“Proximity” talks are the answer. So asserts President Obama’s Middle East Envoy dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, former Senator George Mitchell. Mitchell said “there is no such thing as a conflict that can’t be ended.” Obviously, this is the mindset as the “Proximity” talks begin between Israel and the Palestinians. However, the whole notion of “Proximity” talks is in itself a non-starter. Parties to any dispute must be willing to face each other at some point if there is any hope for a resolution to the dispute. Indeed, the Middle East conflict can be ended, but when that takes place everyone will know the Messiah has come and the Messianic age has arrived. In the meantime, if the same “Two-State Solution” plan that has characterized all previous plans is to be dusted off and reasserted, the conflict will certainly go from bad to worse. Even more assured of failure is the demand for a “divided Jerusalem.”
Clearly, a new Middle East peace plan is needed. However, for any reasonable hope of success it must be a peace plan based on the containment of Jihadist terrorist factions not their pacification or appeasement. Since Israel became a sovereign state in 1948 there have been several peace plans offered by various governments and groups, all of which have called for Israel to give up land for peace. All of these plans have failed to produce peace, including the last one proposed by the Bush administration, The Road Map to Peace – which is the embodiment of the policy of appeasement. Sadly, the Obama administration has also hitched its wagon to this star that has already fallen.
Appeasement is the chief cause of the failure of past peace plans. General Douglas MacArthur said it well, “Appeasement is like blackmail, it lays the basis for new and successively greater demands until, as in blackmail, violence becomes the only alternative.” Winston Churchill said it even better, “An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile hoping he will eat him last.” Not only has appeasement failed to produce peace, it has done just the opposite. It has promoted, strengthened, entrenched and even rewarded Jihadist violence. At this point all indications are the Obama administration intends to advance the historical failure of the Two State Solution, founded on appeasement. Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity comes to mind – insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Those hell-bent on continuing “Land for Peace” plans must explain how that definition does not apply in the Middle East conflict.
Furthermore, not only have these previous peace plans been failures, they have shown a glaring lack of awareness of the true history of the region. There is a selective amnesia regarding the seven wars and two intifadas launched against Israel since 1948. Eyes are closed to the scandalous treatment of Palestinian refugees by UNWRA whose sole mission and purpose is to perpetuate the refugee status rather than rehabilitate and absorb those entrusted to their care. Further, the revisionist history conceived and promoted by the Yasser Arafat propaganda machine since 1967 has been elevated to the place of dogma. It has become the bible, the guiding light for all the previous so-called peace plans.
For a quick read-up on the true historical facts of the region, we suggest the following three books. 1), Battleground by Samuel Katz, 2), From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters, 3), and Power, Faith and Fantasy by Michael Oren.
As a result of Israel’s recent encounter with Hamas, and the last elections in both the U.S. and Israel, it is timely and appropriate to consider a new, common sense approach, keeping in mind the true history of the region, the existing facts on the ground and thus formulating realistic expectations for the future. To that end, The Jerusalem Connection offers the following basic principles of a peace plan, all of which will need to be fleshed out in detail. Much of what is suggested here has been offered before from various venues. (For example, please consider The Israeli Initiative by a former Member of Israel’s Knesset, Rabbi Benny Elon, http://www.israelinitiative.com )
The Jerusalem Connection Peace Plan is based on a Christian Zionist perspective. The Jerusalem Connection is a Christian organization engaged in bridge-building endeavors toward Israel, the Jewish people and their neighbors. If there is to be any hope for a peace plan that works, we are convinced there are three aspects, until now absent from past peace plans, which must be reflected in any successful peace plan of the future.
- The stated goal of all the charter/founding documents of the Palestinian groups who aspire to leadership, including the Palestinian Authority lead by Mahmoud Abbas, has been, and continues to be, the dissolution of the totality of the modern State of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian state. Therefore the goal of the Palestinian leadership is not, and never has been, peace. In short, up to this point, Israel has had no real or viable peace partner. To live in denial of, and refuse to deal, with this fundamental fact of life and history is like walking around the proverbial elephant in the living room, acting as though it isn’t there. Continuing attempts to develop such a dysfunctional peace plan, based on fantasy, guarantees continued failure.
- Recognizing the millennia of inherited hostility between the descendents of Jacob and Ishmael, any peace plan must focus on the containment of that hostility rather than another futile attempt to assuage it. Given the pathological hatred for Jews embedded in the Arab/Muslim psyche and an essential part of the DNA of Islamic Jihadists, pacification is simply not going to happen. It is dead on arrival. Any administration’s dream of Jews and Islamists living side by side in peace is delusional – a figment of misguided imagination. The region cannot bear much more of the imposition of our dreams for their democracy. Islamists are closed to western democracy. As a matter of fact, they reject it with a passion.
- Moreover, there has been a total refusal to give any consideration to the God-given decrees reflected in His covenant promises made to Abraham and his descendents, which includes the land and its boundaries. Attempts to exclude Providential renderings from the negotiation table will not stand. Any effort that does not have these understandings as pre-suppositional to its peace plan is likewise programmed for failure. It constitutes an act of defiance against God and will not pass Divine muster. At this point we are perilously close to being addicted, and thus in bondage, to political correctness as well as bowing to Islamic Jihadist demands when it comes to Israel and the Jewish people. This must cease.
In formulating this plan The Jerusalem Connection Peace Plan assumes the already existing pre-conditions for any peace plan including 1) a cessation and disavowal of all terrorist activities, 2) the commitment to Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state with defensible borders, and, 3) compliance with all previous agreements. Absent an agreement on these basic principles any further peace efforts are futile and should not even commence.
Senator George Mitchell has noted, “Conflicts are created, conducted and sustained by human beings. They can be ended by human beings.” A necessary caveat must be; in these discussions with “human beings,” the Divine perspective must be reflected. Further, if the following principles are not an integral part of the cessation of the Middle East conflict, that cessation will be short lived at best. Assuming agreement of the aforementioned pre-conditions, the following are offered as essential pillars to any common sense peace plan of the future.
- The Covenants of God. The modern State of Israel must be seen as a partial fulfillment of God’s immutable and everlasting covenant promises to provide a national homeland for the Jewish people in anticipation of their ultimate redemption when Messiah comes. (Genesis 15:18; 17:7-8). Thus these promises must be considered valid and relevant for today and foundational to any further discussions. God has a vested interest in Israel and the Jewish people that will not be denied. To deny Providential input into any peace plan involving Israel is to invite rejection and failure at the outset. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7).
- The Rule of International Law. The legal validity of the modern state of Israel must be recognized as having been established by international law. This is confirmed by The Balfour Declaration of November 1917, authenticated and formalized by the British Mandate of the League of Nations in July 1922, by the United Nations partition resolution of 1947, by the official recognition of the State of Israel by the United States in May of 1948 and Israel’s admission to the United Nations in 1949. These are facts of history that must permeate any peace plan regardless of revisionist’s attempts to displace, ignore or supersede them.
- The Dissolution and Containment of Palestinian Terrorists Entities. Israel must assume responsibility for disposing of the Iranian proxies represented in the Palestinian Jihadists including Hizbollah. Moreover, they must not be hindered by the international community from accomplishing this necessary task. Negotiation, unless based on appeasement, is not an option for Jihadists. Nor is deterrence, due to the fanatical death wish that enlivens and emboldens their martyrs’ complex. All Jihadists, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Hizbollah, including the Palestinian Authority, must be defeated militarily and unconditionally, disarmed and their infrastructure dismantled. Their existence precludes the termination of the conflict. Containment that disallows Jihadist’s functionality is imperative.
- The Recognition of Jordan as the One and Only Palestinian State. Both Yasser Arafat and former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on separate occasions, “Jordan is Palestine.” This affirmation needs to be revisited and accepted with the strategic cooperation of Jordan – whose present population is 70% Palestinian. Fifty percent of those in Gaza and the West Bank have not ruled out a move to another country. Over thirty percent have considered rebuilding their lives in another country, assuming they could achieve a good standard of living in that country. Reluctance on the part of Jordan could be overcome with the help of an international “Marshall Plan” that would establish Jordan as the economic “Wall Street” of the Middle East. Assurances from the international community and the guarantee of military monitors would make this option even more attractive. Those Palestinians who chose to remain in Israel would be given Jordanian citizenship just as they had from 1948 to 1987.
- The Defunding and Dissolution of UNRWA. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency must be terminated. It serves only to maintain and prolong the refugee status of Palestinians, which in turn seeks to de-legitimize Israel’s right to exist. Rehabilitation or absorption in another country is not even an option for UNWRA. It serves only to exacerbate the plight of the Palestinian people for political and strategic gain. On the other hand, UNHCR (the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) deals with 31.7 million refugees from over 150 countries and has as its primary purpose “to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees.” In its efforts to achieve this objective, “UNHCR strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, and to return home voluntarily. By assisting refugees to return to their own country or to settle permanently in another UNHCR also seeks lasting solutions to their plight.” The compassionate and humanitarian solution to the Palestinian refugee problem should be undertaken by UNHCR not UNWRA.
- The Sovereignty of Israel in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). The British Mandate declared this area to be a part of the National Homeland of the Jewish people. When the Arabs attacked Israel in 1948, Jordan captured and occupied Judea and Samaria until the 1967 war. At that time Israel recaptured that part of its homeland and returned it to the people of Israel. Arab aggression should not be rewarded by turning over this area to the aggressor. Judea and Samaria represent the heartland of Israel – land decreed by Divine promise to the Jewish people. The alternative to Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria would be to place them under Palestinian or another Arab country’s authority. This would be a strategic catastrophe of major proportions, since it would seriously threaten Israel’s very existence. Israel should officially and actually annex Judea and Samaria and bring it under the sovereignty of the State of Israel.
The Peacemaker has an exalted and noble calling. Even Jesus said, “They will be called the sons of God.”(Matthew 5:9). Ultimately however, peace will come – the lion will lie down with the lamb and men will beat their swords into plowshares, only when the Prince of Peace reigns supremely on earth. Until then we must strive for peace but not despair over limited and less than ideal achievements.
The Jerusalem Connection recognizes that the implementation of the above principles will require great moral courage and determination. However, if they are not part and parcel of a future peace plan any peace attained will be cosmetic, temporary and illusory. Then the Prophet’s words would ring true, “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious, ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.’”(Jeremiah 6:13-14).
Rev. James M. Hutchens, Ph.D.
Chaplain (Brigadier General) US Army (Ret.)
President, The Jerusalem Connection Intl
P.O. Box 20295
Washington, DC 20041