Dr. Mordechai Kedar is an Israeli journalist and an expert on the Middle East. He recently gave a talk in the Knesset in which he described the difference between what Westerners — including Israelis — mean by “peace”, and what Arabs mean. The difference between the way the two cultures understand the concept of peace has serious consequences for the West in the current clash of civilizations.

Below are excerpts from the article in Arutz Sheva about Dr. Kedar’s talk:

‘Those who seek peace are seen as losers’

Middle East expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar explains how Arabs see Israel’s requests for peace, explains how true peace can be achieved.

Middle East expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar spoke at a Knesset meeting about how Israel’s neighbors see peace, and what Israel should do to achieve a true and lasting peace.

Slamming the Knesset,, he said, “You really want to stop the incitement? Have you ever closed a TV or radio station run by the Palestinian Authority (PA)? You always blame the Supreme Court, it’s time that you, the members of the Knesset, start functioning.”

“We are the ones responsible for the fact that Jibril Rajoub (a PA leader and terrorist — ed.) still walks free. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas gives money for terror — how come he is still the PA chairman?

“We are the ones guilty, not them. They do whatever we allow them to do.”

Dr. Kedar then explained what “peace” means to Israel’s neighbors…

Many thanks to RL for translating this video, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

01:26 I want to talk about an issue that was discussed here as well… about the topic of “peace”.
01:32 We talk about “peace” because we desire peace,
01:37 and spend a lot of energy around this topic,
01:40 But we must understand how the OTHER SIDE views this peace narrative.
01:44 This is why I sit here as a scholar of the Middle East.
01:47 In the Middle East, whoever begs for peace,
01:53 is perceived as a person who lost the battle… As a consequence,
01:57 that person is begging to keep his head connected to his shoulders.
02:00 This is how yearning for “PEACE” is viewed in the Arab world.
02:03 The person who yearns for peace is willing to do anything…
02:08 and after he loses the battle, he asks for mercy, and calls it “PEACE”.
02:13 This is how the Arabs perceive anyone from our political Right or Left
02:16 who declares that he wants peace with them.
02:19 And if peace NOW is discussed, then we need to pay a higher price…
02:22 Just as special delivery mail costs extra fee for stamps and other expenses…
02:33 This is the gist of the story. The moment we talk about PEACE,
02:38 the peace vanishes, since the other side understands that we want it desperately.
02:42 And then they raise the fee for “PEACE” to such levels that we are unable to pay.
02:47 As I do, when talking to the Arab media, we need to declare
02:51 that we do NOT need peace.
02:54 For 70 years we in Israel have existed as a functioning, democratic, successful country,
03:01 with advanced medicine etc… and just look at how you — in the Arab world are regarded! …
03:04 Countries such Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, are ALL miserably failures of countries.
03:09 Who needs peace with you? Who wants peace with you? First make peace among yourselves,
03:13 and then we will join… You do NOT know the real meaning of peace.
03:17 There is an Arabic proverb: “Whoever does not have a thing, can NOT give it to others.”
03:23 They do not have peace among themselves, how are they going to have peace with us?
03:26 In the Arabs’ lexicon, and perspective, the concept of PEACE doesn’t exist.
03:33 An Arab cannot exist without a clash. He needs perpetual conflict…
03:37 with his father in law, his wife, his brother, his son-in-law, or with another country.
03:41 What can we do? This is a culture I did not create.
03:44 I only document this phenomenon and share it.
03:47 This is how it is — a desert landscape creates a different society.
03:52 In the desert one needs to abide by different rules to protect his water from others…
03:55 It is the result of tens of thousands of years of life in the desert, which created
03:59 difficult people, who view conflict as the only way to negotiate their way with others.
04:06 If we declare that we want peace, we are regarded as if we recognize our loss
04:11 and our defeat… and now we are left to beg,
04:17 for keeping a portion of the PEACE which would be thrown at us,
04:20 and keeping our head connected to our shoulders…
04:23 This is a mistake by both of our political parties; from Right and the Left.
04:26 This “peace” mantra is exactly what the Arabs want to hear
04:29 so they can kick our behind and throw us into hell.
04:33 What we need to do is to change our position…
04:36 We need to tell them that our products are too expensive for them,
04:40 that we have a country that is too functional for them,
04:43 that you (Arabs) should deal with your own problems and leave us alone; we have no interest in you.
04:48 We live our life, and if at some point you desire PEACE, let us know!
04:51 What will YOU give us for PEACE?
04:54 When we start talking in this way, they will start taking us seriously.
04:59 Because up until the present time, in the Middle East we have been treated with disrespect.
05:03 They tell us one thing, and stick a knife at us from the other side.
05:06 When they take us seriously, then we would achieve a true peace.
05:11 Not the type of “peace” handed only to losers who lost the battle.
05:15 Thank you.