The Arab position on Israel hasn’t changed at all. Human mentality doesn’t change. About ninety years ago, a prince of Mecca named Faisal signed an agreement with Zionists recognizing the Jewish right to the land and actually welcomed Jews. His successor recently unveiled an Arab peace plan which ostensibly welcomes Jews in the Middle East. Saudi rulers even secured theological backing from their corrupt and subservient clergy for peace with Israel.

Egypt too, is fairly consistent in dealing with Jews. It fought Israel under king Farouk, communist Nasser, pragmatic Sadat, and cynical capitalist Mubarak. In Mubarak’s case the war is tacit, as Egypt allows Palestinian terrorists a free hand in supplying weapons. That policy is not new, either: Egypt supported Palestinian fellaheen fighters from 1948 to 1967, at which time Israel took over the Sinai and pushed Egypt far away. Israel fought Egypt in 1956 specifically because of its support of the fellaheen, and the US intervened on Egypt’s behalf: first diplomatically, then with a military threat to Israel.

Jordan’s policy hasn’t changed. It treats the West Bank as a Jordanian territory, has banned or ignored native Palestinian organizations from 1947 onwards, and intermittently hosted and ousted Palestinians. Jordan’s goal is clear: to swallow as much land as it can. Pursuing that objective, Jordan cooperates with Palestinians to destroy Israel, but keeps the Palestinians in check so that they don’t destabilize Jordan. If other Arab countries were to do away with Israel, Jordan would love that, but it doesn’t want to provoke its powerful Zionist neighbor. When Jordan had an upper hand against Israel, it annihilated virtually all traces of Jewish presence in Jerusalem, but when there is no hope of prevailing, Jordan is equally ready to sign peace treaty with Israel.

Palestinians could have proclaimed statehood long ago, but beyond the empty declaration of statehood by the PLO in Tunisia, they didn’t. For Palestinians, peace with Israel means accepting responsibility for their lives, which they cannot do. The Palestinian economy, meager before the 1940s, is irreparably damaged. A million-plus Gazans cannot meaningfully be employed; the refugees coming back from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Gaza would find no arable land for themselves. Some Palestinians will always be discontent, and the continued guerrilla attacks on Israel, even if reduced to a minimum, would still provoke retaliation, which would disrupt Palestinian attempts to build a normal life. A Palestinian state, no more the focus of the world’s anti-Semitism, would gradually lose massive foreign aid. In other Arab countries, agricultural improvement went slowly, and the influx of displaced peasants into cities was gradual, though even such gradual influx shifted national politics greatly. In the case of Palestine, refugees who have long lost any employment skills will flood the cities, double and triple their population, and make them into perpetual slums, where poverty breeds more poverty, one unemployed generation breeds another, and all of that breeds crime and terrorism. So the Palestinians leaders sensibly ask for maximum concessions from Israel in the peace process to delay their statehood as long as possible.

Iraqi Arab Nazis repressed the Jews, prompting their emigration in the late 1940s. Now that the US has occupied Iraq and manipulates its government as puppets, there is still no peace agreement with Israel.

Israel cooperated with the Shah of Iran even to the extent of helping him with his nuclear plans, but peace was not an option. Neither is it an option now, regardless of the Saudi peace plan.

Lebanon is too fragile to sign peace with Israel. Opposition would haunt the government which signed such an accord, and now that Iran-backed Hezbollah controls Lebanon, a peace treaty is altogether unlikely.

Syria was a prominent enemy of ancient Israel, and so it is now. Syria’s core territory includes a part of the Land of Israel, and the Syrian mentality, notorious even among Arabs, precludes any true peace with Israel.

This brings us to the question, what does peace with Arabs mean? Israel has peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, but comes nowhere close to normalization. The people of Egypt and Jordan are hostile to Israel, government media approves and fans the popular hatreds, and economic contacts are negligible (short of the few high-profile traitors of Jewish background using Jordan to skip on taxes and ecological regulations).

Centuries of prosperity made Westerners, including Jews, straightforward. That laziness of thought is often presented as honesty. Affluent people who live in established societies want a degree of honesty from others and offer it in return. The cultural phenomenon of honesty is not inbuilt: the medieval poets’ praise of knightly honesty was a blunt lie. And so the Arabs are not honest in the Western sense. They are not dishonest, either—just practical. Westerners, too, are not paragons of honesty or morality in foreign relations, but Arabs don’t even bother substantiating their whims with acceptable rhetoric.

And so the Arabs claim they want peace with Israel.