Dear Secretary Rice,
According to a widely quoted Reuters report, you are “so anxious not to repeat mistakes of past Middle East peace-making” that you sought the advice of, among others, former President Jimmy Carter. (The others included, apparently, former President Bill Clinton and three of your predecessors – Henry Kissinger, James Baker and Madeleine Albright).
Your spokesman, Sean McCormack, was quoted as saying: “She’s trying to draw on the historical record and the experience of others to see what she can glean and how far that may be applicable to the current day… She is a student of history and has a keen appreciation for how we can apply the lessons of history, what we can learn from those who have gone before us.”
Apparently you’ve also been “scouring historical records for pointers”.
And, most impressive of all, you’ve made it clear that you will devote all of your energy in the Bush administration’s final 14 months “to get what others have failed to attain in the past – a viable, independent Palestinian state living side by side with a secure Israel.”
Secretary of State, in principle it really IS do-able, it’s the practise that’s the problem, and I’ll come to that in a moment.
I am presuming to offer you some advice because, although I say it myself, I know the Middle East at least as well and perhaps even better than any of those (the named ones) you have consulted on your side of the water. In my television reporting and early book-writing days, for example, I enjoyed, uniquely, initimate access to, and on the human level friendship with, the two greatest opposite in all of human history, Golda Meir, Mother Israel, and Yasser Arafat, Father Palestine. One way and another I have been engaged with the conflict in and over Palestine, and why a resolution of it has remained beyond the reach of politics and diplomacy, for slightly more than four decades. (The Gentile me first went to Israel as a 23 year-old ITN reporter in 1965).
The problem with the “historical record” – I mean the first and still existing draft of Judeo-Christian history – is that it’s mostly nonsense. Propaganda nonsense. Zionist propaganda nonsense. At its core are two myths.
One is that the Zionist state of Israel has lived in constant danger of annihilation, the “driving into the sea” of its Jews. The truth of history is that Israel’s existence has never, ever, been in danger. Not in 19448/49. Not in 1956. Not in 1967. And not even in 1973. Zionism’s assertion to the contrary was the cover which allowed Israel to get away where it mattered most, America and Western Europe, with presenting its aggression as self-defence and itself as the victim when it was, and is, the oppressor.
The other is that Israel has not had a Palestinian partner for peace. The truth of history on this account is that the ground for peace on the Palestinian side was prepared by Yasser Arafat as far back as 1979 – more than a quarter of a century ago. In that year, 1979, Arafat persuaded the Palestine National Council, the highest decision-making body on the Palestinian side, to back his policy of politics and (until then) unthinkable compromise with Israel.
As I recorded in my book Arafat (the title of the American edition, the original title was Arafat, Terrorist or Peacemaker?), it took him six long years to persuade first his Fatah leadership colleagues and then other PNC members to accept the reality of Israel’s existence. When the vote was eventually taken, in 1979, it was 296 for his policy of politics and compromise and four against. Arafat, who had risked his life as well as his credibility to turn his people around, was then at the height of his powers; and from that moment on, and as President Carter knew, there could have been successful negotiations for a real and lasting peace based on a genuine two-state solution – Israel back behind its pre-1967 borders with Jerusalem, preferably as an open city, the capital of two states.
The problem was that Arafat did not have a partner for peace on the Israeli side – because Zionism was not, and is not, interested in peace on any terms the vast majority of Palestinians and other Arabs and most Muslims everywhere could accept. It’s true that in 1993, and thanks in part to President Clinton’s stage management and pulling power, Arafat did have a “perhaps” Israeli partner for peace in the shape of Yitzhak Rabin, but he was assassinated by a gut-Zionist. And Rabin was succeeded by Israeli leaders whose prime objective was to re-demonise and destroy the Palestinian leader. Arafat the terrorist they could handle. Arafat the peacemaker they could not. (Didn’t Barak offer Arafat “95 percent” of everything he had said he wanted? No, he did not! That, too, is a propaganda lie).
One of the few Westerners – they could be counted on the fingers of two hands – who understood that by the end of 1979 Arafat had prepared the ground on his side for peace on terms which any rational government and people in Israel would have accepted with relief, was Brian (now Sir Brian and long-retired) Urquhart. In my view he was in his working life one of the the greatest Englishmen of his time. In 1979 he was Under-Secretary-General of the UN, and in that capacity he was, effectively, the world’s number one trouble-shooter and hands-on crisis manager. He knew the Middle East better than anybody else and he was respected by leaders in the East as well as the West, and by Israelis as well Arabs.
Urquhart told me of the message Arafat had asked him to give to Israel’s leaders when Sharon, then Prime Minister Begin’s defence minister, was preparing to invade Lebanon to exterminate Arafat and all of his PLO leadership colleagues. Arafat said to Urquhart: “Please tell these stupid people in Jerusalem that they will be sorry when I am go. I am the only one who can deliver the compromise to make peace.” To me, and as quoted in my book on Arafat, Urquhart said: “It’s tragic. Arafat was speaking nothng less than the truth. From the beginning he has been the only Palestinian leader who could talk about dealing with Israel and not be killed the next day for saying so.” Subsequently Urquhart said to me that he feared it would only be when Arafat was dead that Israelis would realise how much they had needed him for peace.
Secretary of State, if you really want the best advice, you should talk to Urquhart.
And if you really want to come to grips with the truth of history in order to formulate a real policy for peace, I suggest you read my latest book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews. It’s epic in length (two volumes) as well as sweep and substance because I’ve re-written the whole history of the making and sustaining of what used to be called the Arab-Israeli conflict, replacing Zionist mythology with the documented facts and truth of history. Though it’s available from Amazon, it’s not yet published in America because all American publishers are too terrified of totally offending Zionism to take it on. I should stress that it’s the opposite of anti-Semitic. It’s my Gentile call for the Jews to become the light unto nations by demonstrating that right can triumph over might, and that there is a place for morality in politics.. The key to understanding is knowledge of the difference between Judaism and Zionism – why they are total opposites: and thus why it is (a) perfectly possible to be passionately anti-Zionist (opposed to Zionism’s colonial enterprise) without being in any way, shape or form anti-Semitic; and (b) why it is wrong to blame all Jews for the crimes of the hardcore Zionist few.
Now to the principle of real peace-making. Often on public speaking platforms I put it this way:
If the President of America had a magic wand, and if he could wave it overnight to get Israel back behind its borders as they were on the eve of the 1967 war, with Jerusalem and open city and the capital of two states, he would have (with one wave of the wand) the thanks, respect, friendship and support of not less than 95%, and probably 99%, of all Arabs and Muslims everywhere.
In other words, with one wave of the magic wand to end Israel’s occupation of Arab land grabbed in 1967, the President and you as his Secretary of State would go down in history as the greatest of all peacemakers; and you would undo all the damage that’s been done to America’s standing in the world by neo-con driven policies including support for Israel right or wrong. And, the bonus, you would make winning “the war against global terrorism” by political means a mission possible.
The question is: What can the President do without a magic wand?
Short answer: He could use the leverage he has to require Israel to end its occupation in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 242 and international law. (I am aware that President Bush promised Prime Minister Sharon that Israel could keep the main settlements it has established on the occupied West Bank, but it was a promise the President should not have made and was, is, without legal authority of any kind. On this the President would have to come clean and say, “I made a mistake and I am now correcting it.”)
The truth of the matter, or so it seems to me, is that in his last 14 months in the White House, President Bush is well placed to be the first American President to call and hold Zionism to account – because he can’t run for office again and so doesn’t need Zionist lobby support in the form of campaign funds and votes. Simply stated, he now has 14 months of freedom to do what is right and best for America’s real interests. (And also those of the Jews of the world).
Secretary of State, I am aware that right now the Mother and Father of all political battles is going on behind closed doors in Washington DC – to determine whether or not Vice-President Cheney and his neo-con-and-Zionist associates will continue to call the policy shots. If he and they do, I think it’s highly likely that two things will happen. Iran will be bombed by America or Israel (probably in February, March or April) triggering catstrophe, possibly even a nuclear one, for all; and Israel, after it has failed to impose its will on the Palestinians (they won’t accept crumbs from Zionism’s table in the shape of two or three bantustans) will be given the greenlight to go for a final round of ethnic cleansing. (The full horror of the first round is now fully documented by Professor Ilan Pappe, Israel’s leading “revisionist” historian, in his latest book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine).
It’s my understanding that Defence Secretary Gates is quietly leading the campaign to stop the madness Cheney and his associates represent. Once upon a time you, Secretary Rice, had great influence on President Bush. You were subsequently sidelined to a very large extent by Cheney and Zionism’s watchers in the White House and your own department. But what of today? I have the impression that your seven visits to Israel/Palestine have led you to the conclusion (of course you can’t say so in public) that the Zionist state of Israel is the obstacle to peace.
If my impression is correct (and, of course, I could be wrong), it’s my hope that you’ll now use your influence to tip the balance of power in Washington DC in favour of those on the side of justice and peace and sanity.
Alan Hart, author of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews
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