Politicians love catchy phrases, or "sound bites" – and the phrase "road map to peace" is nothing if not catchy. First outlined in 2002 by then U.S. President George Bush, the Road Map to Peace was, like its predecessor, the failed Oslo Accords, supposed to represent a framework for achieving "lasting peace and security in the Middle East", while the underlying concept was that such peace could only be attained by realising "the vision of two states, a secure State of Israel and a viable, peaceful, democratic Palestine."Unfortunately, the Palestinian concept of a two state solution is such as to render any peaceful solution impossible. In his foreign policy speech at Israel’s Bar Ilan University on June 14th 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu held out the olive branch of peace to our "Palestinian" neighbours and accepted the idea of a two state solution, inviting them to begin peace negotiations immediately, without prior conditions. The only demand made of the Palestinians was that they recognize the right of the Jewish People to their own state in their historical homeland.
And what was the reaction of the Arab world to this simple – nay, obvious – demand? Egypt’s President Mubarak immediately attacked Netanyahu’s speech, saying that "the call to recognize Israel as a Jewish state complicates things further and scuttles the possibilities for peace". Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat’s response was more picturesque, but essentially the same:
"The peace process has been moving at the speed of a tortoise. Tonight, Netanyahu has flipped it over on its back.”
And just what was it that drew the ire of the Arab leaders?
In essence – the demand that they recognise Israel as a Jewish state, that they make peace with a Jewish state, and that the two state solution be one in which a Palestinian state exists side by side with a Jewish state. They may phrase it differently, claiming that Netanyahu’s demand that the "Palestinian" state be demilitarised means that what they are being offered is something less than a state. However, Mubarak gave the game away and made it quite clear that what the Arab world really finds unacceptable is the very notion of a Jewish state! Their vision of a two-state solution is of a Palestinian state (in which Jews will not be permitted to live) beside a state which may, for the time being, be called Israel, but to which all those (Arabs) claiming to be Palestinians will have "the Right of Return", so that, in less than a generation, they will be the majority – and that will be the end of the Jewish state.
Because, you see, Netanyahu was right in his speech at Bar Ilan University. "The simple truth is that the root of the conflict was, and remains, the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own, in their historic homeland."
The irony of this is that there is, in fact, no such thing as a "Palestinian People." The Arabs living in the area encompassed by the Mandated Territory of Palestine, which included what is now Jordan and which was entrusted to British rule following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War One (in which Turkey sided with Germany), considered themselves as southern Syrians. In his 1939 classic book, ‘"The Arab Awakening", the Arab historian George Antonious defined "Palestine" as "the whole of the country of the name [Syria] which is now split up into mandated territories…" and in 1956, the Saudi Arabian delegate to the United Nations, Ahmed Shukeiry, openly stated, in a speech before the United Nations Security Council, that "It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria." By the way, it was that very same Ahmed Shukeiry who, eight years later, in 1964 (before a single Israeli soldier or settler had set foot in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip), founded the Palestine Liberation Organization! As late as 1977, the late Zuhayr Mohsin, a member of the PLO’s own Executive Council, gave an extremely candid interview to the Dutch newspaperTrouw, in which he openly admitted that "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".
Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, Josef Goebbels, knew that the bigger the lie and the more often it is repeated, the more likely people are to believe it. The Arab world has created, in its myth of the Palestinian People, a real whopper, and have somehow managed to convince the whole world of its truth, including, I am sorry to say, large numbers of Israelis who have bought into the myth.
But, I hear you say, even if they are not a people, there are still large numbers of "Palestinians" (for want of a better word) living in refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank and a solution must be found for them. Indeed there are – because that is where, in order to further their agenda of destroying the Jewish state, the leadership of the Arab world (with the active connivance of the United Nations) has kept them! Whether or not they meet the legal definition of "refugees" (as applied in international law in general, not as tailor-made for them by UNRWA) is open to question. (More about that in an upcoming blog – I promise.) A solution must be found – but not within the framework of a separate "Palestinian" state. There are already twenty two Arab states. I would have thought that was quite enough to solve the problem, wouldn’t you?