Dear Senator Mitchell,
We were very happy to see you arrive and wished you a productive visit. A long time has passed since you left us with the report named after you, in May 2001, and we wish to inform you that we sobered up since then. We’ve sobered up greatly.
That report was complied several months after the outbreak of the second Intifada, when buses were exploding on our streets and suicide bombers were detonating themselves in our coffees shops. We were helpless at the time and Ariel Sharon’s new government did not know how to cope with the terror.
You arrived and left us with an orderly heritage and plan for resolving our problems with the Palestinians, who less than a year earlier refused Ehud Barak’s generous offer in Camp David and embark on the murderous Intifada.
Along with your colleagues, you declared that violence will not resolve the region’s problem and that a mechanism must be created to put an end to violence, rebuild trust, and renew the diplomatic talks aimed at bringing up a permanent agreement and peace between the sides. However, you did not find any evidence proving that Arafat and the Palestinian Authority planned or initiated the “uprising.” If you wish, we can provide you plenty of such evidence today.
Oddly, you compared the terrorists and their victims, while demanding the halt of violence on both sides. Back then already we were surprised to discover that you immorally adopted the same attitude to raging Palestinian terror and to Israel’s response, aimed at curbing and averting terrorism.
In that report, you also demanded to curb the “natural growth” in the settlements, at the heart of the Land of Israel, as if the settlers’ babies were the terrorists preventing peace.
Your successor, CIA Director George Tenet, detailed the recommendation and wrote that the Palestinians must completely end the violence, detain terrorists, cooperate with Israel in thwarting terror, siege illegal weapons, and prevent arms smuggling. We won’t deal with all the other recommendations here, yet we wish to inform you that none of these Palestinian obligations was met.
Ceasefires blew up in our facesHowever, we Israelis learned a lesson. In the IDF we say that “safety instructions are written in blood.” You should know that this lesson cost us plenty of blood. We listened to you, we tried many ceasefires, and all of them blew up in our faces.
For a long time, too long, we refused to admit the failure of the Oslo process. However, by now almost every child in Israel knows that Oslo failed. We learned the hard way that Fatah and Abbas cannot be trusted and that they cannot be “given guns,” just like the Israeli rightist camp shouted 15 years ago.
The reports prepared by you and by Tenet are premised on the fundamentally flawed assumption that the Palestinians will fight terror, and that Arafat or Abbas’ troops will prevent the launching of Qassam rockets from Tulkarem to Tel Aviv or the mortar attacks from Qalqiliya on Kfar Saba.
Well, you should know that this never really happened. In the few cases where terrorists were detained, they were jailed for a brief period and later released in line with the “revolving door” policy. All those times it was done just to pretend, in order to appease you, the Americans, and only to deceive us, the innocent Israelis who so badly want calm.
We tried in the past the brilliant idea you proposed – “joint patrols” by IDF forces and Palestinian security forces. These patrols ended when Palestinian forces firing at their Israeli “colleagues.”
Our sobering up process continued when our Navy stopped the Karin A arms smuggling ship that was about to transfer tons of explosives and machine guns to Fatah “moderates” in the Palestinian Authority, so that they can defeat the Israeli enemy.
So, George, we first ask you to examine the results of the previous ideas you proposed. Meanwhile, we had no choice, and in operation Defensive Shield the IDF restored our security control in the towns of Judea and Samaria.
Our sobering up process was long and painful. It also included a rain of Qassams and Grad rockets fired at all southern towns in the wake of the Road Map and the disengagement, which led to the recent war in Gaza.
We hope that during your visit here you were reacquainted with reality and with the sobering up process we personally experienced, so that you won’t force us to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Adi Mintz is the former Yesha Council chairman