It all keeps coming back to Israel, and the Palestinians. The Arab world – and, to some extent, the whole Islamic world – hates Israel because the Israelis are oppressing the Muslim Arab Palestinians. And they hate the West and the U.S. in part because we support Israel, which makes us complicit in the plight of the Palestinians.
Suppose the problem were finally resolved, to the Palestinians’ satisfaction, and in such a way that Israel would still exist? In broad terms, only three such solutions are conceivable:
The Territories could be ceded to their respective Arab neighbors – Egypt could annex the Gaza Strip and Jordan could (re-)annex the West Bank. I mention this possibility just to dispose of it – because, so far as I know, Egypt and Jordan don’t want the Territories. They have enough troubles. But it would be a stable solution, at least in that it would eliminate ethnic and religious tensions between rulers and ruled.
The Territories could become an independent Palestinian state – a really independent state, with no remaining Israeli military presence of any kind, and the Palestinians free to invite in allied Arab troops to help insure their security. This almost certainly would require that all Israeli settlements in the Territories be evacuated.
Israel could annex the Territories and extend full Israeli citizenship, with voting rights and representation in the Knesset, to all the Palestinians. Note that such an enlarged Israel would still have a Jewish majority. According to the Wikipedia, the State of Israel has a population of 6.1 million of which 81% is ethnically Jewish (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel). In the West Bank, there are about 2 million Palestinians, plus 171,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and 172,000 in East Jerusalem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_West_Bank). In the Gaza Strip there are 1.2 million Palestinians; the population is only 0.6% Jewish (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_strip). Therefore, in an enlarged Israel-including-the-Territories, there would be roughly 5 million Jews and 4.3 million Muslim Arabs. A slim Jewish majority, but a majority.
I really can’t think of a fourth possible solution that would ensure a lasting peace. (Well, actually I can, but involves the whole of Canaan getting carpet-nuked into solid glass. That would result in a lasting and very peaceful peace.)
My question for debate is: If any of these solutions were implemented – would that satisfy the rest of the world’s Arabs (and non-Arab Muslims)? Would they stop hating Israel? Would they recognize Israel’s right to exist? Would they extend formal diplomatic recognition and trade on friendly terms?
And, if the Palestinian problem were resolved in any of these three ways, would that reduce the Arab (and Islamic) world’s general hatred of the West, and of the U.S. in particular? Would there be less terrorism? Would al-Qaeda diminish in size and ferocity?
I don’t think so. For ObL, the I/P problem is peripheral to his main objective-- toppling the Suadi Royal family and setting up his version of an Islamic state in its place. In as much as the US is the ally of the Saudis, we are the enemy of ObL. But then, surely you’re aware of that, so I’m kind of confused by the last paragraph of your OP. Did I miss something…?
As for your first question, I don’t think there IS a satisfctory solution to the I/P problem that results in Israel still being in existance. Perhaps there is to some Palestinians, but not to enough.
No, because of Iraq. IMHO the Palestinians have been used as a pawn by just about everyone. They represent a great symbol of “Western” occupation and oppression against a Muslim/Arab society, and as such are perfect for a Muslim or Arab government to use as a distraction from domestic problems. You don’t see much financial assistance or real pressures for peace from those governments, do you?
If there was a happy, healthy Israel/Palestine resolution tomorrow, there is now Iraq as a great symbol of “Western” oppression and occupation of an Arab society.
This does not mean that the problem should be ignored. I’m just cynical. I fully support an independent Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza, as that IMHO is the solution most likely to lead to at least a cold peace. A one-state solution will fall apart in a civil war before they can put their name on a constitution. It is true that there will be a slim Jewish majority, but the rate of growth of the Arab population dwarfs that of the Jewish population in that area. IMHO it is an absolute recipe for disaster and the only ones advocating this solution are acting as mouthpieces of Arab governments and media who are also quitely advocating the destruction of a Jewish state and return of Jews to second-class status (or worse).
Jordan and Egypt don’t want the territories; Jordan has enough of a problem with their Palestinian population, who form an underrepresented majority under a Hashemite leadership and who have actively rebelled against that leadership. Population transfer, another solution bandied around by Israeli right-wing demagogues, is just one step shy of ethnic cleansing in my book. The real solution will be from Israel withdrawing from the territories and building a huge-ass wall around themselves.
An Islamic state in SA might be what Osama bin Laden wants, but I don’t think it’s a cause that’s drawing recruits to his banner. Without the Israel-Palestine problem, he would lose a big recruiting draw. Of course, as edwino pointed out, there’s still Iraq . . .
“One step shy”? No, edwino, it is ethnic cleansing. Only the name is different. (Bear in mind that “ethnic cleansing” is something that might or might not involve genocide, just so long as the target population is completely removed from the area concerned.)
OK, but please answer the OP: If that happened, would the Arab states be willing to make friends with Israel?
See, your whole argument hinges on this, but the Arab world – and, to some extent, the whole Islamic world – hates Israel because they’re Jews.
They’ve never been shy about saying so, right in public: “Jewish devils,” “the evil Jews,” “we will push the Jews into the sea,” etc. The Palestinians are being used as pawns by their neighbors to force Israel into an impossible position.
Jews support Israel because the hate Arabs (A current joke in the Israeli army is “what do you call a Palestianian in the sea?” “Pollution” " What do you call 2 million Palestinians in the Sea?" “A solution.”) :wally . :rolleyes:
Hard to say. Certainly, some would be more open to it – Jordan and Morocco already have reasonably open relationships with Israel, as good as can be expected in the current situation. Egypt does not, despite 24 years of a peace treaty. A cold peace is infinitely better than no peace, though.
My prediction is that “moderate” Islamic states like Jordan and Morocco (think Qatar, Bahrain, maybe a few others), and perhaps even middling ones like Libya and Pakistan would find it within their interest to develop closer relations with Israel. Lebanon, as allowed by Syria, would also (as would Syria, which would only happen if Israel gave back all of the Golan Heights which is unlikely). Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan could all benefit from the close proximity to Israel, both from tourism and other things like use of ports and resources. This could make things more tempting. Who knows. Chances are that fundamentalist states and ones with strong domestic fundamentalist movements, who take things like establishment of a Pacific to Atlantic Caliphate seriously, would find it extremely difficult to reconcile relations with a non-Islamic state of any kind in Israel. I would put Iran and Saudi Arabia in this boat.
Betweem the intifadas, the relationship between Jordan and Israel was about as cordial as could be imagined for two states who fought a bloody war only twenty five years before. This was in large part due to the personalities of King Hussein and Yitzchak Rabin. Obviously everything has changed since then, but this has set the precedent, and seeing how each country benefited, I could see it resuming.
Economically, everybody has lots to gain. But in that region of the world, things rarely work along economic lines.
This puts me in mind of the following exchange, from The Lion in Winter:
Eleanor of Aquitaine : What would you have me do? Give out? Give up? Give in?
Henry II, King of England : Give me a little peace.
Eleanor of Aquitaine : A little? Why so modest? How about eternal peace? Now there’s a thought.
If this is true, why was Israel attacked by seven Arab armies when Gaza and the West Bank were under Arab control?
Why, furthermore, did most of the Arab world, including the ‘Grand Mufti of Jerusalem’ and the rulers of Egypt and Jordan, ally themselves strongly with Hitler in both their hatred of the U.S. and in their determination to eliminate the Jews?
I don’t think that’s true, Eve. From the time of Mohammed to the 20th Century, the Islamic world tolerated a substantial Jewish minority in their midst and usually did not persecute them, ghettoize them or pressure them to convert. (Quite unlike the Christian world!) Muslims didn’t really start hating Jews until the state of Israel was created on land they regarded as the rightful territory of Dar al-Islam. In other words, they hate Jews because of Israel, not because the Jews are Jews.
Because, even before the State of Israel was created, the Arabs resented the Zionists for trying to establish a non-Islamic state in Palestine – territory that the Muslims had fought for in the Crusades, and which they regard as rightful territory of Dar al-Islam. But the subsequent Israeli occupation of the Territories created a whole new set of grievances. An independent Palestinian state would solve the second point of contention but not the first – the very existence of Israel in Palestine. That’s what this thread is about: Is the existence of Israel in Palestine something that the Arab and Islamic states might eventually accept as a permanent fact, if the Palestinian problem is finally resolved?
No chance, I say. Damn-near every single war in history is about people occupying land that other people think THEY have a right to. As long as there are Jews in control of any part of the Middle East, the Arabs will hate them. It’s the human way.
I don’t agree. The Arab world is so full of its own internal problems that hatred towards Israel is more of a distraction than anything else. Repressive governments (and they abound in the Arab world) are always easy recruiting grounds for the likes of ObL. He hits the right nerve in that corruption and oppression are rampant, and cloaks his own brand of oppression in the matle of religion.
Besides, do you really think ObL would be content to let Israel exist at all, even in the pre-1967 bounderies? Not a chance. Too much of the Arab world has never to this day accepted the UN partition of Palestine in the 40s.
Now, if you could postulate that all the oil in the Arabian peninula disappeared so that Western states no longer had an interest in that area, then I could envision the West keeping the hell out of there and significianly reducing the hatred toward us felt by the inhabinats of that region.
Secondly, it is true that a lot of Arabs are angered because an Arabic people, numbering in the millions had the mapped and promised homeland withdrawn and instead live as a minority in hostile countries where Western promises to them ring hollow annually.
They are callled Kurds, there are 30 million of them. The problem dwarfs the Israeli problem. In essence it stems from view that western influence in the region has always acted to preserve the supply of oil, often to the detriment of the locals. It is a view that is, or course, correct.
Whereas the Israeli-Palestinian issue is a genuine concern it is something of a bell-weather also. Sounding the extent of Western arrogance in the region.