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.
But Taba itself was not the real point of the dispute so much as whether Israel should be allowed to keep even a square inch of the territory it gained in 1967. If Israel were allowed to keep anything, it would serve to confirm that Israel had indeed fought in self-defense and that it therefore had a right to some territorial gains.
It is, however, precisely the notion that Israel fought in self-defense that the Arabs are unable to accept. They have always said the creation of Israel in 1948 was in itself an act of aggression against the Arabs and nothing an “aggressor” does can be seen as legitimate self-defense. In the end, Egypt got Taba. Sadat, assassinated in 1981, was declared a “martyr for peace” by the Western media, which preferred to ignore the fact that the killing occurred at a parade where Sadat was celebrating Egypt’s 1973 Yom Kippur attack on Israel.
To this day, Arab policy insists on the return of all territories gained by Israel in 1967 – including East Jerusalem with Judaism’s holiest site, the Western Wall, as well as its traditional Jewish Quarter. After 40 years, the likelihood of any Arab regime agreeing to anything less remains slim to none.
With Israel having accepted for so long to the idea of giving up land for (a questionable) peace, it is no surprise that more and more of the world has come to view it as an occupying aggressor.
Now Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who not long ago called Golan “an inseparable part of the state of Israel,” is sending out feelers to Syria, offering to give up all of the Golan – despite the vast majority of Israelis being opposed to such a move. What is more, it would mean uprooting at least 20,000 Israelis from their homes, giving up a third of Israel’s fresh water, relinquishing the military advantage of being close to Damascus, and putting the Syrians back on the heights overlooking eastern Galilee.
Not only does Syria demand the entire Golan, but the Syrians also insist on the return of certain bits of land (below the Golan) they held from 1948-1967 that were originally excluded from Syria according to the international boundary drawn by Britain and France in 1923. That would put the Syrians on the northeastern shore of Lake Kinneret, Israel’s main source of fresh water.
Whereas Menachem Begin was pressured by Jimmy Carter into giving up all of Sinai, the Bush administration has indicated it would prefer that Israel not negotiate with Syria at this time since the Syrian government has close ties with a number of terrorist groups as well as Iran. But Olmert shows no sign of being deterred. With his approval rating in the single digits for months now, he has already let it be known he feels fully justified in defying the will of the majority.
Relinquishing the Golan would also be different because the region, officially annexed by Israel in 1981, is an integral part of the country. In order to legally negotiate giving up Golan, one would think the government would first have to ask the Knesset to repeal or otherwise cancel the annexation. But, as we saw when the Rabin-Peres government negotiated with the PLO in Oslo in defiance of what was then Israeli law, Israeli governments tend to see themselves as above the law.
Olmert seems to believe (without any real evidence) that the Golan can be used to lure Syria out of its close ties with Iran, whose government is publicly pledged to Israel’s destruction. Syria’s Assad regime is a dictatorship, with the government largely run by members of the tiny Alawite minority, themselves a spin-off of Shia Islam. The large majority of Syrians are Sunnis, who are bound to eventually regain power in some form. Interestingly, Farid Ghadry, leader of the pro-democracy Syrian Reform Party, recently visited Israel and urged the government not to negotiate with Assad, saying that would only serve to strengthen his dictatorship.
And there is also the possibility, not only in Syria but in Egypt as well, of the Muslim Brotherhood (of which Hamas is an offshoot) eventually coming to power and renouncing any and all agreements with Israel.
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Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.
Golden presents a compelling saga of poor but determined immigrants who fled pogroms and harsh conditions in their homelands for a better life in a land of opportunity.
Too many self-styled civil rights activists seemed determined to force, by their relentless pressure, an indictment regardless of what an investigation might turn up.
Egypt’s al-Sisi is in an expansionist mood. He wants Israel’s permission to take over Judea and Samaria.
Cries of justice for Michael Brown drowned out any call for justice for Police Officer Daryl Wilson.
Cloistered captain Obama, touts his talents and has the temerity to taunt Bibi,his besieged ally
Former PM Ariel Sharon succinctly said, “the fate of Netzarim (Gush Katif) is the fate of Tel-Aviv.”
Unrest in YESHA and J’m helps Abbas and Abdullah defuse anger, gain politically and appear moderates
A “Shliach” means to do acts with complete devotion and dedication in order to help bring Moshiach.
Here, things seem to get a little hazy, why should a Jewish State “based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel” confine itself to ensuring “complete equality… irrespective of religion, race, etc.”, especially when this includes “Arab inhabitants” who launched an “onslaught” against the State, months before it even existed? […]
“We don’t just care for the children; we make sure they have the best quality of life.”
A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution political cartoon depicted Rudy Giuliani attempting to explain his campaign strategy: “The strategy is, lose every primary and become the Republican nominee.” To which his listeners replied: “So far so good.”
In the aftermath of the Six-Day War, Israelis were convinced that peace with the Arabs was finally at hand. That thinking was based on the notion that the war had proven Israel’s invincible presence in the region. If Israel was unbeatable, they reasoned, what choice would the Arabs have other than to make peace?
It comes across as a classic Right-Left dispute. Liberals, led by Al Gore, claim global warming is due mainly to human activity and something must be done before it is too late. Conservatives question that and are quick to accuse the Left of scare tactics fueled by a desire to expand the powers of government. Yet if we put our emotions aside, reasonable discourse can take place and rational conclusions can be drawn.
Nowadays many people claim our situation In Iraq is becoming more and more like it was in Vietnam. One major criticism of our effort in Vietnam was the absence of an exit strategy. In war planning the term “exit strategy” doesn’t necessarily mean cut and run, as some mistakenly believe. Rather, it is simply defining how you plan to bring the war to an end. In Vietnam, it was beyond the capabilities of both the Johnson and Nixon administrations to devise such a strategy.
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