By Ted Belman
Last week, I introduced myself, to a distinguished looking gentleman who I had seen many times in my neighborhood. Turns out he was retired Israeli Ambassador, Ilan Baruch. He said he knew my daughter from her service in the Foreign Ministry. We had a short conversation about the peace process and it was immediately apparent that he was a Leftist. He said that Israel must negotiate with the PA as equals. That told me all I needed to know about his position.
The next day I mentioned this encounter to Alan Baker at the JCPA and he told me that Baruch had recently resigned as Ambassador to South Africa. His reason for resigning was that he didn’t agree with Israel’s policies.
I mention all this because today Haaretz published an article under the title Palestinian unity is a chance for Mideast peace between equals. The article is hardly worth reading but the point he makes and presumably the point Baruch was making, was that Israel entered Oslo thinking Arafat is weak so we can have our way with him. Alas we didn’t count on the resistence both politically and militarily (violence and terror) which came our way.
“Yet the truth is that the Palestinians are refusing to crawl mainly because by crawling, they achieved nothing: They bought their legitimization, at least among certain segments of Israel, at the price of total surrender and relinquishing nearly everything.
“The rightist lie to the effect that the Palestinians “only take” and “don’t give” is logical according to the school of thought that believes if you repeat a lie enough times, it will eventually come true. Nevertheless, the Palestinians have not received anything. On the contrary: Ever since they began the peace process with Israel, their situation has become much worse – ghettoization, poverty and military oppression without any law restraining their Israeli overlords.
“When our leaders, especially those who advocate surrender as a condition for peace – President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak – say it is impossible to reach an agreement with Hamas, they are not only being cynical (as though they had reached an agreement with the PA ), they are also using the tattered slogans of the 1980s. Yet the fact remains: One doesn’t make peace either with friends or with slaves. Moreover, the greater the oppression, the more appalling the opponents of that oppression will be, to match the oppression. “
Essentially they are saying Israel can’t reach a deal when she is demanding “surrender”. Only if we don’t demand surrender and respect them as equals can we reach a deal. This would involve sharing Jerusalem and retreat to the greenline. If we are to give up our birthright to say nothing of our legal rights, it is we who are surrendering.
The outcome of negotiations depends on the relative strength of both parties. The stronger party gets the better deal. Why should Israel forego its strength and treat them as equals. They aren’t. What essentially these Leftists are saying is “peace at any price”. “Peace” for them is the highest value. Except that they ignore any evidence that it is not peace that will be acheived but more war.
They are impatient with Israel for holding out for a better deal. What’s the rush? We are the ones entitled to a better deal, not the Arabs. In the absence of a deal, reality is being shaped to our betterment.
That’s the way I like it.
I have another fundamental disagreement. He writes, “The Palestinians have not received anything.” This is a gross lie. Comparing the Palestinian position now with their position before Oslo, it is plain to see how much they have “received”. At what point of time is he making the comparison. Did the Palestinians ever have more rights or diplomatic support or more independence? Whatever they have received, is more than they had a right to expect. What ever misfortunes have come their way is due to their own actions.
To say that Peres and Barak are demanding surrender (by the Palestinians” as a condition for peace, shows just how far left this mentality is. To the contrary, Peres and Barak are demanding that Isael surender as a condition for peace.