"All the time we are giving up and get nothing in return!"
Indeed, we are giving up a lot.
The next war. New graveyards. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of bereaved
families, theirs and ours.
Apart from those, we are not
giving up anything. If I am taking by force somebody's property, and
then agree to give him back part of it, I am not "giving up" anything.
It's the other side that's giving up part of the property I've taken.
"We must not release prisoners with blood on their hands!"
On the eve of Camp David, Barak
could have released a great number of Palestinian prisoners, at least
those that were sent to prison for things done before Oslo. Barak did
not release anybody, and thus poisoned the atmosphere even before the
start of the talks. Why did he miss such an important opportunity? He
was afraid of the public outcry that would follow, because of the four
words: "Blood on their hands".
Mendacious words. I have blood on
my hands. Nearly all of the (male) Israeli readers of this article have
blood on their hands. We fought for our people. They fought for their
people. They are prisoners-of-war. They should have been released
immediately after Oslo (as Gush Shalom demanded at the time.) Rabin was
afraid. Barak is afraid. Four words have turned into deadly landmines on
the road to peace.
"Barak does not budge from his Red Lines."
If you declare "Red Lines" and
take pride in not budging from them in the negotiations, you do not
negotiate in good faith. Peace means compromise between the red lines of
the two sides. Otherwise it's a diktat, an ultimatum delivered by
the strong side to the weaker one.
The advertising expert Reuven
Wimmer has coined a new geometric law: "Two red lines never meet." The
recent uproar about the "Chinese spy plane" has led to another dictum:
"The only red lines of Israel are in the American flag". And, indeed,
until we achieve peace, Israel's relations with the US are of
existential importance. All other red lines are mobile.
"Jerusalem is the soul of the Jewish people."
Empty words. The Torah was given
in Sinai, the "Jerusalem Talmud" was written in Galilee, the "Shulchan
Aruch" was written in Safed. Herzl detested Jerusalem, and so did all
the founding fathers of the modern Hebrew society. The Jews in the
Diaspora prayed for Jerusalem, but prayer does not create rights.
Jerusalem of the prayers is an abstract idea. Yasser Arafat may be ready
to cede to us the "Heavenly Jerusalem", if we give him his part of the
"United Jerusalem, eternal Capital of Israel, will remain forever under
the sovereignty of Israel."
There is not one word of truth in
this mantra. Jerusalem is not united. The Eastern part was conquered by
force, and since then it is being governed by a mayor elected by the
Western part, who serves as a military governor of the Eastern town.
Since 1967, every Israeli knows that when he crosses the invisible
border, he enters another town. During the Intifada, very few Israelis
dared to do that.
Certainly, in public opinion
polls a big majority votes against a compromise in Jerusalem. But I
would be allowed to phrase the question, the answer would be quiet
different. For example: "Do you want your son to die for Ras-al-Amud,
Silwan, Sheikh-Jarakh and other Arab quarters of Jerusalem?" 85% will
answer with a clear No. In the end, that's what counts.
"We shall be here and they shall be there."
Barak's favorite slogan. But how
does that rhyme with the annexation of "settlement bloc" and "by-pass
roads" that cut deep into the territory of the Palestinian state, so
that almost no Palestinian will be able to visit his cousin without
coming across an Israeli army post? Where is "here" and where is
"there"? Not to mention the 200 thousand Palestinians in East Jerusalem,
who, according to Barak. will not be "there" but "here"?
"We shall not give Arafat anything if he will not declare that this is the
end of the conflict."
We have no conflict with Arafat,
but with nine million Palestinians. If most of them will consider the
agreement an unjust diktat, it will not endure. The existential
interests of Israel demand a peace agreement that will lead to a real
reconciliation, one that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians will
wholeheartedly accept as a fair and just compromise.
"Barak will bring us an agreement that will not impose on us any
Every housewife knows that it is
not worthwhile to buy goods that are too cheap. In the flea market
things may be cheap, but they will disintegrate within a short time.
It's better to buy more expensive goods in a good shop. A cheap peace
bought in the flea market - how much will it be worth? How long will it
"Barak will achieve peace and security."
Peace and Security are not two
different, or even contradictory things.
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