Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of August 30, 1998

AFTER WE WITHDRAW...

Oslo: No Choice?

By David Weinberg

Will Israel have more peace, security and international support after the second redeployment? Since the Oslo Accords were struck five years ago this month, conventional wisdom has been that Israel must navigate within the confines of the deal. "Israel has no better diplomatic alternative" is the mainstream establishment mantra, to which Prime Minister Netanyahu's government swore allegiance.

Despite the fact that our Palestinian partner hasn't quite turned out to be the neighbor we'd hoped for, there is, simply put, no choice but to stick with Oslo. Why? Because the repercussions of total breakdown in the peace process which would result from any formal renunciation of the accord would be worse, unimaginably bad. "The pressure cooker would explode," we're told.

In sum, we "have" to go forward with the second redeployment (and the third and perhaps more), otherwise there'll be no peace, no security, no international support for Israel. But does anyone really believe that we'll have more peace and more security and truly more solid international support after we go forward with the next redeployment?

After we withdraw from 13 percent more of the territories, will the IDF have an easier time providing security for Israelis? Then-IDF chief of staff Amnon Shahak told the Knesset on June 9 that after the redeployment "from a security standpoint, we will live in a much, much more difficult reality than the one currently prevailing."

Indeed, our ability to foil terrorist attacks diminishes as we withdraw from more territory, making us increasingly dependent on PA intelligence. But, we have no choice.... After we hand over 13 percent more of the territories to Yasser Arafat, will he cease "fostering Hamas terrorist infrastructures as a military reserve for the future" (as IDF Intelligence Chief Brig.-Gen. Ya'alon said on July 1) or downsize the PA police force in line with the Oslo terms?

Will Arafat distance himself publicly from the Yihye Ayyash suicide bombers of this world, or will he continue to embrace and glorify their memories? Are PA leaders going to stop threatening violence every time the peace talks hit a snag? I doubt it. But again, we have no choice....

AFTER we withdraw from 13 percent more of the West Bank heartland, will the Israelis who live there sleep more securely in the knowledge that the process is "building trust" between the sides and that joint security patrols will better protect them? Or can Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria expect to picked off one by one by PA terrorists and policemen ("Move to Tel Aviv if you want security" says Jibril Rajoub) and find themselves trapped inside their towns as PA forces cut off access roads? But remember, we have no choice....

After we "recommit ourselves to the process" by withdrawing from 13 percent more of the territories, will the PA cease its ongoing diplomatic aggression against Israel in international forums? Is the Palestinian representative at the UN going to stop attempting to have settlements investigated as war crimes under international convention? Will Arafat end his lobbying of European leaders for a suspension of trade ties with Israel? Again, I doubt it.

Nor do I believe that, after the withdrawal, the current government will become a beloved son in international politics. Netanyahu will be as isolated as ever, and pressured to make, well, the next pullback. But we need American support. So, we have no choice....

After we withdraw from 13 percent more of the territories, will the anti-Israel and antisemitic incitement of the Palestinian press abate? Will Al Hayat al-Jadida, Arafat's semi-official organ, issue a retraction, informing Palestinians that the "DNA" on Monica's dress didn't come, after all, from AIPAC's warehouses, and that the Lewinsky affair apparently isn't a plot launched by the "satanic, Zionist state"? How about a feature debunking the Holocaust revisionists who have been so popular until now in the Palestinian press? Unlikely, you say? But, we have no choice....

After we withdraw from 13 percent more of the territories, will Palestinian encroachment in eastern Jerusalem - an absolute violation of the Oslo Accords - be turned back? Will the Palestinian ministries of police, education, interior and religion desist from their continuing step-by-step takeover of the city? More likely, as final status talks near, the struggle for control will only increase, along with purposefully directed Palestinian violence meant to show who is the boss in eastern Jerusalem. But, we have no choice....

After we withdraw from 13 percent more of the territories, will Arafat chuck the bigots and radical imams he has been smooching with, like Louis Farrakhan, Sheikh Yassin and the Ayatollah Khameini? Or will the PA act to clean up its awful human rights record? Improbable? But hey, we have no choice....

After we withdraw from 13 percent more of the territories, will fewer Israeli cars be stolen and spirited away to disassembly yards in PA-controlled territory; or be stolen for the PA police motor-pool? Are you skeptical?

But, we have no choice. Right?

(c) Jerusalem Post 1998

=======

David Weinberg comments on current affairs in The Jerusalem Post and THE MACCABEAN.



 HOME  Maccabean  comments