President Trump’s peace plan for Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, his attempt at the “deal of the century,” will apparently soon be revealed to the world.
His envoys, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, have been making the rounds in the region to get Arab allies on board. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau has paid a visit to the King of Jordan.
No one yet knows the terms of this deal. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has refused even to talk to the United States about it and has presumptively rejected it sight unseen.
The message he has received, however, is that the days of using such rejectionism to stymie progress are over. If he won’t agree to these terms, the Israelis will have U.S. backing in doing what they need to do to safeguard their security. And the Arab world has indicated that it will raise no serious objection.
Abbas and his camp are in effect being told: “You lost. Now get over it.” So will they?
As has been clear for decades, there are no terms on which the Palestinian Arab leadership can ever accept the existence of the State of Israel.
Until now, the West didn’t believe that. It thought that if only Israel would give more, and then more again, there could be a two-state solution and an end to the conflict.
This merely demonstrated the delusion born of Western hubris that the agenda of everyone in the world is negotiable. It failed to grasp two crucial aspects of the Palestinian Arab story—one dating from the 1930s, and the other going back to the seventh century.
Consider this: Strikingly, the image Palestinian Arabs present to the world systematically appropriates for themselves characteristics of the Jewish and Zionist experience.
The Jews have been targeted for genocide and ethnic cleansing; the Palestinians claim falsely the Jews target them for genocide and ethnic cleansing. The Jews are the sole extant indigenous people of the land of Israel; the Palestinians claim falsely that they were there since time immemorial. Israel gave all Jews the right of return to Israel; the Palestinians claim they have a “right of return.” They even claim that the Palestinians are “the new Jews.”
This reflects the same characteristic in Islam itself. It claims Jewish prophets such as Moses were Islamic prophets. All God’s promises devolve onto Ishmael, not Isaac. As Osama bin Laden declared in his Letter to the American People: “It is the Muslims who are the inheritors of Moses (peace be upon him) and the inheritors of the real Torah that has not been changed. … If the followers of Moses have been promised a right to Palestine in the Torah, then the Muslims are the most worthy nation of this.”
The religious teachings of Islam hijack Jewish religious doctrines. The Talmud famously states: “Whoever destroys a single soul, he is guilty as though he had destroyed a complete world; and whoever preserves a single soul, it is as though he had preserved a whole world.”
The Koran appropriated this precept, but then qualified it with the crucial rider: “Those that make war against God and his apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the land.”
So the Talmudic precept affirming the value of preserving human life was turned into a prescription for violence and murder against Jews and other “unbelievers.”
Islamic religious teachings are hugely more antagonistic towards the Jews than any other group. And that’s because the very foundation of Islam was bound up with the attempt to hijack Judaism itself.
Mohammed is said to have gone to war against the Jews because they refused to accept his re-interpretation of Judaism. The outcome was the eradication of the Jewish-Arab tribe called the Banu Qurayza.
Unable to break their resistance, Mohammed slaughtered them at the battle of Khybar. Which is why Khybar is the name the Iranian regime gives to some of its missiles, and why Islamists scream it as a rallying cry for the murder of Jews.
The key point that the West cannot grasp is that Palestinian rejectionism is at source a fanatical Islamic religious movement. And at source, Islam seeks to obliterate Judaism altogether by appropriating its foundational story and doctrines for its own, and radically altering them while claiming these to be authentic Judaism. As Maimonides observed in the 12th century:
“Inasmuch as the Muslims could not find a single proof in the entire Bible, not a reference or possible allusion to their prophet which they could utilise, they were compelled to accuse us, saying: ‘You have altered the text of the Torah and expunged every trace of the name of Mohammed therefrom.’ They could find nothing stronger than this ignominious argument.”
So Islam holds that Jews are imposters who must be subjugated to the true faith of Islam. Judaism itself must be suppressed and obliterated.
That’s why the Arabs in 1930s Palestine, led by the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al Husseini, were Hitler’s Nazi legion in the Middle East. Had Hitler won the war, the Mufti and his followers would have tried to wipe out the Jews living in the land. The Nazi agenda of the genocide of the Jews fitted perfectly with the fanatical Islamic agenda of the extermination of Judaism.
Haj Amin al Husseini is one of Mahmoud Abbas’s stated heroes. No surprise, then, that Abbas has a doctorate in Holocaust denial. No surprise that his Palestinian Authority constantly pumps out Nazi-style demonization, libels and murderous incitement against the Jews.
Into this fanatical maelstrom now strides the Trump administration with its gamble that it can appeal to the desire of ordinary Palestinian people to live in peace and plenty. Says Jared Kushner: “We will release our peace plan and the Palestinian people will actually like it because it will lead to new opportunities for them to have a much better life.”
Is this inspired or deluded? For sure, there are Palestinian Arabs who don’t sign up to Islamic fanaticism (indeed, they are victims of it) and who would accept a pragmatic accommodation with Israel. Nevertheless, Palestinian culture is a sustained program of genocidal hatred against the Jews, along with lies about Palestinian origins and identity based on attempted theft of Jewish history and identity.
This is a microcosm of the wider conundrum about the Islamic world in general. Millions of Muslims reject Islamist fanaticism and want merely to live in peace and prosperity.
But power within the Islamic world currently resides with those promulgating jihadi fanaticism. In some places such as Iran, the opportunity patently exists for the people to throw out their murderous leaders. In others, it’s far harder to see that leap being made any time soon.
The question is whether the Trump administration will prompt the Palestinian Arabs to make it. And to that question, we’ll eventually learn the answer.
Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a column for JNS every two weeks. Currently a columnist for “The Times of London,” her personal and political memoir, “Guardian Angel,” has been published by Bombardier, which has also published her first novel, “The Legacy,” released in April. Her work can be found at her website, www.melaniephillips.com.