Election promises abound
Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO

Israel's march of folly

When perfidy parades as patriotism

One by one the layers of absurdity are being stripped off the bizarre mix of irrationality and irresponsibility that has masqueraded as government policy in the country for almost a decade and a half since the fall of the Shamir government in 1992.


Probably few remember that the current "March of Folly" began during the 1992 election campaign. It was then that the Labor Party, headed by the late Yitzhak Rabin and spurred on the wooly-headed dovish elements in his own party and by reckless radical factions to the left of it, proclaimed to the Israeli electorate it would break what they denounced as decades of unnecessary stagnant stalemate on the Palestinian issue.


Within nine months, they promised, it would be possible to reach an agreement on extended autonomy in the "West Bank" and Gaza with the local Palestinian leadership and thus end the iniquities of "occupation."


However, as these efforts ground – predictably – to a shuddering halt, Rabin and his party had to decide whether to admit they had miscalculated, or to renege on another election promise – not to negotiate with the PLO, then considered a terrorist organization not only in Israel, but in the U.S. as well.


Dismissing opposition


It appears that the Israeli left's animosity towards domestic political rivals has always been greater than its affinity for the national interest, so the decision was an easy one: Rather than acknowledge they had been wrong (and, by implication, that their political opponents may not have been), they reneged on the promise not to engage the PLO, an organization of unusual – and well-known – savagery.


Right-wing warnings and exhortations regarding the grave consequences that this would bring were brusquely dismissed. Any doubts as to the prudence of the initiative were thrust scornfully aside. Any criticism of the undertaking was ridiculed and de-legitimized.


Critics were belittled and besmirched and even ostracized, particularly in academic circles. The result is now known as the "Oslo process" which culminated with the signing of the Declaration of Principles on the White House lawn in September 1993.


The traumatic and tragic outcome of this ill-considered and misguided enterprise is now a matter of documented record. As the reality on the ground made a mockery of the lofty rhetoric of its proponents and of the bizarre notion of bringing in arch-terrorist Yasir Arafat as a harbinger of reconciliation and moderation, failure became undeniable.


Intellectual acrobatics


But rather than admit error, the Oslophiles resorted to intellectual acrobatics and breathtaking ethical flexibility. Arafat, who originally had been portrayed as the sine qua non of any peace agreement between Israel and Palestinians, the only one who "could deliver the goods", was now labeled an "obstacle to peace".


Whereas previously peace had been impossible WITHOUT him (ergo Oslo) now peace was impossible WITH him (ergo Oslo-failure).


With the demise of Arafat, flagging hopes were again re-kindled. The latest star in the firmament of appeasement was Abu Mazen, a man with an elegant suit rather than military fatigues, and sported a stylish coiffure rather than a kaffiyeh.


Whereas once we were told that Arafat's arrival on the scene heralded a "window of opportunity", we were now informed that Arafat departure from that same scene heralded a window of opportunity.


Repeating mistakes


Of course, warnings that Abu Mazen had neither the stature nor the inclination to reign in Palestinian radicals and that he would never risk civil war by confronting them resolutely in order to please the Zionist entity were ignored and rejected.


But when these forecasts proved accurate, the proponents of Israeli withdrawal, concession and retreat began to change their tune- paradoxically by sticking to the self-same policy prescription - of withdrawal concession and retreat – but now for diametrically opposite reasons!!


Whereas previously they urged withdrawal, concession and retreat within the context of a negotiated bilateral agreement – enthusiastically claiming there was a viable Palestinian negotiating partner, now they urged withdrawal, concession and retreat within the context of a unilateral initiative – dolefully claiming was no viable Palestinian negotiating partner!!!


Strange ideas


And so the idea of "disengagement" was born -- an idea so bizarre and ludicrous that it is difficult to believe any sober individual would entertain it seriously. The twisted "logic" behind the idea of disengagement is something like this: Since there is no Palestinian negotiating partner, Israel will - in exchange for nothing - yield the maximum conceivable concession to the Palestinians


The prudent and the realistic warned that such unprecedented - and unreciprocated -surrender of territory, especially while hostilities were ongoing, would not contribute toward strengthening the moderate elements among the Palestinians as hoped – but the opposite. Since the extremists could convincingly claim that it was their "armed resistance" that forced the Zionists to flee, "disengagement" would only serve to bolster their status in the of the Palestinian public .


Then came the Palestinian elections – and the Hamas' landslide victory proved who was right and who was wrong.


Dealing with Hamas


But miraculously even this did not induce the advocates of capitulation to entertain the possibility of – never mind admit – their error. Incredibly, now we are told that the Hamas victory may actually be…a good thing for Israel!


We are told there is a serious and credible partner that has the authority to engage in binding agreements – precisely the same refrain that was invoked to justify Arafat and his cronies !!


Just why anyone would believe that an organization whose entire raison d'etre is to destroy Israel could ever reconcile with the very entity it is sworn to obliterate is beyond comprehension.


How could any people believe the situation will improve the as its adversaries become ever-more murderous and move ever-closer to the center of its capital city and parliament??


But this is the fantasy world of the Israeli politics – a world where self-flagellation is considered trendy, where a tendency for self-destruction is thought of as "enlightened".


It is a world where perfidy parades as patriotism.


פרסום ראשון: 03.01.06, 09:39
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