Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his successor Ehud Olmert justified unilateral disengagement on the grounds that we were obliged to take initiatives to break the impasse in the absence of a Palestinian peace partner.
In order to implement this, 7,500 Israelis were uprooted from their homes and even now, a year later, most have yet to be permanently resettled. Subsequent events, climaxing with the Lebanon war, demonstrated the disastrous repercussions arising from this policy.
Today our enemies are emboldened. Some even believe their dream of destroying the Jewish state may now be realized.
Yet worse is in the offing. Facing enormous pressure from allies whose support they seek for the impending confrontation with the Iranians, Washington – which had hitherto steadfastly endorsed our refusal to negotiate with terrorists – has tilted its policy to appear more “evenhanded.”
Once again it is urging us to bolster the “moderate” Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority.
THE REALITY is that despite wearing a suit and tie and talking to Westerners like a moderate, Abbas is simply paying lip service to a two-state policy – with the caveat that it must incorporate the “right of return” of Arab refugees; a prescription for our demise.
More importantly, before Hamas won the election Abbas reigned over a regime whose central pillars – cultural, religious and educational – were based on sanctifying the murder of Jews as a supreme religious and national objective.
Mothers of suicide bombers appeared on official PA TV exulting the martyrdom of their sons; PA broadcasts of sermons in mosques called on congregants to kill Jews; schools, kindergartens and summer camps brainwashed children into accepting suicide bombers as ultimate role models.
While occasionally condemning violence in remarks to the Western media, Abbas hailed families of suicide bombers as heroes and personally authorized them to receive a $250 monthly stipend. A recent PA Ministry of Culture book of the month honored Hanadi Jaradat, the suicide bomber who blew up 21 people at a Haifa restaurant. Wafa Idris, the first woman suicide bomber, has become a Palestinian role model for feminism. Football teams are named after “martyrs.”
At least Hamas is honest about its evil intent to destroy Israel. But the reality is that Abbas’s Fatah movement’s armed wings are responsible for murdering far more Israelis than Hamas has.
TO MAKE matters worse, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is now actually urging Abbas to form a unity government with Hamas. The only obstacle is that Hamas insists on retaining its weapons and adamantly refuses – even insincerely – to express an incantation implying that it could ever accept the existence of the “Zionist entity.”
Rice had previously coerced Sharon and his defense minister Shaul Mofaz into handing over control of the Philadelphi route between Sinai and Gaza to the Egyptians. Not surprisingly, the Egyptians reneged on their undertakings and a massive flow of armaments and terrorists have been pouring into Gaza along that route.
Yet today the Americans are pressing Israel to ease security requirements at all checkpoints for “humanitarian reasons,” in order to bolster Abbas.
Rice had previously insisted that Israel endorse the transfer of weapons to Palestinian security forces to strengthen the PA. Although reluctant, Olmert agreed to do so in May on the grounds that “we need to help Abu Mazen.” Rice has announced that the US will also fund the expansion of the Abbas Presidential Guard from 2,500 to 6,000 troops.
Nobody, including our own government, seemed concerned that since Oslo weapons provided to Palestinian security personnel had been used to murder Israelis. Nor has the government drawn attention to the fact that Abbas is still trying desperately to persuade Hamas killers to merge with the PA security, which already incorporates Fatah murderers.
ONE GAINS the impression that all the lessons of the Oslo disaster, including the pledge not to provide concessions without reciprocity, are being placed in cold storage.
Like a sick parody, we are once again operating on the premise that the PA – even as Kassams rain down on the south – is once again going to become our peace partner. And, worst of all, our government is trying to spin this sad reversal into a victory!
All this, of course, raises the oft-quoted analogies to the pre-WWII appeasement. In fact, the current situation may be worse.
In the 1930s, the Nazis had yet to demonstrate the full extent of their intent to implement mass murder. Today, however, the Islamic fundamentalists have already displayed a track record of murder and make no secret of their intentions.
The Iranian threat to wipe Israel off the map with a nuclear weapon, now emboldened by North Korea, creates a scenario for the next potential Tisha Be’av. Israel may soon be pressured to assume the role of Czechoslovakia in 1935, which was sacrificed on the altar of appeasement to enable the cowardly Europeans to achieve an illusory peace with the Nazis.
That betrayal gave birth to the Hitler of the Holocaust. Appeasing the Islamo-fascists now could also lead to untold consequences.
We have just ended a war in Lebanon which was ignited by the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by Hizbullah shortly after an earlier kidnap of a soldier by Hamas. All three soldiers still remain in captivity – yet we are being urged to negotiate with those seeking to form a coalition with all the kidnappers. According to reports, we have already conveyed a willingness to exchange 1,000 terrorists for one soldier; but Hamas rebuffed us.
We are currently being led by people who seem to have forsaken any vestige of common sense. Lacking the confidence of the nation they are incapable of resisting unreasonable demands from our American friends because, as lame ducks, they desperately need to cling to the coattails of the American administration.
IF REALPOLITIK obliges us to take steps that may weaken our security, we should at least do so under protest and inform our supporters of the dangers that such demands will impose on our future. By implicitly endorsing the nonsense being promoted about our moderate Palestinian “peace partners” we are paving the way for more demands and concessions that will undoubtedly cost us dearly in the future.
At the very least, we should be launching information campaigns to expose the hypocrisy and deceit of our fraudulent peace partners and reminding the world that appeasement emboldens and encourages terrorists everywhere.
The writer chairs the Diaspora-Israel relations committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and is a veteran Jewish international leader. firstname.lastname@example.org
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