Professor Yisrael Aumann, Nobel Laureate and noted American-Israeli mathematician and game theorist, said on Wednesday that one of the biggest problems of the Israeli right is that it has adopted the misguided terminology which says that Arabs are Palestinians.
“Up until the Balfour Declaration in 1918 there was no [Arab] Palestine,” he pointed out in a conversation with Arutz Sheva. “The Balfour Declaration clearly states that Palestine is to be called the Jewish national home. Back then, one side of the coins read Palestine and the other side read Land of Israel."
"Israel is the same as Palestine," added Aumann. "My wife has Palestinian documents. The Arabs say that Haifa and Tel Aviv are part of Palestine and they’re right because this is indeed the land of Israel. We are both the Jews as well as the Palestinians. Referring to the Arabs as Palestinians is the root of our mistake. Therefore, it’s important to say that we are the Palestinians and they are Arabs.”
Speaking from the point of view of game theory, Aumann said that it would be impossible to prevent the Palestinian Authority leadership from requesting statehood at the United Nations on Friday.
“Problems cannot be solved overnight, both in the economy as well as in international relations,” he said. “We should always look ahead and see how during a conflict situation we give incentives to the other side to do things that are good for both sides. When you are in a game of chess and the other side is about to take your queen, it’s too late to do something. In our case today, it’s too late to prevent the PA from submitting a request to the UN.”
Aumann said Israel has made mistakes in the past which are now very difficult to correct.
“The biggest mistake we made in the past decade was the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif,” he said. “It signaled weakness to the other side, that we really do not want to stay here and are not interested in this area. We looked weak even though we are strong and that’s what led to the violent confrontation during Operation Cast Lead. The expulsion has brought us to where we are today.”
Aumann stated that the only way Israel’s government can win the war is to adhere to the historic Jewish right to the land of Israel.
“Since the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem there was a Jewish presence in Israel, long before Islam came here,” he said. “The world was not created in 1967. It was created long before that and until 1948 there was a Jewish majority in Jerusalem. In 1948 we were expelled from Judea and Samaria, Gush Etzion, Kfar Darom and the Gaza Strip. We came back after 19 years, but not as conquerors. We returned.”
“Jewish presence in Israel lasted for 4,000 consecutive years, with the exception of 19 years between and 1948 and 1967 and another 90 years during the Crusades,” added Aumann. “We should stop talking about the need for defensible borders. It’s not a matter of security but of belonging. If we do not belong here we do not have the right to security. Therefore we have to emphasize first of all our belonging to the land of Israel, and convince ourselves of that before trying to persuade others.”
Professor Yisrael Aumann is known for his view that the principles of game theory can be successfully applied to the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
For an explanation of his theories written for the layman, click here.