To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.
The terrorists have struck against Israeli civilians in the heart of Israel once again. Last week we witnessed yet another horrific suicide bombing on an Israeli bus in Jerusalem, this one
killing at least 17 and wounding dozens more.
As Yogi Berra would say, it is deja vu all over again.
Once again, a ‘cease-fire’ is being proposed in which Arabs can go on killing Jews while
the whole world demands that the Jews refrain from shooting back to kill their murderers.
Where have we heard this formula before? And exactly how many murders of Israeli children should be considered tolerable and ‘within reason’?
‘Tolerable levels of carnage’ have been the basis of every Israeli ‘cease-fire agreement’ with the Arabs over the past decade. The Oslo Accords with the PLO were clearly based on
controlled carnage. The PLO went through some rhetorical hoops and issued some duplicitous
‘denunciations’ of terror, but soon enough it and its Islamist affiliates returned to their routine of
murder and bombing.
All the deals worked out by Israel with Hizbullah and Lebanon were similar. Before Ehud
Barak’s capitulation in Lebanon in 2000, when Israel agreed to a unilateral withdrawal in
exchange for absolutely zilch, a similar ‘tolerable level of carnage’ agreement was in place there. Hizbullah terrorists could murder a few Israeli soldiers each week, but as long as they only rarely fired shells into civilian towns in northern Israel, Israel agreed to take no meaningful action against Hizbullah, its bases and its Syrian (let alone Iranian) puppet masters.
Ever since Ehud Barak’s parody of Dunkirk, the same rules have applied in Lebanon. Hizbullah has murdered Israeli civilians along the border since the Israeli total withdrawal from
southern Lebanon. It has kidnaped several Israeli soldiers as well as one civilian, and it fires
anti-aircraft shells into Israel almost every day. These shells have injured and killed. But under
the ‘tolerable levels of carnage’ scenario, Israel does nothing in response.
It is not exactly a serendipitous revelation that as part of the ballyhooed ‘road map,’ yet
another Oslo deal is being struck now, and once again it is to be a ‘tolerable level of carnage’
arrangement. How do we know? Because the chief of staff of the Prime Minister’s Office,
attorney Dov Weisglass, confirmed it recently in an interview with the IMRA news service. His exact words were, “All we are asking the PA (Palestinian Authority) to do is to reduce terrorism to a tolerable level.” He did not spell out how many murders of Jewish children he would regard as tolerable.
I doubt anyone seriously thought the U.S. was going to condition its diktats to Israel regarding the road map on anything as unlikely as the Palestinians actually forgoing the pleasure of murdering Jews. It was pretty obvious from the start that the White House and the State Department would settle for some duplicitous statement from Arafat or from his new figleaf -
‘Prime Minister’ Abu Mazen - expressing vague “regret” for homicide bombings.
The U.S. would ask for private PLO assurances that they really are doing their utmost to track down the terrorists. (The Hamas leaders like the one Israel tried to assassinate last week,
angering President Bush in the process, are the same Hamas and Jihad leaders Arafat himself was supposed to whack under the Oslo Accords; the PLO can never seem to find Hamas and Jihad terror leaders, unlike the CNN and BBC camera crews.) After a few weeks of this charade, the U.S. will announce that the PLO has done everything it reasonably can be expected to do.
The PLO is already insisting that it cannot take more effective action against the terrorists (most of whom these days are from the PLO factions under Arafat’s and Abu Mazen’s direct
command and control) because its security apparatus has been crippled by Israeli reprisal actions. Even after Abu Mazen ‘took over,’ not a day has gone by without new Palestinian atrocities, most carried out by Arafat?s own tightly controlled militias.
The White House will eventually agree with the PLO’s posturing and insist that now it is
Israel’s turn to demonstrate its good will by agreeing to new concessions to the PLO, new
appeasements and ‘goodwill gestures.’ In particular, it will demand that Israel once again abide
by a unilateral cease-fire in which ‘tolerable levels of carnage’ are observed. Hence, the Jewish
state of Israel will be the only country on earth whose anti-terrorist defense policy is to be
governed by the principles of pure Christianity, turning of the other cheek at every offense.
The road map is based on demands that Israel voluntarily insert its neck into a noose for the sake of peace, while the Arabs solemnly promise never to pull on the rope. The U.S. will
guarantee that the Arabs will not pull that rope, unless of course the State Department again loses the document with the guarantee, like it did in 1967. You may recall that the U.S. guaranteed Israel in 1957 that the Straits of Tiran would remain open if Israel withdrew from Sinai at that time. Ten years later, in 1967, the Straits were closed by Egypt to Israeli shipping in what amounted to an act of war. The State Department did not take military action on Israel’s behalf.
In 1957 Israel sacrificed strategic assets, land, lives, and treasure in order to deliver a
goodwill gesture to the Arabs, in exchange for U.S. guarantees. Those guarantees proved
worthless. And similar guarantees to check Arab terrorism after the implementation of the road map may, too, prove worthless, as the terrorists unleash a new war of annihilation against Israel.
Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book ‘The Scout’ is available
through Amazon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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