Photo: Dan Balilty
Elyakim Haetzni
Photo: Dan Balilty

The peace paradox

Op-ed: Peace-seeking Israel perceived as weak and as such invites Arab aggression

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not tire of declaring his desire for peace, and his predecessors did the same. Yet at first, the Arabs did not believe these statements and fortified their own borders to defend themselves in the face of Israel’s “belligerent intentions.”


It’s unpleasant to be considered the aggressor, especially when you do not hold any belligerent intensions. Yet the fact of life is that precisely this “slander” deterred the Arabs from attacking us, because one always seeks to stay away from aggressors. And so, as long as they thought they were curbing our own aggressive intentions, they felt absolved of the duty to attack us.


However, our peace efforts eroded this achievement. Only after the Arab started to believe our desire for peace was genuine, our security was faced with grave danger. A peace-seeking Israel was perceived as weak and as such invited aggression.


Hence, a clearly leftist government was forced to conduct two wars, in Lebanon and in the Gaza Strip, with no other objective except for displaying our power and ability to hurt others, because the government’s willingness to make concessions conveyed a sense of helplessness. In our region, being perceived as a peace-seeker is a mortal danger.


Today, when Arab propaganda (including that of the “partner” in Ramallah) again accuses us of holding belligerent intentions, we may do well to cool off our zealous denials, lest we invite another Operation Cast Lead.


The Arabs used to wonder whether our real intention is to expel them from Israel. We went out of our way to prove to them that our intentions are pure and that we’re not here to rob them. Eventually, our collective persuasion effort succeeded and the Arabs internalized the fact that the notion of transfer is only endorsed by an insignificant minority.


The response arrived in the form of a decisive demand to expel Jews – more than half a million of them from Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. Yet there’s more to come: UN Resolution 181 and withdrawal to the 1947 borders with a similar fate (according to the Arabs) awaiting the Jews of the western Galilee, Nazareth, Ramle, Lod, Jaffa, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Kiryat Gat, and Beersheba.


At this time already, the Arabs refer to Sderot as a “settlement.”


‘Moderate peace bubble’

And this raises some second thoughts: Perhaps we should have let the Arabs cling to their illusions? For example, the notion that the two blue stripes in our flag represent the Euphrates and the Nile, which we plot to occupy? As long as they believed this kind of thinking, they made do with “defending” themselves.


At one point, Arafat claimed with utter seriousness that the rough backdrop below the Menorah in one of our coins symbolizes the area between the two abovementioned rivers. It’s perhaps a pity that we rushed to deny this.


Indeed, we may have identified a universal rule here – “The peace paradox.” Condoleezza Rice pushed for Hamas participation in the Palestinian elections, thereby facilitating its victory and pushing any kind of agreement further away. The “Gaza disengagement” expelled the Jews, yet delivered a grave blow to the “vision” of a Palestinian state. Obama forced Netanyahu to embark on a settlement freeze, and what did he get? A total impasse in negotiations.


Meanwhile, the Left eagerly supports the release of top Palestinian terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit. The Jews may pay for it with bloodshed, yet the released murderers will burst Ramallah’s “moderate” peace bubble, with the US-made vision for Palestine being shelved forever. We shall again see the peace camp delivering a mortal blow to “peace.”


Only one small problem remains. Indeed, appearing to be a thug in the Middle East is good for a nation’s wellbeing and life expectancy, but who wants to be perceived like this in the world, and in our own mirror? How can one body contain both a barbarian and a civilized man; one who rushes to battle and one who seeks peace? How do we present one face for the Mideastern jungle and another one for the family of enlightened nations?


After all, in our region, maintaining a humane face alone is a certain recipe for a war of extermination.



פרסום ראשון: 07.19.10, 18:02
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