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My next door neighbour is a charming lady called Helen and she is a solicitor. She lives with a Somali Muslim who teaches mathematics. He drinks and smokes and enjoys the company of the three playful dogs in our enclave. I get on pretty well with him but am more comfortable with Helen, a white English woman from the midlands.
The other day I surprised her by saying I could see no answer to the Palestinian problem since a two state solution was simply pie in the sky.
Surely, she said, compromise through negotiation and good will has to be practiced until the ‘peace process’ finally succeeded. I dare say her attitude is almost universal among westerners because to her a permanent state of hostilities was unthinkable.
And there of course lies the problem that our political leaders are unable to tackle. They, like<!–more–> her, believe with the right amount of goodwill and honest compromise, peace in Palestine will at last come about.
What they are unable to comprehend is that they are dealing with people culturally completely unlike themselves, westerners who regard negotiation as a process leading to a conclusion of benefit to both participants.
But the Muslim sees all conflict in stark black and white. He sees only victory or defeat, honour or shame, there is no middle ground. So when Israel swaps land for peace as they did in Gaza, the West expects the Gazans to regard the deal as conclusive and the beginning of a new chapter of mutual benefit for Jew and Arab.
Recent history has shown otherwise. Gaza was merely another step on the prescribed road to supremacy of Muslim over Jew (and every other unbeliever). The final goal of course being the destruction of the state of Israel and the extermination of the Jewish race throughout the world.
In an interview with Israel Hayom, Ayaan Hirshi Ali spells it out. She says: <em>’From the perspective of the Arab leaders, reaching a two-state solution is to betray God. If you want peace and not merely a process, you must make peace with the people. The negotiators themselves are of no importance.'</em>* Because to the Arabs, reaching a 2-state solution is to betray God, the Koran, the hadith and Islam.
So it is the Arab people themselves, not just their leaders, who have to be convinced that the right way is the West’s way, the Judaeo-Christian way, and that their way is simply wrong.
Which will never happen in this century, will it?
* Ayaan Hirshi Ali at the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, 28 June 2013: