Normalization with the Saudis - at what price?

The Saudis have a good many skeletons in the closet that have to be aired and discarded for a peace process to work. Opinion.

Gerald A. Honigman  ,

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

There's much talk now, in the wake of other Gulf area breakthroughs, that Saudi Arabia is being heavily courted on to join the normalization/peace movement regarding Israel.

While shalom/salaam is good, it's important to realize that, as with another nation--the Sudan--Saudi Arabia comes into this with its own severe baggage And yes--it is nice for Israel to be able to cut travel time and save fuel by being able to fly over Saudi air space..

For starters, however, let's just say that the much-touted, decades old Saudi peace (of the grave) plan must be dropped like a nuked potato.

As a reminder, back when he was still a senator, a Times Of London story on November 16th, 2008, reported that President-elect Obama stated that Israel would be crazy (exact words) not to accept the resurrected, alleged Saudi "Peace Plan."

A bit earlier, a stop along President George W. Bush's Middle East trip--after further pressuring Jews to accept the State Department vision of Mahmoud Abbas's latter day terrorist Arafatians as being the good cops as opposed to simply more honest Hamas bad cops--took President Bush to the sands of the Saudis and other Arabian Peninsula nations.

A photo was published worldwide of the President wielding a sword along with Bahraini hosts, and it brought along a New Year's present -- tens of billions of dollars in military aid...

Hey, if we don't sell it to them, the Brits, Germans, French, and so forth certainly will. So goes the argument, and with Bahrain now opening doors to Israel, perhaps it wasn't a bad decision after all.

During that visit, Bush asked if perhaps Arabs might reach out to Israel a bit more. Saudi King Abdullah responded that he didn't know what else he could do. After all, he came up with his own "peace" (of the grave) plan some time ago--the one Obama repeatedly claimed Israel would be nuts to reject. Here's that plan in a nutshell:

If Israel (and not a Jewish Israel) agreed to return to its pre-'67, 9-15 mile wide, '49 armistice line -- not border -- existence, and agreed to be swamped by millions of "returning refugees" (many, if not most, of whose greatgrandparent "refugees" were new-comers to the original 1920 Palestine Mandate themselves), a concept created because the Arab attempt to nip a reborn Israel in the bud backfired...along with everything else that the Arabs demand for the Jewish State's suicide, then the Saudis and other Arabs might normalize relations with Israel.

The above is the plan that Obama considered/considered an offer that Israel simply could not refuse. What's sickening is that he and others got stuck-in-the-ghetto-minded Jews like Ehud Olmert and Shimon Peres to sing praises to it as well.

Putting it bluntly, the Desert Kingdom has long gotten away with a virtual free pass from America and most of the rest of the world.

The same people -- including academics and others who should know better -- who routinely scrutinize Israel and the actions it's forced to take merely to survive, routinely act deaf, dumb, and blind when it comes to the Saudis and other Arabs controlling much of the world's oil and influencing many other petrodollar-connected, multi-national corporations in the process. Together, this power and influence--via many tentacles and manifestations-- make the much spoken about "Zionist lobby" look pitiful.

Years back, when I was a card-carrying member of the London-based Anti-Slavery Society, persistent reports spoke of slavery throughout Saudi Arabia and other Arab/Muslim lands…in the oil fields, and other places as well. It was still "above ground" up until the middle of the 20th century. But it was all treated as though it didn't exist. Haven't you ever noticed the many black Saudis and Arabs?

(And they were largely supplied by a forcibly Arabized nation that Israel is "normalizing" relations with--the Sudan.)

What else can the Saudis do to reach out to the Jews, instead of vice-versa? Here are some suggestions:

On President Bush's above-mentioned trip, he pledged some twenty billion dollars in state-of-the-art aircraft, missiles, bombs, and so forth to the Saudis, to bolster them against the Iranians.

The problem is, each time they were threatened -- by fellow Arabs like Saddam or Iranians--America had to pull their chestnuts out of the fire with its own blood and money anyway, despite the billions of dollars in military aid given previously. Not to mention the Saudis being the home of most of the suicide/homicide bombers of 9/11.

Previous sophisticated weaponry and aircraft that the Saudis pledged to place to face the Iranian threat were stationed a virtual stone's throw from Israel instead. Indeed, they expanded the King Faisal Air Base at Tabuk. Prior to Bush's gift, the base contained about 50 advanced F-15S fighter-jets, which were sent to the northwestern facility on the eve of the U.S-led war against Iraq in March 2003. Other promises related to those sales later proved to be worthless as well.

And to at least some of us, it looks like they may temporarily agree to "normalize," possibly so that Israeli money and lives will be spent protecting them from Iran's Shi'a mullahs instead of expending their own.

How about honoring the pledges above, for starters?

The Protocols Of The Learned Elders Of Zion is one of the most flagrantly anti-Semitic doctrines ever written. Guess who was one of the latter day leaders in endorsing and spreading it around?

While the Saudis aren't the only Arabs still doing this sort of hate-spreading stuff (Egypt still freely does so), ending such practices is another suggestion for the "what else"…as is ending routinely calling Jews sons of apes and pigs. Extend this further by revising the textbooks of Arab children, hatred in the media, sermons, and so forth which routinely demonize Jews and Israel, and an Arab peace might become more believable.

When Israel was squeezed by President Clinton at Camp David and Taba in 2000 to cave in to Arafat and abandon its right to defensible "secure and recognized" borders a la UNSC Resolution 242, while Arafat rejected the plan, the Arabist "deal" Prime Minister Ehud Barak was forced to accept became the new starting point for President Bush's subsequent Annapolis travesty. With numerous anti-Israel advisers, it certainly became President Obama's as well.

During the era of Clinton's "Oslo Peace," the more Israel tangibly conceded to Arabs, the more it bled.

Who was paying Arab families tens of thousands of dollars each for having a "shahid" member blow up Jewish kids in teen night clubs, buses, pizzerias, and so forth during the Intifada (conducted under Fatah/PA good cops' watch -- not that of Hamas's bad cops)? Answer: The same Saudi despots who condemn women victims of rape to lashes and humiliation.

The Saudis, like too many other Arabs, are always quick to claim the whole region as purely Arab patrimony. Hence their additional concern about Iranians and others who call the body of water in the north the Persian Gulf instead of the Arabian Gulf. More than just words are involved here.

Arabs claim all that they acquired after Muhammad and successor Caliphal armies burst out of the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century C.E., conquering and forcibly Arabizing millions of non-Arab peoples and their lands, and then rejecting the rights of Jews, Kurds, Berbers, black Africans, and so forth, is their own/ Perhaps the Saudis need to be reminded of another time period in what is now their country, especially since Arabs claim rights to Jerusalem.

When Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, fled enemies in Mecca to Medina in 622 C.E. (the Hijrah), the inhabitants welcomed him. Medina had been developed centuries earlier as a thriving date palm oasis by Jews fleeing the Roman assault on Judaea (the banu-Qurayzah and banu-al-Nadir tribes, etc.). Medina's mixed population of Jews and pagan Arabs opened their doors to the future Prophet of Islam.

Muhammad learned much from them. While the actual timing of his decision on the qibla, the direction of prayer, may never be known, during his long sojourn with the Jews of Medina, his followers were instructed to pray towards Jerusalem. Early prominent Arab historians such as Jalaluddin came right out and openly stated that this was done as an attempt to win support among influential Jewish tribes (the "People of the Book") for Muhammad's religio-politcal claims.

It is from that Temple Mount in Jerusalem (which Arabs somehow claim Jews have no connection to -- and that includes Mahmoud Abbas) that Muslims believe Muhammad ascended to Heaven on his winged horse. A mosque and the Dome of the Rock would later be erected on this Jewish holy site after the Arab imperialist caliphal conquest of the land in the 7th century C.E.

There is no doubt among objective scholars that Jews had an enormous impact on both Muhammad and the religion that he founded. The holy sites for Muslims in Jerusalem (i.e. those erected on the Temple Mount of the Jews) are now deemed "holy" precisely because of the critical years Muhammad spent after the Hijrah with the Jews. The Temple Mount of the Jews had no prior meaning to pre-Islam pagan Arabs.

While there was some early Christian influence, intense scholarship has shown that the Holy Law (Halakha) and Holy Scriptures of the Jews had a tremendous influence on the Qur'an, Islamic Holy Law (Shari'a), et al.

When the Jews refused to recognize Muhammad as the chief, the "Seal of the Prophets," he turned on them with a bloody vengeance. Before long, with the exception of Yemen, there were virtually no Jews left on the Arabian Peninsula. And the direction of prayer was changed away from Jerusalem and towards the Kaaba in Mecca instead.

Now, imagine, since Arabs claim all of Israel because of their previous conquests, that descendants of Arabian Jews staked their own claims as well. Again, how about declaring Medina as a Jewish city?

Certainly, when demands by Arabs for compensation regarding Arab refugees comes to the front burner, Jewish refugees from "Arab" lands -- who number more and who left behind far more property and financial assets than their Arab counterparts did due to a war that Arabs themselves started -- need to put forth their own demands and need to be backed by an Israeli government which will state unambiguously that there will be no fulfillment of the one claim without the other.

What else can Saudis and other Arabs do to convince Jews that the alleged Saudi "peace"/normalization now being promoted is indeed not simply a peace of the grave? After all, Muhammad made his own "Peace of the Quraysh" too -- a temporary hudna designed to buy time until he could conquer his enemies. Arafat loved to talk about this regarding Israel.

The solution to the Arab-Israeli mess is not as complicated as many others have claimed.

When enemies make peace, they truly negotiate so that a compromise, meeting the needs of both parties, is at least somewhat achieved. One party doesn't simply just offer a take it or leave it dictate.

Israelis must be sure that the Saudi or other Arab game plan--is not, in reality, simply not a ploy to force Israel to yield in "diplomacy" what hundreds of millions of Arabs have not been able to achieve on the battlefield.

Seen as a starting point for further negotiations, not a take it or leave it gimmick, the Saudi plan might yet have some value.

Getting rid of the plan's stipulation requiring Jews to allow their sole, minuscule, resurrected nation to be swamped by allegedly returning Arab jihadis raised on Jew-hatred is a must, as just one example. Keep in mind that more Jews fled "Arab"/Muslim lands as refugees in a war Arabs started than Arabs who fled in the opposite direction. Jews didn't have almost two dozen other states to go to and weren't perpetually stuck in camps by their own brethren.

Jews absorbed their own refugees in a state about the size of New Jersey, virtually invisible on a world globe.

Finally, if the Saudis and other assorted Arab despots want to really reach out to Israel, all they have to do, in addition to the above, is to grant to Jews the same rights they claim for themselves in demanding the creation of the 22nd member nation of the Arab League and a second, not first, Arab one in "Palestine"-- Jordan having been carved out of some 80% of the Mandate's original 1920 borders in 1922.

The day Arabs can, at long last, get themselves to do this, they will find an Israel bending over backwards, sideways, and forwards to be a good neighbor-- to the entire region's benefit.