Jibril Rajoub is no different than most of the other Arab leaders that Israel has to deal with in it’s midst. There are many other Arab leaders who hae basically stuck to the same line. Namely, either Israel gives us a State of our own, or we have absolutely no interest in normal talks with them. This is no mere negotiating ploy. This is the truth. It is reasonable to hope that this is just posturing. But it is an unreasonable hope. Israel indeed has no partner. They have no partner for peace, nor even for a process that could somehow lead to peace. Israel must defeat it’s enemies definitively. Then, and only then, will Israel find itself in a situation where there is someone willing to talk to it.
History of the Arab Leadership in Israel
Israel has never had a sustained partner to work with in the Middle East for a sustained, long-term peace agreement. However, there have been some rays of hope. Of course, the greatest achievement of peace was between Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, the leaders of the State of Israel and Egypt. This was brokered by President Jimmy Carter. It was thought an unthinkable reality just a few years before. However, the two countries who had fought 4 wars against each other finally sat down and worked out a peace agreement. But, the agreement would lead to the assassination of Anwar Sadat just a few years later. On the brighter side, Israel has since not had a war with Egypt. So, this was probably the best achievement of peace in the history of the modern Middle East.
Israel worked very hard to broker a peace agreement with Lebanon in the aftermath of the Peace for Galilee War. The hope was placed in Bashir Gemayel, a Phalangist leader in Lebanon who was a genuine friend of the State of Israel. He was assassinated soon after he assumed semi-leadership of the fractured country of Lebanon. The only Arab leader of a country who signed a peace agreement with Israel who died of natural causes was King Hussein of Jordan. He is probably the most under-rated leader of the modern Middle East. Israel truly has a lasting peace agreement with Jordan to their East. The Jordanian border with Israel is Israel’s largest border. Israel had fought two wars against Jordan during it’s war-torn short history.
However, King Hussein signed an agreement with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israel reached an historic agreement that had relatively less fanfare than other previous agreements. But it has had many under-rated economic benefits and political ramifications. Israel now has a northern problem – Syria and Hizbullah who threaten the North. In addition, Israel has a major problem in the South – Hamas in the Gaza Strip. However, the Eastern border is basically a peaceful oasis in the Middle East. But Israel is not naive. They realize that the entire country of Jordan could fold in a matter of weeks if Iraq or Syria invaded it. For that reason, Israel has made it clear to all in the Middle East that they will not allow any invasion of Jordan. This is a win-win agreement that Jordan is quietly very happy about. Israel must hope for more King Husseins in the Middle East. But for now, they only come around once each generation and usually get assassinated.