A top Syrian businessman at the weekend insisted that the Middle East peace process is a farce, and that there will never be peace or coexistence between average Arabs and the Jews of Israel.
"Don't let the moderate Arab leaders delude you," Yasser Kashlak, who is of Palestinian descent, said on Hizballah's al-Manar television, "[you] cannot make peace with us."
"Our children will return to Palestine, you have no reason for coexistence," he continued. "Even if our leaders will sign a peace agreement, we will not sign."
Kashlak is financing a flotilla of ships departing from Lebanon with the intent of breaking the Israeli maritime blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. He said the Jews of Israel should seriously consider getting on those ships and returning to Europe, as they will never find peace in the Middle East.
During his tirade, Kashlak referred to the Jews as "Europe's refuse," suggesting that Jews are foreign to the Middle East, a concept those supportive of the "Palestinian cause" have long advocated. It ignores the fact that there has been an unbroken Jewish presence in the region for at least 3,000 years. That presences has been documented by successive ancient empires from the Assyrians to the Babylonians to the Persians to the Greeks and, most thoroughly, by the Romans.
Kashlak's remarks also ignored the general consensus that relations between average Palestinians and Jews on the ground in Israel were far better before the introduction of Yasser Arafat's PLO as the representative of the Palestinians. In the absence of the Arab leaders Kashlak derides, and the extremist Muslim figures they opened the door to, most Jews and Arabs tend to get along.