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Letter From Shimon

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From: Shimon Peres, Peacemaker-at-Large
To:  Mr. Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister’s Office
Kiryat Ben Gurion, Jerusalem
Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

As we continue to prepare the merging of the Likud and the Israeli Labor Party into a national unity coalition that will expel the Jewish settlers from Gaza and turn it over to the PLO, I wanted to share with you some of the wisdom I have accumulated in my years of implementing such programs. There are a number of critical components of any successful implementation of a program for peace. Here are the most important ones.

A. The thinking behind any program must be completely divorced from reality. You must insist that history is irrelevant and that one cannot learn anything at all from the past behavior of the PLO nor from anything else in history, insisting that this time the PLO really will cooperate and comply with its obligations.

B. You must repeatedly tell the Israeli public that there is no choice but to carry out the program, no matter how foolish or harmful it is. Admitting that there is a choice will simply trigger public debate and that is the last thing you should allow. You worked this one like a charm when you sold them that “prisoner exchange” of yours with Hizbullah.

Claims that there is just no choice should be accompanied by speeches about how unbearable the status quo is and how things could not possibly be any worse. The public has a very restricted imagination and has trouble conceiving things being a lot worse than they are. Rabin and I played this card like masters back in ’93!

C. When challenged to prove that your program will reduce violence, insist that the only way to find out for sure is to just go ahead and implement it. Accuse your critics of inability to prove your program will fail. Accuse them of engaging in empty speculation and futurology.

D. Tell the public that your program is just an experiment to explore possibilities, and insist that if it really fails and produces increased carnage, Israel can always reverse itself and re-occupy the lands that have been turned over to the PLO. Of course, nothing you do really is

reversible, but by the time the public figures that out, years will have gone by. And, anyway, you are unlikely to still be in office.

E. This is the most important item of all. Under NO circumstances whatsoever must you ever subject your plan or program to any sort of testing. You must never agree to halfway measures just to see how the PLO responds, because doing so will just show how stupid and harmful your program is and then you will never be able to implement it in full. You must rule out any need for testing the intentions of the PLO or the efficacy of your plan.

F. When the first signs of failure and disaster caused by your plan begin to materialize, you must emphasize that the results might not be perfect but the country is infinitely better off due to the implementation of your plan. And you must insist that any signs of failure are due to

interference by the opposition to the plan and to the fact that the plan has still not been implemented properly in full.

G. This is also crucial. You must NEVER allow Israeli voters to have a say on whether or not to adopt your plan. The best strategy is to run for office on a platform opposing your plan, and then implement it after the election. No ballot initiative experiments, please, Arik. Where
do you think you are, California?

H. Never underestimate the supreme value of endless chanting of silly political slogans. Things like, “We can no longer rule over another people,” or “Two states for two peoples,” or “We have been a greedy insensitive people,” or “Jail all inciters!” or “There just are no military solutions to the problems of terrorism.” The Labor Party has used these with some success and now you should also.

I guarantee it, Arik, you play your cards right and you can come out of this with a Nobel Prize, large enough to pay off your campaign finance debts!

Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book ‘The Scout’ is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steven_plaut@yahoo.com

About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

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