THE ISRAEL REPORTMarch/April 1999
In This Article:
1. Pressure Must Be Met Head On
2. The Mothers Will Keep Pushing
3. Message for Bibi
4. The "Easy" Route Will Lead to Disaster
Israel's reaction today to the situation in Lebanon will set the pattern for Arab - Israeli relations on every front. Ehud Barak has bluntly stated that the way to get safely out of Lebanon is to start negotiating Israel's withdrawal from the Golan. And what happens if the negotiations fail? Or even stall?
As Labor MK Ori Orr put it, the people killed in Lebanon didn't die defending Israel's presence in Lebanon. They died in the war for the Golan. You know it, I know it, Barak knows it and, most important of all, President Assad knows it: If the Jewish State doesn't have the stomach for casualties in Lebanon - and I don't for a minute minimize the gravity of the losses and the terrible strain and tension involved in maintaining our position there - and reacts to the situation not by repositioning for purposes of efficiency but rather withdraws from fear - then the best way to advance the interests of the Arabs at any stage of the negotiations is through renewed violence.
The mothers will push us out of the Golan and out of east Jerusalem. And when terrorists strike inside Israel to 'advance' negotiations over the return of refugees to Jaffa and Haifa, the mothers will press for the floodgates to be open. And when terrorists strike again because too many Jews are immigrating to Israel, the mothers will demand that the gates be closed.
And when terrorists insist that the only solution is a Palestinian state from the river to the sea, the mothers, hoping that this finally will bring 'peace in our time' will press for this one last concession. And it won't be the last.
Tell us to our faces that, at the end of the day we may find that the Syrians or Arafat make demands that simply cannot be accepted. Have the respect for the intelligence of the Israeli public to state that you cannot guarantee peace in our time or a deal with one of our neighbors in 12 weeks or 12 months.
I met last week with a group from America and someone asked me if Israel would ever reach the point that would longer need a standing army. I asked her when she thought the US or Australia would be in such a position.
Our situation is not unique. Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that Israel is Sparta. Just that we're not in Paradise. And the sooner the politicians are honest about this painful reality the better off we all will be.