Camp David Peace Accords. Almost all concessions were unnecessary. Begin could have walked away with a treaty without making any substantial concessions. Is this mere conjecture? Not at all, because on one of the most sensitive points of the negotiations, Begin stood his ground, and Sadat conceded. Sadat had demanded that Begin make concessions with regard to Jerusalem. On this point Begin stood firm and said, “No.”
Whatever else, Jerusalem has sentimental value to the Arabs. A pledge from Begin on an altered status for Jerusalem would have been very flattering to Sadat’s image. But when Begin stood firm, the matter was erased from the agenda.
The same motif could have been followed with regard to other matters. Sadat could have made demands, but Begin could have said “no.” If he had said “no” firmly, the American pressure that had been placed on him would have shifted to Sadat. And Sadat would have had to concede, for he had more to lose. Indeed, the whole approach by Israel, within the wider context of the idea of autonomy quickly morphed into an armed and belligerent Palestinian state that threatened the basic security of her Jewish inhabitants.
When Egypt violated the agreements putting far more military men in the Sinai than the treaty allowed, very few called for a halt to the Israeli implementation of the remaining clauses, or the outright shredding of the accords in their entirety. The basic question always unanswered is; “Why continue withdrawing from land when the Egyptians are not maintaining their commitments?” “why the stubbornness on the part of the Israelis to observe every minor detail of the agreement, when the Arabs, those who have benefited most from it, violate the few restrictions which they undertook to honor?”
At the bottom of all these monkey-shines is a fundamental argument that must be dealt with. At the bottom of all the Arab rhetoric lies one basic claim: You are intruders who stole our land. Once it is established that the Jews have a valid right to the Land of Israel, then the violence, hatred, and disregard for life that has characterized the Arab position can be judged for what it is. Unfortunately, once validity is granted to the Arab goal, the debate whether all means are acceptable to attain it or not, moral relativity, becomes one of philosophy, and in the case here the dark sides of Kant and Heidegger.
From the Biblical claim, the perspective of God’s gift to the Jews, the entire Land of Israel, every tiny portion of the land is part of an organic whole, an indivisible and sanctified unity. This explanation is moreover, the only rationale that cannot be efuted by the Arabs or the United States. The connection is rooted in the Bible’s prophecies and not on Mandates, Balfour Declarations, UN resolutions, etc. Is it proper to spurn a Divine gift? ( to be continued)…