They Say/We Say: "It's Impossible to Make Peace"

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

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Is Peace Possible?

They Say:

It's impossible to make peace with Arabs or Muslims, because ultimately they just want to destroy Israel and drive the Jews into the sea.

We Say:

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 Palestinian state.