Monday, May 05, 2008

Peace with Islam - Israel on Diplomacy's Firing Line

Israel has often been described as the "canary in the coal mine" but the coal mine is not simply the Islamic world, it is the premise that diplomacy can resolve armed conflicts with Islamic forces.

Western liberals shrilly demand that we just give peace a chance, that we sit down and talk with our enemies. But Israel is the best demonstration of why neither negotiations nor even far reaching concessions achieve any useful results.

Israel has stood on diplomacy's firing line for much of its history. It has signed multiple accords and given away territory several times its own size. What Israel has to show for this is quite educational for those Western liberals who insist that diplomacy is the solution.

For all its efforts Israel has achieved two types of relationships with Arab countries. Armed conflict and cold war.

Following two devastating wars, both of which Egypt lost -- the most famous Israeli peace treaty set out from the Camp David accord, simply turned Israel's existing Cold War with Egypt into a set state, backed by massive Israeli land concessions. Today the majority of Egyptians continue to support war with Israel and Israelis have been murdered by terrorists in Egypt, just as they have in Jordan. The Egyptian military continues to prepare for war with Israel and Israel continues to prepare for an Egyptian attack.

The only reason that Egypt is not at war with Israel right now is the same reason that Egypt was not at war with Israel after the Yom Kippur war even before Camp David. By the end of the Six Day War, the IAF was bombing Cairo. By the end of the Yom Kippur War, the IDF was barely a 100 kilometers from Cairo. Since then Egypt's leadership do not believe that a war with Israel could achieve any real gains that would be worth the cost. The result however has not been peace but a cold war.

And yet despite all this, Camp David is the big success story of middle east peace. But in fact it's a success story carried mainly by American and Israeli enthusiasm for the idea of peace. Egypt does not celebrate the peace, it despises it. For Egypt the peace is a Hudna, a truce until the day when there could actually be some advantage to a war.

But as pessimistic as that outlook is, it still makes Egypt the big success story, because its leadership was able to rationally calculate that it was better to pursue relations with America and avoid further wars it couldn't win. That is a rational calculation that could only be made because Egypt like Jordan is heavily Western influenced and has not allowed Islamic forces to rule its decision making.

By contrast truly Islamic forces, whether it is Iran or Saudi Arabia or Hamas or Hizbullah, would never even contemplate doing anything but committing themselves to Israel's destruction. The only three Arab League member countries that have official diplomatic relations with Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia, all have secular governments, strong ties to the West and face a strong domestic Islamic opposition.

After over half a century on diplomacy's firing line, after giving up land several times its own size, this is what Israel has to show for it. This is all that Israel has to show for it.

No other non-Muslim country has spent as much time trying to make peace with Muslim countries as Israel has. And its experience should be adequate education that such peace at best consists of temporary truces and at worst of betrayals and conflict disguised as peace.

After decades of agreements and concessions, it is amply clear that diplomacy with the Muslim world cannot bring peace, only the balance of power can enforce a cessation of hostilities. The more Islamic a country becomes, the more unappeasably hostile toward non-Muslim countries it becomes-- Turkey is an excellent example.

The problem is a lack of understanding on our side, but not one that diplomacy can resolve, because diplomacy itself represents that lack of understanding, the belief that all it takes is sitting around a table sipping tea and signing agreements. But as many papers as are signed, they cannot bridge the contradictory understandings of peace in the West and the Muslim world, no more than they can transform enemies into friends.

It is only the people who despise the necessity for war that are best suited to make the peace. As long as Islam continues to celebrate war, to treat terrorism as martyrdom and to educate their children into a cult of death, peace with Islam is nothing more than a fragile piece of charred paper in the wind.


Lemon said...

As long as arabs are involved there can be no peace. It is a joke.

Keli Ata said...

Even ABC News admitted in a fluff report about a successful young Egyptian woman that despite being a democracy Mubarak is modern day pharaoh.

The woman was outspoken on a lot of things but when the matter came to religion and government she became quite nervous and said all countries have cults and radicals. Interesting interview, transcript available here

In essence, she described her entire government as a cult. And there was fear in her voice as she said this.

The same fear a small child expressed during the second Lebanon War when she praised Hizbullah for building hospitals and taking care of them.

Even in defending their countries there is terror over saying the wrong thing. Israelis on the other hand aren't afraid to point out the flaws in its government, to say Olmert is corrupt.

The only government in the Middle East that isn't a cult is Israel.

Sigh. Arab nations need much less religion in their governments and Israel needs MORE religion in government.

Just some thoughts off the top of my head.

Keli Ata said...

Regarding peace negotiations:

"Israel will cooperate, I am sure of that. I trust Israel for I have faith in the Jewish people. Let Israel be given a chance, let hatred and danger be removed from their horizons, and there will be peace in and around the Holy Land" Elie Weisel.

Me talking now: The Muslims will not give up their hatred and continue to threaten Israel.

Sigh. Israel is almost generous and forgiving to a fault. But can you imagine how Israel could transform the Middle East if these Arab countries ever did decide to make a true and lasting peace with Israel?

Yobeeone said...

As long as arabs exist there can be no peace.

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