Thy destroyers and thy demolishers shall emerge from within thee. – Isaiah 49:17
One cannot be both a Zionist and a Leftist. – Anton Shammas, Israeli-born Arab poet
Against the wishes of much – indeed, according to one recent poll, over 85% – of the public, the government has agreed to a cease-fire in Gaza.
The wages of war
As the dust of war begins to subside, it is far easier to see what Israel did not achieve in the four weeks of bloody fighting, than what it did.
True, Israel inflicted immensely more damage on Gaza than it suffered. However, despite this, opinion polls show that more Israelis believe that Israel did not win the war than believe it did.
Israel clearly failed to impose a cessation of the rocket fire which continued to rain down on its civilian population centers across unprecedentedly wide swathes of the country until the very last minutes of fighting. It failed to disrupt the senior echelons of Hamas’s chain of command and control. It failed to cripple Hamas as a fighting force, killing only a few hundred out of a total force reportedly numbering up to 20,000. Grave questions lurk in the minds of many as to what extent the threat of tunnels has been eliminated, and the speed with which they could be restored.
This is reflected in a deep sense of insecurity in many residents of the South. Indeed, according to Channel 10 News, in large tracts of the western Negev, almost a quarter of the population is considering leaving the South, and relocating either to other locations within Israel, or abroad.
It failed to deny the enemy impressive – if short-lived – successes such as disruption of the country’s international air links, and supplied its detractors with week after week of graphic scenes of devastation, to use as ammunition against it in the ongoing war to delegitimize the Jewish state and to incite hatred against Jews across the world.
No sense of victory
For this dismal harvest Israel paid a heavy price – forfeiting lives of dozens among its finest sons – extracted by an adversary hopelessly out-gunned and out-numbered, confined within a defined, constricted area with its back to the sea and nowhere to run.
Little wonder that there is no sense of victory among the public, despite the bluster of the political leadership.
But if meaningful gains seemed meager on the physical battlefield, on the diplomatic front, impending disaster looms as Israel reaps the bitter fruits of decades of dereliction of duty in presenting its eminently just and justifiable case to the world.
Anti-Israel sentiment is building rapidly across the world. There has been harsh censure in the UK, strong condemnation in France, cancellation of a presidential visit from Ecuador, renewed efforts to have IDF officers tried for war crimes.
It is far from implausible that in the talks in Cairo, Hamas will receive support for at least part of its demands – no matter how outlandish; that it will wring tangible gains from the negotiations, to which Israel will be compelled to concede; and that it will emerge from Operation Protective Edge battered, but with its overall status perceptibly enhanced – as it did in the previous rounds of fighting in 2008/9 and 2012.
In light of this gloomy outlook, it is highly improbable that this round of battle will be the last.
Time for truth, not unity
This is no time for platitudes about the need for a contrived show of unity. It is a time for unswerving pursuit of truth, no matter how searing.
We will only reach a valid solution for Gaza if we grasp the truth of that situation and its significance for the safety of the state.
Much blood has been spilt because of sadly mistaken policies. Much more blood is likely to be spilt unless those policies are corrected.
Blame for the blood already spilt must be laid at the doorstep of the authors of incorrect policies implemented until now, policies founded on utter disregard for truth. Blame for blood yet to be spilt will be laid at the doorstep of those who refrain from adopting necessary policies, refuse to recognize the truth and resist navigating with it as their lodestone.
The roots of bloodshed over the past two decades can be traced directly to the doctrine – dogma, rather – of land-for-peace and the notion that the Arabs can somehow be dissuaded from pursuing their Judeophobic intentions – if only Israel surrenders territory to allow them self-government.
This deadly delusion has brought death and destruction on an unprecedented scale to Jew and Arab alike for over 20 years: The initial withdrawal under the 1993 Oslo Accords sparked carnage in the streets of Israel.
The violence spiraled to unprecedented highs and culminated in a second intifada that compelled Israel to undertake Operation Defensive Shield (2002) in Judea and Samaria. The operation caused hundreds of dead and wounded on both sides, and gave rise to (unfounded) accusations of genocide in Jenin.
The Second Lebanon War (2006), precipitated by the government’s capitulation in 2000 to the clamor of the Four Mothers protest movement and the IDF’s unseemly flight from South Lebanon, left over 160 dead Israelis and thousands wounded.
Then came successive rounds of violence in Gaza – Operation Cast Lead (2008/9), Operation Pillar of Defense (2012) and now Operation Protective Edge (2014).
The pattern is depressingly clear. We are told repeatedly that if Israel would accept Arab demands to withdraw, peace will reign.
Yet with every withdrawal, the result is war.
Perhaps one of the most telling examples of how out of touch with reality the adherents of the deadly delusion really are is provided by writer Amos Oz, the darling-cum-guru of the refined bon-ton echelons of society.
Intellectual tyranny & refusal to concede error
Several months before the unbecoming unilateral retreat from Lebanon in 2000, Haaretz’s Ari Shavit interviewed Oz on the importance of “emotional sensitivity in politics.”
In the interview, bizarrely titled “Try a little tenderness,” Oz gave an embarrassingly absurd assessment of the situation, which proved hopelessly misinformed ex-ante and wildly inaccurate ex-post: “The minute we leave South Lebanon we will have to erase the word Hezbollah from our vocabulary, because the whole idea of the State of Israel versus Hezbollah was sheer folly from the outset. It will most certainly no longer be relevant when Israel returns to its internationally recognized northern border.”
How’s that prophesy working out for you, Amos? Yet despite its glaring and gory failures, and the reoccurring tragedy it wreaks, the Left in Israel still clings desperately to its disproven doctrinal diktat of land-for-peace.
By the power of intellectual tyranny exercised through the Left’s stranglehold on the legal establishment, the mainstream media and much of academe, hence its dominance of political discourse in the country, the Left has imposed its mindset on successive governments.
With varying degrees of enthusiasm/ reluctance, they find themselves unwilling or unable to jettison the hazardous hallucination which jeopardizes the very foundations of the Zionist enterprise.
But for the grace of God
Adherence to this nefarious notion of trading Jewish land for Arab peace can no longer be excused or condoned by the assumption of well-intentioned naiveté.
In the light of objective experience, continued adherence to it, despite its failures, both flagrant and frequent, can only be explained by assuming motives that are either moronic or malicious, either imbecilic or insidious.
If the land-for-peace two-staters had their way, we would now be in a perilous situation indeed.
If we had complied with their supplication to relinquish the heights of the Golan to Bashar Assad – a man whom, we were assured, we could do business with because he studied medicine in the West and surfed the Internet – we would be facing the specter of al-Qaida-affiliates deployed above Lake Kinneret and overlooking Tiberius. Had we relinquished the heights of Judea-Samaria, as the Left beseeched us to do, we could well have been confronted with forces of the Islamic State group perched on the hills overlooking Greater Tel Aviv, with Ben-Gurion Airport within mortar range of their forward positions and hundreds of tunnels being burrowed under the security barrier.
Unlike Gaza, where the border is around 60-km.-long, abutting the relatively sparsely populated South, the border of Judea-Samaria is some 400-500-km.-long and adjacent to the densely populated Coastal Plain with its congested traffic arteries and vital infrastructure installations.
But for the grace of God (or good fortune) this would be the dread situation facing Israel today – courtesy of the “peace camp” and their perilous, puerile and petulant penchant for “peace in our time.”
Rank is no recommendation
It is no longer possible to reconcile genuine concern for the survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people and the Left’s unremitting support for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
The events of recent years – particularly those of recent weeks – have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that the two dispositions are incompatible except under wildly optimistic, and hence unrealistic and irresponsible, assumptions.
It matters not who supports the disproven and dangerous idea, no matter how senior their former rank or how impressive the credentials of its advocates are. If anything, the past half-century of Israeli history demonstrates that an illustrious past and former glory is no guarantee of prudence in the present.
After all, it was prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, hero of the Six Day War, who brought about the tragedy and trauma of the Oslo process.
It was prime minister Menachem Begin, the intrepid leader of the Jewish underground, who relinquished Sinai, which is fast becoming one of the most brutal places on the face of the planet, Pressing against Israel’s long southern border and threatening to obliterate tourism in Eilat, this is a place where trafficking in human beings and human organs has become the savage hallmark.
Prime Minister Arik Sharon, hero of the Yom Kippur War, jettisoned Gaza and leaving it to become a fearsome garrison for Islamic radicals that led to the devastation and abandonment of much of southern Israel.
Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the IDF’s most decorated soldier, instructed the IDF to flee southern Lebanon and abandon Israel’s longterm allies there to the tender mercies of Iranian proxy Hezbollah, permitting the area to become a bristling arsenal that menaces the security of Israel and the safety of Israelis throughout the country.
When illustrious warriors such as Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin and V.-Adm. (res.) Ami Ayalon voice support for the establishment of a Palestinian state, their counsel should be viewed with the healthy skepticism that the disastrous mistakes of their erstwhile celebrated comrades-in-arms clearly warrant.
The anti-fascist fascists
In reality, the Left has no genuine concern for humanitarian values . All it truly desires is dominance over the political system.. That is why they would shut down debate and dismiss all dissent as demagoguery.
They are willing to submit non-belligerent Palestinians to incessant rounds of death and destruction rather than relocating them to safe locations, where they could build better lives for themselves and their families, free from the cruel clutches of the corrupt cliques that have misled them for decades. Rather than debate options for humanitarian rehabilitation and economic enhancement, they perpetuate the Palestinians’ predicament.
Rather than relinquish the fatal and failed formula of land-for-peace, they prefer to denigrate competing constructive concepts as fascist ethnic cleansing.
That is why today, Israel’s Left is ludicrous (in terms of its doctrine), loathsome (in terms of its conduct) and lethal (in terms of its consequences).
Martin Sherman (www.martinsherman.org) is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.(www.strategic- israel.org)