'We must deal only with strategic alternatives to the current chaos'
Photo: Hagai Aharon
Now is the time, when the tanks are still booming and half the country is living in bomb shelters, to shout at the top of our lungs: We told you so, we told you so, we told you so!!!
We take no joy in this, but we hope that now that the foolishness of your policies are clear to everyone, we can bring the country back to some sort of responsible strategy – now, before the various spin masters return to play their games with Israeli society.
We must deal only with strategic alternatives to the current chaos. The question of what to do tomorrow, like the question of how to bring our kidnapped soldiers back home, is not as fateful as the real question: Towards what strategic goal should we be progressing?
Told you so
We told you the only way to defend the home front is to concern ourselves with creating a security zone in southern Lebanon and Gaza, and to fight the enemy in those areas over the long term.
War means losses and injuries, but better to lose soldiers on the battle front than grandmothers and grandkids sitting together for a Shabbat meal, and for 2 million civilians trying to squeeze into the tiny Hadera-Gadera-Jerusalem triangle. But you let those rags from the Four Mothers group set the country's security policy. That's why we look like this today.
Restraint = weakness
We told you that restraint is weakness, silence is sludge, that failing to respond would invite more, more painful, attacks and that we must deal with the State of Hizbullah and its missiles before they start falling on our heads.
But no, you wanted to wait, to show restraint, to close our collective eyes and hope everything would be alright. Of course, nothing is "alright," nor is it going to be.
Six years of relative quiet in Lebanon allowed our enemies to develop their military and to accurately aim their missiles at our cities and towns in the north. You did nothing to stop this.
We told you the world respects the strong and turns its back on the weak and pathetic. Therefore, we said, it was important for the world to respect us rather to have pity on us. Even the events at Kerem Shalom could have been prevented with a real show of strength, if only you hadn't been so worried about "what the world would say."
As we know, Syria extradited the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocelan after the Turks explicitly threatened war over the matter. On the other hand, Israel – in exactly the same position with regard to Khaled Mashaal, who is directly responsible for the attack at Kerem Shalom – threw around empty threats, and essentially did nothing at all.
Fighting the enemy?
We told you that peace treaties are made with friends and war is made with enemies, but you stubbornly insisted that peace is made with enemies and war is made on settlers.
We told you that the Arab problem has nothing to do with a Palestinian state (or lack thereof), but rather with the existence of Israel. But you continued to heap scorn and to blame our troubles on the occupation.
You turned Yitzhak Shamir's famous saying, "The Arabs are the same Arabs, the sea is the same sea" into a shameful slogan, because you wanted to believe the Arabs wanted compromise and a normal life. Therefore, you argued, we must give them more and more and more – without receiving anything in return, of course.
And mainly, we told you that it is impossible to beat an enemy with power alone. To win a war one must believe that right is with him. Education about history, about proud, unapologetic nationalism are immediately necessary and the first strategy for any nation fighting for its life.
The fundamental moral distinction between the Jewish people, the only owners of the Land of Israel, and those who seek to steal it from us, are far more important than fighter pilots and tank divisions commanded by officers who aren't so sure about this distinction.
But you occupy yourselves with self-accusation, to the point of self-hatred, for the suffering the Palestinians have brought upon themselves. Even now, when the blood of our fallen soldiers has yet to dry and the bombs are still falling, Yigal Sarena ran to blame Israel and its army for the current war, despite facts apparent to the naked eye.
For all these long years, from the Olso Accords to the present time, Israeli policy has been a singular, monolithic line, best represented by Yossi Beilin. This line continued, even through supposedly right-wing governments, because the left-wing media, state prosecutor and Supreme Court continued to set the country's strategic agenda.
Benny Begin represented a real alternative to Beilinism. He saw immediately what was being created by the Oslo Accord, but his voice was silenced and he disappeared from Israeli politics.
Nowadays, Benny Begin's strategic alternative has been proven correct in the human laboratory dripping with blood called Israel – at a terrible, terrible price.
Shlomo Engel works in high-tech, lives in Shoham and is a member of the "Jewish Leadership" bloc of the Likud