It amazes me that American Jews continue to hope for peace and reconciliation between their Israeli brethren and Arabs -- "hopelessness is no option although…," writes New York Times columnist Roger Cohen. Then, he proceeds to describe why it’s hopeless.
Puzzling, too, is that American Jews often blame Israel for conflicts with the Palestinians, or expect Israeli leaders to capitulate on unreasonable Arab demands, the essence of which is: give up all land and get out, or die.
Robert Goldwasser and Michael Ross, Jewish community leaders in the Raleigh, N. C. area, write that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert must convince his people that additional "compromises…will lead to a genuine and durable peace." In their dreams.
Another "Israeli-Palestinian summit" is planned later this month to be held in Annapolis, Md. Goldwasser and Ross hope that, this time, "serious negotiations" will "map out a comprehensive way to move forward." Delusional gibberish.
Hope is naturally human. But continuing with the same 40-year strategy (U. S.- sponsored international conferences) and expecting different results, clearly shows mental disorder. During the past seven U. S. president’s administrations we have had the Rogers Plan, an Interim Agreement, Camp David Accords, the Reagan Plan, the Shultz Plan, a Madrid Conference, the Oslo Accords, Camp David II, and the Road Map to peace. The Annapolis Conference will be the next round in a long series of historic international failures.
Mr. Cohen reports his discussion with an Arab Hamas leader who predicts the Annapolis meeting will fail because of the disunity of Arab-claimed land. In addition to vast historical evidence on the ground, that’s easy to see graphically. Superimposed on the culturally unworkable demographics, a map of currently contested lands in Israel illustrates the geographically impossible situation: a tiny, narrow isolated Hamas-occupied Gaza Strip on the Mediterranean side of Israel; a large, odd-shaped blob of West Bank spreading into the narrow part of Israel like a huge amoeba; and to the northeast, the Golan Heights like a large cancer pressing against Syria.
Goldwasser and Ross remind us that the adjoining states of Syria and Lebanon, and Iran, all controlled by violent Islamists, threaten to annihilate Israel. They also recall Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s more realistic view of Islamic extremists "as vicious and violent" as the fascists and communists we fought in the last century. The Arabs rejected a two-state partition in 1947. What’s changed? What is the basis for expectations of peaceful coexistence?
After sixty years of hope where are we? We’ve had resolutions, summits, opportunities, windows, roadmaps and paths to peace. Yet an Arab and a Jewish state cannot harmoniously exist side by side. Cohen says that the Annapolis gathering is not about "a peace settlement," it’s a "framework for talks."
Please, spare the world more of these charades. An Arab negotiator made it painfully plain: "Palestinians will never acknowledge Israel’s Jewish identity." What don’t Jews and our politicians understand about the meaning of "never"—at no time, under no circumstances, not ever, not on your life, no way, when pigs fly.
About the pending summit, Cohen quotes an Israeli political scientist: "The best we can hope for is an agenda of conflict management and not have illusions of conflict resolution." In other words, peace between Jews and Palestinian Arabs is an illusion.
Pathetically, many Americans and other westerners continue to stare, transfixed, at that vision. They step back to the future on a treadmill-like path with endless, in vain hope that talks, negotiations, and compromise will bring peace. The self-deluded cannot bring themselves to face reality. Arabs or Jews must dominate and control the region, not both.