Friday, August 01, 2008

Mr. Prime Minister, Please Just Go Quietly


It is good news for Israel that Prime Minister Olmert has finally declared that he is leaving the stage. Though a quick collapse of the government is possible, the nature of Israeli politics being what it is, his time in office may unfortunately linger into next year. Most disturbing, for Israel, Palestinian Arabs and the rest of humanity is that he appears to want to sign a “peace deal” before he goes.

As I’ve said before, a peace deal that exchanges Israel’s long-term viability for unworkable borders and a peace of paper—even if the paper is guaranteed by the United States—is a peace whose price is too high.

First, no such paper guarantee is reliable. Consider retired Israeli Major General Yaakov Amidror’s account of a private conversation with Henry Kissinger: When asked for American guarantees in exchange for Israeli territorial concessions, Kissinger explained that South Vietnam had international guarantees from twenty countries. Kissinger went on to say that when North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam, no country took his telephone calls. The implication of the conversation was clear to General Amidror. Do not risk withdrawing to the 1967 borders on the basis of American guarantees.

But more importantly, as a state that currently fails to meet RAND Corporation criteria for successful independent existence, Israel’s return to the pre 1967 borders would increase the chances of its ultimate demise. This, of course, is exactly what Israel’s many enemies—who dwell within countries that already comprise 99.8% of the regional territory—expect over time.

But Israel’s demise would not make the lives of Palestinian Arabs better in the long run. Israel’s demise will not lead to regional peace. And Israel’s demise would not advance the interests of humanity around the globe, humanity that benefits from the scientific and medical advancements that occur in Israel.

Undoubtedly, a frenzied last minute push by the Bush Administration for “peace,” (i.e., a return to, more or less, what Abba Eban called the Auschwitz borders) will include many guarantees that will come with an unacceptable price: an Israeli commitment to be, at the very least, forever crippled. Deplorably, it appears that the Prime Minister is intent on figuring out how to pay this price.

For the sake of Israel, better lives for Palestinian Arabs, long-term regional peace, and humanity, Mr. Prime Minister, please just go quietly.

Please read The Case for a Larger Israel for details regarding the military, economic and social perils Israel faces within the inadequate geographical territory of the pre 1967 borders. Please read it to see that there are other options for Palestinian people other than to be herded like cattle into a mini-state that is sure to fail and cause misery.

--David Naggar