There has been a lot of talk recently about the re-emergence of the Saudi Peace Plan. I see people, almost beating their chest and saying things like, this is our final hope for peace! But they are fooling themselves if they believe the Saudi Peace Plan is anything but a prelude to another war.
The Saudi Peace Plan is not about peace at all. It is not about justice. It is not about hope. And it is not about freedom. It is the exact opposite of all those things.
Because all the Saudi Peace plan aims to do is for the grains of sands that have flowed downwards through the hourglass of time to somehow… suddenly flow upwards. It wants the last almost 70 years since the State of Israel was proclaimed to be declared null and void, like it was some scene from The Hangover that they want the world to forget.
The Saudi Initiative, as it’s also known, calls for the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict by normalizing relations between the Arab region and Israel in exchange for a “complete withdrawal” from the “occupied territories,” which includes Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and all of Judea and Samaria. It also calls for a “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee problem based on UN Resolution 194, which states that any refugees “wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors” should be able to do so or, if they otherwise wish, should be provided with compensation.
So let’s firstly think about what that means – a “complete withdrawal.” The heart and soul of the Jewish people lie in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. Some of our most Holy sites are situated there, and during the time of Arab occupation, these sites have been burnt and desecrated. Today, under Palestinian Authority administration, this continues, as we witnessed last October when some Palestinians set fire to Joseph’s Tomb. Jews have been denied access to these places in the past, despite international agreements guaranteeing that access. And today it would be unwise to visit without appropriate security for fear of an attack. No Jew, or any person who values history, should forget the way the Jordanians treated the Jews and the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, which they desecrated in the most awful and vile ways.
The reality is that the Arabs cannot be relied on to protect and respect Jewish Holy sites, just as they never have in the past. But I suppose what do you expect when their leaders deny Jews were ever in the Holy Land anyway? For Israel to carry out a “complete withdrawal” as the Saudi Initiative calls for is akin to drawing a line in the land and saying our history starts here, and everything that happened before doesn’t matter. As Jews, our past is as important as our future – and that’s something we must never turn our back on.
When it comes to a “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee problem, this is equally problematic. For the criteria used for Palestinians refugee exist for no other refugees in history. The UN organisation UNRWA was created specifically for Palestinians only – all they had to do was be a resident in the area for less than 2 years and included in this ridiculous definition is their descendants! Those who fled from their homes lost their rights to live in Israel, while those who remained become Israeli citizens. At the end of the Israeli War of Independence, there were more Jewish refugees who were forced out of Arab countries than there were Arabs who fled their Israeli homes, but the Saudi Initiative makes no mention of that. There is no “just settlement” that can possibly allow Arabs who fled their homes, mostly of their own volitions, to be allowed to return, while turning a blind eye to the Jewish refugees who were forced from theirs.
The Saudi Peace Plan is not about peace, because any mechanism that allows foreigners to invade a sovereign country will not lead to peace. The Saudi Peace Plan is not about justice, because any agreement that rewards people who fled voluntarily while ignoring those were forced out will not lead to justice. And finally the Saudi Peace Plan is not about hope and freedom, because the future of the “Palestinian refugees” does not lie in the Jewish State their leaders want to destroy. It lies among their fellow Arab brothers who have denied them freedom and hope for 70 years. Only they are the ones who can build a future for them somewhere among the vast lands of Arabia.
The Middle East is a volatile place with constant infighting and civil wars taking place. The Arabs want us to believe that their peace agreement will bring stability and peace to a cauldron of chaos, but it won’t. It’ll only bring disaster, for in the vast Middle East of about 9 million square kilometers, there is only one country of around 20000 kilometers that is stable and secure and filled with freedom and hope – and that’s Israel.