39. Does Israel want a just peace?

Israeli politicians show an enormous interest in peace, but practically no interest at all in a just peace. The word just is conspicuously absent form their vocabulary. Why is that?

A just peace means concessions, compromises, something that is totally incompatible with what Shamir has in mind. It also means to admit, at least implicitly, that an injustice has been committed toward the Palestinians, something that the Israelis are not prepare to do.

Max Nordau, a prominent Zionist leader, upon hearing for the first time that there was an Arab population in Palestine, had this to say: "I did not know that, but then we are committing an injustice." Yes indeed. A terrible injustice that the Father of Zionism, Herzl, committed by propagating the Mother of all lies when he reduced the Jewish question to essentially a transportation problem of "moving people without a home into a land without a people." Palestine, however, was not a land without people even in Herzl's time.

Finally, a just peace necessarily means to involve the United Nations, something Shamir rejects for obvious reasons. First, the still unimplemented U.N. Security Council resolution 242 of 1967 laid down a basic principle: "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war." How can Israel accept such a principle when it has faithfully been doing the exact opposite throughout its history? Second, what Israel fears most is international justice, and no wonder, since it got a taste of it over the Taba incident when an international panel ruled against it in 1989. I hope one day Israel will realize that the best guarantee for peace, if it wants it, of course, is justice and not territory.

June 11, 1991

For a reply see [40] , [43]and [48]