By Bernard J. Shapiro

For over 50 years Israel has fought for survival in a very hostile neighborhood. After winning 6 major wars, Israel still finds its sovereignty questioned by its Arab neighbors and the international community. Some six or more international or UN peacekeepers have been give the task of patrolling Israel's borders as well as cities like Hebron and Jerusalem. A new observer forces is being demanded by the Palestinian Authority today.

As early as Israel's victory in its War of Independence, it was saddled with numerous United Nations entities and troops. It very borders were considered "temporary" and a "right to return" was granted to a hostile Arab population.

Faced with continuous terrorist (fadeyeen) raids from Egypt, Israel joined France and England in a the Sinai Campaign (1956). After winning a great victory, Israel was forced to withdraw by US President Dwight Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. They received promises of free passage through the straits of Eilat and a UN protection force in Sinai. Both of which evaporated in 1967.

Israel's spectacular victory in the Six Day War gave it some breathing space from foreign intervention. Even the UN which had piled up a huge record of one sided anti-Israel resolutions, passed a fairly balanced one. Israel was not required to return to its old borders but to new secure ones following peace agreements.

Unfortunately Israel had only a brief period of feeling secure. A certain concept (mechdal) set in the military and the public that the Arabs would never launch an attack on Israel. Though there are differences among historians, most agree that Israeli intelligence knew some 72 hours before Egypt and Syria launched their surprise attack on Yom Kippur 1973. Israel's political leadership including Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan consulted Washington and were told not to launch a first strike. We all know what disaster resulted. What many don't know is that Israel's desperate need for resupply was used by Washington to force Israel to submit to concessions in the post-war negotiations. On both the Syrian and Egyptian fronts Israel was force to withdraw from badly won territory with no gain.

In the Peace for Galilee War of 1982, Israeli forces trapped PLO Yassir Arafat and his terrorist gangs in West Beirut. Northern Israel and Southern Lebanon were freed from his terror. The US and international community demanded that he be allowed to escape the encirclement and sail to Tunis free of consequences for the damage he had wrought in Lebanon and Israel. The media totally distorted Israel's military operation and left a black eye that has yet to recover.

The Intifada of 1987 came and Israel was unable to defeat teenage Arab boys who threw stones at Israeli soldiers and civilians. Every time the army tried to control the situation it got very strong media and international condemnation. The result was a feeling of helplessness that ultimate led to Oslo. The view that there was no military solution to Israel's relations with the Arabs became common on the Left.

The Persian Gulf War of 1991 was the most critical. Israeli acquiescence to restrictions on its sovereignty in recent history. Israel was always proud of its military tradition of fighting its own battles and not being dependant on foreign forces. When the US forced Israelis to cower in sealed rooms and not fight back against the Iraqi SCUD missile attacks, it had a major negative effect on Israeli morale and its deterrence level in the Middle East. The post-war period found Israelis weakened and led the Labor Party to begin negotiations on the disastrous OSLO APPEASEMENT. Labor leaders Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin thought that by creating a Palestinian State in Judea, Samaria and Gaza they would bring an end to the historical conflict between Jew and Arab. They had another goal which was to limit Jewish sovereignty and increase Labor's election chances by pleasing Israeli Arabs.

Once Oslo began in earnest, Israel began to face affront after affront to its sovereignty. A Palestinian army began to develop and constant anti-Jewish incitement began to be a regular PA feature in its schools, mosques, TV, and newspapers. Every provision of the Oslo Agreement was violated by the PA and the Israeli government meekly ignored them. Terrorism began almost immediately after the signing of Oslo. Buses started blowing up and Arab attacks intensifies. Unfortunately many Israelis were so deluded by the vision of "peace" that they failed to see the harsh reality in front of them.

The PA got bolder and bolder in its insults to Israel. From its pollution of Israeli water supplies to its harassment of Jews visiting the Temple Mount. The Moslem Waqf began to destroy Jewish antiquities on the Mount and no Israeli authority stepped in to stop it. In almost every instance the Israelis backed down from insisting on their rights. To the Israelis this may have seemed moderation but to the Arabs it was weakness.

At Camp David (2000) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, PA leader Yasir Arafat, and US President Bill Clinton met to hammer out a final status "peace agreement" between Israel and the Palestinians. Barak made an offer to Arafat that would have been disastrous for Israeli security and Arafat REFUSED. Why? Simply put, Arafat was not prepared to make peace with Israel of any size. For him Palestine must rise on the ashes of a destroyed Israel with all the land from the "river to the sea."

Following the breakdown of the talks, Arafat launched the terrorist Rosh Hashona War, attacking Jews all over the country. Israel's responses were moderate at first but gradually increasing in deadliness. As Israel counter-attacked in both military and economic terms, a chorus of criticism arose. The Europeans, the UN, the Americans all demanded that Israel stop defending itself. International observers were demanded by the Europeans and the Palestinians. The US wanted CIA or State Department observers. The Israelis, knowing full well the futility of biased observers opposed the idea. Judging from passed experience, I would predict that Israel will give in on this point.

The Temple Mount is now totally off-limits to Jews although the right of Jews to pray there has been affirmed by the Supreme Court. The police chief has prevented them from exercising their rights under the threat of Arab violence. Can you imagine the US (in the 60's) refusing to send in troops to protect the right of black students to attend public schools in the South, DESPITE the threat of White violence.

The erosion of Israeli patriotism began with the post-Zionist movement founded in academia in the 70's and 80's. This movement taught that the Zionist movement was not based on the legitimate national cravings of the Jewish people. It was described as the brutal exploitation of another people, the Arabs.

Once a portion of the Jewish people believed in this ruinous philosophy, it was possible to justify any compromise with the Arabs, even at the expense of the Jewish State.

Israel's founding father, David Ben-Gurion, and Zionist leaders, Theodore Herzl and Ze'ev Jabotinsky are probably restless in their graves over current events.

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