Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice President of the Conference of Presidents, is again asked why Obama is coming to Israel.
“Why is he coming? First they asked why he didn’t come. Now that he’s coming, they ask why he’s coming.”
Hoenlein’s view is that Obama is coming to Israel simply because of the constant attacks on him for not coming.
Still, I ask him, do you believe there is a danger that we will pay a political price for the visit—retreating from territory, freezing construction in Judea and Samaria, releasing terrorists from prison?
Hoenlein allows that the possibility exists. “But principally, as the White House said, the visit is meant to show the continuing friendship between the two countries.”
Hoenlein has been in the business for 35 years. When he warns of a danger, it’s not just because a Jew always has to worry. It’s a concrete warning—not least when we both know that there are Jews who will see to it that we have good reason to worry.
You can be quite sure that parallel to the official Israeli emissaries making their way to Washington at this time, there are a number of Israelis who make a living off the Palestinian issue going as emissaries of themselves.
Who is sponsoring these peace-mongering harbingers of terrorist attacks?
There are for-profit corporations, among them Israeli companies, that make their money from political consulting and brokering services. Their patrons include governments, government foundations, and intelligence bodies.
This is nothing new, though. In every generation there are people who work in the service of the enemy. Otherwise why would the prayer against informers be an integral part of the Amida prayer?
Judging by past experience, these brokers will offer their good offices—or have already offered them—to the State Department and the foreign media, both journalists writing background articles prior to Obama’s visit and those who will tag along during the trip. The brokers are already preparing beautifully produced folders with diagrams and flowcharts detailing the steps toward peace with the Palestinians and the prices to be paid: freezing Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria, giving away more of Area B, releasing terrorists from jail … forgetting only the additional price to be paid in blood.
These proposals have been floated previously, including several that were published in The New York Times. They are a cause for concern for the people of the State of Israel, who at the moment are living relatively peacefully.
Transferring parts of Areas B and C to the Palestinians would diminish the ability of the IDF to move around those areas. Enough blood has already been spilled for it to be crystal clear that Palestinian police officers simply don’t deliver the goods when it comes to providing security. Only the IDF does that. Moshe does the job. Moussa does not.
Benny Begin was among the first to see the problem with outsourcing Israeli security to the P.A. He was warning already in 1993 about people who during the day are P.A. policemen, but at night are terrorists. I spoke with him this week, and he discussed at length why he hasn’t changed his mind.
The release of terrorists, which is liable to accompany the surrender of territory, is a catalyst for terrorist attacks. It funnels high-quality manpower to the terrorist organizations and reduces Israel’s capacity to punish and deter the terrorists.
Ostensibly, the rationale for “gestures” such as these is that the world will see that the Palestinians fail to reciprocate and then stand at our side.
The problem is that it never worked. And it still doesn’t.
Every gesture or concession simply sets the stage for the next set of Israeli concessions. Menachem Begin thought that the evacuation of Sinai would save Judea and Samaria. Then came the pressure on Shamir to participate in the Madrid Conference. Then the retreat from Gush Katif was supposed to save Judea and Samaria. No sooner was the retreat from Gaza completed than the world renewed its pressure on Israel to withdraw from from Judea and Samaria.
Isn’t it time to switch approaches and change direction, to bring something truly new to the political arena, to put up an iron wall that will stand up against these pressures? To signal that the era of limited political endurance and insufficient national stamina is finally over?
Yet the Right is complacent, perhaps because everyone is busy with the Herculean task of assembling the next governing coalition. Likud officials are all waiting to find out what positions they will receive. Even the hawks among them have therefore fallen silent. The organizations of the Right are on sabbatical, waiting for the political leadership.
After an aggressive electoral campaign by the rightist parties in which they stressed the need to bring as many of their members as possible into the Knesset, the public is left waiting for them, including Jewish Home legislators who promised a different kind of leadership and “something new.”
Unfortunately, the Jewish Home seems to have lost its bearings. Instead of initiating a discussion of concerns of a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria, or warning about the danger that terrorists will be let loose, it is spending energy fighting against the Ya’alon Plan and for the advancement of the Bennett-Lapid alliance. This is what matters to them? This is what they were elected to do?
What is in store for the alliance with the Yesh Atid party? The National Religious Party already did the same thing ten years ago, when it made a similar deal with Yair Lapid’s late father. That partnership failed to hold up under pressure. The deal they made gave Tommy Lapid most of what he wanted and gave Ariel Sharon the majority he needed to uproot Gush Katif.
Who is the senior defense official in Yesh Atid? Former ISA head Yaakov Peri. Peri is one of the leaders of the Geneva Initiative. Is he really going to stand with the Jewish Home when push comes to shove?
The general nationalist public, including Israelis in Judea and Samaria, is resting peacefully, putting its trust in the new politicians it has elected. It will be interesting to see when the public figures out that it has to guard its own interests.
Originally published in Makor Rishon on February 15, 2013, under the title, “Obama and the Jewish Problem.” Translated from Hebrew by David Greenberg.Meir Indor
About the Author: Lt.-Col. (ret.) Meir Indor is CEO of Almagor Terror Victims Association. In his extended career of public service, he has worked as a journalist, founded the Libi Fund, Sar-El, Habaita, among many other initiatives, and continues to lend his support to other pressing causes of the day.
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