The deadly record of appeasement policies and the "peace" faction that keeps replaying it.
A number of years ago, I encountered the Israeli author and Peace Now activist Amos Oz at a New Jersey forum. Following his lecture, I asked him - in his native tongue - to explain how he could possibly demand that peace be delivered "now," as if it would simply come by commanding it. He chuckled for a moment and replied, “The name might have been adopted a little hastily but peace is within our [Israel’s] reach.” Amos Oz was one of the original signatories of a letter sent to Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1978, which marked the creation of Israel’s left-wing Peace Now movement.
In the letter to Prime Minister Begin, the founders of Peace Now wrote:
[A] government that prefers the existence of the State of Israel within the borders of “Greater Israel” to its existence in peace with good neighborliness, will be difficult for us to accept. A government that prefers the existence of settlements beyond the Green Line to the elimination of this historic conflict through the...normalization of relationships in our region will evoke questions regarding the path we are taking. A government policy that will cause a continuation of control over millions of Arabs will hurt the Jewish-democratic character of the state, and will make it difficult for us to identify with it.
It is critical to note the naiveté of the left-wing Israelis that established Peace Now – especially in light of Khartoum’s "Triple No" decision (no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel) delivered at the September 1967 Arab Summit. This move unequivocally demonstrated that the Arabs and the Arab-Palestinians were not at all interested in “peace” or in “good neighborliness." The Coastal Road Massacre perpetrated by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) on March 11, 1978, in which 38 Israeli civilians (including 13 children) were murdered, and 71 others were wounded, proved it as well.
Ironically, the left-wing Israelis who formed Peace Now did so against the center-right Likud government of Prime Minister Begin, despite the fact that it was the Likud government that had orchestrated and signed a peace treaty with the largest Arab state: Egypt. Moreover, PM Begin stated that he was willing to trade all of the Sinai, including its oil wells, and the settlement of Yamit (where the PM owned a home) for peace.
While this 31 year-old peace is cold and tenuous, it still holds. The Oslo Accords, signed by the Rabin-Peres-Beilin center-left Labor government and enthusiastically supported by Peace Now, were an unmitigated disaster and cost Israel over a 1,000 innocent lives. The murderers were Arafat’s Palestinian terrorists – the same individuals with whom Peace Now advocated “making” peace.
Peace Now claims on its website that in 1988, upon the PLO’s acceptance of UNSC Resolution 242 and the principle of the two-state solution, the group “led a massive demonstration of 100,000 persons calling on the [Israeli] government to negotiate with the PLO." A mere six months after the declaration, the PLO approved a terrorist raid on the Israeli coastal village of Palmachim with the intention of killing as many Israeli-Jews as possible.
In 1993, Peace Now (in its own words) “fully supported the break-through represented by the Oslo Accords," during which Israel and the PLO negotiated directly for the first time. As a result, Israel withdrew its military from areas of the West Bank and Gaza, and the PLO renounced violence and publicly accepted Israel’s "right to exist." Again, only six months after Peace Now “celebrated” the Oslo achievement, suicide bombers began blowing themselves up in Israeli cities.
Peace Now has also actively opposed Jewish settlements:
We (Peace Now) believe that the presence and expansion of settlements in the Occupied Territories and in East Jerusalem have the potential to corrupt the process of political negotiation about these disputed areas. These activities must not be allowed to derail the negotiated solution favored by the majority of Israeli and Palestinian citizens. The Settlement Watch Project was founded to monitor and report on these activities to the world, conduct aerial and ground surveys that monitor and expose settlement expansion in the occupied territories, create media reports, maps in English and Hebrew, and materials for briefings and press conferences based on information collected from our settlement monitoring activities.
Contrary to Peace Now's perception, the vast majority of Israelis support the settlements, as revealed by the election of a pro-settlement government in 2009. And, whereas Israelis favor a negotiated solution, they reject the kind of unilateral withdrawals that Peace Now supported in Lebanon (2000) and Gaza (2005). These withdrawals resulted in strategic land takeovers by Hezbollah and Hamas, which now jeopardize the lives of countless Israeli citizens. There are no prospects for peace with these radical Islamist groups, which are growing in power and have the support of the majority Shiite-Muslims in Lebanon, and the Sunni-Muslims in Gaza.
Former Palestinian Authority Chairman Arafat and now, his successor, Mahmoud Abbas have clearly demonstrated to the world their reluctance to make peace with Israel -- even in the face of unilateral Israeli concessions. The left-of-center governments of Ehud Barak in 2000, and Ehud Olmert in 2008, agreed to part with 95%+ of the West Bank and Gaza (in addition to territory swaps for the remaining 5%), and to allow for a Palestine capital in East Jerusalem in exchange for the Palestinians agreeing to sign on to an “end of conflict” declaration. Moreover, Olmert secretly promised Abbas the “right of return” for thousands of Palestinians. Arafat walked out of these talks and launched the Intifada, and Abbas walked out and increased incitement against Israel.
The arrogance of Peace Now is in its assumption that it takes only one side to make peace. They willfully ignore the reality of every opinion poll that reveals the Palestinians support terrorism and want to displace the Jewish State with an Islamic-Arab state. Palestinians consider Israel a cancer in the Arab body, and a foreign object in the domain of Islam.
Israelis on the political-right, as much as on the left, want peace. They too do not want their sons, brothers, and husbands, wives, sisters and daughters, to become victims of violence. They too yearn for a lasting peace. However, they reject the suicidal actions of the left, which would have Israel give up vital strategic territory, including the Judean and Samaritan ridges where a majority of Jewish settlements are.
Hebrew University Professor Yisrael Aumann, a game theory scholar and Nobel laureate, summed it all up in an interview with Israel National News: “The calls for peace which we have been hearing (mainly from our side) for the past 90 years, do not bring us closer to peace but actually take us further from it,” said Aumann. “Peace is like honor. If you chase it, it runs away. This is not just game theory; it has been proven in history.” One wonders what Amos Oz has to say about that?