I previously wrote about Palestinian rejectionism and how it would mean that no peace is possible with Israel because the Palestinian Authority has never had any other goal than the destruction of the State of Israel and this has not changed since the formation of the PLO in 1964 and it was also the goal of the Arab League before it.

Hamas, the Islamist organisation that runs the Gaza Strip is also dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

Tawfik Hamid is an Egyptian academic who has surprising views on Israel and the Middle East.

Dr Hamid is a true moderate who rejects fundamentalist interpretation of the Qur’an and advocates peace with other religions and especially Israel. Dr Hamid is not unique but he is certainly a rarity. If only his views were spread at the same rate as Islamism, peace and security for the region and the world would be greatly enhanced.

In an article I read at newsmax.com Dr Hamid describes what he calls ‘The Real Reasons Behind the Arab-Israeli conflict’.

He soon rejects the current accepted views of the Arab and Muslim world:

The view that solutions for the Arab-Israeli conflict have failed because of what some in the Muslim world call the “expanding and colonizing ideology of Zionism” is unfair and devoid of truth. Israel proved its dedication to peace when it withdrew from Sinai, Lebanon, and Gaza in hope of peace with its neighbors.

He then moves to the territory I covered in my aforementioned article as his first reason:

Until Palestinian leaders, in both Arabic and English speeches, declare that Israel is their legitimate neighbor whom they no longer will strive to overrun, their participation in negotiations is fake, hypocritical, and doomed to fail. It is impossible to negotiate with a partner about borders if this partner does not accept your existence to begin with.

The second reason is what he calls the ‘selfish mentality’ of the Palestinian leadership. Again, this is similar to my view that the PA paints itself into a corner because it is more interested in self-preservation and populism than making peace. For Hamid:

Palestinian leaders seem to be interested in proving their “merit” by destroying Israel than in gaining a better life for their people. True leaders must be ready to make concessions to ensure a better life for their people.

Until Palestinian leaders are ready to make such concessions to the Israelis, the problem will not be solved.

Reason number three is that the international community (and this is broadly the Western democracies) are naive in their belief that the PA is ‘moderate’ when it is no different to Hamas in its desire to eradicate Israel which leads to a refusal to recognise Israel’s right to exist and this is buttressed by extreme anti-Semitic propaganda in the media.

For his fourth reason Dr Hamid makes the astute point that:

… the Palestinian leadership prefers to live — and to make their population live — in delusions rather than in reality.

Just recently, an official Palestinian report claimed that a key Jewish holy site — Jerusalem’s Western Wall — has no religious significance to Jews. It is impossible to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict if the Palestinian leaders insist on living in such delusions instead of admitting the archeological reality that Jerusalem’s Western Wall is Jewish. Problems are not solved by living in fabrications and lies but rather by facing and admitting realities.

One might add that for decades the Waqf, the Islamic authority that oversees the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif have been busy destroying the most important archaeological site in the world by digging and burrowing into the layers of Jewish temple history that lie beneath the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque.

What is effectively a propping up of the Hamas government in Gaza is reason number five.  Dr Hamid believes that Palestinians in Gaza have not had to pay the price for their choice. This is a rather eccentric view when you take into account what happened during Operation cast Lead.

What Hamid is referring to is that Hamas were supposed to provide an Islamic solution to the problem. Not allowing them to fail means that they are not weakened. Radical Islam still has its heroes. The economic support from the US and the EU means that the full force of Islamist failure to deliver is ‘masked’.

This is an interesting argument. Israel’s blockade and its embargo have partly been designed to weaken Hamas. Yet this strategy is failing because of the politically correct humanitarian criticisms coming from EU governments which deplore Hamas but also deplore the embargo and blockade. The proscribe Hamas as a terrorist organisation but prop it up with aid which means that Hamas’ policies are sweetened.

Dr Hamid is saying that the West is acting against it own interests because it is helpless in face of international human rights activism.

Dr Hamid then goes into a little fantasy excursion proposing an extremely aggressive Israeli political response to non-cooperation from the PA/Fatah in the peace process:

Israel, for instance, could announce that it will build a certain number of new West Bank towns every year, or will annex land in the West Bank each year, unless and until Fatah and Hamas accept the minimal principles necessary for Israel to participate in any further negotiations.

These principles would include:

  1. Declaration of the right of the Jewish state of Israel to exist;
  2. Cessation of both verbal incitement and physical violence against Israeli civilians and;
  3. Implementation of all previous agreements between Palestinians and Israelis.

But even Hamid admits that the US and the EU would ‘balk’ at these tactics. That is to put it mildly. It would also alienate a lot of Israelis! In the immortal words of John McEnroe: he cannot be serious and perhaps this rather spoils a good article.

Dr Hamid ends by castigating President Obama for pressurising Israel whilst the Palestinians smile with glee from the sidelines. Dr Hamid believes that the only strategy the PA would respond to is to show the PA that their recalcitrance has negative consequences. In this I believe Hamid is very wrong. Such a strategy would provoke violence and strengthen Hamas, Hizbollah and Iran.

Despite Dr Hamid’s naivety when it comes to tactics, his general analysis is correct, and how pleasant it is to hear an Arab saying these things, albeit from the safety of an American university.