By Isi Liebler
In 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain proclaimed there would be “peace in our time” in defense of his disastrous Munich Agreement with Hitler. History testifies that his policy of appeasement and failure to confront the aggressive Nazi barbarians virtually made World War II inevitable.
In August 1993, just 20 years ago, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, strongly pressured by then Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, embarked on what he described as a “gamble for peace” and consummated the Oslo Accords with the Palestine Liberation Organization, an act which bitterly divided the nation.
Passionate debates ensued, but in our desperate yearning for peace, until recently many of us deluded ourselves that we were engaged in an “irreversible” peace process. Some of us even mesmerized ourselves into believing that Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, were genuine peace partners, despite clear evidence from their own statements that in referring to peace, they did so with forked tongues and their real objective was to end Jewish sovereignty.
In recent years the vast majority of us reluctantly concluded that the “gamble for peace” was a failure and that, in the absence of a Palestinian leadership genuinely committed to coexistence, any prospect for a genuine peace was a mirage. This has become especially obvious as Palestinian leaders even refuse to engage in negotiations without preconditions.
Yet, the vast majority of Israelis would still now endorse major concessions to the Palestinians if they were convinced that this would lead to a genuine peace.
Sadly, many – including some of our friends – fail to appreciate this and continue urging Israel to be more forthcoming about the peace process.
U.S. President Barack Obama reversed his former confrontationist stance toward Israel and now even publicly endorses Israel’s right to take pre-emptive military action to defend itself. Nevertheless, an “Alice in Wonderland” atmosphere still dominates U.S. Middle East policy.
Thus, Secretary of State John Kerry waxes eloquent over an allegedly revised and improved version of the so-called Arab League Peace Initiative.
The imperative of placating the U.S. obligates our government not to reject outrightly this initiative which “agrees” to accept minor territorial swaps from the 1949 armistice lines yet still incorporates the right of return of Arab refugees, which would result in an end to the Jewish state.
Moreover, the genocidal Hamas, with which the PA seeks to merge, has condemned the scheme and adamantly reiterated that it would never countenance any compromise.
No Israeli government could conceivably contemplate acquiescing to a formula in which the opening benchmark in negotiations requires acceptance of the 1949 armistice lines. This would entail east Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, as well as the major settlement blocs, effectively becoming Palestinian territory until an agreement to engage in swaps is consummated. Precedents indicate that it is highly unlikely that agreement on swaps could be achieved with the current intransigent Palestinian leaders.