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If the ideas put forward at the recent Herzliya Conference are any indication, both the classic Right and religious Right are captive to the Oslo paradigm and the consciousness that produced it. Neither has any alternative to the proposals of the Ehud (Olmert) & Ehud (Barak) government.
From Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech, it seemed that he had memorized Shimon Peres’s book, The New Middle East, before ascending to the speaker’s podium. Netanyahu spoke of joint industrial parks to help the Gazans become wealthy and extinguish their desire to fight. The catch is that this solution has already been tried. The abandoned industrial parks in Atarot and the Erez Crossing, both refurbished to fulfill Peres’s dream, should be sufficient proof that joint economic ventures are not the solution.
Since Oslo’s inception, the Left has taunted the Right with the fact that it has no non-Oslo alternative. Foreign Minster Peres’s pointed question to Opposition head Netanyahu during the Knesset’s Oslo debate, “And what is your alternative?” made clear from the very start that the classic Right had no answer to Oslo. Netanyahu’s speech at the Herzliya Conference simply highlighted that fact. Is it any wonder that when the Right rises to power in Israel, it is still the Left that actually rules?
But why should we complain about Netanyahu? The religious Right is also captive to the consciousness of the Left. “We must safeguard Nasrallah as the leader of Hizbullah and not attempt to eliminate him,” religious-rightist General Yaakov Amidror said at the Herzliya Conference.
When Yasir Arafat was on his deathbed, I published an article entitled, “Quick! Kill Him Before He Dies!” On the surface, the call to kill the admired arch-terrorist when he was about to die anyway was patently illogical. Why should Israel set itself up for a violent Arab reaction when the contemptible scum was about to do the world a favor and make his exit on his own?
The answer is simple. There is an intrinsic bond between justice and security. True, a good army, modern weapons and sophisticated intelligence are all prerequisites for security. But nothing will help a country that is not armed with justice. When Israel signed the Oslo Accords, it signed away its most vital armament. Rabin’s White House lawn handshake with the head of the Palestine (all of it) Liberation (from all the Jews) Organization was an announcement by Israel that it accepts the justice of the Arab claim on the entire Land of Israel. Oslo relegated Israel to the role of Jewish colonialists who want nothing more from the “native” Palestinians than to do a little business.
My call to eliminate Arafat did not stem from pragmatic considerations. It was a desperate attempt to restore Israel’s sense of justice. I didn’t think that we should kill him because it would effectively stop terror in the short term. I called to kill him because that was the just thing to do.
The Oslo pragmatism that surrenders the concept of justice from the outset has wreaked havoc on Israel’s security. Today, it is in the worst state that it has been since the War of Independence. Israel’s civilian population has become a legitimate target for daily shelling. Post-Oslo Israel has allowed the Arabs to arm themselves with tens of thousands of missiles, covering all of Israel with conventional and non-conventional ballistic weapons. In just a short time, Iran will complete the development of the icing on the cake. But an Israel that lacks faith in its own justice is incapable of explaining to the parents of its soldiers why it must go to war to eliminate the existential threat. It will clearly not gain world support to attack Iran – because Israel has already admitted that there is no real justification for its own existence.
Maybe those Israeli leaders who are detached from their Jewish identity no longer view justice as an absolute value. They may consider it a primitive artifact of times past, irrelevant to the post-modern era. “We will give them honor and they will give us peace,” Peres and his Oslo cohorts repeated time and again. From those who want no connection to their Jewish identity, maybe that’s all we can expect. But when the religious Right repeats the Oslo mantras, all of our early-warning systems should be blinking. More than anything else, such statements proclaim Israel’s desperate need for authentic Jewish leadership that is confident in the justice of the Jewish nation in the Land of Israel.
(Translated from the article that appeared in the Makor Rishon newspaper.)