The beauty, more aptly stated, the ugly in writing about the Middle East is nothing really changes. You could do a piece in 2007 about a homicide bomber, or "peace talks" being broken off for some reason or other, or Fatah turning down two unprecedented offers of peace. The dictates fueling this contention remain the same.
The following is a summation according to Dennis Ross, the senior advisor to President Clinton at the Taba negotiations in 2000:
1. Yasser Arafat presented no ideas at Camp David.
2. The Taba talks would have happened in late September if not for the outbreak of violence. Arafat knew the US was ready to make a proposal and thus promised to control the violence, but didn't. (I think he was hoping that he could leverage the violence into political gain.)
3. All of Gaza and a net of 97% of the West Bank were offered at Taba.
4. The West Bank area offered was contiguous, not "cantons".
5. The Jordan valley would be under Israeli patrol for only 6 years.
6. The Palestinians were offered a capital in eastern Jerusalem.
7. There would be a "Right of Return" to the nascent Palestinian state.
8. A $30 Billion fund to compensate refugees would be set up.
9. Taba was rushed due to Clinton's, not Barak's, end of term.
10. Members of the PA delegation thought Taba was the best they could hope to get and encouraged Arafat to accept it.
11. Arafat accepted everything he was given at Taba, but rejected everything he was supposed to give. 1.Arafat scuttled the Camp David offer. Arafat scuttled the Taba offer. Arafat scuttled the Mitchell plan. Arafat scuttled the Tenet plan. Arafat scuttled the Zinni plan.
Most looking for a just solution to this age old conflict would agree with Ross on this one. But equally the old adage, "the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity" also came into play 8 years later.
On Sep. 16, 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert presented Mahoud Abbas with a similar plan for a two-state solution:
He offered to make Jerusalem the capital of two states - Israel in the western part and a Palestinian capital in the east. The Old City of Jerusalem would be administered by a committee made up of so-called wise people including Palestinians, Jordanians, Saudis, Americans and Israelis. Surprising to some but not to others, Abbas likewise turned it down.
Short of total Israeli capitulation on all topics of concern, it's evident these issues including statehood itself are not what's driving this conflict. If it was, a compromise could have been reached 66 years ago when the Arab world turned down the creation of a free, democratic, Palestinian state to live peacefully alongside its nascent sibling, the Jewish state of Israel.
Foreshadowing the future, the night before the U.N. was to vote on Partition, September 16, 1947, Arab League Secretary Azzam Pasha, as would his successors in years to come, rejected compromise and statehood opting instead for war. What was his motivation? Why would Arafat and Abbas later follow suit?
For anyone not named Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or George W. Bush for that matter, it's not difficult to ascertain. This is not and never was a secular dispute. The underlining issue here is indoctrinate enmity of Jews taught to generations of Palestinians, past, present and most likely future.
As moms and dads get ready to send their kids off to summer camp to participate in boating, camping, and sports, Palestinian parents are sending nearly 10,000 boys at a time to another type of camp in the Gaza Strip.
At this camp some of the crafts taught are how to kidnap an Israeli soldier. Children between the ages of 6-16, are enriched by learning the fine art of crawling under barbed wire. The final activity for the day is a game of jumping over burning tires and ducking for cover behind sandbags as counselors fire live rounds over their heads.
The detestation of Jews, not just Israelis is intrinsic in the Islamic world. No Pollyanna, political spin can deny this. To be certain, the hatred is populist, it's ubiquitous amongst the Palestinian people, the vast majority of which are adamantly opposed to any rapprochement with Israel.
What animus can be greater than a mother happily sending her children to commit suicide for the sake of a cause? At the funeral of Izz Al-Din Al-Masr the infamous homicide killer that blew up the Sbarro restaurant killing 15 people in 2001 his mother had this to say:
"By Allah, today is the best day of my life. I feel that our Lord is pleased with me, because I am offering something [my son] for Him. I wish to sacrifice more [sons] for Allah's forgiveness, and for the flag of Islam."
Juxtapose this admonition with that of Naphtali Fraenkel's mother, one of the kidnapped Israeli teenagers this week: "We just want to embrace our children." It's unmistakable, the Palestinian mindset indicates a theological clash of civilizations not a secular dispute.
Such rancor is beyond the limits most rational people can fathom. Yet it's the reality of the Middle East conflict. As they've pressured and cajoled Israel into unrequited tangible concessions, it's perplexing that the Obama Administration doesn't distinguish or doesn't care to recognize that from the Palestinian standpoint, this is a holy war. Palestinian mothers aren't sending their kids off to meet Allah because some guy extended his porch in a Jewish settlement.
More likely they are responding to the invocations of a moderator at a Fatah event in 2012 who proclaimed: "Our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs (i.e., Jews) is a war of religion and faith. Long Live Fatah!" At least he's honest. Lauding the "moderate" faction of the new "unity" government, the speaker was just echoing Article 7 of the Hamas Charter of 1988:
"Hamas has been looking forward to implementing Allah's promise, whatever time it might take. The prophet [Muhammad] said: "The time (of Resurrection) will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: 0 Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!" Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985]. This quote and countless others come from scriptures in the Koran and the words of the Prophet Muhammad found in the Hadith.
The crux of this conflict goes even beyond dar-al Islam, the Islamic concept which doesn't allow for a non-Muslim country to exist on land claimed by Islam. The expressed aims of Hamas, Hezbollah, and their offshoots isn't just to banish Israelis from Israel, or even to return them to submissive dhimitude, it's to kill Jews plain and simple. Political correctness aside, that's the bottom line that even the left in Israel is grudgingly beginning to acknowledge.
As stated earlier, when speaking of the Middle East conflict nothing ever changes except employing modern tools, resurgent Islam is once again on the move. For those willing to remove blinders from their eyes it's not difficult to ascertain that the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is just one battle in a religious war being fought by Muslim zealots throughout the world. In defeating Islam at the battle of Tours in 732, Charles Martel recognized this. Hopefully, before it's too late Western leaders will see it as well today.
Jerrold L. Sobel
Jerrold L. Sobel is a published author of over 40 years with articles published in Israpundit, American Thinker, The Jewish Press, and other cyber and hard media in addition to his own weekly blog of 10,000 subscribers.