Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Historical errors and consequences. Part II


by Alex Rose


2nd part of 2



The Six Day War [June 5-10, 1967] was followed by UN Resolution 242 on November 22, 1967, which set out "to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security." Further, it designated a Special Representative "to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the states concerned". Clearly, the words "state" and "states" did not encompass the "Palestinians", who even today do not constitute a state. There is no mention of national or refugee rights, but "a settlement of the refugee problem" and this implied both Arabs and Jews living in Arab lands. The parties to the conflict were essentially Egypt, Jordan and Syria. How did Israel allow a departure from the terms of reference to a negotiation with "Palestinians"? How was it that an Israeli government agreed to a major departure from what had been promulgated? How could such an error, so great a misjudgment occur?

In the guide to the Preamble to the Camp David Framework, a peaceful settlement of the conflict is to be addressed by Israel and its neighbors. Under Framework, we find the words, "for peace to endure, it must involve all those who have been most deeply affected by the conflict". Further, in the Clause A. 1.West Bank and Gaza, the statement, "Egypt, Israel, Jordan and representatives of the Palestinian people should participate in negotiations on the resolution of the Palestinian problem in all its aspects" appears. Under subsection "a", of the aforementioned item, the expression, "provides full autonomy to the inhabitants" and provision for the Israeli military government and administration to be withdrawn, as soon as a self-governing authority has been freely elected by the inhabitants of these areas is determined for replacement of the existing military government. Subsection "b" charges Egypt, Israel and Jordan to agree on the modalities for establishing elected self-governing authority in the West Bank and Gaza and permitting inclusion of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza or other Palestinians to join the Arab delegations. Subsection "c' clearly states that, "The solution from the negotiations must also recognize the legitimate right of the Palestinian peoples and their requirements".

Of course, all of the above arrangements are to be subject to "all the provisions and principles of UN Resolution 242" which never mentions "Palestinians". At this time, the US had not yet recognized the PLO and did not do so until December, 1988. Nor for that matter had Arafat appeared before the UN, an unbelievable and immoral event which occurred on November 13, 1974. But we are able to discern a slippery slide into the very acceptance of the Palestinians as a national entity from the agreements made during the Camp David Accords. Of course, a noted above, the modern day usage of the term "Palestine" had already emerged in 1950.

While it can be appreciated that Menachem Begin did not want to inherit the large Arab populous in the disputed territory; and Israeli leftists voiced their concerns about "ruling over another people". Why the reluctance to voice other alternatives? There is no evidence of any attempt to pursue other avenues. Clearly, this missed opportunity became yet a further nail in the coffin.

On October 30, 1991, the Madrid Conference was hosted by Spain and co-sponsored by the USA and the USSR, lasting for 3 days. By that time the Palestinian Arab recognition had gained such momentum for a delegation to be present at the conference. They were included with the other invitees, Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan as an early attempt by the international community to start yet another "peace process" through negotiation. Because of Israeli objections, the Palestinian team was to be a component of a joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation. The Palestinian team was to be devoid of open association with the PLO such as Saeb Erekat and Haidar Abdel-Shafi. However, in fact, they were in constant communication with the PLO leadership in Tunis. Consequent to further Israeli objections, the PLO dispatched an unofficial "advisory delegation" led by Faisal Husseini to act as a liaison.

Except for Egypt, this was the first bilateral talks between Israel and its neighbors aimed at achieving peace treaties between the 3 Arab states and Israel. The Syrian and Lebanese negotiators agreed on a common strategy. Notably the talks with the Palestinians were based on a 2-stage formula, the first consisting of negotiating interim self-government arrangements which would be followed by permanent status negotiations. The Israeli-Jordan negotiations eventually resulted in a peace treaty in 1994, while the Israeli-Syrian negotiations did not.

Significantly, the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations were upstaged and eventually replaced by initially secret and illegal, according to Israeli law, negotiations which culminated in an exchange of letters on September 9 and 10, 1993 and subsequently the White House signing on September 13, 1993 of the Declaration of Principles. This was preceded by a secret agreement in Oslo on August 20, 1993. The Madrid Conference was considered a remarkable "twist in events" as the Palestine question was finally confronted. So much so that the head of the Palestinian delegation, Haydar Abdal Shafi, was given to state, "To the cosponsors and to the international community that seeks the achievement of a just peace in the Middle East, you have given us a fair hearing. You cared enough to listen and for that we thank you. Thank you." To its credit, it did manifest itself in a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan on October 26, 1994.


The Oslo Accords, officially called Declaration of Principles on Interim Self Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles [DOP] was intended to include negotiations on "final status issues" between Israel and the Palestinians. The latter issues, covering positions on Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, Israeli settlements, security and borders were to be addressed after the interim 5 year period. The accords provide for [a] the creation of a Palestinian National Authority [PNA] and [b] the withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] from parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Since the division of Jerusalem was an issue that even Israel's left wing considered offensive, why was it not discussed at the commencement of the 5 year period? Apparently, the psychology behind its preferred time period for negotiation was a belief that with ongoing meetings, the parties would acquiesce in their positions as a result of mutual accommodation stemming from familiarity! Perhaps one could entertain such nonsense in the case of child psychology. Dr. Kenneth Levin has covered the subject fully in his book, The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People under Siege. He explains the behavior pattern in the context of unprecedented Palestinian terror, routine calls in the Palestinian media for holy war, comparisons of Oslo to Mohammed's abandoned 628 treaty, and repeated reference to Oslo as a step in the PLO's 1974 "plan of Phases" to annihilate Israel.

Upon reflection, it can be said that The Oslo Syndrome applies throughout the subject period until present times. Dr. Levin notes that Jews seeing themselves through anti-Semitic eyes can always be reversed; but to free Jews from the bonds of their learned self-revulsion requires leaders giving them a different message. To Dr. Levin, no one exemplifies the power of such leadership as much as Herzl, who reminded Jews that they were part of a great nation rich in its spiritual, ethical and intellectual traditions and contributions to the world, having as much right as any other nation to an independent and secure national life.

In the words of Dr. Levin, "The broader occurrence of people adopting the perspectives of their tormentors has been popularly recognized over the past several decades as the "Stockholm Syndrome." The sobriquet had its origin in an incident in the Swedish capital in 1973 in which a bank robbery went awry and several people were held captive by the robbers for six days in the bank's vault. The captives emerged displaying notable empathy for and emotional bonding with their captives.

Dr. Levin has shown how Israel, living under constant siege by neighbors who have declared its very existence an aggression, was induced by its intellectual classes to believe that its own misdeeds had incited Arab hatred and violence, and that what required reform was not Arab dictatorship and Islamicist anti-Semitism, but the Jews themselves. The Oslo process that the Israeli Peace Movement spawned entailed policies grounded in wishful thinking and self-delusion analogous to that of abused children. The rhetoric of this group, its distortions of Arab aims and actions and its indictments of Israel reflected the psychological impact of chronic besiegement.

Aharon Megged, famed Israeli novelist and essayist observed in 1994, "We have witnessed an emotional and moral identification by the majority of Israel's intelligentsia, and its print and electronic media, with people committed to our annihilation." Writing in Haaretz in 1997, columnist Ari Shavit covered the course forged by Israel's political elite and passionately embraced by its political elites, including himself, commenting, "In the early 90's, we the enlightened Israelis, were infected with a messianic craze. All of a sudden, we believed that the end of the old Middle East was near — the end of history — the end of wars — the end of conflict — we fooled ourselves with illusions — we were bedazzled into committing a collective act of messianic drunkenness." How else to explain the Oslo Accords whose basis was to embrace Yasser Arafat & the PLO who openly ignored the obligations of a "peace partner", other than through Levine's analysis of the psychology of populations under chronic siege?

The major error in Oslo was occasioned by the failure of Israeli negotiators to acknowledge the Palestinian, and certain Israeli Arab refusal to recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish state and the national home land of the Jewish people. Perez even said that it was unimportant, totally ignoring Arab national ambitions and permitting continuous violence. This was compounded by the willingness to giving up tracts of the biblical Jewish homeland as well as "settlements" secured at the cost of many lives, despite majority public consensus. Who can forget the "dirty tricks" engaged in the acts of bribery offered to Shas and the two deserters from the Tzomet party, Gonen Segev and Alex Goldfarb? This resulted in a false majority by one vote in the Knesset. Thus, the Palestinians were treated to unlimited concessions. Under such conditions, what impetus was there for them to engage in a meaningful peace? What dignified people would engage in negotiations while facing unabated terrorist attacks?

The Oslo Accords represent the most egregious example of an enactment of the Stockholm syndrome, but it can be said all the events which followed contained elements of the same malediction. They are known by the names Wye River Memorandum [October 23, 1998], Camp David 200 Summit, Tabu Summit in January, 2001, Road Map for Peace [April 30, 2003], and the Geneva Accords [October 20, 2003], each a direct result of The Oslo Accords.

In line with commitments made through the Oslo Accords, elections were held in the disputed territory to select a Palestinian governing body. To the surprise of most and the extreme disappointment to Israel, the US, the UN and the EU, Hamas won the elections and were declared the winner on January 26, 2006. Not surprisingly, Hamas did not exhibit any behavioral revision as it assumed overall power while minimizing the favored Abbas party.


Shortly thereafter, in July 2006, Israel found itself facing Hizballah in an ill prepared war. The enemy, on the other hand was very organized, even to the point of employing a wide array of weapons and defensive positions.

The IDF knew that Hizballah could not be defeated without a major ground operation and its plan did not fail. It simply was not implemented. The failure was primarily one of leadership, Dan Halutz, being an air commander. While he initially directed a credible aerial blitz against military targets and civil infrastructure, he failed to follow this with a decisive ground operation and except for transportation, did not target Lebanon's infrastructure. The power [electrical, gas, gasoline], communications, media, and governmental system were all left untouched. In summary, the IDF did not adopt and aggressively implement a realistic deterrent posture, with "red lines". Upon reflection, there is recognition that the cabinet decision to expand the campaign to the Litani, 4 weeks after the fighting began, was half-hearted and largely designed as a last minute attempt to gain diplomatic leverage.

The infamous Sharon disengagement was completed in August, 2005. In a televised speech to the nation around the implementation of his plan, Sharon promised, "The disengagement will allow us to look inward. Our national agenda will change. In our economic policy, we will be free to turn to closing social gaps and to waging a real fight on poverty. We will advance education and increase the personal security of every citizen of the country." Of course, none of these objectives became reality. In fact, the disengagement proved itself to be a vast error, one whose magnitude has produced measureable disaster. There is no doubt that disengagement produced the seeds for the Hezbollah and Hamas Wars.

Following disengagement, former IDF Chief of Staff, General Moshe Ya'alon is on record saying that the Gaza Strip, "is turning into Hamastan, Hezbollahstan and Al-Quaidastan. The situation will get worse over time. The failure of the disengagement will be more and more concrete. We will find ourselves facing a kingdom of terror that is capable of launching into Israel more rockets of greater range and greater effectiveness." He further noted that Israel's failure to react with all its force if rockets were fired after the disengagement, as promised, eroded the country's deterrence; "in practice we accepted the firing of the Quassams as though it were rain." These words were uttered long before the wars with Hezbollah and Hamas. Subsequently, when Olmert replaced Sharon as prime minister, Ya'alon annunciated much wisdom by his observation, "Whoever projects weakness in the Middle East, is like a weak animal in the wild; it is attacked. Therefore, if we now try to continue the failed disengagement with convergence, the result will be grave. We will give terrorism a terrible tailwind. We will provide a tailwind for radical Islam across the region. We will create a strategic threat to Jerusalem and to Ben Gurion Airport and to the population centers of the coastal plain. The Quassams and Katyushas will no longer be Sderot's problem. They will reach the front door in Tel Aviv."

The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was perceived by the Palestinians as a victory for terrorism, clearly demonstrating the fallacy of Sharon's forecasted increase in "personal security of every citizen of the country". This surely manifested itself in the majority support gained by Hamas for its electoral win. In the words of former Defense Minister Moshe Arens, "Palestinian terrorism has been rewarded and encouraged, and Israel will have to suffer the consequences." The costs of the Hamas War in the winter of 2008-2009 hardly realized a vastly improved economy as predicted by Sharon, given the huge expenditures for the military effort already strained by the existing huge demands on the state budget to cover relocation of 25 communities and to address the shortfall in revenue due to the loss of a large percentage of Israel's agricultural export earnings plus the cost of caring for thousands of internal Jewish refugees from Gaza.

It is not often that one finds adherents' of political platforms admit to their misjudgments, particularly amongst the media. Professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar Ilan University wrote on June 29, 2006; "As an early Israeli supporter of unilateral disengagement, I admit that this plan, like the earlier Oslo 'peace process' has failed." Professor Dan Schueftan of the University of Haifa stated in an interview with the Jerusalem Post on April 5, 2007 that concessions and withdrawals by Israel arouse more hostility and increase the likelihood of terrorism. On the first anniversary of the IDF total withdrawal from Gaza, Yoel Marcus [supporter of disengagement] wrote, "Netanyahu was right when he said that quitting Lebanon and Gaza without agreements would be interpreted by the Palestinians as a victory for them and a sign of our weakness. That Hamas and Hezbollah have grown stronger after our departure is not an accidental." [Ha-Aretz - September 12,2006].

Summing up, the Gaza disengagement gained Israel nothing in return, but on the negative side of the equation [a] resulted in wars [b] encouraged further terrorism [c] realized adverse costs for Israel [d] undermined Israeli resolve [e] diminished IDF training which affected performance in the war with Hezbollah and [f] reduced the established level of democracy in Israel by outright suppression of the right to assembly and to hold demonstrations.

In the case of Gaza, not only was Israel forced into a dangerous war, but on the diplomatic front having to defend actions engaged in while protecting citizens, as a result of the heavily biased Goldstone report. In fact, no discussion on the Gaza War would be complete without a consideration of Judge Richard Goldstone and his infamous report.

Goldstone's manner of investigation, demeanor, reporting and drawing conclusions were recognizable as one inflicted by the Stockholm syndrome. His charge was defined on April 3, 2009 by the president of the UN Human Rights Council, "to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from December 27, 2008 and January 18, 2009, whether before, during or after." The flawed mission under Goldstone's care has been described as yet another UN travesty of justice. It is sufficient to state here that Goldstone branded Israel as the aggressor and Hamas as the victim, notwithstanding the fact that Israel sustained 8 years of Hamas rocket shelling into its southern region and not retaliating. Further as a testimony of his questionable character, it should be noted that Mar Robinson, no friend of Israel and a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights turned down the invitation to assume the position which Goldstone accepted because, "I felt strongly that the Council's resolution was one-sided and did not permit a balanced approach to determining the situation on the ground."

In an interview with Jewish Current Issues on July 27, 2005, Dr. Levin stated that peace will be "determined by the decisions and actions of the Arabs and not by Israel". This view was expressed by the writer in the July, 2003 edition of Think-Israel, but for different reasoning [ref. "Only the Arabs can make peace"]. Could not the vast some of money handed to the PA for arms, infrastructure development, education etc. be more sensibly donated to the Arab populous as encouragement to relocate with the surrounding Arab states? Support for this idea by Saudi Arabia et al would surely demonstrate sincerity on the part of the Arab League for a true peace. Israel has lost the public relations war simply because following the Begin-Shamir era there has been no Israeli leader to proclaim Jewish rights to Judea, Samaria & Gaza. All that the world hears from Israel is "peace" whereas the Arabs vigorously pursue their claims on false mythology and bogus history. The Stockholm syndrome or its corollary the Oslo Syndrome readily explains the Israeli conduct.

In his brilliant tour de force, "From Balfour to a Palestinian state" which appeared in the Jerusalem Post of November 3, 2009, Moshe Arens concludes, "The Palestinian state may yet follow, but this time it will need Israel's agreement."


Alex Rose is an engineering consultant. He was formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA New York. He made Aliyah in 2003 and now resides in Ashkelon.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.



1 comment:

Salubrius said...

This excellent article is missing one important aspect. According to Major General Ion Pacepa, who has personal knowledge of the matter, when Jimmy Carter became President, Brezhnev told Pacepa that he believe Carter could be fooled by the following:
Brezhnev told Arafat to PRETEND to renounce violence, and to PRETEND to seek peace negotiations with the Israelis. When Arafat expostulated against that, Brezhnev persuaded him by telling him that if he did so, the West would shower him with gold and glory. It did, billions of dollars and the Nobel Peace Prize. Ceausescu, Pacepa's boss, told Arafat that he would have to Pretend over and over and over again. He did. Abbas is still pretending.

Post a Comment