Assad. Sending signals
Photo: Reuters
Eyal Megged
Photo: Eli Elgarat

Our next war crime

Op-ed: Failure to prevent next war with Syria is a crime; Israel must talk to Assad now

The next war crime is taking place at this time already, even before the war started. This war crime is the very failure to prevent the war.


We are headed towards an inevitable war with Syria. Our life experience and history clearly show that when a diplomatic vacuum is not filled with peace moves, it is filled by war. It’s almost a natural law, just like in soccer: When you fail to take advantage of opportunities to score a goal, you can bet that eventually the other team will score.


Since 2003, Bashar Assad had been sending signals indicating that he is ready for peace, yet Israel turns him back empty-handed. At first the excuse was that he’s too weak so what’s the point. Ever since he grew stronger, the excuse had been replaced by another one: Assad’s intentions aren’t pure.


Governments here come and go, yet there’s no partner on the Israeli side. Seemingly, it’s unclear how Israel could afford to refuse this. After all, everything we ever dreamed of is happening: Assad is making it known at every opportunity that he aspires for “comprehensive peace” and declares his willingness to engage in negotiations “without any preconditions.” He keeps on lamenting that there’s no response on our part.


Did everything we insist on thus far was merely a deception? Were all the words uttered all these years a form of a gamble, as the Arabs will never be “ripe for peace” anyway?


Precious time had been wasted when the Americans prevented Sharon and Olmert from taking up this cause. Now, the opportunity is being wasted because policy-makers here do not believe in this peace. Does anyone remember that right before the Second Lebanon War catastrophe, Assad begged for peace? The bridges were burned by the fire of this needless, tragic war.


We only understand force

However, the main reason why the Israeli government does nothing at this time is that the Israeli public does not press it to accept Syria’s wooing attempts. Peace with Syria isn’t popular around here. Why? Because no missiles have hit us yet. As long the missiles don’t land here and no damage is done, why should we trade the Golan Heights and their guesthouses, wine, horses, and ski slopes for dubious peace? You will hear this answer not only from the Right, but also from the Left.


But you just wait. Once 1,000 missiles land here, the tune will change. Just like in the wake of the terror waves, when most of the public shunned Judea and Samaria and our attachment the land of our forefathers was forgotten at once, the public will also shun the Golan Heights. The question of “why do we need peace?” will be replaced by “Why do we need the Golan?” This is the way things work around here; we only understand force.


But forget about the spoiled, hedonistic public, which is increasingly turning into a mob taken out of a Shakespearean drama. The last person who has an interest in making peace with the Syrians is our prime minister – any prime minister, not only the current one. It’s easy to imagine the commotion that would ensue here if we only embark on talks with the Syria. It’s not hard to imagine the government coalition collapsing and the trouble at the Likud Central Committee.


Only a real leader and determined statesman can bring peace regardless of anything. And what about war? For a prime minister who lacks the aforementioned qualities, war is in fact a blessing, a golden age – the whole nation is united around you, Right, Left and Center. The problems start after the war, when we count the thousands of casualties and are forced to enter talks with the Syrians. At that point, everyone will be saying: What a pity. We could have finalized a deal on the same terms without all the destruction and bereavement.



פרסום ראשון: 08.16.10, 00:45
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