Prof. Moshe Sharon teaches Islamic History at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
This important column appeared in OUTPOST the publication of Americans for a Safe Israel. Professor Sharon was the featured speaker at our national conference…..rsk
Everybody says that his donkey is a horse.There is no tax on words.
(Two Arab proverbs)
On December 25, 1977, at the very beginning of the negotiations between Israel and Egypt in Ismailia, I had the opportunity to have a short discussion with Muhammad Anwar Sadat the president of Egypt. “Tell your Prime Minister,” he said, “that this is a bazaar; the merchandize is expensive.” I told my Prime Minister but he failed to abide by the rules of the bazaar. The failure was not unique to him alone. It is the failure of all the Israeli governments and the media.
On March 4, 1994, I published an article in The Jerusalem Post called “Novices in Negotiations”. The occasion was the conclusion of the “Cairo Agreement”. A short time later, Yasser Arafat, proved yet again that his signature was not worth the ink of his pen let alone the paper to which it was attached, and his word was worth even less. Then, as in every subsequent agreement Israel was taken aback when her concessions had become the basis for fresh Arab demands.
In Middle Eastern bazaar diplomacy, agreements are kept not because they are signed but because they are imposed. Besides, in the bazaar of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the two sides are not discussing the same merchandize. The Israelis wish to acquire peace based on the Arab-Muslim acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state. The objective of the Arabs is to annihilate the Jewish state, replace it with an Arab state, and get rid of the Jews.