Published in The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle
On the verge of the complete defeat of the Palestinian terror apparatus and the total collapse of the failed
Palestinian Authority regime in the West Bank, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is negotiating with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to prepare a joint declaration for the upcoming “peace” summit, to provide a “political horizon” for the future establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and thereby give terror another life.
If a Palestinian state with part of Jerusalem as its capital were to be established, the worst-case scenario of a second Hamastan and another Gaza in the West Bank will become a reality. The state would pose a daily terrorist threat from Katyusha and Kassam rockets, putting in peril 80 percent of Israel’s population and its economic centers. Compromising Israel’s strategic territorial assets will not bring Israel peace, but will endanger Israel’s long-term survival, as history has repeatedly shown us.
The Bush administration and the Olmert government have repeatedly stated the old myth that only the establishment of a Palestinian state will end the Arab-Israeli conflict and bring peace and stability to the Middle East.
Following the Oslo agreement, under which the Israel military withdrew from most West Bank cities and towns, Arafat and the PA were given the autonomy and financial resources to establish a terrorist infrastructure in Judea and Samaria. In the summer of 2000, still believing in that myth, Israeli PM Barak offered Arafat generous territorial concessions that included the establishment of a Palestinian state in 97 percent of the West Bank and Gaza and a capital in Jerusalem. Arafat needed only to agree to end the conflict and cease hostilities with the Jewish state. In response, Arafat began a campaign of terror against Israel, killing more than 1,000 innocent Israelis and injuring more than 5,000 in three years, before the Israeli army went back into
the West Bank cities and, with sheer military force, vanquished much of the terrorism.
When former U.S. negotiator Dennis Ross sought to understand the failure of the Oslo peace process of the 1990s in which he was an active participant, he zeroed in on the need to bring about a “transformation” of political attitudes and a change in the psyche of the Palestinian people toward the acceptance of a Jewish state, which the Palestinian leadership has failed to encourage. He pointed to the education and indoctrination to hatred and violence that Palestinian children receive at summer camps and in school textbooks as well as the incitement against Israel by Palestinian institutions and leadership, concluding “that no negotiation is likely to succeed if there is one environment at the negotiation table and another on the street.”
History shows that for an evil ideology to be crushed and eradicated from the hearts and the minds of its people, that evil regime must first be forced to collapse and fail militarily, politically and economically. If the regime is allowed to be saved, it can, through false propaganda, perpetuate a perception of victory.
After the Nazi regime was defeated militarily, its political leadership and its education, legal and economic systems had to collapse, be removed and change for a new, democratic Germany to rise. The Communist totalitarian regime of the Soviet Union had to collapse, as well, in order for a new, democratic Eastern Europe to rise. The Reagan administration undertook such a strong military buildup that the Soviets could not keep up without destroying their economy. President Reagan did not try to negotiate and save them. He let them collapse, and the Cold War was over.
The Olmert government, like the governments led by Prime Ministers Rabin, Sharon and Barak, seems to believe that when the Palestinians are weak and on a verge of total collapse, that is the time to save them politically and, in the process, weaken Israel strategically. They explain repeatedly that there are more dangers for Israel in continuing the status quo.
In 1993, when Arafat and his PLO were on their deathbed politically and financially, the Rabin government brought him and his terrorists back with the signing of the Oslo agreement. In 2005, Hamas leaders were on the run and in hiding when Prime Minister Sharon decided to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza. Since then, Hamas won a landslide victory in the January 2006 parliamentary elections in Gaza and the West Bank. In surveys after the Israeli withdrawal, 84 percent of Palestinians perceived the disengagement as a retreat and a victory for the Hamas “armed resistance.”
Now Israel is negotiating for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West bank with Abbas and Fatah after they were handily defeated in parliamentary elections and after their forces were routed from Gaza by Hamas in less than two days.
Following Fatah’s defeat in Gaza, the Bush and Olmert administrations decided that now Israel has an opportunity for real peace because Fatah and Hamas are different: Fatah and its leader, Abbas, are “moderate” Palestinians who believe in a two-state solution.
Olmert recently told his cabinet that “The situation now is different than in the past and that for the first time , there is Palestinian leadership that genuinely wants peace,” and that, after holding a series of talks with Abbas, he was convinced that he “is against terrorism and is ready for a serious dialogue.” Scarily, I remember those exact words uttered by PM Rabin about Arafat.
Wait for change
It is irresponsible and naive to ignore the fact that Abbas is a man who wrote his doctoral dissertation denying the Holocaust and was Arafat’s Number 2 for the 37-year-long campaign of terror against Israel. Since Arafat’s death, as president, Abbas was in a unity government with Hamas, despite Hamas’ refusal to recognize Israel. He has been unwilling and unable to disarm terrorist organizations such as Hamas or even his own Fatah terrorist organizations like the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade. Just over the recent Jewish holidays, Israeli security forces thwarted seven would-be suicide bombings emanating from the West Bank. Furthermore, the Fatah charter has not been rescinded. It remains posted on the Fatah Web site, calling for Israel’s destruction.
Moreover, the indoctrination to hate and glorification of martyrdom has continued under the PA, led by Abbas
Olmert further stated that “if Israel did not take this opportunity, then in couple of years Israel would be faced not with a moderate PA leadership, but with Hamas leadership and people would ask why Israel did not take advantage of the situation when Abbas was a president.”
But granting a Palestinian state to Abbas is the same as granting a state to Hamas! Already, there are reports from Arab sources that Abbas, while negotiating with Israel, has agreed to renew confidential talks with Hamas and bridge their gaps. Moreover, Amos Yadlin, head of Israeli military intelligence, told the Knesset that Hamas is now capable of taking control of the West Bank, but has so far failed to do so due to Israel military presence in the area.
After the Israeli army returned to the West Bank cities following a wave of terrorist attacks in 2002, it defeated terrorism by setting up a web of Palestinian informants and by the aggressive gathering of intelligence that was possible because of the IDF’s complete freedom of action in the territory. As a result, the death toll from terrorism was reduced from 450 Israelis in 2002 to just eight Israelis this year.
If the Israeli army withdraws again, as they did from Gaza and southern Lebanon, terrorist safe havens and infrastructure for Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah and Al-Qaida will be established. On Oct. 7, a Katyusha rocket with a range of 7.4 to 12.4 miles was fired from Gaza and hit the Israeli city Netivot. Within a 12-mile radius of the West Bank are the majority of Israel population centers — Tel Aviv, Jerusalem Netanya, Kfar Saba, Rehovot — and Ben-Gurion Airport, which would be terrorist targets, terrorizing and paralyzing almost all Israel daily life, just as Hezbollah’s Katyusha attacks did a year ago in northern Israel.
True peace is not possible for the next few generations. Israel should wait for a change in the hearts and the minds of its enemies and the crushing of its evil terrorist ideology and leadership before any negotiations have the chance to succeed. For the next two generations, Israel’s strategic goal should not be reaching a peace agreement but, rather, ensuring her long-term survival by refusing to compromise her strategic assets in exchange for a phony agreement and undertaking an intense military buildup in order to sustain its deterrent power.