An Irreconcilable Hatred

David Kupelian,
Jan. 11, 2000

A hundred thousand Israelis filled Tel Aviv's main square yesterday.

In the pouring rain, they stood there, protesting their government's willingness to give up the Golan Heights -- the strategic plateau Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 war -- in order to "buy" peace with Syria. After 50 years of living on the edge of war, many Israelis feel worn out and desperate for peace, and so Prime Minister Ehud Barak insists Israel will have to make "painful concessions" in order to have peace with the Syrians.

Look at a map. Israel is so small you can hardly find it. It is surrounded by 23 Arab nations with land hundreds of thousands of times that of tiny Israel. And yet Israel is about to relinquish land -- "for peace."

What's wrong with this picture?

Let me tell you something. There is one overriding reality in the Middle East, the remembrance of which has kept Israel intact for the last half century, and the forgetfulness of which threatens to cost Israel its very existence.

This column is a remembrance.

"This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades." --Arab League Secretary General Azzam Pasha, May 15, 1948, the day five Arab armies invaded the new state of Israel, one day after the nation declared its independence

"The Arab nations should sacrifice up to 10 million of their 50 million people, if necessary, to wipe out Israel ... Israel to the Arab world is like a cancer to the human body, and the only way of remedy is to uproot it, just like a cancer." --Saud ibn Abdul Aziz, King of Saudi Arabia, Associated Press, Jan. 9, 1954

"I announce from here, on behalf of the United Arab Republic people, that this time we will exterminate Israel." --President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, speech in Alexandria, July 26, 1959

"We shall never call for nor accept peace. We shall only accept war. We have resolved to drench this land with your (Israel's) blood, to oust you as aggressor, to throw you into the sea." --Hafez Assad, then-Syrian Defense Minister, May 24, 1966, who later became Syria's president.

"Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel." --President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, May 27, 1967, nine days before the start of the Six-Day War.

"The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear -- to wipe Israel off the map." --President Abdel Rahman Aref of Iraq, May 31, 1967

"All countries should wage war against the Zionists, who are there to destroy all human organizations and to destroy civilization and the work which good people are trying to do." --King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, in a speech in Uganda, Beirut Daily Star, Nov. 17, 1972

"The battle with Israel must be such that, after it, Israel will cease to exist." --Libyan President Mohammar Qadaffi, al-Usbu al-Arrabi (Beirut) quoted by Algiers Radio, Nov. 12, 1973

"After we perform our duty in liberating the West Bank and Jerusalem, our national duty is to liberate all the Arab-occupied territories." --Jordan's King Hussein, Radio Amman, Dec. 1, 1973

"Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity is there only for tactical reasons. The establishment of a Palestinian state is a new expedient to continue the fight against Zionism and for Arab unity." --Zoheir Muhsin, head of the PLO Military Operations Department and member of the PLO Executive Council, 1977

"I have never met an Arab leader that in private professed a desire for an independent Palestinian state. Publicly, they all espouse an independent Palestinian state -- almost all of them -- because that is what they committed themselves to do at Rabat (the 1974 Arab League summit conference)." --President Jimmy Carter, at a 1979 press conference

"There has been no change whatsoever in the fundamental strategy of the PLO, which is based on the total liberation of Palestine and the destruction of the occupying country. ... On no accounts will the Palestinians accept part of Palestine and call it the Palestinian state, while forfeiting the remaining areas which are called the State of Israel." --Rafiq Najshah, PLO representative in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabian News Agency, June 9, 1980

"The struggle with the Zionist enemy is not a struggle about Israel's borders, but about Israel's existence. We will never agree to anything less than the return of all our land and the establishment of the independent state." --Bassam Abu Sharif, a top Arafat aide and PLO spokesman, quoted by the Kuwait News Agency, May 31, 1986

"There are two different approaches in the Arab world: that Israel can be overwhelmed militarily, or that a military victory is impossible. The power struggle between Israel and the Arabs is a long-term historical trial. Victory or defeat are for us questions of existence or annihilation, the outcome of an irreconcilable hatred." --Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, July 11, 1986

"The establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip does not contradict our ultimate strategic aim, which is the establishment of a democratic state in the entire territory of Palestine, but rather is a step in that direction." --Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad) interview with Al-Safir, Lebanon, Jan. 25, 1988

"This is the ideology of the PLO and of Yasser Arafat: To destroy the state of Israel and to establish a Palestinian state instead. They will accept the territories -- but only as a beginning, as a base for further attacks to conquer all of Israel. Why give them this opportunity to strengthen their efforts to attack us?" --Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, U.S. News & World Report, March 21, 1988

"The armed struggle must continue, everywhere, against the Zionist enemy and his allies. ... We have no alternative but to carry out armed activity in order to vanquish the enemy and establish our state." --Salim Zaanoun, Deputy PNC speaker and member of the Fatah Central Committee, in Al-Anba, Kuwait, Dec. 23, 1988

"The PLO will not stop the armed struggle." --Yasser Arafat, June 6, 1989 at a press conference in Kuwait, Associated Press.

"The Middle East peace efforts have reached a stalemate. ... The PLO now has no alternative but to escalate armed struggle outside the occupied territories in support of the uprising." --Arafat's number two man, Salah Khalaf, Jan. 22, 1990, Associated Press

"We will enter Jerusalem victoriously and raise our flag on its walls. ... We will fight you (the Israelis) with stones, rifles, and 'El-Abed' (the Iraqi missile)..." --Yasser Arafat, reported by the Associated Press, March 29, 1990, at the start of the Gulf War

"In the name of Allah, we shall cause fire to devour half of Israel. ..." --Iraqi News Agency, April 2, 1990

"We say to the brother and leader Saddam Hussein -- go forward with God's blessing." --Yasser Arafat, the next day, Iraqi News Agency, April 3, 1990

Fast forward to the present.

Eleven days ago on New Years Eve, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly called for the total destruction of Israel, saying it was the only way to solve the problems of the Middle East.

Millions of Iranians -- that's right, millions -- were rallying across that vast and militarily powerful nation, protesting Israel's control over Jerusalem, where Muslims believe the prophet Mohammed began his journey to heaven. The "Al-Quds Day" demonstrations -- Al-Quds being the Arabic name for Jerusalem -- turned into anti-American protests because of American support for Israel.

"The hands of the U.S. are fully stained with the blood of the Palestinians," Khamenei told hundreds of thousands of Iranians in his Dec. 31 prayer sermon at Tehran University. There is only one possible solution to unrest in the Middle East, he said -- "namely, the annihilation and destruction of the Zionist state."

Meanwhile, in Lebanon, Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas celebrated Al-Quds Day by rallying outside the capital, Beirut, where fighters in combat gear stomped on U.S. and Israeli flags, crying, "Death to Israel" and "Jerusalem is ours."

Nothing has changed since the reestablishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948, my friends.

But whence comes this ancient "irreconcilable hatred"? By the way, don't bother emailing me that I'm a racist. There are good Arabs and bad Arabs, good Israelis and bad Israelis, good Americans and bad Americans. This is not about race, nor even religion.

This is about an oppressive culture into which beautiful little babies, around 21 inches long and naked, are born, and slowly destroyed. Human beings are not simply animals, but are spiritual creatures with a soul, capable of choosing a high road or a low road. Each one of us, ultimately, chooses the high or the low road -- that is, we rise above the madness of our particular culture and discover our true identity and destiny, or else we identify with our insane culture and revel in it.

We're talking about the low road here, not of the higher aspirations of Islam. Just as horrible things have been done in the name of Christianity, which we do not blame on Christ, so we cannot blame Mohammed for the atrocities of Islamic terrorists.

The Arab world has a part of its culture it would do well to overcome. The ancient enmity with Israel is not about land, about sovereignty, or about religious shrines. It is an inherited spiritual hatred of Israel. It is almost like hating God Himself.

When U.S. servicemen put their lives on hold, left their loved ones and went into harms way to defend Saudi Arabia from the Iraqi army in the early '90s, the Saudis thanked us by banning Bibles in their country. Think about this.

During its war with Iraq, Ayatollah Khomeini sent 12-year-old Iranian boys to the battlefront, having given each boy a cheap plastic key to wear around his neck. It was the key to heaven, the lad was told. If he died killing an infidel, he would be transported immediately to heaven. If the conscripts were old enough to be interested in girls, they were assured that when they died killing an infidel -- namely, Christians or Jews -- they would go straight to Heaven, where they would be given a harem of 50 virgins. Talk about motivation!

No wonder these miserable people with their angry, fear-based, suppressed, and impoverished lives are so eager to drive a truck bomb into an American embassy.

Just as in America, young people need to rise above the insane popular culture of our day, so in the Arab world, these vast populations, containing many good and decent people, would do well to rise above the culture and tradition that has oppressed them for thousands of years. It is an inheritance worthy of casting off, as all hatred is worthy of casting off.

One more quote.

"Our relationship with Israel is in our mutual self-interest. But a narrow calculation of interest is not the sole basis of the bond between our nations. At its heart is a moral obligation on our part to do whatever is necessary to defend and protect Israel." --President Ronald Reagan, May 13, 1988

If Israel believes it can exchange land for peace, it is ignoring the unchanged reality of an ancient enmity that goes back thousands of years.