One of the assumed benefits of the proposed two-state solution is that the creation of a Palestinian state will finally make the Palestinians fully accountable for their actions. Thus, any acts of aggression from the new entity against Israel will be considered an attack on Israel from a sovereign country rather than from a terrorist organization. Moreover, it is this distinction, so we are told, that will not only allow Israel to forcefully respond to any acts of Palestinian aggression but also do so with the full support and understanding of the international community.
Although such line of reasoning sounds very enticing and has even managed to win over some former skeptics, we shouldn’t buy it. In fact, a quick survey of the last 20 years seems to indicate otherwise.
At the height of the Gulf War in 1991, Iraq launched scud missiles at Israel in an attempt to draw it into the conflict. This was a classic case of a sovereign Arab country attacking Israel with powerfully destructive missiles, aimed at some of its most populous regions. Nonetheless, despite the numerous missiles that landed in Israel, due to various geopolitical considerations and behind-the-door pressure Jerusalem did not respond.
Roughly 10 years later, Israel speedily removed all of its troops from southern Lebanon. At the time we were promised that Israeli positions would be taken over by the South Lebanese Army (SLA) in order to prevent Hezbollah forces from stationing themselves within spitball range of Israel’s northern border. In addition, we were assured by then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak that should Hezbollah ever commit an act of aggression against Israel our response would be very painful.
Like usual, Israel fulfilled its side of the agreement while the Arabs failed to uphold their part. As a result, rather than having the SLA parked across the border we received Hezbollah. This change of events afforded Hezbollah the opportunity to closely watch our troop movements, something they quickly cashed in on. After a mere few months of up-close surveillance, Hezbollah men dashed across the border and kidnapped three Israeli soldiers.
Israeli restraintHowever, despite our hard-earned justification to retaliate to such an unprovoked act of aggression and even the prime minister's own guarantee to respond with might in such situation, in the end we did very little. Thus, the promises meant nothing and unfortunately the kidnapped soldiers were killed.
Five years after the tragic kidnappings in Lebanon, Israel removed all Jewish presence from Gaza. At the time we were told that the removal of Israeli troops from the Strip would shift the burden of accountability to the Palestinian Authority, thereby forcing it to rein in the various terrorist organizations. This, like every other promised benefit, turned out to be false as attacks against Israel only increased.
While Israel did eventually reenter Gaza at the end of 2008 as part of Operation Cast Lead, this happened only after thousands of missiles were fired at Jewish communities close to the Gaza border. Moreover, the promised admiration of the world we supposedly were to acquire following our unilateral pullout quickly melted away, as many in the international community hypocritically condemned Israel for its actions in Gaza.
Although there were times when Israel responded forcefully to cross-border attacks, such as in the Second Lebanon War, the growing trend through the years has been for a limited Israeli response or total restraint. Moreover, rather than winning the world's approval based upon our polite and considerate behavior, this trend has been accompanied by the growth of an increasingly hostile anti-Israel environment worldwide.
This being the case, why should we believe that things will be different next time? It is far more plausible to assume that acts of aggression emanating from a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria will be met with the usual limited Israeli response. Moreover, even in the rare instance where Israel responds more forcefully, it is safe to assume that the world will quickly condemn the Jewish state regardless of the circumstances.
In light of the above, how on earth can we use an unproven assumption as the basis for severely weakening our national security, something which is sure to happen if a Palestinian state is created in Judea and Samaria? Indeed, it's absolute madness.
Yoel Meltzer is a freelance writer living in Jerusalem. His personal blog is http://yoelmeltzer.com
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