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Sunday, September 06, 2009

The only incentive for peace

This comment in Haaretz was written by Raphael Israeli, a professor of Islamic, Middle East and Chinese History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
We know now that one thing that motivated Anwar Sadat to come to Jerusalem was his fear that unless settlements in the Rafah area and Sinai were uprooted, they would grow into large cities that no peace agreement could remove.

The Syrians and Palestinians, on the other hand, believed they had nothing to lose if they maintained their refusal to negotiate, since their land would wait for them, frozen in time, until they could graciously take it back from Israel and then attack again from these positions. They can't comprehend that they have lost their lands because of their aggression, and that it is immoral to return to an aggressor the positions from which he might renew his aggression, since letting him escape without harm only encourages him to attack again. There can be deterrence only once the aggressor has paid a price that dissuades him from attacking at whim. This is what happened to Germany.

So until there is a permanent status agreement, only Jewish settlement activity can be enough of an incentive to make the Arabs, like Sadat, hurry up and seek peace, because their losses will multiply the longer they wait. We know from the Gaza example that the Arabs' goal was not to remove Israel from precious land, but to uproot Jews and fight them from the land they left. It is better, then, to keep with the peace-building construction in communities beyond our borders, and only when we see genuine signs of a culture of peace and good neighborliness next door to talk about evacuation - with due consideration to the new reality on the ground, which will change all the more if the Arabs don't rush toward an agreement.
Other than George W. Bush, no leader outside of Israel has ever accepted the new reality on the ground, and no leader has ever acknowledged (except possibly Bill Clinton via his rejected peace plan) that a return to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines is not in the cards.

Once upon a time, Israel used to answer every terror attack with a new 'settlement.' If it went back to doing that, the 'second intifadeh' might have ended a lot sooner with a lot less bloodshed.

The 'Palestinians' and the Syrians have no incentive to rush to make peace, because the world continues to tell them that they are going to get it all back anyway, while continuing to attempt to force Israel not to build anymore and by attempting to return the status quo to what it was before June 4, 1967. Unless and until that changes, the current status quo is the best case scenario.


At 1:17 PM, Blogger Olive Tree said...

Many centuries after their expulsion from Spain, the Muslms are still hoping to recover Andalus - why do we think they will ever give up their claim to Israel, in whatever borders she exists?

At 2:21 PM, Blogger chanan dov said...

yea, giving up lebanon, sinai, and not actively settleing everything was a mistake. and israel would not have got sucked into us dollars, which the us gave to maintain her military superiority, as it would not have been necessary with sinai. such a shame.

At 4:17 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The idiots have to pay a permanent price for their idiocy. They attack, they lose the land that they attack from. That loss is permanent. They don't like it? Make peace and they will lose no more land. Want the land back? Tough shi'ite. Don't attack next time. Or Israel will take your capital, and you will be even more sorry than you are now.

At 8:51 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

If Israel announced a crash settlement building program, my guess is we would see the PA push to resume to negotiations quickly. The Arabs will talk to Israel only when they have something to lose. Its said the revanants are an obstacle to peace. In truth, they are the only possible incentive the Arabs have to make a deal with Israel before all is lost forever. Jewish weakness makes the Arabs prepare for war. Jewish toughness makes the Arabs move closer to peace. When Israel understands the dynamic involved, peace may be within reach.

Until then, forget it!


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