In Israel's short history, it has seen more than its share of hatred and violence. It has seen wars
and terrorism, and faced people insisting that Israel has no right to exist or should be destroyed.
Understandably, this experience has led many who care about Israel to believe that peace with the
Arab and Muslim worlds is simply not possible.
However, this belief has been powerfully challenged by other experiences that, for Israel's sake,
must not be forgotten or dismissed.
First, it must be made crystal clear: modern Israel is not in danger of being pushed into the sea
or destroyed by any Arab or Muslim state, or any combination thereof. This is true even with
respect to Iran, as attested to by many top Israeli intelligence and security experts. Israel today
has one of the strongest militaries in the world. It has nuclear weapons (although it prefers to
maintain ambiguity about this). It has powerful intelligence services that operate far beyond its
borders. And it has an unshakeable military alliance with the United States, which is committed,
among other things, to preserving Israel's qualitative military edge in the region.
Second, experience shows that peace is possible. Israel has concluded successful peace treaties
with Egypt and Jordan, demonstrating such agreements are possible and durable when they reflect the
interests of both sides. During periods when Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts were bearing fruit,
Israel's relations with a number of Arab and Muslim states have improved to the point where trade
and military cooperation developed. And perhaps the clearest evidence of the region's readiness to
accept Israel is the Arab Peace Initiative (API) - an initiative first presented in 2002 and
subsequently adopted by the Arab League. The API offers peace and normalization between Israel and
the Arab world--with no requirement that Israel give up its qualitative military edge or otherwise
open the door for allowing itself to be wiped off the map. Regrettably, Israel largely ignored and
even scorned the API when it was launched, and has done so ever since.
Peace with the Palestinians and the Arab world is an Israeli vital interest, and Israel cannot
afford to wait for the day when its enemies first love it to seek peace. Peace is something you
make with your enemies, not your friends. Such peace can and must be achieved as soon as possible.
Only then can Israel hope to begin to build normalized relations with Arabs and Muslims in the
region and around the world. Once there is peace, friendship and mutual respect can and hopefully
will develop; where hatred continues or even leads to hostilities, Israel will remain strong and
stand ready to defend itself against any aggression.
Yes, there are many in the Arab and Muslim worlds who hate Israel, hate Jews, and want to see the
Jewish state disappear. And yes, there are some who remain determined, it seems, to act on that
hatred. There is also every indication, however, that most people in the Arab and Muslim worlds are
pragmatic, and are therefore ready to live in peace with Israel and normalize relations with it, if
Israel will first embrace a realistic two-state solution to its conflict with the Palestinians.
This, perhaps, is the crux of the issue. Many who argue that peace is impossible due to implacable
Arab hatred also reject Israel taking the steps necessary to achieve a two-state solution, namely,
ceding most of the West Bank and East Jerusalem so that it, along with Gaza, can become a