Ze’ev Jabotinsky was a Zionist prophet whose words should still be remembered:
“A great commotion is currently afoot in Zionism, caused by the community of the seekers of peace, whose intention is to achieve (by way, of course, of preaching to the Jews alone) agreement with the Arabs. Frankly, it is difficult to avoid a feeling of nausea: so soon after such an abject and abominable slaughter, and we are advised to plead guilty and beg that we not be beaten again. Even I, with all my contempt for the mainstream Zionism of our time, did not expect abject pleading of this kind. Despite this, it is necessary to suppress the feeling of disgust and once more to deal in detail with this matter.
Peace with the Arabs is, of course, to be desired. There is no need for a discussion on this matter among the Jews. All of us, one hundred percent of us, want peace. And there could have been peace already (true peace, founded not on love, but on objective factors) if the ruling regime in the Land of Israel had acted differently: if the Arabs had seen England declare, in a determined way, its intention to aid Jewish immigration, and not to tolerate violence.
If they had seen such a policy in action, indicated by positive signs in all aspects of the activities of the government, then peace would already have come. The Arabs are a relatively wise people, wise enough not to attempt to demolish an iron wall with their bare hands, or even with a stick, if they believe that it really is made of iron. If they believed this, then none would pay attention to the inciters, and at their head would stand moderate, reasonable leaders, and thank God, such people are not lacking on our side, they exist, rather, in their multitudes, without reference to the circumstances of the time. Thus, the two sides would rapidly reach understanding.
The Arabs would then be given understandings regarding equal rights, their right to earn a fair living, cultural autonomy, and in general everything which we seek for ourselves in all the countries of the world. And thus peace would be achieved. Instead of this, however, the government acted as the chief inciter. Consequently, there is no peace.
I have met with our peace-seekers many times, and at every meeting I asked them: why do you spend all your time preaching morality to the Jews? Go to the Arabs, and find out from them under what conditions they are willing to come to terms with us. And I am certainly not the only one to have asked this question. Nevertheless, they insist on not approaching the Arabs. Rather, they are gravely insulted when others approach the Arabs, and present to them the plans of the peace-seekers and ask how they, the Arabs, view these plans.
Three years ago Ernst Davis, a correspondent for a Berlin newspaper in Jerusalem, visited the offices of an Arab newspaper and interviewed the editor with regard to these peace proposals. Davis published in full his own remarks and the responses of the Arab editor. Davis` words faithfully reflected the point of view of the advocates of compromise: so faithfully in fact, that even the institutions of this camp did not find, despite their best efforts, a single deviation. Despite this, they were furious with Davis, because the answer of the Arab editor was absolutely clear: I do not want peace, until you give up the Balfour Declaration, and most importantly: the immigration which is being carried out without our agreement. You want to make peace with us? Then agree to place all the affairs of the country, most importantly the matter of your immigration, before a parliament with an Arab majority.
We all want peace with the Arabs. But we cannot purchase it with this concession which the Arabs demand of us. This must be taken into account. Thus, the true road to peace in the country, that is to say to the imposition of order in the country and the prevention of violence, is to be found in the practical maintenance of order, and this is a matter for the government, and a matter for the `political campaign`. Another way does not exist.
(Written in 1928 by Ze’ev Jabotinsky.)
Contributed to Jewocity by Ronn Torossian, a former head of Betar USA.