by Rael Jean Isaac
Both Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat, partners in peace, see themselves as leading Israel into a New Middle East. And both have described what that entails indicating a high degree of commonality in their respective-"Visions' of the future. Peres said over and over that wars are a thing of the past. "An army that can occupy knowledge has yet to be built. And that is why armies of occupation are passé." So said Peres in his speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. Or, from his most recent book, Battling for Peace, "We are ending a decades-long history dominated by war and embarking on an era in Which the guns will stay silent while dreams flourish."
Peres has also made clear that the traditional boundaries between states will vanish in the New Middle East "We live in a we rid where markets are more important than countries,"he told a University of Pennsylvania audience in October 1994. And in his book, The New Middle East, he anticipates the day when our "self-aware-ness and personal identity Will be based on a new ultra-regional reality, "and we will find that we have stepped outside the national arena." in the Interim, he told the Council of the Socialist International (October 6, 1993)that he expects "the relations between the Jordanians, the Palestinians and us will be very much of the same nature that exists in Benelux."
A post-Zionist par excellence, Peres has discarded any notion of Israel as a state whose mission is to fulfill a Jewish nationalist and religious Identity. The New Middle East will provide the framework in which Israelis can merge into the broader regional environment. As Peres explains In The New Middle East, "Particularist nationalism is fading and the idea of 'citizens of the world" is taking hold.
Arafat recently expounded his own vision of the region's future. Following an official state dinner in his honour sponsored by Sweden's Foreign Minister in a Stockholm hotel, Arafat met with Arab diplomats based in Sweden, and spoke candidly of what he foresaw. Arafat is not looking forward to war any more than Peres Is. He too foresees an era in which dreams flourish--"Palestinian dreams. And he too anticipates boundaries between Jordan, Israel and "Palestinians" breaking down.
To be sure, Arafat's conception of breaking down barriers departs somewhat from Peres's ideas on the matter. Arafat told the Arab diplomats: "We Palestinians will take over everything, Including all of Jerusalem. Peres and Beilin have already promised us half of Jerusalem. The Golan Heights have already been given away subject to just a few details." Arafat said: "We of the PLO will now concentrate all our efforts on splitting Israel psychologically Into two camps. Within five years, we will have six to seven million Arabs living on the West Bank and in Jerusalem. If the Jews can import all kinds of Ethiopians, Russians, Uzbeks and Ukrainians as Jews, we can import all kinds of Arabs to us."The PLO, said Arafat, plans 'to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state." In the end, the point of departure between Yasser and Shimon has to do with the fate of Israel's Jews. Shimon, of course, would have them remain, integrated into the New Middle East, flourishing economically in their new "trans-national" Identity. Yasser has other ideas. He told the Arab diplomats that the psychological warfare the "Palestinians" will wage against Israelis will cause a massive emigration of Jews to the United States. For Yasser, Shimon's "Post-Zionist" Jews are no more acceptable than the pre-New Middle East garden type variety. Arafat declared: "I have no use for Jews; they are and remain Jews!"And he closed with an appeal for Pan-Arab support: "We now need ail the help we can get from you in our battle for a united Palestine under total Arab-Muslim domination." Unless, in the wake of the latest series of atrocities, Peres is turned out of office by a belatedly awakened Israeli public, he will dream on, while Arafat, assisted by Hamas,proceeds to implement his vision of a new Middle East - free of Jews.
Rael Jean Isaac is author of Israel Divided and Parties and Politics of Israel,
among other books.
More on the Palestinian Jesus
Israel as referred to in the New Testament literally means the land and/or People Israel. In the Gospel of Matthew (2:20), for instance, Joseph was told to 'take the young child and his mother and go to the land of Israel.. 'Anyone who reads the Bible recognizes that the Land was called Israel and not Palestine. Sadly, too many Christians have remained silent in the face of Arafat's 'big lie fabrication that Jesus was a Palestinian. ... Jesus was and will always remain Jewish. Was Jesus a Galilean? Certainly! He spent much of his life in Nazareth and ministered in the region of the Kinneret. Was he a Judean? Yes! But Palestinian? No. Palestine was the name for Eretz Yisrael coined by the Romans following the Bar Kochba revolt more than 100 years after Jesus lived.
...Ray Sanders, Director, Christian Friends of Israel, in a letter to the Jerusalem Post, January 7, 1996.Return To Israel Report - May/June 1996