Gerald Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral work in Middle East studies, has lectured on numerous university and other platforms. He has debated many of the best Arab and pro-Arab academics in public debates and on television. Mr. Honigman is widely published in academic journals, magazines, newspapers and other publications.
One thing has become very clear over the last few months...
To anyone observing the turmoil and upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa, there is little doubt that--unless it is determined to commit suicide--Israel must make some politically incorrect decisions that will, no doubt, tick off much of the rest of the world.
It's now a virtual given that very shortly, after the September elections, Egypt--the most populous Arab state with the most powerful military--will have new leadership very closely aligned with the Hamas rulers in Gaza. Hamas is dedicated to Israel's destruction and, unlike Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah crew, won't even mince words to gain support from the West.
While, to keep the multi-billion dollar American aid spigot turned in the on position, the new Egyptian leadership may not formerly renounce the decades old peace treaty with Israel, it is extremely likely that it will do all that it can to emasculate it. Israel will face increasing hostility from Egypt just for attempting to defend itself from non-stop attacks stemming from Gaza, let alone anything else. Already, Egyptian troops are back in Sinai--with Israel's approval--from which they had not been allowed since the peace treaty was signed.
In the north, Iran's proxy, Hizbullah, has all but taken over Lebanon, and it is armed to the teeth with scores of thousands of rockets and missiles with Israel in its sights.
While the situation in Syria remains deadly turbulent, regardless of who prevails, Israel loses there as well. The most powerful oppostion forces in Syria are--as in Egypt and elsewhere--Islamist. Several decades ago, Bashar Assad's father slaughtered tens of thousands of such folks in what came to be known as the Hama Solution.
This is the reality confronting Israel today...practically the only place in the region relatively quiet at this time. Arabs elsewhere long for the freedoms Israel's own Arab citizens have...not to mention the scores of millions of non-Arabs in the region existing under various degrees of deadly subjugation at the hands of their Arab rulers and neighbors.
Given this, the persistant demand that Israel forsake the basic tangibles which all other nations demand for security in return to for vague promises or paper treaties which can be declared worthless on the morrow must come to a swift halt.
It will be damned whatever it decides to do, so Israel must plan for the worst case scenarios it may very likely have to deal with.
While it will be under continuous pressure to act against its bare minimal security needs, Israel must hold its ground and insist on not becoming some newly resurrected Neville Chamberlain's offering for peace for our time a la Munich 1938. The oft-spoken valid analogy is frightening, indeed...
With its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza years ago and what it has gotten from that as its guide, Israel must insist on the meaningful, territorial compromise in Judea and Samaria (aka, only as a result of British imperial shenanigans of the last century, the "West Bank") that was built in to the final draft of UNSC Resolution 242.
Israel must never again become the nine to fifteen mile wide sub-rump state, practically begging to be destroyed, that the armistice lines--not borders--of 1949 left it as after surviving the combined invasion of a half dozen Arab armies upon its rebirth in 1948. After the renewed Arab attempt on its life in 1967, Israel was promised more defensible and more secure borders. No amount of arm twisting and tirades from the State Department nor from the current occupant of the White House can erase the basic justice of this. And
any future deal with Syria must take into account the territorial compromise built in to the final draft of 242 as well.
Jews have been celebrating Passover, the festival of freedom from Egyptian bondage, for over three millennia.
When Rome--the Jews' new Pharaoh--conquered Judea, its rulers dreaded the Passover season. Contemporay historians speak of the various Judean freedom fighters and potential messianic leaders whom the Empire hunted down, crucified, and otherwise slaughtered. The New Testament story of Jesus seeking out a white ass (to fulfill the Hebraic prophecy) to ride into Jerusalem during Passover's season of freedom was explosive in this regards. Regardless of what was or wasn't the intent (which may indeed be debated), Jesus's fate was sealed from that moment on. The Passover Seder Jesus later had with his own close inner circle came to be known in history as The Last Supper--complete with the matzoh and wine.
Some of my favorite quotes regarding all of this from the Roman sources themselves are included in my own new book http://q4j-middle-east.com. Here's a few from The Works of Tacitus, Volume II, Book V...
It inflamed Vespasian's ire that the Jews were the only nation which had not submitted...Titus was appointed by his father to complete the subjugation of Judaea... he commanded three legions in Judaea itself... To these he added the twelfth from Syria and the third and twenty-second from Alexandria... amongst his allies were a band of Arabs, formidable in themselves and harboring towards the Jews the bitter animosity usually subsisting between neighboring nations...
Despite the ups and downs of history, Jews have been fighting for freedom in the land of Israel before most other peoples ever made their historical debuts on the world scene.
To squash their further hopes for that freedom, the Roman emperor, Hadrian, renamed Judea Syria Palaestina after the Jews' historic enemies, the Philistines, after their second major revolt against the Empire.
The Philistines were the invading Sea People the Egyptians spoke of from the Greek isles in the Aegean Sea. Not only were they not Arabs, they were not even Semites.
Arabs mostly arrived in the land of Israel after they burst out of what is now Saudi Arabia in the 7th century C.E. and, launching their jihad, conquered north, south, east, and west. They would then claim, from that time onwards, that all of this was now part of the Dar ul-Islam and, in the later age of nationalism, simply "purely Arab patrimony." That's how Iran wound up partially Arabized to this day, half of the Indian subcontinet the same, and ditto for other lands and scores of millions of other non-Arab peoples throughout Kurdistan, North Africa, black Africa, Indonesia, and elsewhere as well. In the modern age, despite the constant whining, when compared to all of these other folks, Arab nationalism made out like a bandit...
During this Passover season, at a time when various Arab populations themselves are rising in revolt against their own assorted despots and scores of millions of non-Arab peoples remain subjugated, intimidated, and truly stateless, justice demands that the birth of Arab state #22 (their second, not first, within the original April 25, 1920 Mandate of Palestine...Jordan sits on 80% of the original area) must not come about via the gross endangerment of the Jews' sole, miniscule nation.