In all the hype surrounding the upheaval in the Middle East and the latest political charades in the so-called peace process, I noticed a shocking level of illiteracy prevalent in the discussion by politicians, experts, and the media. So I thought maybe I would help clear the air by providing a few simple definitions that could get people thinking on the right track, and maybe help everyone see things a little more clearly.
Take the word peace for example. The word peace in the context of relations between nations is, “A state of harmony between people.” It follows that it is only reasonable to negotiate a peace agreement with people when their dedication to living in harmony can be reasonably guaranteed. Making peace with people who deny your existence, incite others against you, are members of an international terrorist conspiracy to destroy your way of life, call for your destruction in their official charter, teach their children to hate you and destroy you or die trying, and admit openly that they use the concessions they receive through peace negotiations as a strategic asset in their quest to destroy you, is not peace. It is a game of extortion and capitulation. We shouldn’t even be speaking about peace, since a prerequisite for peace is the rehabilitation of Arab society into a culture that wishes to live in harmony with us. Until that time comes, the word peace is completely irrelevant, and instead we should focus on achieving calm by subjugating the enemy – a.k.a., winning the war.
Let’s also take the word refugee, which is defined as “a person forced to leave their country to escape war, persecution or natural disaster.” Children of refugees are not considered refugees. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs and Jews were forced to leave their homes when the State of Israel was founded – almost an equal number actually. The Jewish refugees resettled in Israel and other places. The Arab refugees were forced to live in squalor in refugee camps, and never accepted as citizens in their host nations, in order to leverage their suffering against Israel. And unlike any other people in the world, their refugee status is inherited by their descendants through a perverse UN mechanism that perpetuates their suffering and enables their continued exploitation. According to this formula, I would be called an Egyptian refugee. My mother’s family left Egypt in the early 1950s, forced out by a suddenly hostile government that confiscated all their property and their rights. I should be living in a refugee camp in Gaza, demanding the right to return to my familial villa in Heliopolis, and receive restitution for all the assets stolen from my grandfather. And I should also be blowing up the pyramids unless the Egyptians accede to my demands. Refugee status is meant as a mechanism to address injustice, but a distorted refugee regime is being applied, to the detriment of the refugees it is supposed to protect, as a weapon against Israel.
What about the word withdrawal? In military terms, a withdrawal means to “retreat forces back while maintaining contact with the enemy. A withdrawal may be undertaken as part of a general retreat, to consolidate forces, to occupy ground that is more easily defended, or to lead the enemy into an ambush.” So what is the talk of Israel withdrawing all about? The territory Israel captured and settled was for defensive purposes. With this territory, Israel can defend itself. Without it, Israel is vulnerable to attack and destruction. End of story.
And while we’re on the topic, let’s talk about occupation, which “occurs when the control and authority over a territory passes to a hostile army.” The assumption is that the occupied nation had control and authority of the territory beforehand. Tell me, who was in control of Gaza and the West Bank before 1967? Egypt and Jordan, respectively. Who was in control of Palestine before 1948? The British. And before that the Ottomans. And before that the Romans. And the Assyrians. And the Babylonians. And the Israelites. And the Canaanites. So whose land is Israel occupying exactly? What nation ever claimed sovereignty there in recent history, or ever ran a functional society there? I’m not denying that Arabs lived here, or that their suffering is real. But, like I said, my family lived in Egypt, and we’re not going back. Their real enemy, and the true cause of their suffering, is their own brothers and leaders who co-opted their hearts and minds and concocted their twisted reality in order to fight Israel.
What should be clear from all of this is that the current discourse is not meant to arrive at a just solution, but at a modern, more gentrified version of the final solution. We should stand strong and have faith that truth and justice will prevail, insist on accurate representation of terms and facts, and not cede an inch to radical misrepresentations that hijack the terminology and mechanisms of justice and democracy to facilitate oppression, empower terror and foment genocide.