Dennis Prager

The Middle East conflict is difficult to solve, but it is among the simplest conflicts in history to understand.

The Arab and other Muslim enemies of Israel (for the easily confused, this does not mean every Arab or every Muslim) want Israel destroyed. That is why there is a Middle East conflict. Everything else is commentary.

Those who deny this and ascribe the conflict to other reasons, such as "Israeli occupation," "Jewish settlements," a "cycle of violence," "the Zionist lobby" and the like, do so despite the fact that Israel's enemies regularly announce the reason for the conflict. The Iranian regime, Hizbollah, Hamas and the Palestinians -- in their public opinion polls, in their anti-Semitic school curricula and media, in their election of Hamas, in their support for terror against Israeli civilians in pre-1967 borders -- as well as their Muslim supporters around the world, all want the Jewish state annihilated.

In 1947-48, the Arab states tried to destroy the tiny Jewish state formed by the United Nations partition plan. In 1967, Egypt, Syria and Jordan tried to destroy Israel in what became known as the Six-Day War. All of this took place before Israel occupied one millimeter of Palestinian land and before there was a single Jewish settler in the West Bank.

Two months after the Six-Day War of June 5-10, 1967, the Arab countries convened in Khartoum, Sudan, and announced on Sept. 1, 1967, their famous "Three NOs" to Israel: "No peace, No recognition, No negotiations."

Six years later, in 1973, Egypt invaded the Israeli-held Sinai Peninsula, a war that ended in a boost in Egyptian morale from its initially successful surprise attack. Though nearly all of the Sinai remained in Israel's hands, the boost in Egyptian self-confidence enabled Egypt's visionary president, Anwar Sadat, four years later (November 1977), to do the unimaginable for an Arab leader: He visited Israel and addressed its parliament in Jerusalem. As a result, in 1978, Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in return for which Israel gave all of the oil-rich Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt.

Three years later, in 1981, Sadat was assassinated by Egyptian Muslims, a killing welcomed by most Arabs, including the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization). Why welcomed? Because Sadat had done the unforgivable -- recognized Israel and made peace with it.

The lesson that Palestinians should have learned from the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement was that if you make peace with Israel, you will not only get peace in return, you will also get all or nearly all of your land back. That is how much Israelis ache for peace.


Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.
 
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