Over 100 Years of Chronic Arab Rejectionism
The history of the Arab-Israeli conflict reveals 24 major junctures when compromise was offered since the 1920s, dating from pre-state, League of Nations Mandate to the present time. Plan after plan, including patently pro-Arab proposals, were put on the table. Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, 15 agreements and memorandums have been signed. This chapter examines those agreements and Arab response or compliance in each case.
“The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.“
Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban
Arab claims that the Israeli “Occupation” prevents peace is nothing more than a red herring. It is not “The Occupation” that Arabs reject; it is Israel ’s right to exist as a Jewish, sovereign and legitimate political entity.
What prevents achieving peace is Arab rejectionism, which began in the 1880s when the first Jewish immigrants returned to the land of Israel . 1 Since the 1920s, long before the establishment of Israel or the 1967 Six-Day War, Palestinian Arabs have used a combination of diplomatic moves and violence, particularly terrorism 2 against Jewish civilians, effectively rejecting every form of compromise.
At the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the Arab world’s refusal to accept a non-Muslim political entity in the Middle East.
Peace requires an Arab world that recognizes Israel as a legitimate political entity. Legitimacy means a polity with viable and defendable borders where the Jews can exercise their own rights of self-determination by virtue of demographics (i.e., a Jewish majority) –hegemony that is reflected in the cultural and the political life of the Jewish nation.
The Arab refusal to recognize Israel and their attempts to destroy the Jewish state are among the defining characteristics of Palestinian society. Measures designed to destroy Israel vary from use of force (through wars, Intifadas , violent riots, revolts and terrorism) to use of economic and demographic forces (economic boycotts, demands for jobs in Israel, Palestinian infiltration into Israel without visas or other permits, and demands that Palestinian refugees from 1948 and their descendants be allowed to return to Israel). Absolute antipathy and intolerance towards non-Muslim political entities is a fate Jews shared with the Maronite Christians in Lebanon , even though Israel inhabits no more than 0.01 percent of the Middle Eastern landscape.
For almost 100 years, Palestinian behavior has been based on rejectionism and political violence. The Palestinian refugee problem created in 1948 did not spark those strategies, nor did the “Occupation” of the Territories in the wake of the 1967 Six-Day War, which brought Israeli control over West Bank (Judea and Samaria ) and Gaza .
Arabs have rejected the presence of Jews with political aspirations to rebuild their ancient homeland since the advent of political Zionism. When in 1891 the number of Jewish immigrants leaving the country equaled the number of new arrivals, and nine years of Zionist endeavor, had produced barely a dozen struggling and insolvent Jewish agricultural settlements. Arab notables from Jerusalem called upon the Ottoman administration to ban Jewish immigration and the sale of land to Jews. 3
At each juncture when attempts to reach a ‘live-and-let-live’ solution have been advanced, Arab responses have boiled down to a two-pronged offensive that dovetails diplomacy with violence. In short, the Arabs, and particularly the Palestinians, have refused to recognize Israel as a legitimate entity or to negotiate genuine compromise. Instead, they have tried to drive the Jews out through violence and terror.
The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Arthur Balfour, wrote to Lord Rothschild: “His Majesty’s Government … views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” Balfour underscored that “Nothing shall be done, which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine .”
Arab Response: Rejection!
Violence: In the springs of 1920 and 1921, the Arabs instigated anti-Jewish riots in cities where both Arabs and Jews lived. Attacks were also launched on Jewish settlements in the countryside, leading to 13 deaths in 1920. Another 47 Jews were killed and 140 wounded in settlements and Jewish neighborhoods the following year.
Diplomacy: The Arab Executive Committee demanded an end to Jewish immigration. The Moslem-Christian Associations, meeting in Jerusalem with the British Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill in 1921, called upon Great Britain to rescind the Balfour Declaration, stop Jewish immigration and agree to appoint a national government answerable to a popularly elected Parliament controlled by the Arab majority. 4
In response, the British temporarily halted Jewish immigration and convened the 1921 Haycraft Commission of Inquiry. The Commission found the Arabs responsible for the outbreak of violence that was sparked by “British pro-Zionist commitments.”
In the fall of 1921, Churchill attempted to bring Arabs and Jews together in London to negotiate a formula for peaceful coexistence. For almost a year, the Arab delegation doggedly refused to meet with Zionist leaders, claiming that such a meeting would be demeaning. In February 1922, Churchill offered the Arabs the establishment of a legislative council, but they turned it down because the offer also included provisions for Jewish representation. 5
The Arabs continued their demand that Jewish immigration cease, despite records, which show that in 1922 there were only 80,000 Jews in the entire country. Seeking to placate the Arabs, the British partitioned the Palestine Mandate: Jews were prohibited from settling in 77 percent of Mandate Palestine—all the territory east of the Jordan River . They were allowed to settle anywhere in western Palestine (including today’s Israel proper, the West Bank and Gaza .) Thus, Eastern Palestine, renamed Transjordan , was removed from the area that was set aside for the Jewish National Home in the historic Balfour Declaration and handed over to the Emir Abdullah. This split was viewed as the “definitive Palestinian Settlement,” with Transjordan as ‘the Arab National Home,’ parallel to the Jewish National Home on the West Bank of the Jordan River all the way to the Mediterranean Sea (from the river to the sea).
Arab Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy: The Zionist movement reluctantly agreed to conform to the policy set forth in the 1922 Churchill White Paper, but the Arabs continued to reject any form of coexistence. They boycotted British attempts to hold elections for the establishment of a joint legislative assembly that included the Jews, rejecting any form of a Jewish body politic. They even refused to establish an Arab Agency for development of the Arab sector that would parallel the Jewish Agency. 7 Six years later, in 1928, the Arabs recognized their mistake in turning down the British offer of a legislative assembly. At the 7 th Palestinian Congress, they demanded the British give them a parliamentary government, but with ethnic tensions mounting, Britain was not about to renew its offer. 8
Violence: In 1929, Arab mobs again attacked Jews throughout Mandate Palestine, reacting to fear mongering instigated by the Supreme Moslem Council. The wave of violence known as the 1929 Disturbances left 135 dead and included the massacre of 70 non-Zionist religious Jews who lived in Hebron , the City of the Patriarchs. The British evacuated 700 Hebron survivors to Jerusalem for their own safety. Only a handful of Jews returned to Hebron in 1931, and they were ultimately evacuated in 1936, after renewed Arab violence. That last evacuation brought an end to the Jewish presence in Hebron dating back to ancient times. Three decades later, after the 1967 Six-Day War, a Jewish community was re-established in Hebron.
The Passfield White Paper was based on the 1929-30 Shaw Commission of Inquiry 9 and the 1930 Hope-Simpson Report 10 after investigatory committees on land use sought a formula to mitigate tensions between Arabs and Jews. British Colonial Secretary Lord Passfield, who issued the 1930 White Paper, took a dim view of continued Jewish immigration. The document called for renewed attempts to establish a joint Jewish-Arab legislative council that would automatically give the Arab majority de facto domination over the Jews. British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, however, never accepted Passfield’s recommendations. 11
Arab Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy: The idea of a shared stewardship of one polity never survived. In December 1930, British authorities invited Arab leaders to a “roundtable conference” with Zionists to discuss constitutional issues. The Arabs boycotted the opportunity for representative government and the plan was buried. 12
Pro-Zionist forces – both Jewish and gentile – viewed Passfield’s recommendations to end Jewish settlement as a breach of the Balfour Declaration upon which the Mandate over Palestine had been granted to the British. Intense lobbying in the media and the halls of government led Prime Minister MacDonald to send an official letter to the head of the Zionist Movement. In it, he declared his government’s intentions to fulfill the terms of the Mandate toward the Jewish people as a whole, not just the Jews living in Mandate Palestine.
In December 1935, Great Britain again raised the idea of an “advisory legislative council” instead of a parliament, consisting of three Muslim, four Jewish and two Christian members. For months, the Arabs vacillated, until the British government dropped the constitutional scheme. 13 Within weeks, Palestinian Arabs were once again killing Jews and also the British.
Violence: The 1936-1939 Arab Revolt, a three-year period of violence that targeted Jews and the British, was marked by murder, destruction of public infrastructure and Jewish property, and attacks on settlements. Eighty Jews lost their lives in the first stage of the revolt.
Diplomacy: In January 1935, 500 Muslim religious notables met in Jerusalem to enact a fatwa (Islamic religious ruling) that prohibited Muslims from – selling land to Jews on pain of death. In April 1936, with attacks on Jews and British officials still ongoing, six political factions within local Arab society – nascent political parties – joined forces to found the Arab Higher Committee (AHC).
The moving force behind the AHC was the Mufti of Jerusalem. The supreme religious leader of the Palestinian Muslim community, Hajj Amin al-Husseini was an ardent Arab nationalist and anti-Zionist. The AHC’s first resolution was to call for a general strike until three demands were met: a complete halt of Jewish immigration, prohibition of land transfers to Jews, and establishment of an “Arab national government,” a solution that would disenfranchise Jews.
The Peel Commission, convened in May 1936 to investigate the roots of renewed Arab violence, was charged with making recommendation to bring about coexistence.
Arab Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy: In his deposition before the Peel Commission, the Mufti demanded three main concessions: complete abandonment of the Jewish National Home; cessation of all Jewish immigration and land purchases; and termination of the Mandate by the establishment of a pro-British Arab regime, as was done in Iraq . The Mufti also complained that too many Jews already lived in Palestine , and in response to a question from commission members, indicated that some Jews would have to leave “kindly or painfully.” 14
Although Arab leaders alleged that Jewish land acquisitions displaced Arabs, the commission found those complaints baseless . Instead, the commission found that Jewish immigration and British rule had actually led to higher wages, an improved standard of living and increased job opportunities for Arabs.
Despite those findings, the British yielded to Arab pressure and restricted Jewish immigration in March 1938 to 3,000 for the next six-months. The effect was to drastically reduce annual Jewish immigration by more than 75 percent. The commissioners also recommended partition of Palestine , proposing the formation of a small Jewish state, with the remaining territory united with Transjordan to form an Arab state.
Diplomacy: The 12 th Zionist Congress neither accepted nor rejected the partition plan, stating only that it “found the terms of the scheme unacceptable.” At the same time, the [Zionist] Congress called for “negotiations to ascertain the precise terms of His Majesty’s Government for the proposed establishment of a Jewish state.” 15 The Arabs rejected the plan outright. Immediately upon publication of the report, the AHC, which had become the representative body of local Palestinian Arabs, repudiated the report. In September 1937, the 450 delegates of the Arab National Congress met at the Bludan Conference in Syria and rejected the Peel Commission’s recommendations.
Violence: Parallel to rejecting a generous pro-Arab plan, Palestinian Arabs resumed the Arab Revolt. They stepped up attacks on Jews, and targeted moderate Arab brethren who were open to compromise. The revolt left 415 Jews dead. An estimate 25 percent of the Arabs who lost their lives in the revolt were killed by their brethren, the Palestinian Arabs. 16 Between 1936-1939, Arabs also destroyed 200,000 trees in JNF (Jewish National Fund) forests as part of their war on a Jewish presence; in the corresponding period, Jews planted about 1,000,000 more trees. 17
Diplomacy: Near the end of the Arab revolt, the most radical hard-line faction of Palestinian society gained the upper hand over the moderate Palestinian faction that opposed the revolt as unproductive. The so-called moderates were, however, far from conciliatory toward the idea of a Jewish state. They rejected the idea of partition, but were prepared to take a long view and put up with a trickle of Jewish immigration for the limited time mandated under the terms of the patently pro-Arab 1939 White Paper. Under the guidance of the Mufti, the hard-liners presented an all-or-nothing stance that called for full Arab independence in all of Palestine and the establishment of an Arab state.
With the outbreak of World War II looming, the British sought Arab support in the strategically sensitive Middle East at all costs. The result was the 1939 White Paper, which capitulated to Palestinian Arab demands. It permanently reduced Jewish immigration to a trickle just when Jews were fleeing from Nazi Germany and other parts of Europe . It also specifically called for establishment of an Arab state in Palestine (i.e., not a Palestinian state) within ten years. Jewish immigration was to be restricted to no more than 75,000 over the following five years and none thereafter, without the consent of the Arab population . 18
Arab Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy: Even though the 1939 White Paper offered the Arabs independence as well as a veto over further Jewish immigration, the AHC expressed its total rejection of the policy of partition immediately upon publication of the report. Again they demanded a total stop to Jewish immigration forthwith, saying that the Jews would be among the “safeguarded minorities” under Arab rule. Meeting again in Bludan , Syria in September 1939, delegates from all the Arab states resolved that Palestine was “an integral part of the Arabian homeland and no part would be alienated with Arab consent.” 19
At the end of World War II, in 1945, the newly formed Arab League reconstituted the Arab Higher Committee (AHC) as the representative body of Palestinian Arabs, renewing its policy of rejectionism on all fronts.
Diplomacy: Two more proposals were tendered in 1946, both of which championed a bi-national state—a solution that both Arabs and Jews deemed unworkable and undesirable. One proposal, by the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in April 1946, was based on a single state with equal powers for Jews and Arabs. The other, the Morrison-Grady plan in July 1946, recommended a federal state with two provinces—one Jewish, one Arab. Both called for a level of increased Jewish immigration, which would alleviate the plight of 100,000 Holocaust survivors in Displaced Persons (DP) camps in Europe . From the outset, the first proposal was unfeasible. While the Jewish delegation sought major changes in the second Morrison-Grady plan, the Palestinian Arab delegation rejected any compromise that did not recognize all of Palestine as a purely Arab country. When a second round of talks in London in September 1946 failed, the British referred the issue of Palestine to the United Nations.
In December 1945, members of the Arab League adopted economic warfare, calling for a boycott of the Jewish community in Mandate Palestine. In 1948, the Arab boycott became a clean break from all economic ties with Israel and the imposition of a secondary boycott against foreign firms that traded with Israel.
The 1947 Partition Plan recommended establishment of a Jewish state and an Arab state in Palestine . The map drawn up by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) was a geopolitical anomaly, based on demographics on the ground that delineated two states, both of which lacked territorial continuity. The map resembled three Jewish and three Arab ‘intertwined link sausages’. 20
Arab Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy: Although 75 percent of the area partitioned for the Jews was desert, and the allocation lacked any territorial integrity for either side, the Jews accepted the UN recommendation for the Partition Plan, adopted by the General Assembly on November 29, 1947 at Lake Success, New York. The AHC – representing Palestinian Arabs – rejected the plan, asserting that it would prevent its implementation by force. The proposed Jewish state was given a mere 17 percent of the original Mandate territory for a Jewish Home as set forth in 1917.
Violence: The very next day, as the British began to dismantle the Mandate and leave western Palestine , Israel ’s War of Independence began. In the first stage of the War of Independence (November 30, 1947‑May 14, 1948), local Palestinian irregulars and Arab volunteers from abroad engaged in a five-and-a- half months massive guerrilla war against Jewish society in Palestine to prevent implementation of the Jewish state’s establishment. The second stage of the war began with the final British withdrawal and a declaration of independence by Israel on May 14, 1948. The war between Palestinians and Jews expanded into a general war, as regular armies from all of Israel ’s Arab neighbors invaded the newly established Jewish state. Six thousand Jews—1 percent of Israel ’s Jewish population—lost their lives during the War of Independence.
PART II: From Independence to Oslo (1948-1993)Diplomacy: In the midst of the War of Independence – during a cease-fire – the Arab states categorically rejected a plan formulated by the Swedish UN envoy Count Folke Bernadotte that suggested revision of the 1947 Partition Plan giving the Arabs almost 60 percent of the area mandated to the newly established Jewish state (i.e., the entire Negev in exchange for a small part of the Galilee). The proposal also called for internationalization of Jerusalem , the return of all Palestinian refugees to the attenuated Jewish state that Bernadotte envisioned, annexation of the West Bank to Transjordan and Arab control of Jewish immigration.
Violence: The 1948 War and the establishment of the State of Israel triggered hostile reactions in Arab countries. Demonstrations to ‘Save Palestine ‘ and destroy Israel flourished, and anti-Jewish riots erupted throughout the Arab world, with Arabs attacking their Jewish neighbors. The attacks escalated into pogroms throughout the Arab world, with bombings of Jewish institutions, official acts of discrimination and harassment and the passage of Nuremberg-like laws that disenfranchised and marginalized Jews. That in turn led to a mass exodus of entire Jewish communities from the Middle East and North Africa . More than 850,000 innocent Jews were forced to leave their homes as stateless and penniless refugees – including 95 percent of Iraq ’s Jewish community, whose history dated back to the Babylonian Exile 2,500 years ago. Most Middle Eastern and North African Jews found refuge in Israel , where they eventually rebuilt their lives.
Diplomacy: Israel ’s Arab neighbors refused to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state that would end the perpetual state of war. The Arabs agreed only to an armistice, or cease-fire, negotiated by UN Mediator Ralph Bunche, since the Arabs rejected face-to-face negotiations 21 that might be construed as de facto recognition of Israel.
Armistice agreements, concluded on the Mediterranean island of Rhodes , brought about a cease-fire that marked an end to the War of Independence, but not an end to the conflict. Based largely on the outcome of the battles and some exchange of turf to disengage Arab and Israeli forces, armistice lines (which became known as the ‘Green Line’) were drawn. Those lines left Jordan – whose international border was the Jordan River – in control of the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem, with Egypt in control of the Gaza Strip.
Arab Response: Rejection!
Despite the establishment of the State of Israel and its victory in the War of Independence in 1948, Palestinian Arabs and their Arab brethren continued to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to their pre-state rejectionist tradition. For the next 29 years, from 1948 to 1977, they refused to recognize Israel – De facto or De jure – and they continued to try to destroy the Jewish state in the diplomatic arena and through the use of violence. Arab violence included infiltration and border clashes, terrorism against civilians and culpability for additionally four wars: the Sinai Campaign in 1956, the Six-Day War in 1967, the War of Attrition between 1968-1970, and the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
After a decade of Arab unwillingness to accept Israel ’s Jewish-Zionist character and put the past to rest, Abba Eban noted dryly: “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
Diplomacy: After Egypt , Lebanon and Jordan signed armistice agreements in 1948, the UN established the Palestine Conciliation Commission to bring about a final settlement. The United States , France and Turkey were appointed to sit on the commission, which met in Lausanne , Switzerland , in April 1949. But the meeting was a non-starter, as the Arabs refused to sit at the same table with Israeli delegates, and agreed only to talk to the commissioners. They demanded that Israel withdraw into a narrow enclave for Jews along the coastline without any of the Galilee or the Negev , an immediate return of all Arab refugees, and a Right of Return to the narrow enclave they agreed to give the Jews.
Except for Transjordan, the Arabs also insisted on internationalizing all of Jerusalem , but refused in return to recognize Israel and develop normal relations with it. They claimed that the issue of territory, refugees, and Jerusalem were international resolutions that must be obeyed, while recognition and future relations with Israel were matters the Arabs should decide for themselves—a distortion of UN powers and the spirit of UN resolutions.
Violence: In the 1950s, Israel’s neighbors sent fedayeen 22 (terrorists) across the border to sabotage property and murder Jewish civilians led Israel to retaliate with military raids, and ultimately forced Israel to embark on the 1956 Sinai Campaign to put an end to the incursions. The wave of violence reached a peak in 1953, when there were 3,000 cross-border acts of violence inside Israel . Between 1951 and 1955, 503 Israelis were killed by Arab terrorists infiltrating from Jordan , 358 in attacks from Egypt , and 61 in attacks from Syria and Lebanon . The attacks targeted civilians in private homes, motorists and bus passengers, synagogue worshippers, hikers and archeologists, farmers and shepherds in their fields. 23
For Israeli society, the magnitude of 922 deaths between 1951 and 1955, when its population was 1.8 million, would be the per capita equivalent of 3,473 casualties in 2004, when Israel’s population was 6.78 million.
Diplomacy and violence: Throughout the 1960s – before the Six-Day War – Israel consistently expressed its desire to negotiate with its neighbors. In an address before the UN General Assembly in October 1960, Israel ’s Foreign Minister, Golda Meir challenged Arab leaders to meet with Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to negotiate a peace settlement. Egyptian President Abdul Nasser responded by saying that Israel was trying to deceive world opinion. Nasser reiterated that his country would never recognize the Jewish state. Arab attacks continued through the 1960s, with Israel ’s northern civilian settlements constantly shelled by Syrian troops stationed on the Golan Heights—an escarpment that towers 3,000 feet above the Israeli towns and farming communities in the Galilee .
Diplomacy: In 1964 – three years prior to the Six-Day War, when Jordan controlled the West Bank , Palestinian Arabs established the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under the aegis of the Egyptians. The Palestinian National Covenant set forth the ideological heart of the Palestinian cause: armed struggle to liberate all of Palestine (i.e., the State of Israel). The only Jews allowed to remain would be those who had lived there before 1917 (i.e., prior to the Balfour Declaration). The PLO resolved to establish a Palestine Liberation Army as well, long before the Israeli “Occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza . Israel proper was, and still is, considered “ Occupied Territory ” by the PLO and the Palestinian Authority.
Violence: Seeking to drag Israel ’s Arab neighbors into another war, the PLO adopted an “entanglement strategy” that used sabotage as the priming cap to force Israel to retaliate. That would prompt the armed forces of Israel ’s neighbors to increase their military profiles a cycle of action-retaliation-reaction the PLO hoped would escalate to war. In 1965, 35 terrorist raids were launched against Israel ; in 1966, 41. And in the first four months of 1967 – prior to the Six-Day War, 37 attacks were launched.
In the 1967 Six-Day War, the combined armies of Syria and Egypt – later joined by Jordan – sought to crush Israel . They concentrated their armies along the 1948 armistice line, the Green Line, as they prepared a concerted attack to overrun the Jewish state on three fronts.
Following Israel ’s June 1967 victory, the Jewish state was certain the Arabs would agree to make peace. Israeli leaders ‘waited for a phone call’ from Arab capitals. They never came.
Arab Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy : The Arab response was the ‘Khartoum Resolution,’ 24 formulated two months later, in August and September 1967. Eight heads of Arab states participated in an Arab summit in Khartoum , Sudan , and adopted three ‘nays’: “No peace with Israel , no recognition of Israel , and no negotiations with it [ Israel ].”
It became the foundation for a “united political effort at the international and diplomatic level to eliminate the effects of the aggression and to ensure the withdrawal of the aggressive Israeli forces from the Arab lands which have been occupied since the aggression of June 5.” The response effectively slammed the door on peace. Khartoum remained the consensus position of the Arab world until Egyptian President Anwar Sadat made his dramatic and historic visit to Israel in 1977.
Diplomacy : From 1968 to 1998, various win-win plans for secure and recognized Israeli borders as stipulated by UN Resolution 242, and a demilitarized Palestinian polity in most of the West Bank were the subject of debate in Israel , beginning with the Allon Plan which envisioned returning 60 percent of the West Bank to the Arabs.
For years after the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel and neutral third parties sought peace formulas to end the conflict and give Israel defendable borders. Each attempt was met by a string of Arab resolutions and declarations that legitimized and supported armed struggle and terrorism, and rejected Israel ’s right to exist.
A landmark declaration was the charter adopted in September 1972 by the Islamic Conference in Rabat , Morocco . One of its founding objectives was “to coordinate efforts for the safeguarding of the Holy Places and support of the struggle of the people of Palestine , to help them regain their rights and liberate their land.”
Another landmark moment in Arab rejectionist history was the Palestinian National Covenant’s declared objective to establish a “secular and democratic state in Palestine ” (i.e., the dissolution of the Jewish state).
Violence : Rather than seeking peace, between 1968 and 1970 the Egyptians launched a 1,000-day ‘War of Attrition’ against Israeli forces stationed along the Suez Canal . In 1969, Jordan collaborated with the PLO and other anti-Israeli forces that led to planting mines in Israeli orchards and fields, the shelling of Israeli settlements and other hostile acts along the Jordan Rift Valley.
The Israeli death toll between June 15, 1967 and August 8, 1970 (from the end of the Six-Day War to the cease-fire of the War of Attrition) was 721, including 130 civilians. 25
Diplomacy : Under the cover of a diplomatic move, Egypt used a three-month cease-fire in the War of Attrition to move its anti-aircraft batteries forward along the Suez Canal to cover 20 kilometers into Israeli-held Sinai, in blatant violation of the terms of the cease-fire. Under intense American pressure, and despite the violation, Israel acquiesced, agreeing not to ‘take out’ the batteries, which ultimately enabled the Egyptians to overrun Israeli defenses along the canal when Egypt launched the Yom Kippur War three years later in 1973. In retrospect, Egypt had viewed the August 1970 cease-fire as merely a hudna— a tactical temporary truce, to be honored until Egypt felt that it was strong enough to renew the battle against Israel .
Violence : In the years that followed, Palestinian terrorists carried out a series of attacks against Israelis and diaspora Jews and their institutions abroad. Among the worst was the murder of 16 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. In Israel , Palestinian terrorists exploded time bombs in public places, including cinemas and supermarkets, a tactic inaugurated by the 1968 bombing of Machane Yehuda, the open-air market in Jerusalem that left 12 dead.
At about the same time, Palestinians invented skyjacking, a political vehicle that permitted taking hostages and extorting political concessions for their release. An El-Al plane was forced to land in Algeria , and the Jews were separated from non-Jews. Held for 39 days, the hostages were used to extort the release of Palestinian Arabs convicted of terrorist activity in Israel . Later, Palestinians initiated attacks on El-Al passengers and airliners at international airports and escalated the violence to blowing up civilian airliners in midair – the first, killing 47 passengers and crew aboard a Swissair flight from Zurich to Tel Aviv in February 1970. Later, in 1974, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) claimed responsibility for the first-ever Palestinian suicide-bombing when 18 hostages near the town of Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel were murdered by Palestinian terrorists loaded with explosives. 26
Violence : In 1973, the Syrians and the Egyptians launched the Yom Kippur War but were badly defeated by Israel . Considering the dire military position Israel found itself in after the first few days of the war, the speed with which the Israel Defense Force (IDF) was able to bounce back and reverse its fate in the field was remarkable. Egypt , which initially had refused a cease-fire, accepted it eagerly when Israeli forces regained the initiative. And so did Syria .
Yet despite the military outcome, the Yom Kippur War went down in Israel ’s history as a qualified failure because of the Israeli intelligence blunders that failed to perceive the Arabs’ true intentions. Refraining from launching a last minute pre-emptive strike, and agreeing to a U.S. Administration request not to strike first cost Israel heavily: There were 2,688 fallen soldiers.
Diplomacy : What ultimately led to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s dramatic decision in 1977 to recognize Israel and negotiate a peace treaty? In part it was the result of the Yom Kippur War, but it was also the result of the human dynamics of direct negotiations between military representatives at ‘Kilometer 101′ in the Sinai Desert as Israeli and Egyptian forces disengaged.
In 1974 the Arab states (except Jordan ) recognized the PLO as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian People.” That made Palestinians formally responsible for their own destiny for the first time since the end of the 1948 war. Yet it did not mean a change in tactics as they continued to subscribe to a belief that “the Zionist entity” must be destroyed. On the other hand, Palestinians were acutely aware of their Arab brethren’s failure to defeat Israel during the Yom Kippur War, even under optimal conditions.
As a result, the PLO secretly adopted a stage-by-stage plan in 1974 to achieve its goals. Stage One called for using violent struggle as a means of establishing a “combatant national authority” over any territory liberated from Israeli rule. Stage Two envisioned using the territory of the national authority as a base for attacks on Israel . That in turn would lead to provoking all-out war “to liberate all Palestinian territory” – or destroy Israel . Many observers believe application of that strategy was the basis of the PLO’s bogus concession to recognize Israel in the 1993 Oslo Accords. The Accords established the Palestine National Authority (or PA), which gave the PLO a foothold in the West Bank, and Gaza —the objective of the PLO’s Stage One.
From that perspective, the breakdown of the peace process and outbreak of Arafat’s war in September 2000 can be better understood. For it was only after Israeli concessions had reached their limit in July 2000 at Camp David that Arafat (prematurely) opted to launch Stage Two. In fact, in June 2001, the late Faysal Al-Husseini, a key member of the PLO inner circle, revealed in an interview in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Arabi that the Oslo Accords were what he labeled—“a Trojan Horse,” explaining:
“When we are asking all the Palestinian forces and factions to look at the Oslo Agreement and at other agreements as ‘temporary’ procedures, or phased goals, this means that we are ambushing the Israelis and cheating them.” 27
Al-Husseini went on to clarify that the “long-term goal is the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea.” (i.e., from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, including Israel ).
Violence : In 1968, the PLO turned Jordan into a staging area for sending terrorists into the West Bank and Israel . Carrying out the PLO’s entanglement strategy, Jordanian forces were drawn into the struggle because of Israeli reprisals. Jordan gave the PLO great latitude in its attacks and Jordanian forces shelled Israeli settlements south of the Sea of Galilee . In the course of three years, 141 Israelis were killed along Israel ’s border with Jordan . Only in September 1970 was the PLO ousted by Jordan ’s King Hussein after the PLO went one step too far, skyjacking three civilian airliners to Jordan , then blowing up the empty planes on the tarmac. During a ten-day battle between Jordan ’s Arab Legion and PLO forces that became known as ‘Black September,’ the Palestinians suffered more than 3,000 fatalities. 28
Diplomacy : In 1969, the Cairo Agreement between Lebanon and the PLO was signed. It granted Palestinian Arabs in Lebanon the right to bear arms to carry on their war against Israel . Lebanese authorities signed the Cairo Agreement under the combined pressure of Egypt , Syria and hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs, whose refugee camps had become hotbeds of discontent and become a destabilizing force in Lebanon . The PLO took advantage of the ethnic rivalries and political weakness of its host country to slowly degrade the integrity of Lebanese sovereignty, and created an unofficially autonomous PLO region in southern Lebanon in everything but name. 29
In 1970, after Jordan ejected the PLO from its territory, southern Lebanon became the primary staging area for Palestinian attacks. From its undeclared Palestinian mini-state along the Israeli-Lebanese border, the PLO, with Arafat at its helm, committed a series of terrorist attacks along Israel ’s northern border and coastline. 30 The attacks included massacres of elementary school children on a school bus (1970, 12 fatalities – nine of them children); apartment dwellers (1974, 18 casualties, including nine children); teens on a school overnight trip (1974, 29 causalities); and guests at a Tel Aviv hotel (1975, 25 dead). Palestinians also engineered terrorist acts in other parts of Israel – from time bombs in crowded places to a May 1972 massacre at Ben-Gurion Airport ’s arrivals terminal when a squad of Japanese terrorists on behalf of the Palestinians killed 26 and wounded 78. Both Israeli and Jewish institutions abroad were also targeted – from Paris and Brussels to Athens and Istanbul .
Diplomacy : In 1976, in addition to using air strikes against PLO targets, Israel embarked on a diplomatic initiative aimed at ousting the PLO from areas close to its northern border. Seeking to forge good relations with the local Lebanese population, a ‘Good Fence’ was established unilaterally, which allowed Lebanese to cross into Israel to visit relatives, conduct trade, receive medical care and work day-jobs. Two years later, the Litani Campaign, an Israeli military incursion, was launched in an attempt to oust the PLO by force.
The accords leads to March 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, breaking a 30-year refusal to negotiate with Israel face-to-face, Egypt became the first Arab state to make peace with Israel . The terms of the treaty called for negotiations for Palestinian self-rule that would lead to a “just, comprehensive and durable settlement” based on UN Resolution 242 (“withdrawal from Territories” to “secure and recognized borders”). 31
Arab Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy : The historic groundbreaking peace pact between Israel and Egypt was denounced by the Palestinians and other Arab states, who in 1979 expelled Egypt from the Arab League and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC.) Membership wasn’t restored until a full decade later.
Violence : In the wake of Sadat’s historic visit to Israel in 1977, while the Egyptians were pursuing a peace treaty with Israel , the PLO launched another horrific attack on civilians from its operational base in southern Lebanon , hijacking a bus full of families on a Sabbath outing on the main highway between Haifa and Tel Aviv. The March 1978 attack left 35 passengers dead. Other horrific attacks through the 1970s forced Israel to embark on the March 1978 Litani River Operation. Its goal was to evict PLO terrorists from southern Lebanon as far as the Litani River .
Diplomacy : The goal of the Litani Campaign was to reestablish Lebanese control on the border, in spite of the ongoing Lebanese civil war. Instead, an ineffectual international peacekeeping force (UNIFEL) was established in southern Lebanon . Once Israel troops had withdrawn, UN troops filled the power vacuum. Their presence failed to prevent terrorism entirely, and periodic shelling of Israeli settlements in the Galilee with Soviet-supplied Katyusha rockets continued.
Violence : Palestinian violence continued, and included numerous attacks on Israeli diplomats and embassies, passengers and planes, synagogues and restaurants abroad. The PLO built an organized military force on Israel ’s northern border, and Israeli towns and settlements along the northern border continued to suffer from intermittent shelling and terrorist incursions from Lebanon . The most memorable was an attack on an apartment house in the seaside resort town of Naharia that left four dead, two of them children, and an attack on a children’s center in a border kibbutz that killed a toddler and two adults.
Following the June 1982 assassination attempt on the Israeli ambassador in London (leaving him incapacitated for the rest of his life), Israel , like Jordan some twelve years earlier, was forced to dislodge the PLO from Lebanon in a major offensive. Called “Operation Peace for Galilee” (but known more generally as the War in Lebanon ), it led to the exile of the PLO to Tunis and the establishment of a security zone in southern Lebanon. 32
When the PLO was expelled from Beirut there were two major developments. The power vacuum in southern Lebanon was filled by radicalized Shi’ite Lebanese, and the Iran-backed organization, Hezbollah, and the PLO continued to espouse terrorism from its North African base. Palestinians attacked Israelis and Jews at every opportunity. One of the most notorious terrorist operations was the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in the Mediterranean, when Palestinian terrorists threw Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled 69 year old man from Brooklyn , NY , overboard.
Diplomacy : In September 1982, the 12 th Arab League Summit called for Israel’s withdrawal from all Arab territories ‘Occupied’ since 1967 (including Israel’s self-declared security zone in southern Lebanon) and reconfirmed the right of the Palestinians to self-determination under the leadership of the PLO.
Diplomacy : In July 1988, King Hussein surrendered Jordan ’s (illegal) claim to the West Bank and recognized the PLO as the Palestinians’ sole representative.
Violence : In December 1987, Palestinians in the Territories launched an uprising that became known as the Intifada. The aim was to oust Israel from the Territories by cynically mobilizing Palestinian women and children as combatants in the war to delegitimize Israel 33 in the eyes of the world and among peace-loving Israelis. The strategy expected to bring about a unilateral Israeli withdrawal and the establishment of a Palestinian state as a beachhead for further attacks on Israel without making peace.
Palestinians launched violent demonstrations using Molotov cocktails and firebombs. They hurled stones at Israelis on the roads and in isolated places. These acts dovetailed with the setting of fires in forests, including some groves that had been planted in the 1920s. The Intifada also was marked by a stream of knifings of Jewish employers by their Palestinian workers, and stabbings of Israelis from all walks of life, including a 17-year-old high school girl on a Jaffa street and a housewife who opened the door to two Palestinians asking for a drink of water. Among the worst incidents was one in July 1989, when a Palestinian grabbed the wheel of an Israeli public bus, sending it plunging down a 250-foot deep ravine on the main road to Jerusalem , and killing 16 passengers. The (first) Intifada ended after the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993.
Diplomacy : In December 1988, in exchange for renewal of a U.S. dialogue with the PLO, the Palestine National Council accepted UN Resolution 181—the 40-year-old 1947-vintage Partition Plan that recommended to reduce Israel into three linked sausage-shaped enclaves – as Israel ’s right to exist. 34 They also accepted UN Resolution 242, which they thought would get them a large part of the Territories. The PLO vowed to “renounce terrorism,” but refused to revise its Palestinian National Covenant, which called (and still calls) for an armed struggle and the obliteration of Israel . Two years later, the PLO’s failure to condemn acts of terrorism committed against Israel by a faction of the PLO led President George H. W. Bush, to suspend the American-PLO dialogue.
The Madrid Conference 36 was an open international summit held in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War. Close relationships had been forged between Washington and Arab leadership as part of the anti-Iraq coalition, and U.S. officials believed that a breakthrough in the Arab-Israeli conflict might be possible. For the first time in history, the conference brought Israeli, Arab, and Palestinian delegates together for face-to-face public talks. Bilateral and multilateral talks were designed to end the state of war that Lebanon , Syria and Jordan declared on Israel in 1948. The conference also was intended to actualize self-rule for the Palestinians as set forth in the 1978 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.
Palestinian Response: Mixed Signals!
Diplomacy : Talks with Lebanon and Syria led nowhere. The Madrid talks ultimately led to a peace treaty with Jordan in October 1994 and a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000.
The West Bank Palestinian Arabs who arrived at the conference as part of the Jordanian delegation were unauthorized and too weak to negotiate in earnest. They mouthed demands for full sovereignty over the West Bank without engaging in real dialogue. Ultimately, this prompted Israel to attempt to ascertain whether the PLO could be a peace partner. Three years of secret negotiations between the PLO and Israel led to verbal mutual recognition; then, secret talks held primarily in Oslo (initiated in August 1993) concluded in two intensive months of negotiations at Taba, a Red Sea resort just across the Egyptian border from Eilat. 37
Violence : The two-year period between Madrid and Oslo (1991-2003)—when Israeli envoys and PLO representatives were supposedly hammering out a peace plan—did not mark a halt in terrorist attacks. A 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires , Argentina left 29 dead. And just days after the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1994, another bombing in Buenos Aires ripped apart the city’s Jewish community center, and left 86 dead.
In retrospect, the optimism expressed by Jerusalem and Washington that Arafat would become a statesman—and use his police force to reign in extremists opposed to peace was unfounded. Oslo was doomed once Arafat chose to continue to incite a holy war or jihad , and Palestinians continued to kill Jews—both by turning weapons on Israelis, weapons that Palestinian security forces had been given by Israel to rein in terrorists, and by purposefully targeting crowds of civilians with suicide bombers.
“Oslo I” appeared to be a watershed event. The PLO recognized Israel ’s right to exist in peace and security, and renounced terrorism as a vehicle in return for recognition of the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people. Both sides then signed a Declaration of Principles (DoP) that outlined a plan to establish Palestinian autonomy in Jericho and Gaza and included a negotiation framework for a five-year interim period of graduated Palestinian self-rule on the civic-municipal level, while the two sides hammered out a permanent status agreement.
Palestinian Response: Mixed Signals!
Diplomacy: A series of implementation agreements designed to move the peace process forward by giving Palestinians more autonomy and more territory, followed. Arafat’s speeches spoke of peace and reconciliation in English, but of rejectionism and jihad in Arabic. 38 He was literally speaking out of both sides of his mouth.
Violence: Eleven days after the signing of “ Oslo I,” Palestinian terrorism resumed when a Palestinian terror squad stabbed to death a farmer in an Israeli farming settlement. Since Oslo , the scope of Palestinian terrorism has escalated to unprecedented levels, 39 including systematic targeting of civilians by such methods as suicide bombings on crowded public buses during peak hours. Such terrorism began anew in October 1994 when a suicide bomber on a Tel Aviv city bus killed 21 civilians. Since then, countless public buses throughout Israel have been targeted – from Kiryat Shmona in the north to Beersheba in the south, from urban centers such as Ramat-Gan to outlying towns such as Hadera and Afula. A roadside bus stop at the junction of Um El Fahm (a city on a main traffic artery inhabited by Israeli Arabs), is a boarding site used repeatedly by suicide bombers.
Terrorists killed more Israelis (213) in the two and a half years following the signing of “ Oslo I” than in the decade preceding the so-called peace (209 killed). 40
The agreement signed in Cairo arranged for Arafat and the PLO to return from Tunis to take control of two limited areas, Jericho and Gaza . This step was designed to test the PLO’s intentions: were they willing and able to make the transition from a terrorist organization to a peace partner? The PLO was to assume responsibility for those two areas by establishing an autonomous governing body—the Palestinian Authority. The PA’s jurisdiction was to be expanded as trust was built and peaceful relations were established.
Palestinian Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy: Arafat’s speeches in English spoke of the “peace of the brave”; however in Arabic, talk of jihad and hints that accommodation with Israel was but a temporary measure rapidly crept into Palestinian leaders’ speeches and interviews.
Violence: Palestinian terrorism continued. In the four months between the Jericho-Gaza Agreement and the next stage, where additional power was to be transferred to the PA—the Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities in August 1994—12 Israelis were killed. Countless others were injured in drive-by shootings, ambushes, stabbings and kidnappings. The suspected murderers of two elevator technicians, shot in the Israeli city of Ramle , fled to PA-controlled areas. Within a short time, Jericho became a dangerous gauntlet for Israeli motorists traveling along the Jordan Rift Valley highway, and Jericho became a city of refuge for perpetrators of terrorist acts. Gaza became a hotbed of extremism.
The agreement 41 was sighed at the checkpoint between Gaza and Israel , and extended Palestinian self-rule to education, health, welfare, and additional fiscal affairs in the West Bank and Gaza .
Palestinian Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy: Instead of fostering peace education as specifically stipulated in Israeli-Palestinian agreements, the PA misused its newly gained control over education. The PA introduced a vicious anti-Israeli and antisemitic curriculum into the school system.
Violence: In November 1994, Arafat clashed with Islamic extremists in an attempt to rein in terrorists; but the detainees were quickly released as PA leaders sought to convince Islamic groups to stop the attacks of their own accord. Palestinian terrorism continued. The 13-month interim between the transfer of social services to the Palestinians and “ Oslo I” was marked by more attacks inside Israel than in the Territories. Although 1995 saw fewer attacks, the attacks were far more lethal and included two consecutive suicide bombings at the Beit Lid junction in January 1995 that left 21 dead.
September 28, 1995: The Israel-Palestine Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (“ Oslo I”).
The Interim Agreement was negotiated at Taba, the Egyptian Red Sea resort. “ Oslo I” further expanded Palestinian civic control and led to the release of terrorists convicted in Israel for acts committed before “ Oslo I.” The West Bank was divided into three areas, giving Palestinians civil and military control over eight major urban areas and civil control over 450 Arab towns and villages. Most other areas of the West Bank fell under joint Israeli-Palestinian military control, except areas populated by Jews and public lands of strategic value that remained under Israeli military and civil control.
Palestinian Response: Rejection!
Although Jordanians still felt animosity toward Israel , Jordan ’s King Hussein honored his commitments as set down in the October 1994 peace treaty that ended a 46-year state of war between Jordan and Israel . Hussein did everything in his power to repudiate and combat terrorism from Jordanian territory. He personally requested forgiveness from the families of a group of children murdered by a Jordanian soldier, while the Palestinians under the PLO and Arafat failed to walk the walk, talk the talk or express remorse.
Violence: Palestinian terrorism continued, including a March 1996 suicide bombing on a crowded crosswalk outside the Dizengoff Center mall during Purim vacation that killed 13—a third of them school children. In Jerusalem , in February and March 1996, the bombings of two No.18 buses left 26 and 19 passengers dead, respectively.
West Bank cities such as Jenin, Nablus and Ramallah became safe havens for terrorists by harboring bomb-making laboratories, serving as staging areas for Palestinian suicide bombers and as cities of refuge for the perpetrators of such terrorist acts. Convicted terrorists, released from Israeli prisons and who pledged as a condition of their release that they would never again engage in terrorism, lied.
Diplomacy: The Palestinian Authority made a travesty of its vows to prosecute perpetrators of terrorist acts. It held bogus trials that convicted and sentenced offenders overnight, and established revolving-door prisons for inmates to block extradition to Israel . Moreover, the PA abused the corridor linking Gaza and Jericho and uses VIP vehicles to promote terrorist activity.
The summit 42 was held in Sharm el-Sheikh and designed to reenergize peace efforts in the region after a wave of suicide bombings in Israel that left 62 dead. Hosted by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the three-hour summit was attended by 29 world leaders and called for a halt to extremism and violence. Yasser Arafat pledged the support of the Palestinian people in uprooting the violence of extremist factions. There was a suggestion to create a working group of world leaders who within 30 days would make recommendations for enhancing the peace process, promoting security, and ending the terrorist attacks.
Palestinian Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy: Syria boycotted the anti-terrorism summit in Egypt , saying the gathering would serve Israeli interests at the expense of Arabs. Lebanon chose not to participate.
Violence: In late September 1996, Palestinian policemen turned their weapons on Israelis, including IDF soldiers with whom they had shared joint patrols. The shootings were triggered by violent Arab demonstrations that protested the opening of an exit for an ancient tunnel that originates at the foot of the Western Wall. The exit was opened to facilitate tourist traffic through a narrow passageway. In the two-day rampage, 13 Israelis were killed and Palestinian terrorism continued. The carnage was amplified when the terrorists laced explosives with ball bearings and other metal fragments that transformed Israeli emergency rooms into field hospitals where physicians were forced to treat hundreds of civilians with injuries that resembled battlefield wounds.
The protocol 43 was designed to engineer an Israeli withdrawal from the last Arab city on the West Bank . Hebron required special treatment for two reasons: it housed the Tomb of the Patriarchs, an important Jewish holy site, and it has a Jewish community, whereas other West Bank towns such as Jenin or Nablus are entirely Arab. Moreover, Hebron has always been a tinderbox. Historically, it is the site of much violence, including the massacre of 70 religious Jews by Arab mobs in 1929 and the massacre of 29 Palestinians at prayer by a lone Israeli terrorist in 1994, as well as countless other ambushes and attacks on Jews before and after the event.
Jordan ’s King Hussein mediated an agreement that led to redeployment of Israeli troops outside Hebron ’s Arab neighborhoods and the placement of a group of European observers. The protocols set forth a three-phase redeployment on the West Bank , including withdrawal from 80 percent of the city.
Palestinian Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy: Between autumn 1997 and autumn 1998, President Clinton invited Yasser Arafat to the White House, where U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright conducted five more meetings designed to reenergize the peace process and tried to convince Arafat to finally amend the Palestinian Covenant and curb terrorist attacks. Arafat responded by pointing out which parts of the PLO charter “could be considered annulled,” although the protocol stipulated for doing so has not been carried out to this day. The revised Covenant has never appeared in any written or electronic form, while the original Covenant is still shown on the PLO’s website.
Both before and after those efforts, Arafat’s utterances in English spoke of peace, while his words in Arabic were peppered with calls for a holy war ( jihad ) and praise for Palestinian martyrs (shahids ) committing terrorist acts against Israelis. In January 1998, on Palestinian television, he praised bomb-makers killed by Israel , calling them “noble and brave holy shahids (martyrs ), ” and declaring: “We are all candidates for martyrdom.” In January 2002 he still was calling for a holy war against Israel (a point he began making in Arabic in May 1994), declaring in a televised speech in Ramallah from Al-Jazeera TV: “To Jerusalem we will march millions of martyrs. Al-jihad, al-jihad, al-jihad, al-jihad, al-jihad, al-jihad. ” (“Holy war, holy war, holy war, holy war, holy war, holy war.”) 44
Violence: Israel fulfilled its commitment to transfer 80 percent of Hebron to the Palestinians, but the Hebron redeployment transformed Hebron ’s Jewish residents into easy targets for a series of bloody attacks, which continue to this day. It began with the August 1998 fatal stabbing of a 63-year-old rabbi in the bedroom of his mobile home. One of the most heartbreaking incidents was the March 2001 murder of a ten-month-old girl by a Palestinian sniper perched on a strategic hillside relinquished by Israeli troops.
Palestinian terrorism also continued unabated elsewhere. Jewish residents in Jerusalem became a primary target. A July 1997 double suicide bombing in Jerusalem ’s open vegetable market left 16 dead and 178 wounded, and a September 1997 suicide bombing on Jerusalem ’s main pedestrian mall left eight dead and 200 wounded.
The Memorandum was designed to restart the peace process. It set a new schedule for the size and timing of Israeli withdrawals, necessary since Israel had suspended further redeployments after the PA failed to comply in thwarting terrorism, which Palestinians had promised to do in both “Oslo I” (1993) and “Oslo II” (1995). The Memorandum also addressed a series of other violations of “ Oslo I” and “II”—from serious breaches in the size and nature of the Palestinian police force to the failure to amend the Palestinian National Covenant. Wye introduced the principle of reciprocity into the Memorandum: territory for security. In light of growing distrust between Israelis and Palestinians, a third party—the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency—was called in to act as a monitor and arbiter. Its goal was to push security arrangement compliance, end the violence and get the derailed process back on track.
Palestinian Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy: In December 1998, President Bill Clinton took the unprecedented step of visiting the Palestinian Authority and addressing the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza . Clinton witnessed a PLC vote that “fully and forever” rejected conflict with Israel and another insincere annulment of the Palestine Covenant.
The Palestinians turned recognition of Israel into a farce by refusing to actually revise the Palestinian National Covenant. Adopted in 1964 before the Six-Day War, the Covenant denies Israel ’s right to exist and declares that “ armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine . ” 45 The action, or rather, inaction, marked the fourth time Arafat dodged his pledge to Prime Minister Rabin in September 1993, at the beginning of the peace process (reiterated at Wye), to redraft the document. A Palestinian directive to a legal committee to redraft the Covenant was passed in April 1996, but never carried out. The theatrics in Gaza pretended to change the Covenant, but left it legally intact. The original 1964 Covenant and the revised 1968 Covenant are displayed on the official Palestine UN website 46; there is no ‘new revised’ version, only the April 1996 decision to appoint a committee to revise it.
Violence: Palestinian terrorism continues and targets more civilians.
In the decade following the Oslo Accords from September 1993 to September 2003, 70 percent of the Israelis murdered (655) and injured (4,405) by Palestinian terrorists were civilians. Of 439 suicide bombings, more than 90 percent were directed against civilian targets. 47
This memorandum revised the Wye Plantation Memorandum passed a year earlier, that came and went with no significant change in the Palestinians’ failure to comply, blocking any possibility of expanding self-rule. Once again, the Palestinians undertook a pledge to seriously combat terrorism and abide by their past commitments in exchange for an additional 11 percent of the West Bank , giving the Palestinians control of 42 percent of the Territories. The Memorandum also included other concessions, including permission to construct a harbor in Gaza and establish a safe corridor across Israeli territory to allow the unfettered flow of traffic between Gaza and the West Bank . Final status talks were to begin in February 2000. The target date for reaching a permanent settlement was rescheduled for September 2000. 48
Palestinian Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy: President Clinton and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright began laying the groundwork for a framework agreement for permanent status talks in December 1999. Ultimately, the July 2000 Camp David II Summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat would be convened. The talks were called Camp David II because peace with Egypt had been negotiated in a summit at Camp David in 1978.
Diplomacy: In May 2000, Israel unilaterally withdrew from its self-declared security zone in southern Lebanon , which had been created in the wake of the 1982 “Peace in the Galilee” operation to prevent the kind of brutal terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians that the PLO had carried out in the 1970s and launched from war-torn Lebanon .
Even after Lebanon’s civil war ended, Beirut did not fully reestablished its sovereignty over the area, and extremist Islamic elements, including the Iranian and Syrian backed–Hezbollah, filled the rejectionist political-military vacuum created by the departure of the PLO in 1982. Although the Israeli withdrawal was fully in keeping with UN Security Council Resolution 425, the failure of the Lebanese central government to agree to an orderly withdrawal and to reestablish its authority turned Israel ’s northern border into a powder keg.
Many observers believe that Israel ’s unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in the face of rising IDF casualties encouraged Arafat to seek an Israeli withdrawal from the Territories through terrorism – without making peace. 49
Violence: At the signing of the Sharm el Sheikh Memorandum, Arafat declared: “We assert, as we always promised, that we respect and implement our commitments.” Nothing was further from the truth.
Between the signing of “Oslo I” in September 1993 and the outbreak of Arafat’s war, the Al Aqsa Intifada, in September 2000, 256 Israeli soldiers and civilians – including a pregnant woman, children, an 80-year-old pensioner, farmers, watchmen, hitchhikers and hikers, telephone repair personnel, shoppers and pedestrians—were killed in terrorist stabbings, kidnappings, ambushes, drive-by shootings and suicide bombings on public commuter buses, at bus stops, at cafés and outside public malls.
Even then, Arafat, who is clearly able to orchestrate the roles of those responsible for diplomacy and those responsible for violence, gave the sign to his cohorts to hold their fire. And indeed after the signing of the September 1999 Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, in preparation for the opening of the Camp David permanent status negotiations scheduled for July 2000, there was a relative lull in terrorist attacks.
The summit was an attempt to bridge the gap between Palestinians and Israelis by finally dealing with the fine details in permanent status talks. President Clinton brought Israeli Prime Minister Barak and PA Chairman Arafat to the site where Egyptians and Israelis had negotiated their historic 1978 peace treaty: Camp David . The Israeli Prime Minister offered the Palestinians control of 100 percent of Gaza , 92 percent of the West Bank and 3 percent of Israeli territory adjacent to Gaza —and independence. Barak even offered Palestinians control over East Jerusalem, including most of the Old City and religious sovereignty over the Temple Mount . All Israel asked in return was that Arafat declares the “end of conflict” and agree that no future claims on Israel would be made. 50
Palestinian Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy: Arafat walked out on the most wide-reaching, once-in-a-lifetime peace proposal ever offered by Israel —a deal that crossed long-entrenched Israeli red lines. Without attempting to negotiate, Arafat brought an end to the Camp David II Summit by walking out. Barak withdrew his now-or-never offer. President Clinton later put the blame squarely on Arafat’s shoulders. 51
Violence: On September 28, 2000—two months after rejecting statehood side-by-side with Israel – Arafat broke any pretense of keeping his 1993 vow to reject terrorism and negotiate a peace. He launched what the Palestinians label the al-Aqsa Intifada— an out-and-out guerrilla war against Israel . Empty rhetoric about “the peace of the brave” was replaced by calls for a jihad— the holy war against Israel .
“Arafat’s War,” 52 — as Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer preferred to label the second Intifada, also known as the ‘Oslo War’ — was the logical conclusion of the stage-by-stage tactics adopted by the PLO in 1974: getting Israel to weaken itself by promising peace by making concessions that would establish a PLO bridgehead in the West Bank and Gaza from which they could launch a frontal attack on the Jewish state. The PA’s strong Palestinian police force (armed by Israel , ostensibly so that Arafat would have ammunition and arms to restrain rejectionist extremists in his own camp) was unleashed against Israeli soldiers and civilians.
At the same time, with even greater frequency, young Palestinian suicide bombers were sent to wreak havoc and death against civilians, soldiers, children and adults; on the roads and in Israeli cities, townships and agricultural settlements; amid crowds at eateries, supermarkets and pedestrian malls. Even weddings, bar mitzvahs and a Passover Seder were deemed legitimate targets.
Diplomacy: The Palestinians widened the scope of hate education they had vowed to eradicate, 53 including a rejectionist message that Palestine belonged solely to the Palestinians. In their dealings with the West and Israel , Palestinian leaders began demanding what they had preached to Palestinian children for years: that all descendants of 1948 Palestinian refugees 54 had the Right of Return to resettle in Israel , a demand formerly hidden in English parlance under the neutral term “just rights of the Palestinian People.” In any language, the demand spelled the demise of Israel.
In a last-ditch effort to save the Oslo Accords, President Clinton and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak arranged a discussion of a cease-fire and pullback of Israeli forces from Palestinian areas. The IDF incursions were designed to carry out the counterterrorism work that Arafat’s security forces had failed to do for seven years. An international fact-finding commission headed by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell looked into the causes of the violence.
Palestinian Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy: Israelis and Palestinians met again in Washington and made no progress toward a cease-fire or peace.
Violence: Palestinian terrorism continued, including the November 2000 bombing of an armored Jewish school bus near Gaza . The attack killed two adults and wounded 11 passengers, including three siblings, ages 7, 8½, and 11 who all lost limbs, leaving one of them a double amputee.
Palestinian security forces turned their weapons against Israelis, including a soldier on a joint patrol, killed at point-blank range.
Diplomacy: Throughout 2001-2002, a parade of outside parties — senior American diplomats and security advisers, a former senator, and even the President of the United States himself —“took the mountain to Mohammed.” Seeking to apply personal shuttle diplomacy, U.S. officials traipsed to Ramallah and Gaza , London , Cairo , Sharm el-Sheik and a host of other venues to meet with Yasser Arafat and other key Palestinian leaders. They formulated memorandum after memorandum. Again and again, they were reassured that Arafat would take “effective and sustained action against terror and violence.”
Between February 2001 and October 2002, there were five trips by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell; three trips by Powell’s Undersecretary, William Burns; three trips by U.S. Envoy General Anthony Zinni, including a month long mission in spring 2002. There were two unsuccessful trips by CIA Director George Tenet designed to implement “a security work plan” — first in June 2001, then in June 2002. All attempts to convince, cajole or intimidate Palestinians, produced at best, empty promises that were never honored by them.
Amidst the parade of supplicants, the Mitchell Report, mandated by the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit , was released. It called for an immediate cease-fire, renunciation of terrorism and resumption of peace talks. CIA Director George Tenet was requested to draw up the “security work plan.”
Palestinian Response: Rejection!
Violence: Palestinian terrorism continued, including a June 1, 2001 Palestinian suicide bombing that killed 21 young adults outside the Tel Aviv Dolphinarium disco.
The plan was a vehicle embedded in the Mitchell Report to end Arafat’s war. It called for the immediate cessation of hostilities, arrest of militant activists, and an effort to stop anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian media.
In exchange, Israel was required to ease restrictions on Palestinians, pull its troops back from Palestinian population centers and resume security cooperation. After a six-week cooling-off period that was followed by “confidence-building measures,” talks were to resume. Then the Tenet Plan was revised, to cut the “quiet period” the Palestinians had to enforce to restart negotiations. They were asked to stop terror for a single week. One week, seven days, that would not produce a terrorist attack on Israel , would be all that would be needed to get everything back on track. The Palestinians refused, and General Zinni placed the blame squarely on Arafat’s shoulders. 55
Palestinian Response: Rejection!
Diplomacy: Other world leaders joined in calling for an end to Palestinian violence, including a July 2001 appeal by the G-8 foreign ministers meeting in Genoa that called for implementation of the Mitchell Report recommendations. Still, the terror continued.
In March 2002, the Arab League met in Beirut and adopted a two-state solution proposal, based on normalization of relations with Israel in exchange for a complete Israeli withdrawal to the pre–Six-Day War, 1947 armistice lines, and the return of the 1948 refugees. This proposal was a non-starter, designed more as a positive image builder, especially for the Saudis after September 11, than a genuine contribution to peace in the Middle East.
While General Anthony Zinni invested a full month in the region in spring of 2002 in his attempt to negotiate a cease-fire and the resumption of security cooperation, a pro-Palestinian UN —supported by the Third World and also by members of the European Union — undermined the principle of Israeli concessions in exchange for Palestinian compliance when they passed General Assembly Resolution 1397 that supported a vision of Palestinian statehood.
A year after his “working plan” was to take effect, George Tenet was back in Ramallah trying to convince Arafat to stop the violence and renew security cooperation. In July and October 2002, Colin Powell and William Burns attempted to mobilize the Arab states to pressure the Palestinians to stop the violence, all to no avail.
Arab Response: Rejection!
Violence: Palestinian terrorism continued unabated. Snipers fired into Jerusalem and Hebron; there were rocket attacks on Sderot, an Israeli town just one kilometer from the Gaza border; suicide bombers targeted a girl’s bat mitzvah (January 2002) leaving six dead — the last, an act a Palestinian officer labeled “qualitative and successful.” 56 Another suicide bomber walked into a hotel dining room during a Passover Seder (March 2002) and left over 29 dead.
The 170-page Human Rights Watch report on suicide bombings against Israelis since September 2000 concluded: “The scale and systematic nature of these attacks in 2001 and 2002 meet the definition of a crime against humanity,” and placed responsibility directly at the Palestinian Authority’s door. 57
In June 2002 President George W. Bush gave a speech in which he spoke of ‘a Roadmap’ for peace that called for Israel to facilitate creation of a Palestinian state but only after Palestinians ended terrorism and instituted broad democratic reform within the PA. The principle of ‘compliance-based progress’ was subsequently adopted the Quartet (the United States , the EU, Russia and the United Nations) in a three-stage Roadmap’ designed to culminate in a “two-state solution.” Revised several times, it was made public, with a timetable for progress, on May 1, 2003 under the title: A Performance-based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The first stage (May 2003) demanded “the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cession of violence” and “credible progress” to reform the PA corrupt regime; the second “transition” stage (June 2003-December 2003) was to focus on negotiations and establishment of democratic Palestinian state machinery; and the third stage (2004-2005) was to be dedicated to reaching a permanent status agreement and an end to the conflict, through negotiations.
Palestinian Response: All Talk, No Compliance
Diplomacy: Both Israel and the Palestinians officially accepted the Roadmap, with some reservations.
Diplomacy: At the one-day June 4, 2003 Aqaba Summit hosted by the Jordanian monarch King Abdullah II, and attended by the leaders of the United States (Bush), the Palestinian Authority (Abbas) and Israel (Sharon), all the parties pledged publicly to fulfill their commitments under the Roadmap — the Palestinians to stop the incitement and violence, the Israelis to dismantle ‘unauthorized outposts on the West Bank’, ease restrictions on Palestinians and release certain Palestinians serving time in Israeli prisons. The Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas, in a strong statement, pledged to undertake the “renunciation of terrorism against the Israelis wherever they might be” and to “act vigorously against incitement and violence and hatred.”
Diplomacy: The Palestinian Authority ignored its promises, and immediately sought to avoid the terms of the Roadmap, which required reform in the PA and disarming of all militants as the first step towards resuming the peace process. Instead, in late June 2003 the Palestinian Authority signed a Hudna Agreement (temporary tactical truce) with Hamas and Islamic Jihad stipulating that the latter would stop attacking Israelis for three months. The hudna ’s objectives were to prevent a showdown between the PA and Islamic terrorist groups, and tie Israel’s hands while allowing Palestinians to dodge taking any steps demanded by the Bush Administration as a precondition to negotiations (disarm terrorists) while recouping their loses by obtainingrelease of apprehended operatives and terrorists serving time in Israel. Neither Israel nor the United States were party to the hudna , which was an internal Arab arrangement that offered an Arab-dictated standoff of ‘no peace-no war’ in lieu of a negotiated comprehensive peace treaty.
Violence: While Israel released the prisoners it promised, eased restrictions on Palestinians, and began dismantling the first of 17 outposts, Abbas did nothing. There was no reform of the PA.State-sponsored incitement continued. Even t he hudna was short lived if not a stillbirth: Islamic leaders continued to plan and launch terrorist operations. There were 17 attempts in July 2003, only one successful — thus, leaving the impression the hudna was in force for at least a month. 58Israel continued to hunt down senior operatives and foil bombing attempts. By August the Palestinians dropped the pretence that a hudna was in force, blaming Israel for its failure.
Thus, the Roadmap never got to square one.
As the fourth year of the Intifada drew to a close, Palestinians continue to cling to a political culture of empty diplomacy and violence and a policy of rejectionism, just like countless agreements since September 2000 and countless attempts since the 1920s to cajole Palestinians into accepting Jews as something other than a subordinated so-called ‘tolerated minority’.
The promises continue. The violence continues. Rejectionism and violence remains the most salient feature of Palestinian discourse.
Examination of the language of the Palestinian hudna is illuminating in this respect: The document clarifies that it is solely an internal arrangement among Palestinians to avoid civil war, or as the ‘Statement of Initiative’ published by the Hamas/Islamic Jihad on June 29 th phrases it 59“to protect our national unity…to protect our internal front from the danger of schism and confrontation.” It does not spell reconciliation: It is solely a
“suspension of the military operations against the Zionist enemy for three months” – a tactical and temporary measure. There is no change of heart, and the objective remains “assertion of the legitimate rights to resist the occupation as a strategic option until the end of the Zionist occupation of our homeland [EH. liquidation of Israel ).”
A Washington Institute report 60 revealed that “there were no less than ten ceasefires in the past decade since Oslo I, and every single one returned freshly armed for terror.”
Diplomacy : On February 8, 2005 Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas announced the end of four years of violence at a ‘landmark’ summit in Egypt .
Violence : Just 2 days after the conclusion of the summit, on February 10 2005, at least twenty-five mortar shells and Qassam rockets have landed on Gaza Strip Jewish communities. The rockets hit towns in Gush Katif, southern Gaza , and northern Gaza . An estimated total of 38 Qassam rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Jewish towns, 13 of which apparently exploded in Palestinian areas.
What fuels the violence, even when terrorism runs contrary to Palestinian interests and undermines outside support for its cause?
Ironically Palestinians support terrorism even when it runs contrary to Palestinian interests and undermines outside support for its cause. The only difference Palestinian Arabs experience, is that the carnage since Oslo has been amplified by Arab’s better proximity to their targets; superior weaponry and explosives, better training and more sophisticated planning…and an extremely accurate ‘delivery system’ — Palestinian suicide bombers as young as 14 years of age.
It is eerie and depressing to read descriptions of events in Great Britain ’s report to the League of Nations on the 1936-39 Arab Revolt and then read the descriptions in the Human Rights Watch report 61 on suicide bombers penned 63 years later in 2002.
The British report — Report by His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Council of the League of Nations on the Administration of Palestine, and by the “Palestine Royal Commission 1936-1937 (excerpts in Section “Nothing New Under the Sun: Arab Behavior in Palestine is Remarkably Consistent”) — speaks of
- “ …assaults [by the Arabs] on the persons and property of the Jews, conducted with the same reckless ferocity. Women and children were not spared …”
- “ Acts of ‘terrorism’ in various parts of the country have long been only too familiar reading in the newspapers [and] intimidation at the point of a revolver has become a not infrequent feature of Arab politics.”
- “The Arab leaders had refused to co-operate with us [British] in our search for a means of settling the [Arab Jewish] dispute.”
- “…Palestine Arab nationalism is inextricably interwoven with antagonism to the Jews…. That is why it is difficult to be an Arab patriot and not to hate the Jews.”
- “We find ourselves reluctantly convinced that no prospect of a lasting settlement can be founded on moderate Arab nationalism. At every successive crisis in the past that hope has been entertained. In each case it has proved illusory.”
Sixty-five years later, the Human Rights Watch report — “Erased In A Moment: Suicide Bombing Attacks Against Israeli Civilians” speaks of:
- The frequency and intensity of suicide bomb attacks on civilians soon increased, and the tactic has been embraced by large sections of the Palestinian public, making these attacks a key feature of the current Palestinian-Israeli clashes.
- One factor t hat makes suicide bombing particularly terrifying is the sense that there is no possible shelter. Suicide bombers have targeted shopping malls, popular cafes and restaurants, quiet religiously observant neighborhoods, and commuter buses. Their target is everyday life.
- Virtually all societies engaged in armed struggle honor those who die as part of the struggle. What is wrong, however, is to equate individuals who are victims of attacks or who have carried out attacks that are permissible under international humanitarian law with individuals who die while committing war crimes or crimes against humanity.
- In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, [incendiary sermons] constitute incitement to crimes against humanity. Under international criminal law, the PA has a responsibility to ensure they are neither broadcast nor published, and should bring to justice those who make them.”
- …political leaders have made statements that appear to endorse attacks against civilians, both within the Occupied Territories and externally.
- The scale and systematic nature of the attacks on civilians detailed in this report meets the definition of a crime against humanity…. The notion of “crimes against humanity” refers to acts that, by their scale or nature, outrage the conscience of humankind.
Tragically, the problem is not merely a national leadership with no moral scruples and a ‘what’s-mine-is-mine what’s-yours-is-mine’ mindset. Support for violence is endemic to Palestinian society. In July 2004 the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC), a Palestinian polling institute in East Jerusalem, found 46 percent of all Palestinians believed that the aim of the current Intifada is to liberate historic Palestine (i.e., ‘destroy Israel’), not end Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The overwhelming majority (70 percent) continues to support continuing the Intifada . A majority of those interviewed (65 percent) support “military operations” (e.g. shootings, car bombs, and mortar rocket attacks, but not suicide bombers). Almost the same number, (62 percent) support suicide bombing operations, compared to 24 percent in 1997. 62The Palestinian public in the Territories continues to identify with terrorist acts, no matter how horrific, and justifies the perpetrators’ actions. Thus lamentably, terrorism against Israelis is not the ‘doings’ of only one person (Yasser Arafat), a marginal phenomenon, or the act of angry individuals or extremist ideological groups.
According to a December 2003 JMCC survey, 63 33 percent of the Palestinians believe armed struggle is the ideal way of attaining Palestinian national goals, 13 percent favor negotiations, while 51 percent support both — the same combination of rejectionist ‘diplomacy laced with violence’ documented here over the 100-year history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
A kind of outlaw polity the United States is currently grappling with in Afghanistan , Iraq , Syria , Iran , North Korea and elsewhere.
Back in 1971 Hebrew University social scientist Professor Yehezkel Dror wrote a short volume entitled Crazy States, solicited by the Rand Corporation. Decades before Kadafi began sending contraband by diplomatic pouch and Paul Pot ‘invented’ the killing fields, Dror envisioned the emergence of polities that ‘don’t play by the rules’ and therefore seem crazy to westerners. At the time he was roundly criticized as an extremist and prophet of doom — his book labeled a brilliant intellectual exercise but off the mark in terms of reality. The volume gained new respect after the 1991 Gulf War. Today no one denies the existence of ‘crazy states’, or as they are now labeled: rogue states. More recently, in a 1999 article devoted to how U.S. foreign policy has addressed the problem of rogue states 64Professor Barry Rabin of Bar-Ilan University defined the rogue state:
“[A polity] that puts a high priority on subverting other states and sponsoring non-conventional types of violence against them. It does not react predictably to deterrence or other tools of diplomacy and statecraft.”
The definition seems to fit the Palestinian Authority like a glove even in the pre-state ‘test’ stage prior to gaining full sovereignty.
A rogue state, said Rabin “requires special treatment and high levels of international pressure in order to prevent it from wrecking public order, setting off wars, and subverting whole areas of the world” — a treatment regime Rabin labels “an international equivalent of incarceration or commitment to a mental institution, until there is sufficient recovery to permit reentry into the international system.”
Unfortunately, the world community has been ignoring the prospect that a full-blown independent Palestinian state will become just the kind of rogue states and renegade organizations the world is grappling with today.
In light of the Palestinians’ history of violence and its poor performance coping with limited freedom or autonomy — the equivalent of a ‘half-way house’ to test their readiness to join the family of nations, and in light of the support (rather than pressure to ‘toe the line’) that Palestinians enjoy in the international arena, Palestinians independence could very well turn into a genuine nightmare.
It is not “The Occupation” Arabs reject; they reject the right of Israel to exist as a legitimate Jewish political entity.
Israelis have exhibited extraordinary willingness to find a win-win solution, yet Arab Palestinians’ opposition to a Jewish polity has been unremitting and uncompromising, rejecting all efforts at compromise and reconciliation.
Palestinian Arabs have underscored their rejectionism with wave after wave of terrorism at every juncture – that is, before the 1967 Six-Day War and even prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
Non-acceptance of Israel ’s right to exist and support for terrorism is not solely the province of any particular Palestinian leader; it is a deeply rooted social value, reflected in public opinion polls among Palestinians and other Arabs – then and now.
September 11, 2001 highlighted the Palestinians’ two major social “contributions” to humanity: skyjacking and suicide bombings. 65
Between September 1993 and February 2003, more than 1,004 Israelis have lost their lives to Palestinian terrorists – the per capita equivalent of approximately 50,000 American deaths, a loss that would equal 17 September 11 th attacks.
The world cannot afford the luxury of ignoring crazy states, and thus begs the question: Should the international community take a gamble? The odds of creating a new rogue state called Palestine are excellent.
1 January 11, 1882 (about 120 years ago), the first convention of Hovevei Zion (‘Lovers of Zion’) took place in Romania . The first Jewish members arrived in Palestine in the 1880s and began the first communities: Rosh Pinah and Zichron Yaakov. See:http://www.jafi.org.il/agenda/2001/english/wk4-2/13.asp . (11883)
2 Eli E. Hertz: “Terrorism is a violent act perpetrated by individual/s or entities for the purpose of deliberately harming or causing harm; Physically, psychologically, or economically to innocent individuals, groups or humanity. Terror acts may be perpetrated by ‘individual practitioners’ organized entities, starting with incitement, promotion of hate, and ending with bodily and/or mental harm.”
3 See “Jewish Settlement in the Land of Israel ” at:
(11872) In response, the Turks briefly suspended Jewish immigration, a ban lifted only when Jews agreed to pay a per capita bribe; See Avraham Yaari, The Goodly Heritage: Memoirs Describing the Life of the Jewish Community of Eretz Yisrael from the 17th to 20th Century , Jerusalem, ZOA 1958, pp. 215-16.
4 Christopher Sykes, Cross Roads to Israel – Palestine from Balfour to Bevin, Collins London 1965, p. 59.
5 Ibid. pp. 71-72.
6 For more information on the White Paper of 1922, see:
http://palestinefacts.org/pf_mandate_whitepaper_1922.php . (10758)
7 Christopher Sykes, p. 81.
8 Ibid. p. 106.
9 For details on the Shaw Commission, see: http://palestinefacts.org/pf_mandate_shaw_1929.php . (11877)
10 For details on the Hope-Simpson Reports findings, see:
http://palestinefacts.org/pf_mandate_hope_simpson.php . (10758)
11 See: http://palestinefacts.org/pf_mandate_whitepaper_1930.php . (11878)
12 Christopher Sykes, p. 128.
13 Ibid. p. 151-159
14 Ibid. p. 174.
15 Ibid. p. 185.
16 Ibid. p. 191.
17 Ibid. p. 191.
18 The Jews of British Mandate Palestine fought this decision by helping Jews fleeing Europe enter the country without permits – before, during, and after the war.
19 Christopher Sykes, p. 188.
20 For a map of the 1947 Partition Plan, see: http://www.jajz-ed.org.il/100/maps/part.html . (10760)
21 Only some negotiations with Jordan involved direct talks.
22 In Arabic: one who is ready to sacrifice his life. Also a member of an Arab commando band operating especially against Israel – it is usually used in plural.
23 For a list of major Arab terrorist attacks against Israelis prior to the 1967 Six-Day War, see “Which Came First – Terrorism or Occupation?” at:
http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Palestinian+terror+before+2000/Which+Came+First-+Terrorism+or+Occupation+-+Major.htm . (11879)
24 For details on the resolution, see:
http://www.mefacts.com/cache/html/arab-countries/11870.htm . (11870)
25 ‘War of Attrition’ in: Rolef, Susan Hattis (ed.). Political Dictionary of the State of Israel . New York : Macmillan, 1987. Statistics include attacks that spread to other areas, such as the Jordanian border.
26 See CDI Terrorism Project at: http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/pflp-gc.cfm . (10763)
27 See Middle East Media Research Institute translation at:
http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP23601 . (10707)
28 For details of the Palestinians’ behavior in guest countries bordering Israel , see “Black September and the Black September Terror Movement” at:
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Parliament/2587/black.html. (11880) In 1971, PLO-linked terrorists assassinated Jordanian Prime Minister Wasfi al-Tal.
29 For a synopsis of PLO behavior in Lebanon 1969-1982, see the overview of Rex Bryen, Sanctuary and Survival: The PLO in Lebanon (Boulder: Westview Press, 1990) at:
http://www.arts.mcgill.ca/MEPP/PRRN/papers/sanctuary/ch7.html . (11881)
30 For details, see: http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1967to1991_terrorism_1970s.php . (11882)
31 For the text of the framework to solve the conflict with the Palestinians written into the Camp David Accords, see: http://usinfo.state.gov/regional/nea/summit/cdavid.htm .
32 For an evaluation of the security zone in historic perspective, see Gal Luft, “ Israel ’s Security Zone in Lebanon – A Tragedy?” Middle East Quarterly , (September 2000) at:
http://www.meforum.org/article/70 . (10768)
33 See Daniella Ashkenazy, “Small Arms Warfare,” Jerusalem Post , January 31, 1990.
34 Prompting Washington Post cartoonist Herb Block to publish a caricature of Arafat saying, “I’ll recognize Israel ’s right to exist, if they recognize my right to decide where.”
35 For an outline of the ‘peace process’ from 1991 to the January 2001 Taba summit, which was designed to end the al-Aqsa Intifada and ‘save the Oslo Accords,’ see:
http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1991to_now_peace_process_outline.php . (10769) For the U.S. State Department’s “Middle East Peace Chronology,” 1978 through 2005, see:
36 For more information on Madrid , see:
http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1967to1991_madrid_1991.php . (10771)
37 For a firsthand account by Israel ’s chief negotiator, see Uri Savir, The Process, 1,100 Days That Changed the Middle East (New York: Random House, 1998) at:
http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/savir-process.html . (11885)
38 For a medley of Palestinian statements revealing their true intentions and sentiments, see “In Their Own Words” at:
http://www.israel.net/timetospeak/5.htm . (10773)
39 For a graph of the number of Israelis killed in terrorist attacks in the 30 years since the 1967 Six-Day War, see:
http://www.iris.org.il/terr6796.htm . (10708)
40 See: http://www.iris.org.il/terrcht2.htm. (11886) Preceding decade: 209 fatalities between January 1983 – September 1993.
41 Agreement on preparatory transfer of powers and responsibilities, august 29, 1994. See:
http://domino.un.org/unispal.NSF/bc8b0c56b7bf621185256cbf005ac05f/ fd15eca93fd9af2785257000005a5810!OpenDocument. (11904)
42 Remarks at the Opening of the Summit of the Peacemakers in Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt . See:
43 Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron , January 17, 1997. See at:
http://telaviv.usembassy.gov/publish/peace/hebron_redepl.htm . (11902)
44 See “Sayings of Chairman Arafat in 1998,” GPO, December 2, 1998, part of which is available at the National Christian Leadership Conference Website at:
For more quotes from the 1993 Oslo Accords to 2002, see:
http://www.iris.org.il/quotes.htm . (11887)
45 For a full copy of the Palestinian National Covenant highlighting its anti-Israel clauses, see:
46 http://www.palestine-un.org/plo . (11889)
47 See IDF statistics at: http://www.idf.il .
48 For analysis of why the peace process was plagued by a proliferation of agreements saying the same thing, see William Saletan “Tenet to Mitchell to Chance” – The farcical Middle East peace process at:
http://slate.msn.com/id/2064026 . (11890)
49 See Shlomo Brom, “The Withdrawal from Southern Lebanon: One Year Later,” Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies, Strategic Assessment (August 2001) at:
www.tau.ac.il/jcss/sa/v4n2p4Bro.html . (11891)
50 For details on Camp David offer, see Benny Morris, “Arafat didn’t negotiate – he just kept saying no,” Guardian , May 23, 2002 at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,4419440-103680,00.html . (11892)
51 For Clinton ’s charge that Arafat was responsible for failure, see Michael Hirsh, “ Clinton to Arafat: It’s All Your Fault,” Newsweek . See also viewpoints, Saul Singer at:
http://www.jcpa.org/jl/vp474.htm . (11893)
52 See Charles Krauthammer, “Arafat’s war,” Washington Post, October 6, 2000 at:
53 For examples of official maps – showing Israel as part of Palestine – obliterated by a show of arms, see the May 28, 2001 article, “The Message in the Palestinian Maps” published in the Boston Globe at:
http://www.israelinsider.com/views/authors/jacoby.htm . (11895)
54 For Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics of estimated Palestinian population, see:
55 For U.S. envoy General Anthony Zinni’s assessment of why his own three attempts to facilitate an end to violence between 2001-2002 failed, see “Assigning Blame,” Near East Report at:
56 Lee Hochstader, “Israel Sets Out Charges Arafat Supported Terror,” Washington Post , May 6, 2002 at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A37447-2002May5¬Found=true . (11896)
57 For the full Human Rights Watch report, see Erased In A Moment: Suicide Bombing Attacks Against Israeli Civilians, October 2002 at:
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2002/isrl-pa . (11862)
58 See Statistics: “Successful vs. Unsuccessful (thwarted) Terrorist Attacks”, www.idf.il
59 “Text of ‘Hudna’ Statement by Hamas, Islamic Jihad.” See:
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~adamgosp/hamas.htm . (11897)
60 “Hudna with Hamas”, Honest Reporting.com, June 30, 2003, at:
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=8582 . (11898)
61 “Erased In A Moment: Suicide Bombing Attacks Against Israeli Civilians”, Human Rights Watch, October 2002, at:
http://hrw.org/reports/2002/isrl-pa/ . (11862)
62 For further details, Khadar Abu Sway, Palestinian Opinion Pulse , JMCC , June 2004, at:
http://www.jmcc.org/publicpoll/pop/04/jul/pop14.pdf . (11900)
63 For more details, see Palestinian Opinion Pulse , December 2003, JMCC , at:
http://www.jmcc.org/publicpoll/pop/03/dec/pop13.pdf . (11899) The question was not polled in June 2004.
64 Barry Rubin, “US Foreign Policy and Rogue3 States,” MERIA , September 1999, at:
http://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/besa/meria/journal/1999/issue3/jv3n3a7.html . (11901)
65 On the danger this ‘innovation’ constitutes for non-Israelis, see Thomas L. Friedman, “Suicidal Lies” New York Times , March 31, 2002.