Israel Resource Review 25th November, 2007


Palestinian Authority Radio sermon broadcast from Al Aqsa Mosque on November 23rd
David Bedein

No message to the Palestinian people is more genuine than the message delivered in the Arabic language on the official Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, the PBC, which operates out of the Ramallah headquarters of Palestinian Authority and Fatah leader Machmud Abbas, and under Abbas's direct control and supervision.

This past Friday, this reporter recorded the pre-Annapolis sermon that was broadcast on the PBC radio network from the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, and asked an Arabic language expert to translate that sermon.

Here is that sermon, in translation. It speaks for itself, as a candid public statement of Palestinian Authority policy and intention.

"The Annapolis conference will take place next week. The deluded believe that this conference will end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and put an end to the occupation. The astute who t watched the preparations for this conference, know better…Israel invades Palestinian territory and arrests the Palestinians in the west bank and Gaza.

Israel has already laid many obstacles in the negotiations prior to the conference so it can shake off any kind of commitment in the future.

Israel wants to be recognized as a Jewish state. Unfortunately, this request did not receive the appropriate attention from the Arab League and the Islamic Conference Organization. If this request is granted and Israel is recognized as a Jewish state there will be no withdrawal to 1967 boarders, no partition of Jerusalem and no deportation of the Israeli settlers. This is a serious danger to the Palestinian people and it confirms the Balfur statement from 1917.

This consolidates with the Zionist ideology and with the Bible that poses Palestine to be the 'promised land' and the Jews as the chosen nation by god.

Israel's request to be recognized as a Jewish state confirms that they are a racist regime and speeds the immigration of Jews from around the world to Israel.

The effects on the Palestinians will be vast, if this request is granted. The 1948 refugees will not be allowed to return to their homes and there will be a revival of the calls to deport the Palestinians from the 1948 occupied territories. Jerusalem will become more Jewish, demographically, politically and religiously with the support of the U.S, which views Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli state. In addition, the lives of the Palestinians in Jerusalem will become even harder than they already are.

The conference coincides with American interests. The U.S. military has mobilized its forces in the gulf to threaten Iran and Syria and to continue and create tension as it has already done in Iraq.

The enemies of the Arab nation are mistaken. We do not react to the attempt to turn our holy city Jerusalem to Jewish. There must be an Islamic awakening that will end the nation's dependency and subordination. We call for a unified nation that follows one leadership and obeys the Koran. The conflict is a conflict between religions, but Allah has declared Palestine to be the land of Islam at the beginning of Al Israe' verse in the Koran. The same verse heralds victory to the Muslims"

What we have here is a clear policy statement of Palestinian Authority intentions, rejecting the very idea of Israel as a Jewish state.


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Aaron Klein, the Israel Bureau Chief of, says that his agency has obtained the document which will provide the basis for the Annapolis conference. Klein reports that, according to the documnent in his posession, "in exchange for Saudi Arabia attending this week's U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian conference in Annapolis, the Israeli government agreed to recognize the importance of a Saudi-sponsored "peace initiative" in which the Jewish state is called upon to evacuate the strategic Golan Heights, the entire West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount.

According to Klein, this document will presented at the Annapolis conference and serve as an official outline of a final settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority

The wording is still being negotiated by both sides.

However, according to Israeli diplomatic sources, Israel agreed to a Saudi request that the declaration document include reference to a Saudi-backed Arab Peace Initiative, first presented in 2002 and reissued earlier this year at a meeting of the Arab League, an umbrella association of Mideast Arab states.

While Israel doesn't commit itself to the Arab Initiative's requirements, a clause in the current draft of the Israeli-Palestinian declaration slated for the Annapolis conference and obtained by WND reads: "We recognize the critical supporting role of Arab and Muslim states and the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative."

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On the Jewish Question in Annapolis
Guest Oped Wall Street Journal, Novemebr 26th, 2007

Herewith some thoughts about tomorrow's Annapolis peace conference, and the larger problem of how to approach the Israel-Palestine conflict. The first question (one might think it is obvious but apparently not) is, "What is the conflict about?" There are basically two possibilities: that it is about the size of Israel, or about its existence.

If the issue is about the size of Israel, then we have a straightforward border problem, like Alsace-Lorraine or Texas. That is to say, not easy, but possible to solve in the long run, and to live with in the meantime.

If, on the other hand, the issue is the existence of Israel, then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise position between existing and not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist. PLO and other Palestinian spokesmen have, from time to time, given formal indications of recognition of Israel in their diplomatic discourse in foreign languages. But that's not the message delivered at home in Arabic, in everything from primary school textbooks to political speeches and religious sermons. Here the terms used in Arabic denote, not the end of hostilities, but an armistice or truce, until such time that the war against Israel can be resumed with better prospects for success. Without genuine acceptance of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish State, as the more than 20 members of the Arab League exist as Arab States, or the much larger number of members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference exist as Islamic states, peace cannot be negotiated.

A good example of how this problem affects negotiation is the much-discussed refugee question. During the fighting in 1947-1948, about three-fourths of a million Arabs fled or were driven (both are true in different places) from Israel and found refuge in the neighboring Arab countries. In the same period and after, a slightly greater number of Jews fled or were driven from Arab countries, first from the Arab-controlled part of mandatory Palestine (where not a single Jew was permitted to remain), then from the Arab countries where they and their ancestors had lived for centuries, or in some places for millennia. Most Jewish refugees found their way to Israel.

What happened was thus, in effect, an exchange of populations not unlike that which took place in the Indian subcontinent in the previous year, when British India was split into India and Pakistan. Millions of refugees fled or were driven both ways -- Hindus and others from Pakistan to India, Muslims from India to Pakistan. Another example was Eastern Europe at the end of World War II, when the Soviets annexed a large piece of eastern Poland and compensated the Poles with a slice of eastern Germany. This too led to a massive refugee movement -- Poles fled or were driven from the Soviet Union into Poland, Germans fled or were driven from Poland into Germany.

The Poles and the Germans, the Hindus and the Muslims, the Jewish refugees from Arab lands, all were resettled in their new homes and accorded the normal rights of citizenship. More remarkably, this was done without international aid. The one exception was the Palestinian Arabs in neighboring Arab countries.

The government of Jordan granted Palestinian Arabs a form of citizenship, but kept them in refugee camps. In the other Arab countries, they were and remained stateless aliens without rights or opportunities, maintained by U.N. funding. Paradoxically, if a Palestinian fled to Britain or America, he was eligible for naturalization after five years, and his locally-born children were citizens by birth. If he went to Syria, Lebanon or Iraq, he and his descendants remained stateless, now entering the fourth or fifth generation.

The reason for this has been stated by various Arab spokesmen. It is the need to preserve the Palestinians as a separate entity until the time when they will return and reclaim the whole of Palestine; that is to say, all of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel. The demand for the "return" of the refugees, in other words, means the destruction of Israel. This is highly unlikely to be approved by any Israeli government.

There are signs of change in some Arab circles, of a willingness to accept Israel and even to see the possibility of a positive Israeli contribution to the public life of the region. But such opinions are only furtively expressed. Sometimes, those who dare to express them are jailed or worse. These opinions have as yet little or no impact on the leadership.

Which brings us back to the Annapolis summit. If the issue is not the size of Israel, but its existence, negotiations are foredoomed. And in light of the past record, it is clear that is and will remain the issue, until the Arab leadership either achieves or renounces its purpose -- to destroy Israel. Both seem equally unlikely for the time being.

Prof. Lewis, professor emeritus at Princeton, is the author, most recently, of "From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East" (Oxford University Press, 2004). URL for this article:

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Moshe Sharon
Outpost, November 2007

Everybody says that his donkey is a horse.

There is no tax on words. (Two Arab proverbs)

On December 25th 1977, at the very beginning of the negotiations between Israel and Egypt in Ismailia, I had the opportunity to have a short discussion with Muhammad Anwar Sadat the president of Egypt. "Tell your Prime Minister, he said, that this is a bazaar; the merchandise is expensive." I told my Prime Minister but he failed to abide by the rules of the bazaar. The failure was not unique to him. It is the failure of all the Israeli governments and the media.

On March 4, 1994, I published an article in The Jerusalem Post called "Novices in Negotiations." The occasion was the conclusion of the Cairo Agreement. A short time later Yasser Arafat proved yet again that his signature was not worth the ink of his pen let alone the paper it was written on, and his word was worth even less. Then, as in every subsequent agreement, Israel was taken aback when her concessions became the basis for fresh Arab demands.

In Middle Eastern bazaar diplomacy, agreements are kept not because they are signed but because they are imposed. Besides, in the bazaar of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the two sides are not discussing the same merchandise. The Israelis wish to acquire peace based on the Arab-Muslim acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state. The objective of the Arabs is to annihilate the Jewish state, replace it with an Arab state, and get rid of the Jews.

To achieve their goal, the Arabs took to the battlefield and to bazaar diplomacy. The most important rule in the bazaar is that if the vendor knows that you desire to purchase a certain piece of merchandise, he will raise its price. The merchandise in question is "peace" and the Arabs give the impression that they actually have this merchandise and inflate its price, when in truth they do not have it at all.

This is the wisdom of the bazaar: if you are clever enough, you can sell nothing at a price. The Arabs sell words, they sign agreements, and they trade with vague promises, but are sure to receive generous down payments from eager buyers. In the bazaar only a foolish buyer pays for something he has never seen. There is another rule in the market as well as across the negotiating table: the side that first presents his terms is bound to lose; the other side builds his next move using the open cards of his opponent as the starting point.

In all her negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs, Israel has rushed to offer plans, and was surprised to discover that after an agreement had been "concluded" it had become the basis for further demands.

Most amazing is the reaction in such cases. Israeli politicians, "experts" and the media eagerly provide "explanations" for the Arabs' behavior. One of the most popular explanations is that these or other Arab pronouncements are "for internal use," as if "internal use" does not count. Other explanations invoke "the Arab sensitivity to symbols," "honor," "matters of emotion" and other more patronizing sayings of this nature. Does Israel possess no "sensitivities" or does it have no honor? What does all this have to do with political encounters?

It is therefore essential, as the late President Sadat advised, to learn the rules of the oriental bazaar before venturing into the arena of bazaar diplomacy. The most important rule is the Roman saying: "If you want peace – prepare for war." Never come to the negotiating table from a position of weakness. Your adversary should always know that you are strong and ready for war even more than you are ready for peace.

In the present situation in the Middle East and in the foreseeable future "peace" is an empty word. Israel should delete the word "peace" from its vocabulary together along with such phrases as "the price of peace" or "territory for peace." For a hundred years the Jews have been begging the Arabs to sell them peace, ready to pay any price. They have received nothing, because the Arabs have no peace to sell, but they have still paid dearly. It must be said in all fairness that the Arabs have not made a secret of the fact that what they meant by the word "peace" was nothing more than a limited ceasefire for a limited period.

Since this is the situation, Israel should openly declare that it has decided to create a new state of affairs in the Middle East, compelling the Arab side to ask for peace and pay for it. Unlike the Arabs, Israel has this merchandise for sale.

From now on Israel should be the side demanding payment for peace. If the Arabs want peace, Israel should fix its price in real terms. The Arabs will pay if they reach the conclusion that Israel is so strong that they cannot destroy it. Because of this, Israel's deterrent power is essential.

Therefore, if anyone asks Israel for plans, the answer should be: no "plans," no "suggestions," no "constructive ideas," in fact no negotiations at all. If the Arab side wants to negotiate, let it present its plans and its "ideas." If and when it does, the first Israeli reaction should always be "Unacceptable! Come up with better ones." If and when the time comes for serious negotiations, after the Arabs have lost all hope of annihilating the Jewish state, here are ten rules for bargaining in the Middle Eastern bazaar:

1. Never be the first to suggest anything to the other side. Never show any eagerness "to conclude a deal." Let the opponent present his suggestions first.

2. Always reject, always disagree. Use the phrase: "Not meeting the minimum demands" and walk away, even a hundred times. A tough customer gets good prices.

3. Don't rush to come up with counter-offers. There will always be time for that. Let the other side make amendments under the pressure of your total "disappointment." Patience is the name of the game. "Haste is from Satan!"

4. Have your own plan ready in full, as detailed as possible, with the red lines completely defined. However, never show this or any other plan to a third party. It will reach your opponent quicker than you think. Weigh the other side's suggestions against this plan.

5. Never change your detailed plan to meet the other side "half way." Remember, there is no "half way." The other side also has a master plan. Be ready to quit negotiations when you encounter stubbornness on the other side.

6. Never leave things unclear. Always avoid "creative phrasing" and "creative ideas" which are exactly what your Arab opponent wants. Remember the Arabs are masters of language. Playing with words is the Arab national sport. As in the market, so also at the negotiating table, always talk dollars and cents.

7. Always bear in mind that the other side will try to outsmart you by presenting major issues as unimportant details. Regard every detail as a vitally important issue. Never postpone any problem "for a later occasion." If you do so, you will lose. Remember that your opponent is always looking for a reason to avoid honoring agreements.

8. Emotion belongs neither in the marketplace nor at the negotiating table. Friendly words as well as outbursts of anger, holding hands, kissing, touching cheeks and embracing should not be interpreted as representing policy.

9. Beware of popular beliefs about the Arabs and the Middle East – "Arab honor" for example. Remember, you have honor too, but this has nothing to do with the issues under negotiation. Never do or say anything because somebody has told you that it is "the custom." If the Arab side finds out that you are playing the anthropologist he will take advantage of it.

10. Always remember that the goal of all negotiations is to make a profit. You should aim at making the highest profit in real terms. Remember that every gain is an asset for the future because there is always going to be "another round."

The Arabs have been practicing negotiation tactics for more than 2000 years.

They are the masters of words, and a mine of endless patience. In contrast, Israelis (and Westerners in general) want "quick results." In this part of the world there are no quick results; the impatient one always loses.

Moshe Sharon is professor of Islamic History at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

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