by Abdullah Mulhimone

As the year 2008 begins and a new hope has emerged in the Middle East peace process, one stands wondering which party, the Israelis or Palestinians, wants peace more, or if any of them want peace. Over the years it has become clear to any one observing the peace process and the situation in the Middle East that Israel is more interested in its security than in peace with its neighbors.

This raises the question which one is more important peace or security? Is it possible to achieve both? And if so which one comes first?

The Israelis have echoed for years that they are committed to peace but that security must be established first; that the attacks targeting Israel must be stopped by creating a method of punishment that will give Israel a sense of revenge. This punishment must put fear in the attackers’ minds that future threats will be prevented. It is assumed that doing so will establish security for Israel and peace in the region. These methods of punishment are directed not only at the attackers, but also at their family members and the whole town that the attacker came from. For example the self-bombers punishment will be directed at the self-bomber’s family, by raiding their house in the middle of the night and then moving them out of the house and forcing them to watch their house get destroyed. This punishment is also directed at the whole town that the self bomber came from: because no Israeli soldier should be sent into an unknown situation, the first thing that needs to be done is prevent any possible attacks on the soldiers as they enter the town. So you first conduct an air strike, and follow that with a full tank assault, killing dozens of people. This is justified because, let’s face it, these now dead Palestinians would anyway have turned out to be self-bombers themselves eventually (according to Israeli logic). The final step is to take the land that the house was on and build a Jewish settlement in its place.

By acting this way to every self-bomber attack that happens inside Israel, security will be achieved and then peace will follow.

Then there is the issue of Palestinian rocket attacks hitting the illegal Jewish settlements that have been built on Palestinian land taken by force by the Israelis, and which continue to grow. The answer is simple: attack fire by fire. But instead of attacking with the same small amount, start with months of daily air strikes around the neighborhood that the rocket came from, then follow that with a massive military invasion of the neighborhood that destroys and levels every house to the ground, leaving almost everyone homeless and forcing them to flee far from the borders. Then kill everyone suspected of having any knowledge of the attack, because the cost of detaining them is more expensive than the cost of a bullet that you don’t have to answer why to.

By acting this way to every rocket attack that happens to a Jewish settlement, security will be achieved and then peace will follow.

And if those measures are not enough in achieving that long dream of peace lets go ahead and build a fence around the West Bank. That is, if we could call it a fence. It is not a small fence like the one the US is trying to build along the borders of Mexico it is more like a WALL. That is, if we could call it a WALL. It is not like the Berlin Wall that divided not only a nation but the world. It is more like the Great Wall of China; but let’s make it even more humiliating. Let’s not build it on the borders, but inside the West bank in order to confiscate as much Palestinian land and water as a possible, because that is our real goal anyway; Let’s build it all around the West Bank to give Palestinians the feeling they are living in a massive prison.

By building this WALL security will be achieved and then peace to be followed.

These are by all means not the only answers Israel has to achieve peace. There is also the measure of not allowing more development projects in the Arab side of Jerusalem. There are the road blocks between every city in the West Bank, the denial of freedom of religion to the Muslims and the Christians in Jerusalem and many more security measures that help in establishing peace.

Israel has followed these policies and implemented them so well since the Six Day War that it had the world fooled into thinking that achieving security first will definitely be followed by peace. The world thought this, instead of realizing that those actions and measures have simply left the Palestinian economy so crippled that more than 70% of the population is under the poverty line. They have left Palestinian social life in absence of the most basic elements of a warm feeling of a stable home and family. They have left the political scene so derailed that you can’t find true leaders for the Palestinian nation.

For Israel, peace in the Middle East does not need partners all. What it needs is the right action to secure Israeli sovereignty in the region with by any means, even if it leaves the other side, the Arab side, weak. It does not need any type of political or economic partnership with the Arab world as long as the Arab nations recognize the existence of Israel and cooperate in providing the necessary security for the State of Israel.

These actions maybe effective for a short period of time; they may bring with them some security for the state of Israel and maybe they will bring with them a short period of peace, a fake peace. But because it will leave the Arab side socially damaged with no dreams or hope for a better tomorrow as long as they are oppressed and humiliated, it will be just a matter of time before this ticking bomb explodes.

For a true and lasting peace Israel has to recognize its existence in a region full of other nations. It has to look at the future for all of the Middle East. It has to recognize that security must be the entire region, including for both parties, the Israelis and the Arabs. Israel must realize that security is second to peace, that it is the oppressor and the occupier, and that it has to show some good faith to its neighbors.