Since 1937, when Great Britain’s Peel Commission vainly proposed a “Two-State Solution” as “a chance for ultimate peace”, Arab-Israel “peace plans” have been advanced in predictably futile succession, among them:
The U.N.’s “Partition Plan of 1947”
John Foster Dulles’ Baghdad Pact of the 1950’s
The U.S. State Department’s “Rogers Plan” of 1969
The 1970 “Quaker Plan” of the American Friends Service Committee
The 1975 Report of the Brookings Institute Middle East Study Group
President Reagan’s plan of 1982
The Oslo Accords of 1993
The Clinton-Barack proposal to Arafat in 2000
President Bush’s “Road Map for Peace” in 2002
President Obama’s current “Two-State Solution”.
Their titles, origins, dates and details vary, but all these “peace plans”, including President Obama’s “Two-State Solution”, were doomed to fail: They unperceived or willfully misrepresented the core conflict as being about territory, that if Israel would trade enough “Land for Peace”, the conflict could be resolved.
Seven decades of failed “peace plans” should have alerted our policy makers to the reality that this conflict is not about a division of territory. Israel’s offers to trade “Land for Peace” in 1949, 1967, 1993, 2000, and 2002, all met a consistent Arab response: No “Peace for Land”. But using “peace negotiations” to acquire Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, is critical to the PLO’s “Strategy of Stages”: Establish a Palestinian State in territory acquired by negotiations without recognizing Israel as Stage I, and intensified “armed struggle” in Stages II and III from advanced positions, easing the way to Israel’s annihilation.
This established Arafat PLO doctrine, distinctly reaffirmed by P.L.A. President Abbas in March, manifests that the basic conflict is not about “settlements” or territorial division. Such could be resolved by reasonable compromise – – but no compromise is possible when the root cause of the conflict is the rigid Jihadist Arab Muslim political theology that prohibits recognition of Israel, denies the Jewish people’s multi-millennial bond with the land, insists that all of Palestine is their exclusive “Holy Land”, its governance never to be shared with others.
Forcing Israel to withdraw from territories in Judea and Samaria would inspire the Jihadists to immediately intensify the “Armed Struggle”. Moreover, such territorial “compromise” today would perversely ignore the considered judgment of American military and diplomatic authorities made during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
On June 29, 1967, General Earl Wheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, submitted to President Johnson a document on “The Minimum Requirements for Israel’s Defense”, noting the historical, geographic, topographic, political and military reality of the Middle East that behooves Israel to control the mountain ridges of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights.
In April, 1978, Major General George J. Keegan Jr. (Ret.), former Chief, U.S. Air Force Intelligence, Admiral E.R. Zumwalt, Jr. U.S.N. (Ret.), former Chief of Naval Operations, Hon. Eugene A. Foley, President, National Committee on American Foreign Policy, and others, wrote:
“Israel is a matchless strategic asset for the West (indeed for the few genuinely moderate forces in the region) against threats emanating from extreme Arab and non-Arab elements…If our present self-defeating policy continues, the danger is that we might no longer have a strategically viable Israel…” (1978 – 2010 redux?).
In January 1979, 183 Generals and Admirals (Ret.) publicly declared that “…the ability of the U.S. to protect its security interests in the Middle East is closely linked, if not dependent on, the maintenance of a potent Israeli military capability in the area.” The late Admiral “Bud” Nance, on July 29, 1991, defined Judea and Samaria’s eastern mountain ridge dominating the Jordan Valley, as “the most effective tank barrier “and the western mountain ridge overpowering Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as a “dream platform for invasion to the narrow coastal plain.” While Iran with radical Islam has replaced the Soviet Union as prime Middle East threat, the minimum requirement for Israel’s defense actually has increased.
The “Two-State Solution” is strategically and morally wrong. Requiring Israel to withdraw from these critical territories as part of the “Two-State Solution” clearly would advance the promised Jihadist end game: Israel’s total extinction. Given the facts, fair-minded observers realize that peace will become possible only when Jihadist Arab Muslims no longer dominate in Israel’s neighborhood, and the Arab people and their leaders are reconciled to Israel’s permanent sovereign presence in Palestine.
That time is not yet in sight. But it is being delayed by President Obama and others, still pushing the delusive “Two-State Solution” while the Arabs refuse to resume negotiation unless Israel again halts all West Bank construction. Pressing hard to induce Israel’s submission to that Arab demand, the U.S. has offered twenty stealth bombers – – and a promised veto of hostile U.N. action: pointedly, recognition of a self-declared Palestinian State. But the U.S. offer also contains a shameful implied threat: To not veto hostile U.N. action unless Israel submits to the Arab demand.
Significantly, such manipulation by the U.S. marks again an obstinate refusal to recognize and confront the underlying reality: there can be no durable Arab-Israel peace until the Arabs totally cancel the state of War they declared in 1948, disarm and dismantle Jihadist terrorist cells, clearing the way toward peace and the prospects it offers.
Until that time comes, as long as it takes, Israel’s unavoidable choice is either survival of the Jewish State, defended by sustained, convincing, deterrent armed strength, — or surrender to ruthless Jihadists and their sponsors who threaten Israel’s annihilation, another Holocaust.
Nor will U.S. and Western security interests or credibility benefit from a continuation of their feckless failure to confront Middle East reality. Moreover, that failure undermines the many Muslims who courageously are challenging Jihadist political theology and seek only reciprocal respect, accommodation and accord with others. But our Middle East policy still does not appear willing to recognize that they, and we who are committed to freedom and human rights, stand at a great divide–opposing Islamic forces of intolerance, hatred, terrorism and war.
*Dr. Arnold M. Soloway, President Emeritus and Founder of the Center for Near East Policy Research, earned a Doctorate degree in Economics at Harvard University in 1952, taught on its faculty until 1960, and was elected Chairman of the Graduate Society Council in 1982. Following his 1952 analysis of Boston’s financial problems, he was asked to and did serve on the Mayor’s Committee on Boston’s Finances from 1953-1957. From 1961-62 he served as Special Advisor on Fiscal Affairs to Governor John A. Volpe. From 1964-1966 he was Special Consultant to the (U.S.) Economic Development Administration. From 1974-1979 he was Director-at-Large, National Bureau of Economic Research. In 1978-79 he served as Chairman, Mayor’s Special Commission on Boston Public Housing. He was principal author of Truth and Peace in the Middle East, Friendly House, New York, 1971 and The Role of Arab Political Culture and History in the Conflict with Israel, Center for Near East Policy Research, April 1985.