The weakening of the regime in Damascus illustrates how Israel squandered an opportunity because of the failure of talks with Syria.
From Haaretz’s March 28 editorial.
As Haaretz illustrates, those who should rue their foolishness still keep beating the breasts of political opponents. This regardless of the fact that no open-minded observer can deny that all warnings by the “lunatic Right” (the least unkind epithet hurled at us) had come true.
In the wake of the Osloite recklessness, we’ve been inexorably sliding into an abyss of international defamation and physical vulnerability unequaled anywhere.
Incremental concessions haven’t improved our image nor won us popularity and understanding abroad. They merely cost us any residue of legitimacy and burdened us with the onus for more giveaways (because our illegitimacy entitles us to nothing).
We vacated every last inch of south Lebanon and Gaza only to see Hezbollah and Hamas respectively grab power and amass rocket arsenals with which to occasionally attack our population centers.
Nonetheless, we increasingly hesitate to defend ourselves because our self-defense has also been delegitimized.
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Loss of deterrent boosts enemy impudence.
This hasn’t been lost on the con men from Ramallah who headline the Palestinian Authority, which, despite its inherent inviability and unreliability, stars as the world’s darling.
IN HIS own none-too-endearing manner, even Syria’s Bashar Assad had, for most of his time in power, managed to hold on to his unofficial but very useful fan club. It was no accident President Barack Obama returned the US ambassador to ostracized Syria after a five-year absence. Somehow rapport with the bad-boy bully was supposed to help the US extricate itself from Iraq. That, at least, was what the Harvardhoned logic of America’s commander-inchief dictated. Obama’s sweet illusion was remarkably not soured by the fact that Iran’s alliance meant far more to Assad than Washington’s nebulous goodwill.
Unsurprisingly, the White House resident and perfidious Europe tell little unloved Israel that it ought to inordinately imperil itself to indulge the Damascus despot. Predictably, our priests of pragmatism rush with alacrity to ingratiate themselves and decree that by merely ceding the Golan Heights to benign Syrian rule, we’d be blessed with blissful peace.
Syria, they aver, is the key. How can they be sure? Trust them. They’re omniscient.
We have their own say-so for it.
Frustratingly, though, events appear to unfairly conspire and undermine
the selfprofessed infallibility of our homegrown advocates of
expediency. These in-house experts uncannily perceived the agreeable
aspect of Assad, the lanky ophthalmologist with a supposed Western
Yet, confoundingly, Assad’s own citizenry is less mesmerized.
Whether or not reality meshes with established Israeli wishful thinking,
Assad isn’t the gawky guy next door who might make a nifty neighbor if
we only try hard enough to win him over. Assad may look less tyrannical
than his father Hafez, but he’s no less of a brute (with nuclear
ambitions to boot). Like his dad, he imposes a minority sect’s hegemony
over a majority that despises his faction/clan.
If anything, the agitation in Assad’s latifundia underscores doubts
about bargains struck with autocratic regimes without their people’s
Contrary to our indefatigable peace-purveyors, paying off assorted
dictators to secure a semblance of accommodation is a losing
proposition, because eventually these rulers will disappear. With them
will vanish the peace we shelled out for. Worst yet, there’s no Better
Business Bureau or Customer Service to refund our hefty, tangible and
eminently dicey investment in land-for-peace fantasies.
IN THESE dangerous days, it’d be quasicomforting to trust that our
opinionmolders’ prudent motto is caveat emptor – buyer beware. Alas,
however, that’s decidedly not the case.
Thank heavens the Golan is still ours, a buffer between our small sliver
of a state and the Syrian mayhem. Imagine our misfortune if Assad’s
tanks were parked on the shores of Lake Kinneret. Those who insistently
brainwashed us that this is what’s prescribed for our national
well-being should beat their own breasts in contrition.
Jewish tradition asserts that “where penitents stand, those who have never sinned cannot stand.”
In other words, repentance is worthier than absolute righteousness. In
keeping with the tolerance subliminally inculcated into us, we’d
magnanimously welcome all remorseful wisenheimers who confess the error
of their ways.
But where are the penitents? There’s no hint of an indication that the
self-proclaimed sane ones have at long belated last arrived at the
sensible conclusion that any peace which lacks grassroots popular
approval is nothing but a false façade – especially when, instead of
conditioning the masses to coexistence, the purported peace-partners
actively demonize us, incite to violence and idolize terrorist mass
That’s what Mahmoud Abbas, Salam Fayyad and other PA honchos do via what
they sanction in their public schools, mosques and mass media. Seeking
compromises with here-today-gone-tomorrow elites isn’t only
counterproductive, it’s potentially suicidal for us.
Moreover, these hotshots preside over artificial nationalities, the
products of imperialist – mostly post-World War I – machinations. Iraq,
Syria/Lebanon, Jordan/ Palestine, Libya, the Gulf concoctions are all
When the glue of totalitarianism is strong enough, the hodgepodge holds
together. When the adhesive weakens, for whatever pretext, internal
strife bursts ferociously into the fore.
In Syria, Iraq and even tiny Bahrain we witness religious communities
and extended clan formations slug it out (as is the case in Lebanon for
decades). In Yemen and Libya it’s gloried tribal conflict captivating
clueless 21st-century news consumers.
We cannot by the magic of our aspirations conjure peace-partners.
Anything we might forgo for fraudulent fly-by-night figureheads would
sink down history’s drain. All our sacrifices and suffering – including
some 2,000 Israelis slain since Oslo – would have been for naught.
Besides, let’s presume that our know-italls truly do know it all and
that all the region’s dreadful regimes prove sturdy and sound. Would we
really want to partner up with their unscrupulous like? This goes beyond
the issue of feasibility and the durability of any hypothetical
negotiated deal. This question tests the sincerity of those who present
themselves as the guardians of our collective conscience and who urge us
to take existential risks for the sake of what they perceive as human
rights (invariably Arab rights).
Is it reasonable to accept that unreasonable demands be required of
beleaguered democratic Israel, but that aggressive unconscionable Arab
regimes be absolved of even a modicum of decency? Apparently so, because
precisely such an egregious double standard plagues us unremittingly.
It’s furthermore maddeningly accompanied by our own domestic discordant
cacophony. Those within our embattled society, who obsessively
orchestrate the disharmony, haven’t the ethics or gumption to admit
their blunder. Blithely, they overlook the fact that all the bleak risk
assessments vis-à-vis their foolhardy Oslo-spawned misadventures have
Don’t expect them to admit that it’s imbecilic to push for more territorial surrenders.
Heck no. To hear them, nothing panned out because the anti-appeasement crowd didn’t let them cede even more.
So where are the penitents? They’re ever busy promoting peace with – whoever.
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