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The Israeli-Arab Conflict Seminar by Dr Einat Wilf

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Abstract

This is a transcription of a Seminar given by Dr Einat Wilf. The clarity of the ideas presented in this Seminar is outstanding. Hence, I decided to make it available to a wider audience. Dr Einat Wilf earned a B.A. from Harvard, and MBA from the INSEAD institute in France, and a PhD in political science from the University of Cambridge. The Seminar was hosted by the Jewish Federation in the Silicon Valley, California, on April 10, 2022.
The Israeli-Arab
Conflict
Seminar by Dr
Einat Wilf
Editor: Jaime Kardontchik
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Preface
The Congregation Beth Am of Los Altos Hills, and the Jewish Community Center of
Palo Alto, both in the Silicon Valley, California, hosted on April 10, 2022, a 40-minutes
Seminar with Dr Einat Wilf titled The Essence of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and
the Path to Lasting Peace”. The Seminar was followed by a 40 minutes Q&A session.
The video of the Seminar and the following Q&A is available at:
https://vimeo.com/699880975
The clarity of the ideas presented in this Seminar is outstanding. Hence, I decided to
transcript it in writing, to reach wider audiences. My transcription is based on the
original video. I apologize for any omissions and mistakes that I could have generated
during the transcription.
About Einat Wilf:
Born and raised in Israel, Dr Wilf was a former policy advisor to Shimon Peres, a Nobel
Peace laureate. She was a member of the Israeli parliament from 2010 to 2013, where
she served as the Chair of the Education Committee and a member of the influential
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Dr. Wilf earned a B.A. from Harvard, an MBA
from the INSEAD institute in France and a PhD in political science from the University
of Cambridge, and she served as the Goldman Visiting Professor at the Georgetown
University.
About the intended audience:
Students at K12 schools in California, required to take a course in “Ethnic Studies” in
9th grade in order to graduate, as well as students in the California State University
campuses facing a similar requirement. Teachers in K12 schools, lecturers at the
Universities, and independent thinkers, are also welcome to this Seminar by Dr Einat
Wilf.
Jaime Kardontchik, PhD (Physics)
Silicon Valley, California
April 22, 2022
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Introduction
Rabbi Jeremy Morrison
Congregation Beth Am
Good morning, and it is great that you have all joined us today. As the senior rabbi of
Congregation Beth Am, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Einat Wilf as our
speaker this morning. She will be talking to us from Israel about the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict and the path to lasting peace. I want to thank the Beth Am Jewish and Israel
advocacy committee and the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center for co-
sponsoring today’s program. I also want to thank Congregation Kol Emet,
Congregation Beth Ami and the Jewish-Israeli Advocacy Committee [JIAC] for their
contributions to this event.
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Jeff Carmel
Beth Am JIAC
Thank you, Rabbi. As Rabbi Morrison mentioned, today’s program is brought to you
by Beth Am’s Jewish and Israeli Advocacy Committee, whose mission is to mobilize
support for the security of the State of Israel, to counter the alarming growth in anti-
Semitism and promote respect for Jews in the United States and beyond. To this end,
we educate congregants through emails and inspirational speakers, such as Dr. Wilf,
as well as to provide timely alerts to take action as events warrant.
Born and raised in Israel, Dr Wilf served as an intelligence officer in the Israeli Defense
Forces and was a former policy advisor to [Vice Prime Minister] Shimon Peres. She
was a member of the Israeli parliament from 2010 to 2013, where she served as the
Chair of the Education Committee and a member of the influential Foreign Affairs and
Defense Committee. Academically, Dr. Wilf earned a B.A. from Harvard, an MBA from
the prestigious INSEAD institute in France and a PhD in political science from the
University of Cambridge, and she served as the Goldman Visiting Professor at the
Georgetown University.
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Most importantly, she is without doubt one of Israel’s most articulated, thoughtful, lucid
and captivating speakers on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the moral issues that
arise from it. Having heard Einat speak on numerous occasions, I guarantee that by
the end of today’s webinar, we will all have a far better understanding of the conflict,
its sources and its possible solutions.
Einat, on behalf of the more than three hundred and fifty registrants for today’s
program: Welcome!
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Einat Wilf
Thank you so much for having me. Thank you for this kind introduction, and I promise
that what I am going to do today is let you know what the conflict is all about and how
to solve it. That’s it. You will be done and you will know.
I want to share with you a little bit as to how I even began to think about the conflict,
my personal journey and how I came to the conclusions that I am going to share with
you. I grew up in Israel, I grew up in Jerusalem. I was very much part of what politically
is traditionally known in Israel as the Israeli Left, Israeli’s Peace Camp, a member of
the Israeli’s Labor Party. As a young adult I voted for [Prime Minister] Itzhak Rabin,
later for [Prime Minister] Ehud Barak, and as a member of the Israeli Peace Camp, I
very much supported what through the eighties and the nineties was the main idea
associated with the Israeli Peace Camp, which was this very simple equation known
as Land for Peace”. The idea of this simple equation was that Israel has a path to
peace and the path to peace is based on “Land for Peace” as a formula. Which land?
The land that Israel captured as the result of the Six Day 1967 war: the Sinai Peninsula
in the South, the Golan Heights in the North, and the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
in the center.
Why was it necessary to come up with this formula? As I am sure you know, after
Israel was established, after the war of 1948-1949, none of Israel’s neighbors was
willing to make peace with it. All what Israel’s neighbors were willing to do was to sign
cease fire agreements. So, when people speak about the pre-1967 borders, there
were never any borders: those were cease-fire lines, which the Arab countries
surrounding Israel Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt made clear that they were
cease fire lines in an ongoing war. The message was that the battle of 1948-1949 may
be over momentarily or temporarily, but basically this is a cease fire in a far bigger and
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ongoing war of these Arab states, Arab countries, against the establishment of the
Jewish state of Israel.
So, Israel had no peace when it was born. But after the really amazing victory in 1967
and the capture of all these lands, which really tripled the size of Israel, just as you get
a sense of the proportion, the sense was that Israel has now territorial assets that it
can exchange for peace with its Arab neighbors.
For a while the land for peace” seemed to be a very successful formula. This was the
basis for the peace agreement with Egypt, Israel’s largest foe. Basically, Israel signed
a peace agreement with Egypt and in exchange gave Egypt the Sinai Peninsula that
was more than twice the size of Israel. We can have a very interesting discussion as
to whether what we have or had with Egypt was peace, but we officially signed with
Egypt a peace agreement and handed over the entirety of the territory of the Sinai
Peninsula.
The ninety nineties were really a decade for the “land for peace” formula. This was
also the decade of the Rabin government and of Ehud Barak. We negotiated with Syria
over the Golan Heights, we signed a peace agreement with Jordan, when Jordan gave
up its territorial claims to the West Bank, and, of course, the highlight of the nineties
were the Oslo Accords, where Israel negotiated directly with the Palestinians, with the
Palestinian Liberation Organization, with Yasser Arafat, with the Palestinians, over the
future of the West Bank and Gaza.
The ninety nineties come to a pinnacle in the year 2000, when Ehud Barak the head
of the Labor party, the head of the Israeli Peace Camp goes to Camp David. Camp
David is symbolic: this is where Israel negotiated the peace agreement with Egypt. He
goes to Camp David to meet with Arafat and to negotiate a final peace agreement over
the future of the West Bank and Gaza. When Ehud Barak who was clearly elected
on a platform of making peace based on the “land for peace” formula when he goes
to Camp David, he puts on the table a far-reaching proposal, something that was not
on the table before, certainly not directly with the Palestinians. His proposal addressed
everything that we were told were the obstacles to peace and the things that the
Palestinians wanted.
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The occupation
We were told that the obstacle to peace is the occupation: Palestinians wanted to end
the military presence of Israel in the West Bank and Gaza. On the table the proposal
was that the Palestinians were going to have a fully sovereign state, an independent
sovereign state in the West Bank and Gaza, thereby ending the occupation. Israeli
was going to retreat, there was not going to be a military presence. So, ending the
occupation was part of the proposal.
The settlements
What was the other obstacle we were told was the obstacle to peace? Settlements.
So, the State of Palestine, the sovereign independent State of Palestine was going to
have no settlements. Settlements were either to be removed and dismantled, or
exchanged for equivalent land. So, the independent, sovereign State of Palestine was
going to end the occupation and have no settlements. So, two obstacles removed.
Jerusalem
Then, what were we told? Jerusalem. Jerusalem was going to be divided: the Jewish
neighborhoods to Israel, the Arab, secular, neighbors to Palestine and, then, the
question of the Old City: the one square kilometer, which I fondly refer to it as the
insanity center”, that one square kilometer was also going to be divided. Holy sites,
we sometimes forget how far-reaching the proposal was, the Holy sites within the Old
City were going to be divided between Israel and Palestine. So, if we were told that
Jerusalem is the problem, an obstacle to peace, that was also taken care in the
proposal. So, check, check, check.
All the Palestinians had to do was say “yes”. And they would have had an end to the
occupation, a sovereign state, no settlements, capital in East Jerusalem, including the
Holy sites. They only had to say “yes”. What do they do? They walk away. Arafat walks
away.
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OK. You might say walking away is a negotiating tactic. You know, that happens. Fair
enough. But Arafat walks away and by the way, eight years later, in 2008, Abu Mazen
[Mahmoud Abbas], the heir of Arafat, walks away from a similar proposal by [Prime
Minister] Ehud Olmert. Arafat walks away, and Abu Mazen later walks away, to no
criticism from his own people. If this is the Palestinian aspiration you would expect, at
least, someone to write an op-ed, a small NGO to be established, something, to say:
Are you crazy? We could just have everything we wanted. Go back there into the
negotiating room and get us our state”. But there are no such voices. And I know that
sometimes people say: Oh, you know, it is because you cannot criticize in this society,
Palestinian society is not democratic.” Look at Russia today. People are holding signs,
people are protesting, and the stakes there are much-much higher. Palestinian society
has never been as oppressive as Russia, and yet, you see protests in Russia. You did
not see protests against Arafat walking away among the Palestinians. Arafat, and later
Abu Mazen, walk away. They walk away to no criticism from their own people. Meaning
that, by walking away they fulfill what their people wanted.
And, what follows is bloody murder. What follows, especially after Arafat walks away,
is a three-year campaign misnamed “the second Intifada”, a campaign of butchery,
massacre and terrorism. Some of you might remember the incinerated buses, entire
families blown to bits for having a Seder [Passover celebration and meal] in a hotel,
or from going to get pizza in Haifa. And this campaign, a butchery, is taking place in
Israel’s cities: in Tel-Aviv, in Haifa, in Be’er Sheva. Not in the settlements, you know,
as they say: the problem is the settlements and the occupation in the West Bank.
That is not where this campaign of butchery is taking place.
And a lot of Israelis, going through that myself included are asking a very simple
question: “What do the Palestinians want?
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What do the Palestinians want?
What do they want? Because, clearly, a Palestinian State that ends the occupation,
with no settlements and a capital in East Jerusalem, is not what they want. Or, you
could say that they want that, but there is something that they want much, much more.
There is something that they want so much more, that they are willing to walk away
from all that for that other thing. What is that other thing? And, what my co-writer [of
our book] Adi Schwartz a senior editor of the Haaretz [newspaper] also a member
of the Israeli Peace Camp, also believing in the “land for peace”, and what myself
realize, is that the answer was staring us in the face. Palestinians have told us all along
what they wanted. We just did not listen. Or when we did listen, we kind of explained
it away. We did not take it seriously. What did the Palestinians want more than a state,
more than ending the occupation, more than no settlements, more than Jerusalem?
They told us: From the river, from the Jordan River, to the Mediterranean Sea,
Palestine will be free [of Jews]”. They have always claimed, as their absolute top
priority, the establishment of an Arab Palestinian State with no state for the Jewish
people in any borders whatsoever.
And that goal, which to the credit of the Palestinians, they have been pursuing
consistently for over a century that goal has not changed. And, unfortunately there
has not been a moment where that goal has changed. The means of pursuing that
goal have been different and in our book The war of return”, we focus on one of these
means, the so called “Right of Return”, which if you read the book is neither “right” no
“return”, but merely a mechanism and an idea established by the Palestinians,
following the war of 1948, in order to insure that the war never ends and that the idea
of a sovereign Jewish state in even part of the land remains unacceptable and,
hopefully in their view, something that you can undo. And this has been the goal.
An irreconcilable conflict
When Adi and I were doing our research for the book [“The War of Return”], we came
across a remarkable analysis of the conflict by the British Foreign Minister after World
War II, Ernest Bevin. If you know anything about Ernest Bevin a friend to the Jewish
people and to Zionism he was not. But Ernest Bevin, in explaining to the British
Parliament in 1947 why Britain is reneging on the mandate that they received from the
League of Nations to establish a Jewish State, basically giving back the mandate to
the heir of the League of Nations, to the United Nations, he said the following: His
Majesty, the government has come to the conclusion that the conflict in the land is
irreconcilable”. He calls it irreconcilable. He goes on to detail, saying that there were
two people in the land, Jews and Arabs. That there was no question that there are two
people, two nations in the land. They are not religions. Jews and Arabs. Two distinct
collectives. And he goes on to detail what the top priority is for each one of these
collectives, for the Jews and for the Arabs. And he calls it a point of principle. And this
is “the top priority”. He says, for the Jews the point of principle, the top priority, is to
establish a State. The Jews want a State. He says, for the Arabs the top priority, the
point of principle, is to prevent the Jews from establishing a State in any part of the
land. Notice how he defines the conflict. And this is the definition to the present day
and has been the best predictor for the behavior of the two sides from 1947 to the
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present. He basically says: Look: the Jews want a State. Period. The Arabs want the
Jews not to have a State”. Notice that he is not saying that the conflict is “the Jews
want a State, the Arabs want a State, and they cannot agree on the borders and it is
difficult to figure out how to divide the land. No. He really zeroes in in why the conflict
is irreconcilable: because the Jews want a State and the Arabs want the Jews not to
have a State. This is, by definition, something that is irreconcilable. Everything else
you can divide. You can divide the land, you can divide the resources, you can have
all kinds of economic and security arrangements. But the one thing that you cannot
divide, the one difference that you cannot split is between the idea that the Jews want
a State and the Arabs want the Jews not to have a State. It is simple as that. In that
sense, the conflict is incredibly simple. Now, notice that what I have said right now
does not in itself bare any judgement. It does not say that one side is good and the
other side is bad and that this is a battle between good and evil. You can believe that
the idea of a Jewish State in any borders is truly a horrific, unjustified idea.
You can truly believe that the idea of a Jewish State in any border is in itself an
injustice, which is generally the Palestinian world view. But that does not change the
nature of the conflict. The nature of the conflict still remains the battle between those
who want a Jewish State, generally the Jews, and, generally, the Arabs who want the
Jews not to have a State. Regardless of whether you can think that the motivations of
one side or the other are just or unjust, but this is the essence of the conflict. And this
is why it is irreconcilable and this is why it has lasted for a century.
Now, how do we move from here? If this is the essence of the conflict, how does it
end? And it actually ends in one of two ways. Quite simple. Either those who support
a Jewish State will forgo their top priority, or those who believe that there should not
be a Jewish State in any borders would forgo their top priority. That’s it. That is how
we get to a lasting peace. Either the Jews forgo their desire for a sovereign State, in
essence, they say, you know, it is not worthy, there are other places to live, we are
out of here”, or, the Arabs decide that they are willing to let a Jewish State exist, in
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some borders. That is the only one of those two ways that the conflict ends. Truly
resolved. Sometimes they say that the conflict is between Jewish Zionism and Arab
anti-Zionism. For the conflict to end, either the Jews forgo their Zionism, the Jews
forgo their desire for a sovereign State, or the Arabs forgo their anti-Zionism, Arabs
forgo their belief that a Jewish State should not exist in any borders whatsoever. That’s
it. In the absence of one of these two outcomes the conflict continues. And in many
ways, one can argue that the conflict has been a century-long battle of mutual
exhaustion, where the Arabs are trying to exhaust the Jews into giving up on their
aspirations for a State and for maintaining that State, and the Jews are trying to get
the Arabs to forgo their aspiration for them not to be a Jewish State. That’s it. And we
have been engaged for more than a century in this battle of mutual exhaustion.
We are winning
And the reason that this has been going on for a century is that both sides see
indications that they are winning: Jews look at their achievements, the establishment
of their State, their various military victories, the prosperity of the State, the peace
agreements, the Abraham Accords (and we will talk about them in a few minutes), and
they say: The Arab world is finally coming to terms with the existence of the Jewish
State. Hence, we can see the end of the conflict.
But the Arabs on the other side see it differently: No, the Jewish State is weak, Jews
are arguing, young Jews abroad are renouncing Zionism, so we are seeing more and
more Jews forgo their aspirations for a Jewish State. The world is calling the Jewish
State an apartheid, the world is mobilizing in order to put an end to the Jewish State.
So, we are winning.
And we only have to exhaust the other side.
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So, this is where we are. This is what brings the conflict to an end. And, as I said, both
sides believe that time is on their side. Just yesterday, someone tweeted “The Zionist
experiment is not going to last for more than twenty years, it is showing its
weaknesses, it is showing its contradictions. It is not going to last.” And I have to say
that, from their perspective, it is an entirely rational world view.
After we published the book, initially in Hebrew, Adi and I had many, many meetings
with Western journalists and diplomats, especially those from countries who are
funding UNWRA, the agency that constantly fuels the Palestinian world view that Israel
is temporary. And we keep on telling them: Look, you think that you are funding some
social services, but from the Palestinian perspective, every dollar that you are giving
to UNWRA is a dollar Palestinians believe is a vote of support, on behalf of the West,
to their belief that Israel is a temporary experiment destined to end in the near future.
And they say: Oh, that’s not. The Palestinians know that it is a delusion, they
understand that there is not going to be a return inside the sovereign State of Israel
which is what the Palestinians demand so, you know, it is not going to happen. It is
a delusion. And we always tell them: Give the Palestinians the respect of believing
and taking them at their word and that from their perspective and understanding of
History, they are not delusional. They are opening a map, they see seven million Jews
existing among half a billion Arabs, near one a half billion Muslims, most of them
continuing to be hostile to the idea of a Jewish State in any borders. And they, not
irrationally, conclude that time is on their side. Which is why the traditional comparison
of Palestinians is to “colonizers”: We are like the French in Algeria, like the Crusaders
a state that lasted eighty-eight years, or more if you do not include Jerusalem.
Recently they compared us to the Americans in Afghanistan. From their perspective,
we are a foreign people, foreign colonizers who came to a land to which we had no
connection, no historical affinity, no cultural connection. Stole the land, took it from
people to whom it belonged and, therefore, like all foreigners, we the Jews in Israel
are destined to leave, if we meet enough resistance and violence. This is the
dominant narrative, not just among the Palestinians but in the Arab world. And, as I
said, it is not delusional and it is not something plucked from thin air
What do we have on our side? Why, by and large, I am more optimistic these days
than I have been for quite some time? Because I do see for the first time ever, the
emergence of an alternative world view and narrative regarding Israel’s position in the
region.
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The peace agreements that Israel made with Egypt and Jordan did not fundamentally
alter the Arab narrative regarding Israel, that Israel is a foreign colonial, Western
outpost in the region to which it has no connection and, therefore, will one day
disappear. This is why the so-called peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan were
really better understood as non-aggression pacts: there were barely any diplomatic
relations, no tourism, no economic relations, no warmth. Egypt and Jordan continued
to be promoters of anti-Israeli resolutions in the international bodies. Egypt remained
the number one producer and promoter of anti-Semitic content in Arabic to the Arab-
speaking world. And for decades Israelis were told that this is peace. This is what
peace looks like in the Arab world. As long as the conflict with the Palestinians
continue, this is the best that you can hope for.
The Abraham Accords
And then came the Abraham Accords with the Gulf states and later with Morocco: the
UAE, Bahrain and Morocco. And those countries went all in. Immediate warm
diplomatic relations, tourism, economic relations. My tweeter feed is full with every day
news about a new agreement signed between Gulf countries and Morocco and Israel,
in the fields of education, and space, and agriculture. They went all in. Within days of
signing the Abraham Accords they changed their books, which tells you that you
change your books after you sign the peace agreement, not before. And really
everything is in one word: Abraham.
You could not think of a better word to flip the narrative. If the dominant narrative in
the Arab world remains still that Israel is a foreign, colonial implant in the region, to
which it has no connection and, therefore, is a temporary presence that will be ousted
with enough resistance, patience and violence, then there is no better single word than
to flip it by saying “Abraham”.
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When you say Abraham you are acknowledging the Jews as kin, you are
acknowledging the Jews as people with a history in the region, not as foreigners, but
as people who belong, who have a deep, seeded, historical and cultural roots in the
region. That their very identity as a people is wrapped up with the Land of Israel. And
you can convey all of this by saying “Abraham”.
I am under no illusion that this has become the dominant narrative in the Arab world.
I will say this: when this will become the dominant narrative in the Arab world does
not have to be exclusive but when it becomes the dominant narrative this will be
the day that we will have peace. Everywhere. Because that is what the fundamental
conflict is about. The fundamental conflict is not about and has never been about
occupation or settlements, and not even about Jerusalem. It has always been about
the Arab, and even broadly the Islamic world view, that a Jewish State in any borders
in the region is an abomination, a gross injustice and something that, therefore, needs
to be made to disappear, by any means: wars, terrorism, international condemnation,
violence, “return”. Whatever to get rid of this abomination which is the Jewish State.
This is what the conflict is about. And for the first time ever in the history of the conflict
we finally have a confident Arab and Muslim narrative that says the opposite.
After the Abraham Accords were signed, I became part of the Abraham Accords Group
and I ended up with part of this group in almost a mirror image of what you hear among
some young Jews in the West. They said: We feel we have been lied to about Israel
and Zionism and we want to understand. I ended up giving a lecture and talk about
Zionism, to young Emiratis, Bahrainis, Moroccans. Following that, I published an op-
ed with two young Emiratis, a man and a woman, that opens with the following line:
We are a proud Muslim, a proud Arab, and we see no contradiction between that and
also being Zionist.” They actually said: “We are Zionists”, they did not try to avoid that
word. They said: We see no contradiction between the proud Muslim and Arab identity
and between support for the right of the Jewish people to a sovereign State in at least
part of their ancient homeland.” So, for the first time we have a pro-Zionist, pro-Israel,
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Arab position that recognizes Israel as a country that reflects an indigenous people, a
people that have a deep historical and cultural connection to the land. And one of the
most amazing developments, one that helps me make a very powerful point, is that as
soon as the Gulf countries and Morocco became favorable towards Israel, they also
became favorable towards Jews. And, you know, as a result of the ethnic cleansing of
Jews from the Arab world [*], there are not many Jews in the Arab countries, but the
UAE, Bahrain and Morocco are now going out of their way to show how much they
want to celebrate Jewish life in their country. And they are not celebrating dead Jews.
They are celebrating living Jews. My tweeter feed is full of Bahrainis and Emiratis, and
Moroccans, holding celebrations of Jewish holidays with local Jews or Jewish ex-pats,
and it helps me make the following point:
Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism
In the West today, quite a few are trying to claim that anti-Zionism is not against the
Jews. You know, as long as the Jews are against Zionism, we love Jews and that anti-
Zionism is just an ideology, about Israel. Now, I can split those hairs: anti-Zionism does
not always necessarily have to be anti-Jewish. This is in theory. Except that in practice
it always is. Every country, society, party, campus that have turned virulently anti-
Zionist, in short order were hostile to Jewish life. So, when the Arab world made anti-
Zionism a central tenet, within a short order it had no Jews. And those are Jews that
pre-existed the Arab and Islamic conquest of the 7th century. The Soviet Union, as
soon as it became anti-Zionist and made anti-Zionism a central tenet, it became a
place that was hostile to Jews, and where Jews left as soon as they could. I could go
on: Corbyn’s Labor Party [in the UK], certainly American campuses.
When you make anti-Zionism a central tenet of who you are as a country, as a society,
whatever the theory is you are not a welcoming place for Jews.
And now, we are seeing the opposite: we are seeing that when Arab countries are
embracing Israel, are embracing Zionism, understanding the historical connections
between the Jewish people, the people of Israel and the Land of Israel, they also
become welcoming and warm places for Jewish life. This is a very instructive example
of the very deep connection between being warm towards Israel and Zionism and
welcoming and being warm towards a prosperous Jewish life.
-
[*] Note from the Editor: During the 20th century, in less than one-generation time,
870,000 Jews were ethnically cleansed from the Arab World, from North Africa to the
Middle East, their properties confiscated and converted into refugees. The majority of
these Jewish refugees 608,799 refugees total were absorbed by Israel: 129,539
from Iraq, 35,802 from Libya, 266,304 from Morocco, 8,523 from Syria, 52,518 from
Tunisia, 50,619 from Yemen, 37,395 from Egypt, 24,067 from Algeria, 4,032 from
Lebanon. Some of these Jewish communities date well from before the 7th century
Arab conquest of these lands. For example, the Jewish community in Iraq expelled
in 1951 dated from the time of the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BCE:
2,500 years.
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Conclusion
As I said, we are still stuck in the middle of this conflict. Fundamentally, it is a very
simple conflict between Jewish Zionism and Arab anti-Zionism. Obviously, I would like
this conflict to end not by Jews forgoing their State, but the Arabs forgoing their
mobilization against the Jewish State. When that happens, I believe it will be the
simplest negotiation. We will have a Jewish State living next to an Arab Palestinian
State, but not before much of the Arab world certainly the Palestinians forgo the
notion that having a Jewish State in any borders is some kind of abomination to which
they must dedicate their lives to erase. And I will say this: in order to bring about that
eventuality, sooner rather than later, we must make it clear to Palestinians and to the
Arab world at large that if their goal is from the River to the Sea”, if their goal is no
Jewish State in any borders whatsoever, they will not have our sympathy and support.
Not that of the West. But, if they finally adopt a path of having an Arab Palestinian
State next to Israel, rather than instead of Israel, they will find everyone rushing to
support them in that constructive cause.
So, thank you, and I will be very happy to discuss any ideas and questions.
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