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Arab Journalist Warns Israel Not to Be Too Optimistic About Geneva Conference

A leading Egyptian journalist has warned his readers that the Israeli vision of normal peaceful relations between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors is not at all what the Arabs themselves have in mind. Sallah Jowdat, writing in a recent issue of the magazine “Al-Mussawar,” said that a normal, neighborly peace-“sulh” in the full sense of the word-could only come about “if the Jews of Palestine….live together with the Arabs of Palestine in a secular state with no racialist characteristics whatsoever, and within the numerical proportions that existed before 1948.”

Only if the Jews who arrived after 1948 returned to their countries of origin, leaving solely the pre-1948 Palestinian Jews and their children in the country alongside the Palestinian Arabs-only then could the term “sulh”-perhaps-be used Jowdat explained. He wrote that Arabic has two words to translate the English term “peace”-“sulh” and “salaam.” After 1967, he recalled, Golda Meir had said that she wanted Salaam to prevail so that she could drive in her car to Cairo or Damascus and go shopping there. Jowdat warned that the Geneva conference might confuse the two terms Sulh and Salaam-but as far as the Arabs were concerned this was to be strictly a Salaam conference, not a Sulh conference. If Israel agreed to withdraw totally from all the Arab lands that it had taken in 1967 and also to restore the rights of the Palestinian people-then on that basis the war and the armed struggle could come to an end, he said.

But that would not mean that Mrs. Meir would then be able to go shopping in Cairo or Damascus or Amman-which would imply the existence of diplomatic relations between Israel and the Arabs, as well as economic and human ties, Jowdat stated, “We rejected that when we were beaten and impotent, How much more so do we reject it now when we have conquered our defent and approached the borders of victory?” he wrote. “Now we are able to attain peace by force of arms-but we have preferred to try first to attain it through diplomacy. Perhaps the efforts of the entire international community will succeed in bringing Israel back to its senses, so that it return to the 1967 lines and restore the rights of the Palestinians. Then there will be ‘salaam’-but not ‘sulh.'”

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