Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of February 24, 2000

DESTROYING PEACE (ISRAEL)

By Uri Dan

The weakness portrayed by the Israeli government endangers the peace agreements signed with our neighbors and the cold, fragile peace already achieved. Certain actions taken by surrounding Arab nations against Israel point to this:

* During his Beirut visit, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak openly expressed his support for the Hizbullah's activities against Israel while at the same time condemning the retaliatory IAF bombing of Lebanese power stations; in doing so, he went contrary to the spirit of the Israeli- Egyptian peace agreement and perhaps even violated some of its important provisions.

* King Abdullah of Jordan postponed his planned visit to Israel as a protest against both Israel's actions in Lebanon and the crisis in the talks between Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat.

* Arafat visited the Vatican, where he signed an agreement of grave importance with the Holy See; this creates the impression that the PLO has a status in Jerusalem and encourages placing the holy sites once again under international patronage. As usual, the Israeli government was "surprised."

* The campaign of incitement against Israel has reached new heights in Damascus and Cairo: a hate campaign that ceaselessly compares the Israelis to the Nazis, and Ehud Barak with Joerg Haider. In fact the real Haider in the Middle East, apart from Saddam Hussein, is Hafez Assad. This is the same Assad whom Barak was so quick to praise and flatter. A sadistic comedy is taking place: The harder Barak tries to present Assad and Damascus with the entire Golan Heights in return for a scrap of paper, the more the threats and anti-Israeli incitement increase on the part of the Arabs. This is a kind of orchestrated hate and incitement that we have not heard for many years. Even poor Lebanon is challenging and threatening Israel.

SOME Israelis are prepared to explain any Arab abomination against their country and to understand it. Itamar Rabinovich, professor and ex-ambassador to Washington, who prides himself as being an expert on Syria, was quoted this week in Yediot Aharonot as saying: "Comparison of Israel with the Nazis is an accepted form of slur against us in the Arab world. The Syrians do not like the large number of Jews in the Clinton administration and respond in a distorted manner. They feel hurt and choose to use the most offensive form of imagery."

The professor, who sounds like a neutral UN observer, reaches the conclusion: "In my opinion Israel must accept the situation as it is, and take into account that one cannot make the transition from a conflict to a peaceful, loving relationship overnight. There is a need for a period of transition."

Clearly, the Arab campaign of hate and incitement from Damascus to Cairo which compares Israel to the Nazis is intended to provide legitimization for destroying the Jewish state, using a combination of force and diplomatic moves. The professor, who is known to support giving the Golan Heights to Syria, says: "Israel must accept the situation as it is."

This response is similar to that of Jews who lived in Germany and Poland in the Thirties, most of whom, when Hitler and Goebbels screamed that they must be annihilated, said: "This will pass." This is more or less what Rabinovich is saying.The professor and those sharing his opinion among the politicians and ministers in Jerusalem do not wish to understand that an Arab hate campaign of this kind has a momentum of its own. The words of incitement are sure to be followed by acts of belligerency.

The greater the territorial concessions Barak makes to the Syrians and Palestinians "for the sake of peace," the more fragile the relations between Israel and the Egyptians, Jordanians, and Palestinians.. Jordanian King Abdullah and his ministers are being forced to adopt anti-Israeli positions in order to support their Arab brethren in Syria and Egypt. This is a dangerous turn of events.

Someone seems to have forgotten how Abdullah's father, King Hussein, was dragged into the aggression of Egypt and Syria before the 1967 Six Day War because of the momentary weakness radiated at that time by Levi Eshkol's government. However, the 1967 government now appears as ferocious as a lion compared to our current government, which is begging for a less-than-peace agreement with Syria, and which is undermining real peace, as far as it exists.

This is an extremely dangerous situation which should remind Israel of an iron rule: Peace between Israel and the Arabs which has already been achieved and which will be achieved in the future can only exist if Israel is capable of protecting it.

(c) Jerusalem Post 2000



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