PUNISHING THE VICTIM AND
REWARDING THE BELLIGERENT

by Yoram Ettinger

Ynet, Oct. 20-22, 2004

The proposed Disengagement is a hybrid of the Oslo Process and the Land-For-Peace mentality, which have been flawed logically, strategically and morally.

The Land-For-Peace (LFP) school of thoughts expects Israel to disengage from its scarcest asset - territory, which is 0.2% (11,000sqm) of Arab territory (5.56 million sqm), which is 50% and 30% larger than the US and Europe respectively (not including Iran's 643,000sqm). In return, LFP expects Arab countries to accord Israel that which they have yet to share with one another - comprehensive peace, compliance and an end to violence and terrorism.

The logical/moral justification for LFP has been its, supposed, parity: The deeper the peace the deeper the territorial disengagement, full peace for full withdrawal, partial peace for partial withdrawal. Can one expect such a parity to be sustained during crisis time? Would the promoters of LFP demand that full non-compliance by the Palestinians would be matched by full retrieval of land conceded by Israel, and that partial non-compliance would trigger a partial retrieval?!

LFP has been rarely employed in the international arena, and then under circumstances which are at variance with the Arab-Israeli conflict. LFP is, ostensibly, designed to advance the cause of justice and peace, to weaken and deter belligerent regimes, to bolster moderate elements in a belligerent society and to compensate intended victims. For example, Germany was forced to dismantle its Nazi regime, to cede land to its intended victims (France, Poland and Czechoslovakia), which were then willing to reciprocate by extending peace. However, when applied to the Jewish State, LFPeacenicks aim at punishing the intended victim (Israel) and compensating the belligerent (Palestinian Authority). Thus, they reward a rogue Palestinian regime, undermine moderate Palestinians who yearn for the demise of the "Tunisian PA", fueling - rather than extinguishing - the fire of Palestinian terrorism. If such a version of LFP were applied to Nazi Germany, the entire Sudeten Mountains would still be under German sovereignty.

LFP has ignored a fundamental tenet of Mideast - and especially interArab - politics: Deterrence in face of threat advances security and peace, while restraint and concessions nurture violence and war. In fact, the only attainable (interArab) peace has been based on deterrence, which is severely undermined when belligerence is rewarded by territory. Would it be logical to expect Arab countries to treat Israel more gently than they do one another?!

Disengagement has been perceived by Mideast residents as an __expression of battle fatigue, cut & run and cave-in, which have further eroded Israel's posture of deterrence, adrenalizing the veins of Palestinian terrorists.

While the disengagement from Sinai has yielded a peace agreement with Egypt, one should not delude oneself:

*Egyptian school books are employed by the anti-Jewish PA hate-education system;

*Egypt is using Palestinian terrorism, in order to wear down Israel's resolve;

*Egypt has facilitated the smuggling of explosives, missiles, weaponry and ammunition to Gaza terrorists, and has poisoned Israel's relations with Africa, the Persian Gulf and the UN.

*Notwithstanding its deepening poverty and its weak Muslim neighbors, Cairo has been involved in a major campaign of military acquisitions, in order to establish itself as a credible threat to Israel.

One should note that while the demilitarization of Sinai - contiguous to the sparsely populated Negev - provides Israel with some 50 hours early warning time (in case of another Egyptian violation of agreement), a disengagement from Judea and Samaria - contiguous to Israel's Soft Belly - would accord Israel some 5 hours early warning time.

LFP assumes that the Arab/Palestinian-Israeli conflict is territorial in nature, and that Palestinian terrorism has been driven by despair. However, Arab/Palestinian attitudes toward Israel have been annihilationist (as demonstrated by their official anti-Jewish education, media and clergy systems) and the unprecedented Palestinian terrorism (since Oslo 1993) has been driven by the hope for the deterioration of Israel's tenacity. For example, the PLO was established before the 1967 War, in order to do away with the "1948 Occupation" (Jerusalem, Galilee, Negev, Tel Aviv, etc.) and not with the "1967 Occupation" (Judea, Samaria and Gaza). In fact, Palestinian terrorism has reached its climax as a result of the 1993 Oslo Accord, when Israel snatched the PLO from oblivion in terrorist camps in Yemen, Iraq, Sudan, Lebanon and Syria, providing the PLO with territorial base (at the heart of Israel), with weaponry, with legitimacy at the White House and with unprecedented hope. Further Israeli disengagement from territory would ignore the lessons of the last 11 years, would inflame Palestinian hope, and would therefore add more fuel to the fire of Palestinian terror, driving the region farther from peace.


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