Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.
Twenty years ago today, Israel’s so-called peace process with the PLO was officially ushered in at the White House Rose Garden.
A year or so later, when the death toll of Israeli victims of the massive terror offensive that the PLO organized shortly afterwards reached what then seemed unbearable heights, a popular call went out to “Put the Oslo Criminals on Trial.”
Needless to say, with Shimon Peres, the architect and godfather of the so-called peace process now serving as the President of Israel, nothing ever came of the call.
The demand for an accounting was not unprecedented. There was no reason, on the face of things for those who made it to be perceived as anything other than reasonably enraged, and responsible citizens insisting that those responsible for the largest, most destructive strategic error Israel has ever made pay a personal price for their actions.
Twenty years before that ceremony at the White House, Israel suffered the worst military defeat in its history.
Israel did win the Yom Kippur War, in the end. It was a sloppy, painful, tragic and costly win. Victory owed to tactical errors by the Syrians; to the unbelievable heroism, and dogged determination exhibited by the IDF’s junior officer corps and line soldiers, particularly on the Golan Heights; and to the emergency resupply of war materiel Israel received midway through the war from the United States.
Just as was the case twenty years later, when Israelis (having been introduced to the suicide bomber), decided their leaders had betrayed them; following the Yom Kippur War, the demobilized soldiers, the bereaved families and the general public demanded an accounting from the senior political leaders and the IDF brass that had led them down the vicious, deadly garden path.
After the Yom Kippur War, their demand was answered. The Agranat Commission was formed. And heads rolled. The prime minister, defense minister and IDF chief of general staff were all booted out. Other senior IDF commanders were relieved of their duties. And they deserved what they got.
And just to make sure we remember how ill-served we were by our leaders forty years ago, every year around Yom Kippur, the media gives an open mike to every maudlin, angry, and indignant story they can find. Every year new documentaries are produced. Every year, new books are published. And for the most part, they are interesting and worthwhile.
Nothing even vaguely resembling the now forty year-long accounting Israel has experienced with regard to the Yom Kippur War has occurred in relation to the so-called peace process with the Palestinians that is now twenty years old. No commission of inquiry was convened. No heads have rolled.
No television station has broadcast a serious documentary explaining the price Israel has paid on any level for a mistake that has cost us so dearly on every level. No one has given belated tribute to the millions of Israelis who foresaw the disaster that would befall us if we recognized the PLO.
And foresee it they did. And oppose it, they did. More than two million Israelis – or nearly half the country’s Jewish population in the early 1990s, and a third of the current Jewish population, have actively opposed the so-called Oslo accords and what followed.
As a portion of Israel’s population, the number of Israelis who took part in protests against the so-called peace process comprised the largest protest movement in history.
The public foresaw what was eminently foreseeable. Renowned intellectuals and decorated military leaders warned that the PLO was a terrorist organization that had no intention of making peace with Israel. They warned that the PLO would use every inch of land Israel transferred to its control as a forward base for terrorism against Israeli civilians. They warned that Yassir Arafat was a liar, a murderer and a Jew hater who would use all powers granted him to murder and legitimize the murder of Israeli civilians.
They warned that he was not interested in the least in establishing a Palestinian state, rather wanted only to oversee the dismemberment and destruction of our state, the Jewish state.
And for the past twenty years, their warnings were borne out by events every single day.
More than fifteen hundred Israelis have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists in the past twenty years. Scores of thousands of Israelis have been wounded or suffered the destruction of their families and their lives.
Diplomatically, Israel has paid an immeasurable price for the abject stupidity of our leaders’ willful blindness to the rank phoniness of the PLO’s commitment to peaceful coexistence with Israel. The glaring obviousness of the danger of accepting the false historical narrative of our sworn enemies on our ability to defend ourselves internationally was so overwhelming that no one even bothered to mention it in the years before the so-called Oslo accord was concluded.
But today, after twenty years of self-induced diplomatic failure has rendered Israeli leaders and representatives incapable of defending the country, it is necessary to explain it.
The PLO falsely claims that the cause for instability and violence in the Middle East is the absence of a Palestinian state in the lands Israel took control over from Jordan and Egypt in the 1967 Six Day War.
Before the inauguration of the so-called peace process, Israel easily defended itself against this libel. After all, the PLO was established in 1964 – three years before Israel took control over Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Its declared purpose was and remains the destruction of Israel, not the establishment of a Palestinian state on some of the territory Israel controls.
The absence of regional peace has nothing at all to do with Israel. It stems from the virulent Jew hatred that is endemic throughout the Islamic world. Due to this hatred Israel’s neighbors seek its destruction. The centrality of their irrational, obsessive desire to seek the eradication of the Jewish people and the Jewish state is the reason there has been no true peace between Israel and its neighbors – including its Palestinian neighbors. And because their hatred is irrational and all-encompassing, there is nothing Israel can do to appease them.
Israel was able to defend itself from the PLO’s lies to great effect before it accepted this terrorist organization as a legitimate actor and so accepted the legitimacy of its duplicitous narrative. But since it did, it has been unable to explain its actions, or increasingly, its right to exist at all. Because if the absence of a Palestinian state in Israel’s heartland, and its capital city is what stands behind all the bad behavior of the Arab world, then everything that Israel does that impinges even marginally on the establishment of such of state is immoral, destabilizing and dangerous.
This is why even Israel’s most skilled diplomats – to the extent they still operate in Israel’s PLO-besotted Foreign Ministry — cannot defend us. This is why a generation of Israeli leaders have zero to show for their efforts to defend this country. They are trapped in a policy discourse that is founded on anti-Israel lies.
Then there is our alliance with the United States. To legitimize the single most destructive action ever undertaken by an Israeli government, the Rabin-Peres government approached the Clinton administration and asked it to sponsor this objectively insane policy, strenuously opposed by half the country.
Bill Clinton was happy to oblige them. But once the Americans were on board, and placed US prestige behind a policy which, based as it was on lies, had no chance of success, Israel could not walk away.
Once the Americans supported a policy that half of the public – and now two-thirds of the public – opposed, Washington necessarily found itself siding with an ever shrinking minority of Israelis against the majority of the public. Consequently for the past twenty years, US decision makers have backed policies that have become progressively more anti-Israel.
From a domestic perspective, the phony peace process has taken an enormous toll on Israeli society and democracy. To defend such a move so strenuously and reasonably opposed by such a large portion of the public it was necessary to marginalize the public. And so we were subjected to a systematic effort to purge and discredit dissident voices from the senior and later junior ranks of the IDF, from the Foreign Ministry, (although Peres had done much of the work pruning responsible voices out of the ministry in the previous decade), and from the Justice Ministry.
Responsible opponents in the public square were castigated as extremists and enemies of peace, little different from terrorists. A new vocabulary to hide reality – like calling terror victims, victims of peace – was invented.
Four times over the past twenty years – in 1994, 1995, 2000 and 2005 – the peace processors brought Israeli society to the brink of collapse. Lawful demonstrators and political activists – including minor children – were criminalized, and often jailed and put on trial for their civil disobedience. The corruption of Israel’s legal system, which applies laws unequally to various members of the public, depending on their political views was a direct outcome of Israel’s decision twenty years ago to embrace the PLO.
For the past twenty years, the party most responsible for Israel’s continued abidance by a strategy that has brought us nothing but disaster is the media. The reason that Peres was elected to the presidency rather than put out to pasture like Golda Meir is because the media lionized him as the greatest statesman of all time.
The reason that once in office non-leftist leaders embrace the positions of the radical Left, ignore the public, block every attempt to correct the damage that the Oslo accords have wrought, and embark on a new path is because they are no match for Channel 2 and all the rest.
Our media outlets run a constant stream of post-Zionist propaganda that has reduced our elected representatives’ field of action to the size of a postage stamp. They ignore knowledgeable, well-spoken representatives of the majority. They regularly invite cognitively and aesthetically challenged nationalists to their studios to embarrass into silence the majority of viewers who share their opinions. Zionists are hired to high-profile but powerless positions to make the public feel uncomfortable about complaining that its views have no voice in the media.
Today the Obama administration plumbs the depths of strategic dysfunction. The Arab world empowers the most dangerous elements in country after country. The European Union treats Israel as a greater international outlaw than Iran, North Korea or Syria. Anti-Israel indoctrination is the norm on university campuses throughout the Western world. A new generation is coming of age that has never heard the truth about the Jewish state.
To contend with all this, the single most important step Israel must take is to end our twenty year nightmare with the PLO. As long as it continues, we will remain incapable of defending ourselves.
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