Left-Wing Israeli Historian Now Blames Arabs

Benny Morris - long known as a Revisionist, even anti-Israel, historian - says Muslim hatred of Israel continues to preclude peace.

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Hillel Fendel,

Writing in the May 8th edition of Newsweek, Benny Morris - long known as a Revisionist, even anti-Israel, historian - says Arab-Muslim hatred of Israel continues to preclude peace.

Though his article contains many anti-Israel jabs, the thrust is that there is nothing Israel can do to overcome Islamic national-religious hatred of Israel and the Jews in the Land of Israel.
[Arab] rejection of any compromise, whether a partition of Palestine or the creation of a binational state, was deep-seated, consensual and consistent.

"Myself and several other young Israeli historians were dubbed revisionists and commonly assumed to be doves," Morris writes. "But what brought me to my conclusions about 1948 were the facts, not my political views. Contrary to current historiographic discourse, I believe there is such a thing as the Truth - what, why and how things happened - and I've always sought it in my research. If I've since come to a much bleaker opinion about the possibility of reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians - many would now call me a hawk - it is also because of that research."

Morris was "cautiously optimistic about the prospects for peace" when the Oslo process started in 1993.  "But at the same time I was scouring the just opened archives of the Haganah and the IDF. Studying the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict - in particular the pronouncements and positions of the Palestinian leadership from the 1920s on - left me chilled. Their rejection of any compromise, whether a partition of Palestine between its Jewish and Arab inhabitants or the creation of a binational state with political parity between the two communities, was deep-seated, consensual and consistent."

Direct Chain Linking Moslem-Arab Opposition
Morris sees a direct chain linking the Jerusalem mufti's insistence in the 1930s and 1940s on a single Muslim Arab state in all of Palestine, the Palestinian Arab "street" chants of "Itbah al-Yahud" (slaughter the Jews!) in the 1930s, the Arab attempt to destroy the the Jewish community in Palestine in 1947, Arafat's rejection of Ehud Barak's two-state proposals at Camp David in July 2000, and the wave of Moslem suicide bombings against Israelis in the following years.

"Each suicide bomber seemed to be a microcosm of what Palestine's Arabs had in mind for Israel as a whole," Morris writes. "Arafat's rejectionism and, after his death, the election of Hamas to dominance in the Palestinian national movement, persuaded me that no two-state solution was in the offing, and that the Palestinians, as a people, were bent, as they had been throughout their history, on 'recovering' all of Palestine."

No longer does Morris see the Palestinians as "the underdog," as he once did: "It has become clear to me that from its start, the struggle against the Zionist enterprise wasn't merely a national conflict between two peoples over a piece of territory, but also a religious crusade against an infidel usurper. As early as Dec. 2, 1947, four days after the passage of the [UN] partition resolution, the scholars of Al Azhar University proclaimed a 'worldwide jihad in defense of Arab Palestine' and declared that it was the duty of every Muslim to take part."

"Those currently riding high in the region - figures like Hamas's Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal, Hizbullah's Hassan Nasrallah and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - are true believers who are convinced it is Allah's command and every Muslim's duty to extirpate the 'Zionist entity' from the sacred soil of the Middle East."  This leaves Israel, Morris concludes, "profoundly insecure."