Israeli Leftist Repents Land-for-Peace Folly

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I recently went up north for Shabbat. I spent hours just looking at the mountains of the Golan Heights as they reddened toward evening. But slowly the pure pleasure I was getting out of their amazing beauty was replaced by a deep discomfort.

So wrote left-of-center Israeli columnist Ari Shavit on Thursday in Haaretz (full text available by scrolling down here). He knew well, of course, that beyond the tranquil scene he was witnessing lay Syria, a zone of turmoil and brutality.

Indeed, Shavit

couldn’t help but think what would be happening today if the ideological position I had long held—peace in return for the Golan—had been accepted…. I have to admit that if the worldview I had championed had been applied, battalions of global jihadis would be camping near Ein Gev [beside the Sea of Galilee] and there would be Al-Qaida bases on the shores of [the lake]. Northern Israel and the country’s water sources would be bordering this summer on an armed, extremist Islamic entity that could not be controlled.

Shavit and most of the Israeli left had, of course—until the chaos erupted in Syria last year, when they fell silent—long advocated restoring the Golan Heights to the tender mercies of the Assad regime. In 2000 then-prime minister Ehud Barak tried in earnest to hand the Golan over to Hafez al-Assad, father of the current embattled president. Assad responded by posing conditions that even the “peace”-hungry Barak could not meet—inducing relief among realistic Israelis and frustration among the left.

Shavit now sees, though, that even in the hypothetical scenario of the Assads accepting the Golan offer and then keeping the peace, they always headed a despised, minority regime in a region marked by severe volatility. He envisions global-jihad forces on the shores of the lake because, of course, such forces are now running rampant in Syria and threatening to fill its leadership vacuum once Bashar Assad falls—though, if so, it will fortunately be with the formidable Golan Heights between them and Israel.

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  • Wendi J

    For one of the worst Israeli anti-Israel leftists, Amiram Goldblum, founder of Peace Now, check out

    www dot amiramallah dot blogspot dot com

  • Bruce O'H.

    I'm impressed that Mr. Shavit made this public confession. Perhaps it will sway some of his fellow Leftists from their internal enemy views.

  • Chezwick

    Once Assad is gone and the MB has captured Syria, there will be a new national and religious impetus there to recapture the Golan….and it will crescendo into an hysterical tone. A new Mid-East War is on the horizon…and it will make Yom Kippur in '73 look like child's play.

    • RiverFred

      You got that right, the problem with Arabs/Muslims is that they have a defective gene from years of inbreeding and believe in a fairytale religion.

      • Kufar Dawg

        Islam is anything but a fairytale, more like a nightmare of bloodshed, intolerance, tyranny, xenophobia and rabid antisemitism.

  • Paul B.

    The calculus here is so simple a child could understand it. How is it that Leftists cannot, even when so much hangs in the balance? It's much harder to obtain a protective border buffer from an entrenched enemy than to hold on to one already possessed.

    At least this guy has enough integrity to admit his mistakes. The entire Left wing needs to engage in a deep soul search to see if their presuppositions have any validity. I dare say they will come up severely wanting.

    • watsa46

      The other big problem id the American Jewish democrats who systematically have undermined Israel, until today as the Nov election will show.

  • Alex

    The Arabs never learn. If they attack Israel again, they will suffer massive casualties and find that Israel's borders stretch from the River of Egypt to the Euphtates. So let it be written so let it be done. Once this next war is over, the 1.2 billion Muslims will see the Dome f the Rock razed to the ground and God's Holy Temple leering in the sunlight cast upon Mount Moriah. Praise Hashem, the eternal I Am that I Am.

    • Kufar Dawg

      Amen to those thoughts it's long overdue. Yerushalem isn't mentioned once in the Quran. It's only a holy site to muslimes because it's the most holy site in Judaism. If it's islam's third holiest site, then they still have their other two to assuage their pain.

  • Alex

    The Arabs never learn. If they attack Israel again, they will suffer massive casualties and find that Israel's borders stretch from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates. "So let it be written so let it be done.". Once this next war is over, the 1.2 billion Muslims will see the Dome of the Rock razed to the ground and God's Holy Temple gleaming in the sunlight cast upon Mount Moriah. Praise Hashem, the eternal "I Am that I Am." Muslims think that they only wage holy was, but they do not, as so many Jews do not know, that the Israelite people have been ordained by God to wage holy war for one purpose only, and that is for every square inch of the Holy Land.

  • Schlomotion

    If, in fact, Israel's claim were true that they have a right to violate international law and retain the Golan Heights because they need a stable and secure border and a safe boundary free from threat of force, then they would not have built settlements there, thereby reducing the safety, bulging the boundary, and increasing the likelihood of threat. It is and has always been ONLY Israel's expansion of settlements that thwarts the peace and angers the international community, increasing disgust for Israel. Whenever it comes down to brass tacks, the real reason Israel flips out over anything is that some well-informed agency tells them to cut the crap with the settlement building.

    • Kufar Dawg

      Um, Syrian artillery fire was being directed against northern Israel from the Golan Heights. The Syrians attacked Israel in '73' and lost the Golan Heights, TFB for them. They gambled they lost. So sad, too bad Ahmed.

    • PaulRevereNow

      Once again, you've got it bass ackwards. Syrian aggression towards Israel came first; shelling of Israel from the Golan Heights was fairly common, until Israel captured this area in the 1967 war. Whenever it comes down to brass tacks, the real reason YOU flip out is your hatred of Jews. So why not cut the crap, and admit it?

    • watsa46

      U obviously needs to get some education and get your facts rights. U are making statements that have nothing to do with Israel position. We live in a world where power supersede right. There is very little chance that the paradigm will change any time soon. Israel is right but nobody couldn't care less. Now she can defend herself
      No more dhimi type of behavior because she is strong.

    • Paul B.

      You could give the Arabs all the land but five square miles, and they would immediately try to take the rest. They are not interested in peace. It conflicts with their religion.

      Any land under Israeli control can be occupied by Jewish or Arab citizens of Israel. Try owning land as a Jew in an Arab land and see what happens. To sell to a Jew is a capital crime in the "Palestinian" territories. It'll get you thrown out a third-story window.

    • Hank Rearden

      Ummm, Slomo, what is that on the Saudi flag? I'd be a little careful if i were you about rights of conquest. If the Jews have to give back the Golan, the Muslims would have to give back Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Tunisian, Algeria, Morocco, Turkey, the stans, say "sorry" to the Hindus in India, and there would still be more to go!!

  • Mladen Andrijasevic

    It is impressive that Avi Shavit admits that he was wrong about Syria . But when will he admit that he is wrong NOW for not interviewing scholars of Islam in his series of interviews in Ha’aretz on the Iranian threat?

    David Grossman vs. Bernard Lewis. Whom do you trust more on Iran?

  • Ghostwriter

    At least Mr. Shavit has learned his lesson. Why don't you follow his example,Schlomind and stop bashing Jews and Israel for your own amusement? Why don't you ever learn? Why don't you ever read the negative comments about your rancid posts and change? Why don't you ever use your brain for something other than to attack Jews?

    • Western Spirit

      I'm beginning to wonder if Shlomotion isn't a Jew with anti-Semitic feelings. Such creatures exist, you know.


      Ghost: Shlomo is just a Jew hater. Everything he says contradicts what he says. That is basically what a Jew hater is- a confused, irrational individual whose real hated is for God.

      • mlcblog

        Well said, Mad.

        I stopped acknowledging him months ago, told him so. Let him just go away.

        • MAD JEWESS

          NOTHING he says makes sense. Like all Jew haters, they just have no reason and logic

    • mlcblog

      He is a robot.

  • Julius

    It's about time Israeli Left came in terms with their (mostly fallacious) world-view. Peace matters if after today's peace there is tomorrow's peace. Don't tell me the Leftists didn't hear it every day. They simply were young, and young want everything today. But, dear young ones, tomorrow also matters. Matters because tomorrow you won't be so young. And also because of other things. Anyway, I am glad that among young ex-Left some get some brains back. It sounds good, thank you!


      Julius: They had better stay in this realm of repentance, how will they survive as a people if they dont?
      They wont.

  • mlcblog

    Bibi finally is getting his due respect.

  • redwood509

    Shavit, a renowned haaretz wreck, a shrill phenomenon on Israeli T.V on the Friday night news of Mabat, representing a generation of Israelis who were short on Ritalin when they were growing up, a sworn Lefty, a washed out appeaser and a general yeller, who never said one good thing worth hearing, but his platform on Haaretz and the fact that he is often quoted by the enemies of Israel, the assorted leftist NGO' s operating in the U.S , make him larger than life. This screaming lunatic could get a heart attack any time he opens his big "jorah" (sewer), he is so over-hyped, what Israelis call : "a meshoogener"!

  • redwood509

    An Israeli version of Dennis the Menace Kicinich!