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Sunday, April 18, 2010

The absence of peace does not mean war

If you are contemplating entering into a binding transaction, and the other party (and all of his friends) starts pressuring you to close the deal by an arbitrary deadline... or else!... you have to ask yourself if that deadline - or the deal itself -  is in your best interest, right?

I mention this because in an interview this weekend, King Abdullah of Jordan (one of our so-called friends) echoed a very troubling sentiment that we've been hearing from most of our enemies in the Arab League; namely, that if we don't finalize a peace agreement quickly, war will 'break out'.

Think about that for a moment.  Considering the staggering cost in lives and infrastructure that wars usually engender, there are really only two reasons why a country would go to war: Because the potential gain outweighs the potential losses...  or to defend against the aggression of another state / non-state actor (i.e. there is no other choice).  So the idea that the Palestinians can't help but go to war is idiotic.

Don't get me wrong... I firmly believe that Israel should extend it's hand in peace wherever and whenever a real opportunity presents itself.  I'll even go so far as to say that we should make difficult concessions if it will bring about a real and lasting peace. 

But the idea of entering into a questionable peace under the threat of war is just nuts!  Yet that is exactly what everyone is demanding of us!  In support of the Palestinians, the Lebanese (government & Hezbollah), Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and now even our 'friendly neighbor' Jordan, have all expressed the same sentiment; that if Israel doesn't hurry up and agree to the Palestinian's peace terms, then we will have to fight a war.

How exactly does that work? 

Israel is faced with a divided Palestinian people... not just geographically divided between Gaza and the West Bank, but also politically divided between the democratically elected Hamas, (which has an unambiguous policy of wanting to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic Palestinian state), and the serially corrupt Fatah (which has seized total control of the Palestinian Authority but which is otherwise powerless to impose its decisions on the Palestinian people).

Simply put, Hamas won't talk to us (except about our unconditional surrender), and any agreement Israel would make with Fatah would be unenforceable.  We, of course, would be expected to bring large chunks of land to the signing ceremony, while they would be expected to bring... a pen. 

Further, if we did sign a peace deal with Fatah, once we'd handed over sovereignty for whatever territory they demanded, Hamas would come in an take over, leaving us without peace... and even more troubling; without our territory.

Although the present tension is far from ideal, while we have been waiting for the Palestinians to speak and act with one voice, we have been living - thriving even - with the absence of peace.  While waiting for a real peace partner to emerge, Israel's economy has blossomed, our international academic standing has continued to improve, and by any measure, the number of start-ups and Nobel prizes is, on a per-capita basis, the envy of the world.

The Palestinians, on the other hand, have suffered terrible set-backs each and every time they have tried to use violence to win their state.  At a certain point even they must see that their efforts are moving them further away from their state, not closer.

Obviously it would be preferable to have peace - a real peace - at the earliest possible moment.  But for Israel to be dragged blindly into another Oslo accords-type agreement just because of an arbitrary and artificial time-table, is a recipe for disaster. 

Of course, by echoing the Lebanese, Syrians and Saudis, a disaster my be exactly what 'friends' like King Abdullah are hoping for.

Posted by David Bogner on April 18, 2010 | Permalink

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Another excellent post.

Reading your blog is always pleasurable and thought-provoking.

thank you

Posted by: Esther | Apr 18, 2010 4:04:49 PM

Esther ... Don't thank me... I'm a giver. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Apr 18, 2010 4:17:26 PM

"The Palestinians, on the other hand, have suffered terrible set-backs each and every time they have tried to use violence to win their state. At a certain point even they must see that their efforts are moving them further away from their state, not closer."

Although it is true that the Palestinian population has generally suffered as a result of their violence (intifadas 1 and 2, rockets from Gaza) it is probably this same violence that has brought us to the situation where a Likud government is publicly advocating "the two-state solution" and suddenly, Jerusalem is on the table.

Posted by: fungo | Apr 18, 2010 6:09:43 PM

The commentary has entered the idiotic zone. "do what we say or war is going to break out." Oy.

Posted by: Jack | Apr 18, 2010 7:09:11 PM

The claims of 'peace or else' made by Abdullah and others is of course aimed at the Israeli Left, along with the Israeli and western media who lap it up. You're right, the status quo has worked pretty well for Israel. In fact, the surrounding Arab nations are tiring of the Palestinians and their antics. Time is running out for the Pallies; Israel needs to stay the course.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Apr 18, 2010 10:58:44 PM

I would like peace,but not at any cost and not a "peace" which will not hold. It seems to me that many peace plans have been offered and rejected (unreasonably) by the Palestinian leadership. Why would the Palestinian leadership want a change; they are getting rich from the present situation. I hope that Israel will not bend to international pressure. I'll take the international community seriously when they demand that the Palestinians seek peace and cease terrorist activities.

Posted by: Lynne | Apr 19, 2010 1:48:33 AM

Treppenwitz quote " I'll even go so far as to say that we should make difficult concessions if it will bring about a real and lasting peace. "

I don't believe that Treppenwitz would be willing to be a dhimmi slave to jihadists ,
I don't believe that Treppenwitz would seek justice and fairness under Sharia Law .

Arabs want that and more , on top of the arabs evil claim of Israeli territorial withdrawal from the Golan heights , biblical heartlands ...

Real and lasting world peace could be after messiah shows up ?,

till than,

Israelis will keep on building the Jewish State of Israel , protect and defend it , and promote our zionism ethos .

That , is not an easy task when , beside the issues with foreigners , we must also deal against the radical left with its school of thought.

Joseph.E
Givatayim-Israel

Posted by: Joseph.E | Apr 19, 2010 3:45:30 AM

Obama will bring the pen. And if He forgets it, Peres always carries one, just in case someone wants to sign a treaty with him - or for an autograph.

Posted by: JoeSettler | Apr 19, 2010 7:22:27 AM

"questionable peace" is an oxymoron. About true peace there are no questions.

Posted by: batya | Apr 19, 2010 7:42:34 AM

Peace is really nice.

You know what's nicer? Victory. In World War II, no one was talking about "peace" as a goal. They didn't call it P-E day or P-J day. And they won.

Reagan was once asked how he saw the Cold War ending. He said, "We win, they lose." People laughed at him. And he turned out to be right.

And the same should be true of the worldwide conflict- going on for over a thousand years, really- on the front lines of which Israel finds itself. Alas, it's not true here, especially not as regards Israel.

Here's Churchill, that Great Man:

"You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs - Victory in spite of all terrors - Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival."

Posted by: Nachum | Apr 19, 2010 9:33:37 AM

Nobody will insist that the Palestinians bring a pen. They will bring a pencil.

And an eraser.

Posted by: Jeremy | Apr 19, 2010 9:38:33 AM

I have heard the same comments from Jordan for years.If your goal was an independent state,would you do what Hamas has done with Gaza? I think not,therefore they must have another goal,beyond ruling Gaza.Their charter spells out their aims and goals.

Posted by: Ed | Apr 21, 2010 5:15:40 AM

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