“There is such a stench of defeatism in the air”

Deja Vu – Again

The Jerusalem Report
Amiel Ungar

Baseball hall-of-famer Yogi Berra’s immortal tautology, “It’s deja vu all over again” aptly describes the attempt to “spin” a silver lining out of an entire storm cloud – the Gaza takeover by Hamas. To believe Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Hamas’s masked gunmen strutting through Gaza are actually heralds of peace. Rewind to 1991, when Yasser Arafat and his Fatah movement were at low ebb, the first intifada was petering out and Arafat had intuitively, but mistakenly, backed Saddam Hussein and his invasion of Kuwait. Israeli peace advocates felt that such perfidy actually presented an irretrievable opportunity to strike a deal with the Fatah-PLO leader and the then-illegal talks leading to Oslo gathered momentum.

When Oslo came out of the closet and made it to the Knesset, the selling of Arafat began. Unlike Israel, Arafat the arch-terrorist would be able to fight terror without the restrictions of a High Court of Justice or the complaints of human-rights activists, then- prime minister Yitzhak Rabin argued. Arafat, of course, did precisely the opposite. Rabin’s promise to the Israeli public that, if the Palestinians squandered the opportunity, they would pay the price was conveniently expunged from his “legacy.”

We are back at the same pass and now it is the Olmert government which seeks to snap up Fatah stock at bargain prices, following the organization’s disgraceful showing in Gaza. Off we go to Sharm al- Sheikh to obsequiously thank host Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose forces did nothing to stop the flow of arms and funding across the Egyptian border to Hamas in Gaza. It is the season, it seems, to re inflate Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, who chose to ride the Hamas tiger until he was partially eaten.

Other elements of the remake may soon follow. A concerted media effort is underway to free the recidivist Fatah terrorist Marwan Barghouti, whom our peace processors affectionately refer to as “Marwan.” Meretz leader Yossi Beilin cheerfully admitted that Barghouti, currently serving five consecutive life sentences, epitomized the post-Oslo war and the murderous targeting of Israeli citizens. However, in the weightless atmosphere of peace efforts such heavy baggage hardly makes an impression on the scale. Barghouti, explains Beilin, felt that he had to enter the terror sweepstakes to effectively compete with Hamas. This explains the mindset of our putative allies. When cornered by Hamas forces in Gaza, the Fatah loyalists pleaded, “Stop shooting, we are not Jews.” The corollary of that statement should be patently obvious.

Barghouti and thousands of others will go free to bolster Abbas. The Fatah-aligned al-Aqsa terrorists will be “merged” with the Palestinian security forces and protection-racket patriots like Zakaria Zbeida in Jenin will soon be sporting their new American weaponry and armored cars. We have seen and paid in blood for all this before.

The second time around is worse and not merely because we should be wiser. The original Oslo disaster issued mainly from intellectual arrogance, but it was also buoyed by misplaced idealism. In the current remake, political cynicism and defeatism are the watchwords. Unlike 19th-century U.S. presidential candidate Henry Clay, who famously declared, “I would rather be right than be president,” Ehud Olmert would rather be wrong, as long as he remains prime minister. The price for Olmert’s continued tenure was set by Minister of Infrastructure Binyamin (Fuad) Ben Eliezer, fresh from securing his friend Ehud Barak’s election as Labor party chairman. Fuad bartered hooking up illegally built Arab houses to the electricity grid in return for Arab electoral support. Entire villages voted for Barak in proportions which would have made even Syria’s Bashar Asad blush.

Fuad is currently gearing up for another grand bargain. In a recent television interview, he predicted that if Olmert launches a full-blown peace process, it would effectively immunize him against the “Winograd Effect.” In other words, if, in its final report, the Winograd Commission, set up to examine the conduct of the 2006 Lebanon War, explicitly recommends Olmert’s ouster, the people and the media (not necessarily in that order) will refuse to dispense with Olmert, the paragon of peace. Labor and Fuad will then be able to yield gracefully to a manipulated vox populi and remain in the government (despite Barak’s pledge to quit unless Olmert resigns) rather than precipitate elections that would almost certainly bring Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu to power.
There is a stench of defeatism in the air. Peace negotiations represent the default option for a government that has tolerated the shelling of Sderot and its transformation into a ghost town. It watches passively as Iran helps Hamas replicate the Hizballah model complete with tunnels and missiles in Gaza. The leaders who razed Jewish communities there, while promising a devastating reply to any provocation from the Strip, now vainly place their hopes on international forces and even on Mahmud Abbas.

Negotiations with Abbas and the unreformed Fatah are futile and self-destructive. But if there are to be negotiations, the last people we need to represent us are Olmert and his crew. A negotiator constantly thinking of saving his political skin holds a weak hand. A negotiating team self-programmed to believe it has no alternative will make the wrong choices.

Contributing editor Amiel Ungar is a foreign affairs columnist for the Makor Rishon weekly and political columnist for the national religious monthly Nekuda.

July 18, 2007 | 2 Comments »

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2 Comments / 2 Comments

  1. For the GOI and those that support the GOI’s current policies and thinking as regards the goal of peace going hand in hand with an independent Palestinian state as reflected in Pres. Bush’s speech the other day, there indeed seems to be a ghost of a chance that has presented itself with the current situation in the region.

    For those who focus on Israel having given pieces of herself away, first to Egypt in return for a cold peace whereby Egypt did all she could or tolerated those within her society to do all they could, short of open hostilities to continue to demonize Jews and enable Palestinians to attack Israel and then to the Palestinians in return for nothing but their lies and empty promises, it is defeatism to carry on along a path strewn with bodies and blood to chase a dream made impossible by virtue of Jew hatred indelibly imprinted on the psyche of most Palestinians and Arabs.

    Until there is a change of Israeli government that reflects the thinking of the fellow who says, “I’m from Missouri, prove it!”, reflects the view that the world via the U.N. miscalculated when it passed the November 1947 UN Partition Resolution, the effects of which are still being paid for in blood today when they ought to have ceded the West Bank to Israel, or reflects a committment to law and biblical authority that grants the West Bank and Gaza to Israel, there is going to be more lives lost and blood strewn by this Olmert government in pursuit of the impossible dream of the Palestininas having their own independent state that lives in peace side by side with Israel.

    That dream is made impossible by the combination of intractable Jew hatred and the radical Islamic/Palestinian/Arab dream inspired by their radical Islamic beliefs that calls for taking back the lands of Israel into the fold of Islam as it once was under Islamic dominion.

  2. I think that in the the long term plan Israel should “force” Egypt to take care of Gaza.Gaza should go back to Egypt. What can Israel do with the Palestinians?
    King Abdullah is married to Rania, a Palestinian. Thus, as clanish as the Arab world is, I can see parts of the W.Bank being given back to Jordan. A Palestinian state consisting of Gaza and the W. Bank is not viable.
    It seems to me that the long term plans are as mentioned above.And the short term is killing and killing………..

    Otherwise, I am personally getting tired of all the nonesense that these terrorists are creating, which translate into destruction. The Palestinians have LOST both intifadas. If they don’t understand that, maybe Israel should start blanket bomb the border, meter by meter. Yes, blanket bomb, and cause such devastation as necessary to make them understand that the Israeli state is not going to be thrown into the sea. We are not talking about justice. ……….Look at the mayhem in Gaza…..shame on Hamas, Fatah and the Palestinians who are bent into destroying instead of building. And shame on the people who accept such a disgraceful leadership. I am really sick and tired of the whole lot……….I am sorry for sounding so bloody…………
    As far as Israel is concerned I really do not understand Olmert and the rest…….I understood Sharon better, but Olmert…………………..And Livni, with ther background in intelligence?………wow, is she intelligent?…….

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