HAS THERE EVER BEEN A PEACE PROCESS?
For several years we have all been watching the sickening violence in Israel bring an end to all hopes for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Is it true then, as many say, that the peace process is now dead, or is the truth that there has never been a peace process, but an Israeli total surrender process? In this article and in the others in this package, I intend to quote, not just from Israeli, or pro-Israeli sources, but almost entirely from Arab sources, from Arab history, from the Koran, from the Haddith (Moslem tradition) and from statements made by Moslem leaders to their own people. Read them impartially and then you judge for yourselves what is the truth.
Before I continue, I have no grudge against the Arabs. I like Arabs. During the seventies I spent five years in Israel and experienced a great deal of hospitality and kindness from many Arab families. I sometimes sat in shops, owned by Arab friends in the Old City of Jerusalem, and drank coffee and watched the tourists as they went by. Most of those shopkeepers can tell what language somebody speaks by the way he looks and the way he walks. I often went for walks across the desert on my own with no weapons and experienced nothing but kindness from those Arabs I met on the way- even though, in some cases, our only common language was Hebrew!
At the same time I can honour the zeal, dedication and sincerity of many Moslems and I can honour the moral lives that many of them lead- far more moral lives than many of us lead in the Western World. I can even honour the courage of many of those fighting for what they believe is right. (It takes a considerable amount of courage- however misguided- to strap a bomb to yourself and blow yourself up!) An Israeli soldier, for example, once told me:
“If there were one thousand Israelis against one Jordanian Bedouin, he would fight until he was killed. He would not surrender. If he were ordered to surrender by his superiors he would obey the order but, even then, the safest thing would be to give him a pat on the back and a packet of cigarettes and tell him to go home!”
Most Moslem Arabs are like most Israelis- or most Englishmen. They want to be left alone to make a living and to feed their families. It is a fact that many in the Palestinian areas secretly wish the Jews were still running things but wouldn’t dare to say so publicly. It is, for example, a fact that, at the height of the last Intifada, three times as many Arabs were killed Arabs as by Israelis. The “New York Times”, for example, reported that when Palestinians heard a knock at the door, they were relieved to see an Israeli soldier rather than a masked Palestinian. (Myths and Facts, p. 170 “New York Times” 12th June 1991.)
While the world mourns the Palestinian deaths- as we should- no one stops to ask how many would be dead if Israeli forces were actually doing what they are accused of - shooting civilians indiscriminately. If that were the case, many tens of thousands of Palestinians would be dead. (See "Let's put things in context")
On the other side of the coin, not everything the Israelis do is right and many Israeli soldiers are not boy scouts. During my time in Israel I met some Israelis I’d have died for and a few I’d have cheerfully murdered. Many Israelis, for example, hang their heads in shame at the way the Israeli army retreated from Lebanon deserting thousands of Lebanese soldiers- and their families- who had fought alongside them for years. At least one rabbi declared publicly that the blood of those Lebanese- and many are being tortured and killed- would be on the heads of the Israelis. Not everything Israel does is right any more than everything the British Government does is right. Israelis are ordinary human beings and most of them are not even religious and quite a few do not even believe in God,so how can they be expected to behave better than we would if we were in the same situation. Yes, they do often get things wrong just as we would.
So, has there ever been a peace process? Can there ever be peace between Islam and Israel?
THE HAMAS CHARTER
Interviews with Hamas women
Hamas in its own words
A CRY FROM THE HEART
Has there ever been a peace process?
CAN ISLAM MAKE PEACE WITH ISRAEL?
WHY DID YASSER ARAFAT SIGN THE OSLO ACCORD?
The treaty of Hudabiyyah
The treaty between Saladin and Richard I
Peace? What peace?
Sermons in Palestinian mosques
The truth about Arafat and the Palestinians
Yasser Arafat over the years
Aid money used for weapons
Obituary of Yasser Arafat
Egyptian tributes to Arafat
Marwan Barghouti could succeed Arafat
Palestinian leadership should get real
Hamas on the 1967 borders
Arafat and the Viet Cong
The Hizbullah programme
The Gaza disengagement