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Friday, August 12, 2011

Poor Menachem: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

Israel's leadership has a long and painful history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Here are some examples.
Thus, the sweeping strategic advantages, won in victories of the Six Day War, have been foolishly squandered.

The Sinai Peninsula with its strategic depth, mineral wealth and economic potential is now deteriorating into a lawless “no-go” region, rapidly falling under the control of the most ruthless extremists on the face of the globe. In the wake of the “Tahrir tsunami,” Israel is facing an emerging lose-lose strategic predicament which will soon force it to decide between:

• Allowing Sinai to degenerate into an Afghanistan-like haven for al-Qaida and other jihadi organizations,
• Allowing a Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Egypt to remilitarize the area in order to reestablish law and order, and
• Reasserting Israeli control of Sinai, effectively repudiating the peace agreement.

Admittedly, the three decades of Egyptian prickly nonbelligerence provided Israel with significant benefits – in return for considerable strategic sacrifices. But from here on in, the challenges will be daunting to say the least. All options are gravely menacing... After all, all poor Menachem got was “a piece of paper.”

This was neither unpredictable nor unpredicted.

However, the sober voices who warned against the wisdom of or the need to make such sweeping concessions to the depleted and disintegrating regime in Cairo were dismissed as deranged warmongers. It seems that future generations will yet be called on to pay the price of this strategic myopia, a price, which could far outweigh the temporary benefits of the acrimonious and relatively brief interbellum.


If it took about a generation for the folly of relinquishing Sinai to become tangibly evident, with 2005’s disengagement it took a matter of weeks.

In a stunning triumph of irrationality over reason, Israel six years ago surrendered all for nothing, erasing 30 years of Zionist endeavor in Gaza in a fortnight. With dizzying speed all ominous warnings of dangers came true; all promises of benefits proved false. But worse of all, it conveyed an unmistakable strategic message to the Arabs: With the Jews, no concessions are necessary! If confronted with adequate resolve and violence, they will capitulate unconditionally.

In a stroke, Ariel Sharon’s mendacious promise that “the fate of Netzarim will be the fate of Tel Aviv” was inverted. Now the Arabs had every reason to believe that “the fate Tel Aviv will be the fate of Netzarim.”
There are three other areas today where Israel could still snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. One - the Golan Heights - is on hold right now due to the uprising in Syria. But the government is on the verge of capitulating in two other areas: Our dealings with the 'Palestinians' and our economy, which is one of the strongest in the world.

Read the whole thing.

I'd like to conclude with a quote from Anwar Sadat that I had never heard before.
"Poor Menachem [Begin]... I got back... the Sinai and the Alma oil fields, and what has Menachem got? A piece of paper” – Anwar Sadat on the Peace Agreement with Israel, The New York Times, October 19, 1980.
Having now completed Yehuda Avner's The Prime Ministers, it is clear to me that the Begins and the Sadats liked each other personally. Yet Sadat understood that he was getting the far better end of the deal. No one else in Egypt accepted Israel, and therefore what is happening now was readily foreseeable albeit it took a little longer than expected. Why does Israel keep giving away its assets for paper?

Read the whole thing.

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At 11:09 AM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

only surpassed by Fat Arik expulsing the yehudim from Gush Katif

shabat shalom

At 4:12 PM, Blogger jlevyellow said...

I would say that Sadat personally did not get a better deal than Israel.


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