While checking out Michael Totten’s recent entries on his blog, I came across an interesting post concerning an interview of his with a couple of (middle aged) Peace Now activists that live in Kibbutz Shomrat, a place just north of Akko (Acre) not too far away from a kibbutz I called home for 7 months back in 85″, Rosh Hanikra, which is situated on the Lebanese border.
The interview offered some interesting quips, answers and observations from the two peace activists, that are generally (more or less) representative of the Israeli peace movement as a whole. It was an assorted collection of naivete, ignorance and social idealism, that IMHO, is far removed from the religious/political reality of the conflict.
For an example, one of the Israelis interviewed, Yehuda Beinin, states early on that:
“When the first Zionists came to Palestine, Palestine was a feudal society. And you have a big clash between concepts that have nothing to do with religion or anything of that nature. The fact that the Arab-Israeli conflict is degrading into a religious conflict is a tragedy beyond description. It never really was.”
Beinin is right, but only about early “Palestine” being a fuedal society, the rest of his statement is full of pure revisionism. Arab feudal society in Mandate Palestine was divided among the different clans, that offered competing ideological approaches to the early Zionist settlers. The two largest of these clans that fell on opposite sides of the “Jewish Question” were the Nashabiri and Husseini clans. The former was far more open to Jewish involvement in the land, while the latter (more influential) formented hatred and and outright murder of the Jews. As far as the Husseini clan was concerned, (whose leader was none other than Yasser Arafat’s uncle, Ajj Amin al-Husseini, the “Mufti of Jerusalem”) all Jews that would not submit to Muslim superiority were to be driven out of Palestine. There was to be no middle ground, it was either all or nothing, with the Mufti aligning himself and the Palestinian Arab movement with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
In short, from the Arab (Husseini) position, its always been a religious conflict but wrapped in a political shroud. The West’s refusal to acknowledge that fact has allowed the conflict between Israel and the Arab/Muslim world, to be only understood within a political context. From the Jewish point of view, the creation of the State of Israel was a political achievement for political Zionism, from the overall Arab/Muslim (Husseini) POV, it was a religious catastrophe for the Islamic world.
Totten asks both the following:
“Do you guys think Hamas agrees that the end (the Saudi Plan) is going to look like this? Or do they actually believe they are going to destroy this country?”
“They actually believe they are going to destroy this country,” Amichai said. “They look at the Crusades as their historical comparison. It took 200 years to kick the Crusaders out. And the Jews have been here for 100 years. Wait another 100 years. If it doesn’t take 200 years, it will take 400. But eventually they think they will succeed.”
I just happen to believe that the Palestinian movement in general, has become so radicalized by the Islamists, that it’s not only Hamas that thinks like this, but the majority of Palestinian society as well. The radicalization of Palestinian society has been thorough, and has to be seen in the wider context of the conflict, that had its beginning the moment the Husseini clan (under the leadership and guidance of Ajj Amin al-Husseini) found itelf in the driver’s seat of the Palestinian movement, and continued under Arafatian misrule. Hamas, has only picked up were Arafat/Fatah left off. As far as the Islamists are concerned, “time is on their side”, not only concerning the Jewish state, but Andulas as well. Spain and the EU better be concerned.
“What do you think about the fact that peace movement don’t exist in Arab countries?”
Answer: “Disappointing,” Amichai said.”It is disappointing.”
A naive response, especially when one considers the loathing totalitarianist regimes have for dissent. It’s difficult to imagine a repressive regime allowing “peace activists” to work domestically against its own self interests, that demand an outside enemy in order to divert public attention away from its own misrule. The inability of the various peace movements to understand this basic truth is astonishing.
I have a lecture to attend to next week in Helsinki, with a visiting Knesset MK, Avshalom (Abu) Vilan, co-founder of the internationally acclaimed Israeli peace movement, PEACE NOW.
I will have to ask him some of the same pointed questions Totten did, lets see if the responses are the same. KGS