|MARCH 2001 - Issue #133||PUBLISHED BY AMERICANS FOR A SAFE ISRAEL|
"We are in a state of war with the Palestinians," the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army General Shaul Mofaz recently asserted. The Palestinians are carrying out bombings and shooting attacks every single day, all across the country, and inciting the masses to intensify the violence. The concentration of Hezbollah rockets along the Israel-Lebanon border, and the murderous attack on a patrol in northern Israel in February, clearly indicate that war with Hezbollah is only a matter of time. Both Syria and Egypt act as if they are on a war footing--spending huge amounts of their budgets on sophisticated offensive weapons, engaging in constant military exercises, and filling their media with vicious attacks on Israel that are clearly intended to justify war against the Jewish state.
In the face of this crisis, perhaps it was no surprise that Ariel Sharon made it his first order of business to seek a national unity government with the Labor Party. Perhaps a case could have been made that a unity government with clear red lines--with unequivocal limits to the kinds of concessions that would be offered and an ironclad commitment to stamping out Arab violence--might have been an effective way to win the current war.
Instead, Sharon has constructed a government that gives the defeated Labor Party too much representation, and has agreed to government policy guidelines that could pave the way for more dangerous concessions. The most glaring problem in the guidelines is the declaration that U.N. Resolution 242--the failed concept of surrendering Israeli territory for Arab promises of peace--will apply to the Golan Heights, Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. Sharon had promised that the Oslo process was dead--but applying 242 to Judea and Samaria in fact revives the deadly Oslo formula under a new name. It means that Israel is obligating itself to surrender substantial amounts of territory in exchange for pieces of paper. And it would be the Palestinian Authority to whom Israel would be giving much of that land.
When 242 was first adopted, its authors made a reference to the refugee issue but deliberately omitted any suggestion that either the PLO or any other self-proclaimed representative of the refugees should have a seat at the negotiating table. But Yitzhak Rabin crowned Arafat their representative, and if 242 is now to be resurrected, Arafat is very much at the table.
Part of the responsibility for this potential disaster must be laid at the doorstep of Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been sniping at Sharon and his supporters, sometimes publicly, sometimes through remarks by his allies or in media leaks attributed to "Likud sources." His post-election prediction that Sharon's government "will fall within three months" was more than just sour grapes--it seems intended to create the impression that Sharon's early downfall is inevitable, to be swiftly followed, of course, by Netanyahu's return to the leadership of the Likud and the post of prime minister.
Israel must rise above these petty political quarrels and prepare for the inevitable battle ahead. Sharon will have no choice but to mount a vigorous and sustained response to the ongoing Arab terrorism. Israel cannot continue to tolerate the waves of unending Arab violence. As part of its response, it may have no choice but to take back territory that was given to Arafat under the Oslo accords, and has been used by Arafat as the launching pad for the violence that he began last October and as a safe haven for the killers after they strike. Taking back land which historically belonged to the Jewish people and which is now vital to protect Israeli lives would finally put an end to the Oslo nightmare. And that, in the end, is what must be done: the Oslo process must be reversed, not only in word but in deed.
Herbert Zweibon is chairman of Americans For a Safe Israel.
IN THIS ISSUE:
Terror and Anarchy ...3
May It Not Happen Again! ...5
Israel's Fake Unity ...7
Into the Twilight ...9
March 2001 - 1 - Outpost