerial-level meeting is to be held shortly,

Ramallah continues both its condemnation of “Zionist atrocities” and reiterates its willingness to conduct negotiations on the basis of pre-1967 borders, Israel has said a return to pre-1967 borders – which would leave only 9.3 miles from the Mediterranean to  hostile Arab territory  – is out of the question but it will release 104 prisoners as a token of good faith.

Mahmoud Abbas, who in the past has said “We want the Israelis to leave. They want to leave – so let us let them leave” said on Monday in a briefing to mostly Egyptian journalists quoted by Reuters, less than a day after Kerry’s announcement, “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands.”

Hamas has reiterated its refusal to negotiate anything at all with Israel under any circumstances whatsoever.  Hamas may be the only honest player on the field.

Some things never change; if the talks do, in fact, take place they will fail as always.  As Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban said at the Geneva Peace Conference with Arab countries (December 1973), “[t]he Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”  However, Eban’s aphorism missed the fact, incomprehensible to reasonable minds, that these “failures” have been a deliberate policy from the start. 

Arab leaders in the West Bank and Gaza don’t want their own state, and never have except as a tactical feint to an overarching objective.  What they do want is the obliteration of Jews and Israel at any cost and under any pretext.

As PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein said in a March 31, 1977 interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw: “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.

Herewith, the Escher-Aiken Roadmap to Peace in the Middle East, a simple plan named for the late Senator George Aiken (R-VT) who, during  the turmoil over US involvement in Southeast Asia, said “the best policy is to declare victory and get out”, which, of course, is what finally happened, and  the Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher, renowned for drawing physical objects that couldn’t possibly exist.

The four points of the Escher-Aiken Roadmap:

Israel wants peace but doesn’t have an honest partner; the Arab residents of the West Bank and Gaza demand their nation without Israel to contend with. 

Israel should accept them at their word and:

> Formally cede all territory now under Palestinian Authority control to the P.A., including the most geographically compact  and defensible area possible encompassing Jericho, Ramallah, and Bethlehem.

This would create a contiguous territory for the P.A. on the West Bank with easy access to Jordan, Jordan being the only Israeli neighbor seriously interested in peace.

> Harden the Gaza border fence and build a hardened road-security bridge-tunnel linking Gaza and Hebron (approx. 30 miles);

Warn Jewish settlements on the West Bank (and outposts, which are often no more than a shack on a hilltop) that their safety could not be guaranteed upon competition of the Gaza-Hebron corridor even with “improved relations” between the two sides.

Annex the West Bank and unilaterally recognize the sovereign state of the United West Bank and Gaza, with the clear understanding that an attack of any size on any Jews, whether by  the sovereign state of the United West Bank and Gaza, or allegedly uncontrolled militants and jihadists, would be treated as an act of declared total war.

The resulting map of Israel and the United West Bank and Gaza would look something like the image on the right where the borders of the United West Bank and Gaza are shown in green.  Stranger borders can be seen around the globe such as that across the town of Baarle-Nassau between Belgium and the Netherlands shown on the left. (Yellow is Belgium and beige is the Netherlands.  By no means have the two countries always been peaceful neighbors.

GIB

The facts underlying the Escher-Aiken Roadmap to Peace are these:

:1. Palestine was never a state, a nation, or a people, until invented as deliberately belligerent propaganda.  Beginning in 1921, when the British Mandate for Palestine began to take shape, both Arab and Jewish citizens of Palestine referred to themselves as Palestinian; the concept of a separate Arab Palestinian people evolved in the 1960s.

Historical Palestine, known as Canaan in Biblical times, is a geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.  It was inhabited by  Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites, Ivrim (Jews) and Hamathites. No Palestinians.  Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that today’s Palestinians are the descendants of all these tribes including the Jews. (Arabs and Jews share most of their maternal DNA.)

2.  Just as a gifted two-year old with a talent for Lego blocks can’t have a meaningful discussion with a professional structural engineer, but a similarly talented high school junior might, Arabs and Jews don’t speak the same intellectual language.  The paradigms, their mental peripheries, are too separated by conceptual chasms.  Disparities in culture, science, and education make a conversation impossible. 

The once-Golden Age of Moslem / Arab arts and culture, which started with the establishment of Islam in in the early 7th century, c.e. began a steady decline to its end in the 12th century, c.e. with the substitution of independent thinking (Ijtihad) for institutionalized taqleed (imitation) thinking in which the knowledge was equated with rote memorization of the Quran.  Since Ijtihad and jihad (holy war) conveniently derive from the same root, JHD, it was only minor linguistic sleight of hand to have the idea of holy war appear as logical thought to believers.  Little if anything has changed since; ignorance and hatred are an intrinsic element of life in the culture of the region, though not necessarily in all Islamic cultures worldwide.

3. What would happen if either side achieved its objectives?  We have hard evidence from both sides.

[a] On November 29, 1947, the United Nations, which had taken over the British Mandate in May, voted to partition Palestine into two states, Jewish and Arab. Arabs in Palestine rejected the UN solution. Israel proclaimed its independence on May 14, 1948. The next day, armies from Transjordan (now Jordan), Syria, and Egypt attacked.  The one time Israel has attacked her neighbors first was in 1967 when an Arab invasion was clearly imminent. 

The Arab mindset in 1948 was the same hatred-driven mindset of 627 c.e. when the Jews of Medina refused to convert to Islam and Muhammad’s followers killed between 600 and 900 of the men, dividing the surviving women and children amongst themselves.  It is the mindset behind persecutions, arbitrary confiscations, attempted forced conversions, or pogroms in the Middle Ages. It is the same mindset that justified Arab support, often overt, of Nazi Germany, and the mindset behind nearly a million Jews being expelled from Arab and other Muslim countries between 1920 and 1970.

[b] On the Israeli side of the equation, Arab citizens of Israel do have some rights restricted – Israel is, after all, a constitutionally Jewish social democratic state  – but let it not be forgotten that the few Jews in Arab nations have no rights at all and the Arab nations are all ruled by dictators and monarchs who, more often than not have absolute authority.

That being said, Arab citizens of Israel are entitled to public education, health services, and jobs.  (In a recent Atlantic Magazine interview, Jordan’s Oxford-educated King Abdullah bemoaned his frustrations at trying to turn Jordan into a democratic country over the objections of his own people! His people don’t want the advantages of modern life.) Furthermore, Israel has both unofficial and official trade  arrangements with willing Arab partners to everybody’s benefit.  Peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt include economic relations that have endured through troubled times; Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates have also established moderate and closer economic links to Israel. 

[c] Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in September of 2005 was followed by Hamas sweeping the Palestinian elections in January, 2006 and its complete takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. Israel had left behind its infrastructure of roads, schools, hospitals and public health clinics, some light industry, and more intact.  These were looted, destroyed, and / or used as launching platforms for an increased measure of bombs and missiles aimed at Israel.  Today, all is rubble, a rubble born of hate and a lack of qualified personnel to maintain these facilities. 

Could any better result be expected were there no Jews in the Land of Israel?  One thinks not.  For 900 years the Arab world, fueled and supported by taqleed (imitation) thinking, has demanded that non-Moslem cultures acknowledge inherent Arab superiority.  The Arab Golden Age has long been a thing of the past but that reality hasn’t been recognized or accepted.

Neither have the benefits of the arts and sciences available in non-Moslem (not necessarily Western) been recognized or if recognized neither sought or accepted:  a culture that sees itself infallible in all things has no need of inferior information.

What would the Land of Israel look like after an all-out Arab victory?  One need only look to Israel’s neighbors, neighbors who aren’t “occupied”:

Would agriculture continue to thrive?

Would towns, cities, and industry continue to be prosperous?

Would healthcare provided by competent physicians continue being available to the people?

Would the people cease to be poor and uneducated while wealth continued accruing to their rulers?

Would children pay at “make-believe” games?  Ghandi once said that “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members

israeli       palestin

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