by Dr. Alex Grobman
The writer explains why he feels that the Arab/Israeli conflict is intractable.
There are many attempts to understand why the Arab/Israel conflict remains unresolved. Among the reasons advanced for this impasse are that: years of suspicion, fear, feelings of injustice and stereotyping have created a psychological barrier between Israelis and Arabs. Negative perceptions have reduced incentives to accept peace proposals, prejudice the viability of these proposals and preclude feelings of empathy.
On the most personal level, there are differences in Arab and Jewish life-styles. Meron Benvenisti, a former deputy mayor of
Yet they do not share common holidays, days of rest, or free time activities. Holidays are especially alienating. Benvenisti would not invite his neighbors to sit in his sukkah (booths used during the Feast of Tabernacles) lest they be offended when he recites the prayer over the wine. Similarly, when one of his neighbor's children returned from the hajj, the annual religious pilgrimage to Mecca, his family would not be invited to celebrate to save them embarrassment for not knowing how to behave.
Estrangement is even more pronounced the moment visible symbols are involved. When Benvenisti displays the flag on Israeli Independence Day, he knows his neighbors will be upset. On Yom Kippur, work ceases throughout the country. During the month of Ramadan, Arabs rise at 3: 00 a.m. A blind man in his neighborhood, who is escorted by a drummer, wakes-up the pious at 3:a.m. to prepare the meal before the fast. 
Security issues ans suspicions add another layer of distance. Every one of his Arab neighbor's homes has been searched at least once during the 14 years the Benvenisti's lived there. Every single male over the age of 18 has been detained by the security forces during the same period. "We are simultaneously enemies and neighbors," he concludes.
The many wars, endless clashes and Arab threats of total annihilation have left memories of "hatred, paranoia, brutality, dehumanization, and tribalism." Even as
Sari Nusseibeh, scion of one Jerusalem's most prominent Muslim Arab families, president of Al Quds University in Jerusalem, and a former PLO representative in the city, posits that the "inability to imagine the lives of the 'other,' is main reason why the conflict persists. Everyone is so absorbed in their own adversity they are unaware of each other's experiences and even antagonistic to them.
The late Edward Said, a pro-Palestinian activist and a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, underlined the fundamental reason why when he spoke of his perception of Palestinians becoming the victims of Zionism, of the Zionists being responsible for the destruction of their society, the loss of their land, and the painful exile they are forced to endure.
He accused the Zionists of being a "tool of imperialism" who usurped their land, established settler colonies and a sovereign state whose only means of preservation is by aggression and expansion. Some Arabs believe that
Seizing Arab land cannot be tolerated by Islam. Bernard Lewis, one of the world's leading experts on Islam, explains that once a territory has become part of Islam's domain, it can never be relinquished or surrendered to anyone. No land is more significant than Arabia and
The sacredness of Muslim land led to the eviction early on of Jews and Christians from their homes and property. In 641, 20 years after Muhammad moved from
The Jews were relocated to
Arabs call Israeli Independence Day, the Nakba (Catastrophe), and regard it as a day of mourning. Hanan Ashrawi, a leading Palestinian advocate, regards the establishment of the Jewish state was as an "unimaginable aberration." Other Arab leaders portray Zionism as "a disaster" and a "sword …at the necks of the Palestinian people."
What Benvenisti, Nusseibeh and others fail to mention is that the fundamental objective of the militant and violent Arabs is to destroy Western culture and civilization and replace it with their own "civilization of dhimmitude," where non-Muslims will be forced to become a "protected" minority subordinating themselves to restrictive and degrading Islamic law to avoid death or enslavement. For 1,300 years, this jihad political force has subjugated and even eliminated major areas of Judeo-Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and other religious civilizations in Europe, Asia and
The goal of conquering the West is avowed in the introduction to The Charter of Allah: The Platform of Hamas: "We say to this West, which does not act reasonably, and does not learn its lessons: By Allah, you will be defeated. You will be defeated in
That is why the Israeli and American war on terrorism in the twenty- first century is one and the same.  Hamas prime minister Isma`il Haniya, confirmed this when he said: "…the march of resistance will continue until the Islamic flag is raised, not only over the minarets of
The attacks against the
Even if Hamas agreed to a hunda (truce) with
What will happen to the people who allegedly stole Arab lands? Mahmoud Darwish, a very popular poet of the Palestinian resistance, provided the answer in a powerful poem "Bitaqit Hawia," (Identity Card) written in 1964. Although professing not to "hate people," Darwish warned, "The usurper's flesh will be my food. Beware, Beware, Of my hunger And my anger!"
"The curious power of this little poem is that when it first appeared in the late sixties, it did not represent as much as embody the Palestinian whose political identity in the world had been pretty much reduced to a name on an identity card," Edward Said said unapologetically. 
Is there any Zionist poetry or statement that describes the Palestinians in comparable, brutal ways? And if any does exist, who could claim that it is the "embodiment of the Israelis," that it represents the view of the Jewish people? 
For many Arabs, the conflict with Zionism is a religious war against the Jewish people. Since the Jews are not going to leave their homeland voluntarily, the solution is clear according to Abdallah Jarbu', Hamas deputy minister of religious endowments: "May He annihilate this filthy people who have neither religion nor conscience. I condemn whoever believes in normalizing relations with them, whoever supports sitting down with them, and whoever believes that they are human beings. They are not human beings. They are not people. They have no religion, no conscience, and no moral values."
Peace Talks, anyone?
1. Saul Friedlander and Mahmoud Hussein, Arabs and Israelis: A Dialogue. (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1975), 3-16; William B. Quandt, "Ideology and Objectives," in The Politics of Palestinian Nationalism, William B. Quandt, Fuad Jabber and Ann Mosely Lesch, ed. (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1973), 94-95.
2. Moises F. Salinas, Planting Hatred, Sowing Pain, (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2007), 5-10, 33; Nadim N. Rouhana and Daniel Bar-Tal, "Psychological Dynamics of Intractable Ethnonational Conflicts: The Israeli-Palestinian Case," American Psychologist Volume 53 number 7: 760-770; Oz Almog, The Sabra, The Creation of the New Jew. (
3. Meron Benvenisti, Conflicts and Contradictions. (New York: Villard Books, 1986), 13.
5. Ibid. 13-16.
6. Amos Elon, A Blood-Dimmed Tide: Dispatches From the
7. Sari Nusseibeh, Once upon A Country: A Palestinian Life. (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007), 12; an attempt to understand each other's tragedies can be found in Paul Scham, Walid Salem and Benjamin Pogrund, eds., Shared Histories: A Palestinian-Israeli Dialogue (Jerusalem: The Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Palestinian Center for the Dissemination of Democracy and Community Development (Panorama) and Yakar Center for Social Concern, 2005); Amos Elon and Sana Hassan, Between Enemies: A Compassionate Dialogue Between An Israeli and An Arab.
8. Edward W. Said and Christopher Hitchens, eds. Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question. (New York: Verso, 1988), 6-7; please also see Fawaz Turki, The Disinherited: Journal of a Palestinian Exile.
9. Mark A. Heller, and Sari Nusseibeh, No Trumpets, No Drums: A Two-State Solution of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (New York: Hill and Wang, 1991), 5,-8,150-151; Edward Said, The Question of
10. Bernard Lewis, Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East (
13. Hanan Ashrawi, This Side of Peace. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995), 24; Hanan Ashrawi, "
14. Musa Alami, "The Lesson of
15. Yoav Stern, "At rally, Hadash touts two-state solution without the Jewishness," Haaretz (December 9, 2007); "Catholic leader rejects 'Jewish state,'" Jerusalem Post (December 19, 2007).
16. Bat Ye'or, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis. (
17. Yehudit Barsky, Hamas, op.cit. 1; Yehudit Barsky, The New Leadership of Hamas: A Profile of Khalid Al-Mish'al, (
18. Saul Singer, "Interesting Times: The two-conflict delusion," The Jerusalem Post (May 12, 2004).
19. Barsky, Hamas, op.cit. 2. In an editorial in the Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper in July 2007, Israeli Arab Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi, said, "
20. Singer, op.cit. According to the latest edition of the Encyclopedia of Islam, the definition of jihad is: "In law, according to general doctrine and in historical tradition, the jihad consists of military action with the object of the expansion of Islam, and if need be, of its defense." Quoted in David Cook, Understanding Jihad (
21. Efraim Karsh, "Islam's World for World Mastery," The New York Sun (May 18, 2007).
22. Efraim Karsh, Islamic Imperialism: A History (
Robert Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (
23. Matthew Levitt, Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad. (
25. Quoted in Said, op.cit. 155-156; Mahmoud Darwish, "Identity Card," Online; See also "Gaza Palestinian Salafi Jihad Jama'at Al-Tawhid Wa'l- Jihad Issues Communiqué on Arab Regimes, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Conflict with
"Hamas Deputy Minister of Religious Endowments Abdallah Jarbu' on Al-Aqsa TV: 'Allah will Poison the Air Breathed by the Jews…the Americans… the Crusaders and All the Zionists…There Must be a Third Intifada," MEMRI Special Dispatch 2879(March 28, 2010).
26. Said, op.cit.155-156.
27. Cameron S. Brown, "Answering Edward Said's The Question of Palestine," Israel Affairs Volume 13 Number 1 (January 2007,), 59.
28. "On Al-Aqsa TV, Hamas Deputy Minister of Religious Calls for Jews to be Annihilated, Saying They Are Bacteria, Not Human Beings," MEMRI Special Dispatch 2858 ( March 15, 2010).
Dr. Alex Grobman
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