9-11-01 is a date that should be branded on the psyche of Americans forever. It is the day that our world changed—a massive attack on our own soil. Just eight years earlier there was a momentous date in Israeli history that should be branded on the collective souls of Israelis, 9-13-93, the day that the Oslo Accords were signed. Drunk with the prospect of peace Israel went on a “peace at any cost” ramage, throwing caution to the wind and leaping at the chance to go to sleep at night, without having to worry who was going to blow up their children tomorrow
Peace is a noble cause–and it is to be pursued, but not the way Israel did, with their eyes shut. After Oslo came the second intifada, Bill Clinton almost comic attempt at leaving office with with an Israel-Palestinian pact as a legacy and the withdrawal from Gaza. All attempts at peace failed and all for the same reason—Arab nations do not make peace with equals– they make peace with their conquers. If they perceive that there is a possibility of defeating you on the battlefield, that is their preferred option. That is the lesson still not learned after withdrawal from Lebanon and Gaza, playing Hezbollah to a tie, and not protecting towns like Sedrot from the constant shelling by Hamas—that is the lesson still not learned.
Next week Ehud Olmert will be going to Egypt for a “peace” conference. Will he continue the failed policy of unilateral concessions? Or will he finally learn the lesson. Chances are the Master Politician take the wrong road once again. For as Moshe Arens reminds us, the Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions.
If you want to know what hell looks like just take a look at the recent pictures of the carnage in Gaza. It might be comforting to say that this has nothing to do with us in Israel, but this would only be another of the many escapist delusions that capture Israeli minds so frequently. Not only will the Hamas takeover in Gaza affect us in the years to come, but there is little doubt that Israel’s flawed policy in past years bears a good share of the responsibility for what is happening there now. These Israeli policies were no doubt motivated by the best of intentions – a desire to arrive at peace and do justice to the Palestinians – but as is well known, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Who likes to be told “I told you so”? Most certainly not those like Yossi Beilin and Avraham (Avrum) Burg and the other politicians of their dovish circle who have for years advocated negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization and concessions to the PLO and who have consistently called for an end to what they keep calling the occupation of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
It all started in Oslo 15 years ago. The arch-terrorist, the man who invented the hijacking of passenger aircraft and who ordered the murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic games, was hailed by some Israelis as a freedom-fighter with whom it was said we must negotiate and make peace.
“You make peace with your enemies” was the insane slogan repeated endlessly to justify this foolish course of action. And thus, at the conclusion of the negotiations in Oslo begun by amateur meddlers in international diplomacy, Yasser Arafat and his gang of corrupt terrorists were brought in from Tunis and imposed on the Palestinian population in most of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. (Israel left Gaza then, and not, as the advocates of disengagement have falsely claimed, at the time of the uprooting of the settlers in Gush Katif in August 2005).
A straight line connects Arafat’s corrupt rule and his support for acts of terror against Israel’s civilian population to the Hamas takeover in Gaza. Just connect the dots. They start with the Oslo Accords and pass through Ehud Barak’s decision in 2000 to abandon Israel’s security zone in southern Lebanon and betray Israel’s long-time allies in the South Lebanon Army. It was not only Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah who then saw Israel as no more than a spider web, incapable of putting up resistance to terror. That brought on the Al Aqsa Intifada, orchestrated by Fatah and Hamas, with its terrible toll of civilian deaths.
And just as the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service were about to hand the terrorists a decisive defeat, along came the Sharon government with the nonsensical idea of forcibly uprooting Israeli settlements and retreating to the Israeli-Egyptian armistice line of 1947, an idea marketed under the false slogan that “we were getting out of Gaza.”
That was all the encouragement that Hamas needed to claim victory over Israel and win the Palestinian elections against the corrupt Fatah party.
As should have been expected, Israel’s unilateral retreat was followed by a continuous barrage of Qassam rockets against Israeli towns and villages. Despite all this, government spokesmen, led by Tzipi Livni, kept repeating that it is Israel’s aim and Israel’s interest to bring about the establishment of a Palestinian State in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Encouraged by Israel’s seeming weakness, Hamas’ power grew, it won the Palestinian elections, and now, in a no-holds power struggle, Hamas has taken over the entire Gaza Strip. They don’t intend to stop there.
Israeli governments have been mistaken, again and again, in gauging Arab reactions to Israeli moves intended to move toward a relief of tension in the area and bring the Arabs closer to their goals as they are perceived by Israel. But to those whose goals are unlimited – the destruction of Israel – coming closer to their goal, as perceived by them, simply encourages them to intensify the struggle against Israel.
Good intentions are not enough. If not combined with a healthy dose of realism they can lead straight to hell. I don’t like to say I told you so, but I told you so.