It is news to no one that throughout the negotiations with Israel, despite Islam's ban on lying, the Palestinians have consistently lied. Surah Al-Haj (Surah 22, verse 30) and Surah Al-Ghafir (Surah 40, verse 28) of the Qur'an, as well as many hadiths (the oral tradition attributed to Muhammad), strongly condemn lying for any reason. It is specifically considered an affront to Allah and Muhammad, and the liar will burn in hell. However, for Islamists, their beliefs provide a number of loopholes. For example, for an Islamist, one can lie to effect a compromise between disputing parties, to deceive an enemy, to make one's wife happy.
Thus, it is permissible to lie to the Jewish (and American) enemy, which is what the Palestinians negotiators have done time after time in the negotiations with Israel. These negotiators, even those conveniently hiding under the mantle of "secular," employ the fundamentalist moral code that dictates their actions. They have manipulated, avoided, evaded, denied, wiggled around facts and told outright lies regarding agreements already reached and their goals for future coexistence. For these believers in moral religious pragmatism, permission to lie in the negotiations is based on designating the Jew as the enemy of Allah and Islam, worthy only of death. For the Palestinian leadership, abetted by the Palestinian Authority's educational and religious systems, the Jew is religiously labeled not only the enemy because of the so-called "occupation of Palestine," but because of the ancient Hadith that they invoke that states that Muslims will not be redeemed on Judgment Day unless the Jews on earth are killed. Therefore, for these radical believers, lying to the Jews if it leads to their final destruction is virtually a religious fiat.
Before he met with the American president last week, Mahmoud Abbas told Fatah's Revolutionary Council in Ramallah that he would not recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, would not waive the so-called "right of return" of the Palestinian refugees, and would not abandon the idea of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine." An Abbas confidante and member of Fatah's Central Committee, appearing on official Palestinian Authority television, revealed the true Palestinian intentions for the Jews during that conference. Abbas Zaki promised that "Allah will gather all the Jews together so that the Palestinians can destroy them."
All the Palestinians' fabricated religious, moral and historical demands on the land of Israel and Jerusalem are based on Islam's permission to lie to the enemy, considered "legitimate" because their ultimate objective is to destroy Israel and establish "Palestine" on its ruins. No matter the current historical revisionism, honest Palestinian scholars know that there was never a Palestinian state in the land of Israel (or anywhere else); there was never a Palestinian people until Jews started populating the land; and nothing was ever promised to them in the Qur'an. When the United Nations called for a Jewish state and an adjacent Arab state in 1947, the Arabs rejected it.
Because of stunning defeats visited upon the Palestinians whenever they attempt to destroy Israel with violence and terrorism, they have decided instead to implement Arafat's "salami plan" and destroy Israel piecemeal through fraud and deception. To that end they have recruited the gullible West to do the work, if not for them, then with them. The Palestinian demand for the so-called "right of return" is one aspect of the plan: its objective is to swamp Israel demographically, thus destroying its Jewish character and making it possible to establish the Muslim "Palestine" on its ruins.
Unfortunately, through the United Nations, the Western world willingly collaborates with the Palestinians. It supports their outrageous claims and deliberately refuses to resolve the Palestinian issue. The "Palestinian refugee" project, directed primarily by UNRWA, has unprecedented support from the West. Although the status of "refugee" is not supposed to be hereditary, the UN agencies still label the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the Arabs who fled in 1948 as "refugees" and funnel billions of dollars in aid to them through mechanisms established specifically for that purpose. That status allows the Palestinians to preserve indirectly the claims for "right of return" and helps motivate their murderous intention, if unstated by the more savvy spokesmen, to ultimately destroy Israel.
Nowhere in the world is there a project for refugees that even remotely resembles the Ponzi scheme the UN set up for the Palestinians. Not only does it shovel money to the "refugees," it also supports a myriad of corrupt – and totally unnecessary – UNRWA employees who perpetuate the hatred of all Jews. It is entirely possible that only the final collapse of the European economy can stop the corruption, because cold facts and logic clearly cannot stop this ingrained corruption.
The position of the Western countries regarding the Palestinian issue is perplexing. Throughout modern history, millions of refugees, including the Jews who survived the Holocaust or were expelled from the Arab countries, have adapted and integrated into the societies of their new countries without UN involvement. Catastrophes continue to occur around the world, refugees are slaughtered on a daily basis in terrorist attacks and hate crimes, women are raped and children flee and starve to death while the UN deals with the Palestinians. UN clerks devote their time to the descendants of the Arab refugees of 1948, although many of them have long since established themselves, unlike other refugees (in Africa, for example), in the Arab states among people with whom they share a culture, religion, language and history.
Western countries perpetuate the problem of the Palestinian refugees deliberately. Their motive is not love of the Palestinians, but rather to prevent the issue from being resolved. On the other hand, the Arab states do not want the Palestinian refugees anywhere near them, and until the Arab Spring they used the "liberation of Palestine" as a rallying cry to close ranks against the common "Zionist enemy." Recently, however, it has become apparent that the Arab masses no longer accept hatred of Israel as their common denominator and actively work to overthrow the corrupt Arab regimes.
Unfortunately, the leaders of the Arab world, as well as many European Union and other Western leaders have had no real intention of finding genuine solutions within the Arab states for the problems of the Palestinians. Instead, they have used the Palestinians to channel popular anger and unrest and as an excuse to wage campaigns against Israel and to divert popular anger against the ruling elites. Western leaders never admit it, but instead of demanding citizenship for the refugees in the Arab countries where they have settled, they deliberately enforce the status of "Palestinian refugees" and delude the Palestinians into assuming that they will eventually "return to Palestine." They know perfectly well that their policies encourage the Palestinians to cling to the vain hope that with Western support, at some time in the future they will "return" to Israel and destroy it with waves of refugees and mujahideen terrorism.
The West pays the UN and other welfare agencies billions to keep the Palestinian problem alive, but if they had invested the money in helping the Palestinians settle in the countries where they have already lived for years as equal, productive citizens, the issue could have long since been taken off the agenda. Instead, the West and the Arab-Muslim world pay cold cash to prevent the issue from being resolved, contradicting all historical, legal and political logic. The West has squandered billions by sustaining corrupt UN agencies and continuing manipulative anti-Semitism through the so-called "return of the refugees," a euphemism for the destruction of Israel.
In the current negotiations for a peace agreement, Israel countered the Palestinian demand for the "return" with the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people, a Jewish state. Israel's demand was made to force the Palestinians to recognize that Israel – with full, unalienable, undeniable historic rights to the Holy Land – was demographically a Jewish country with a Jewish culture and Jewish heritage, and that the dream of destroying it with floods of refugees and jihad terrorists had to be permanently shelved. The Israeli demand is based on the assumption that by recognizing Israel as a Jewish state the Palestinians will have to abandon the plan of trying to change its demographics with a "legitimate" influx of refugees and terrorist operatives.
Abbas has a full understanding of the operative and historical implications of the Israeli demand, and therefore is unwilling to include Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state in a peace agreement. He claims that the Palestinian "right of return" is the "individual right" of each Palestinian, therefore he cannot, in their name, waive it and thereby resolve a core problem of the Israeli-Arab conflict. In taking this position, Abbas openly admits he is not a leader, does not represent the collective will of the Palestinian people, and has no legitimate standing or legal status as far as they are concerned.
That means that Israel is being asked to accept an agreement from a disposable leader who one day will disappear, while the various branches of his administration and his religious establishment brainwash the younger generation of Palestinians to continue the conflict, to dream of the "return" and to plan Israel's destruction. Abbas is not considered their leader by the Palestinian populations in the Arab countries or in the Gaza Strip, and even the Palestinians in the West Bank claim that without the support of Israel he would not survive for even a day. Thus the urgent American pressure on Israel to reach an agreement with Abbas, based on the claim that Mahmoud Abbas is a "unique" leader presenting a "unique" opportunity for peace, is difficult to understand. The Palestinian people, exposed to unending incitement to violence against Israel, ignore the promises made by Abbas as well as the agreements he signed, as they ignore the declarations of recognition of Israel as a Jewish state made previously by Yasser Arafat.
Arafat, the legendary Palestinian leader, recognized Israel as a Jewish state. It was only natural that Abbas, his protégé and the heir to the Palestinian leadership, would follow his precedent. But Abbas' retreat shows the inherent deception in the Palestinian negotiating strategy. That strategy, to which the West has blinded itself, permits Palestinian officials to lie when dealing with the Jews. By calling Jewish history a "delusional myth" Abbas ignores his own side's previous commitments and Israel's right to preserve its own identity.
Other Palestinian officials go further. Adli Sadeq, the PA ambassador to India, said in 2011 that Israelis who believe the PA recognized Israel's right to exist were deluding themselves. "[Israelis]," he said, "fool themselves, assuming that Fatah accepts them and recognizes the right of their state to exist. No two Palestinians disagree that Israeli exists, but recognition of its right to exist is something else, different from recognition of its existence."
"Sincere" Palestinian activists actually admit that "Arafat's recognition of Israel in 1993 [was] a meaningless ornament to a deceptive peace process that is regularly cited by the PA to create a facade of sincerity.
The only way the Americans can promote a genuine peace would be to exert pressure in three directions:
On themselves and the rest of the West. They must stop regarding the Palestinian Arabs who settled in the Arab countries as refugees and stop financing the subversive agencies brainwashing them to believe in the "return" and keeping the dream alive of Israel's destruction.
On the Arab states, which, under the shadow of regional developments and with Western pressure, have to put an end to racist and discriminatory policies against the Palestinian Arabs living in their midst for so many years, recognize them and give them full civil rights.
On the Palestinians, especially the Palestinian Authority leadership. Israel is fully aware of their tricks and will no longer accept Palestinian lies, promises, extortion or manipulation and will not allow even one Palestinian "refugee" to "return" to its territory. They have to realize that Israel will not permit the West Bank to become another "Hamastan," another region populated by Islamist jihad terrorists whose only desire is to kill Israelis. The Palestinian leadership should focus on the positive aspects of building a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip as a center of political and national Palestinian identification. It should already be preparing the Palestinians in the diaspora for the realization that the new Palestinian state will not be large enough for all of them and that they will have to become citizens of the countries where they currently live.
The main change will have to be made by the Americans. Their global failures in dealing with radical Islam, Iran and Russia, to name but three, should have taught them a lesson. The American administration should put an end to its disastrous – and amateurish – experiments in foreign policy. It has to internalize the value of Israel's faithful, stable friendship, unique in the quicksand of the treacherous, unstable Middle East. The Americans are Archimedes' fulcrum and they now have to find the lever that can bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Instead of trying to pressure Israel and encouraging the Palestinian narrative for Israel's destruction, America should pressure both the Arab states and the West to say, loudly and clearly, "There will be no return." The descendants of the Palestinian refugees will be absorbed as citizens with equal rights by the Arab countries and will not "return" to Israel.
That is where peace will begin. Secretary of State John Kerry's recent remarks, in which he said that Israel had to waive its demand that the leaders of the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as a Jewish state, was most unfortunate. It showed that the Americans would continue to appease the Palestinians, preventing an end to the conflict and making it impossible to achieve peace.
Dr. Reuven Berko has a Ph.D. in Middle East studies, is a commentator on Israeli Arabic TV programs, writes for the Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom and is considered one of Israel's top experts on Arab affairs.