When concept trumps reality?

Are our leaders inventing a ‘partner for peace’ when none exists?

Abbas and Mitchell 311 (photo credit: AP)
Abbas and Mitchell 311
(photo credit: AP)
During the Yom Kippur War, Israel was almost vanquished because its leaders ignored an obvious danger and clung to preconceived notions.
Last week the commander of the courageous naval commandos, a man of great intelligence and determination, preferred again to overlook reality and act on a preconceived notion.
From his helicopter, he saw a club wielding mob of “peace activists” on the Mavi Marmara’s deck. But rather than disperse the mob with water-cannons or smoke grenades before landing his small force, he clung to the intelligence concept that the mob was not likely to act aggressively. The commandos avoided certain death only because of their courage and fighting skills – and because of good luck.
In a conference of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs that dealt with the (putative) peace process and the country’s security needs, two senior strategists Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland, head of the National Security Council, and Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, related with impressive candor their experiences during years of negotiations with Palestinian Authority officials.
The unavoidable conclusion was (though we must not say so publicly) that the “leaders” of the PA, past and present, do not seek true peace with an independent Jewish state. At most they seek an armistice until their ceaseless efforts to undermine Israel weaken it enough, and they will be able, with help from their Arab and Muslim brethren, and with the complicity of most European states and widening circles in the American administration, to get rid of “this cancer.”
BUT EVEN if the leaders of this internally torn assembly of warlords called the PA desired peace, they are too inept and corrupt to sustain a serious peace initiative. The PA created a system of misrule, exposing its citizens to lawlessness and exploitation, and subjecting them to the most extreme human rights abuses. (a fact that the Israeli peace camp, oh so devoted to the protection of human rights, manages to ignore). They, of course, blame everything on the “occupation” because war with Israel is really their only raison d’etre, as it is for all other Arab dictators.
PA leaders have amassed millions of dollars from the generous aid that it received from many countries (often with help from accomplices among European politicians).
With the additional billions they extort from their citizens by imposing inflated monopoly prices on consumer goods that provide them with huge “rents” (some in cooperation with Israeli monopolies that have shared with Yasser Arafat’s dozen or so security services the spoils derived from enforcing monopoly prices in the West Bank), these “leaders” have become the largest employers in the PA, making the population dependent on them for its livelihood. They are also the greatest “investors,” so they totally dominate the dysfunctional West Bank economy. No one can own or manage a business without their consent and without paying them in economic and political coin.
By employing the vilest Goebbels-inspired anti-Semitic propaganda, the PA leadership also dominates the minds of the Arab population.
It is a miracle that its intense brainwashing and the perverse rage it generates resulted only in dozens rather than in hundreds of suicide bombers.
Yet despite the fact that our excellent strategists know precisely the nature and capabilities of this Palestinian Authority, they are making great efforts to come to terms with the “other side,” to invent “solutions that will be acceptable to both parties.”
When you enquire who precisely is this “other side” and whether it is capable of arriving at mutually agreed solutions or implementing them, you get very vague answers.
Again, a “concept” trumps reality.
It invents a “partner for peace” though none exists.
MOST DANGEROUS of all is the concept held by the US and its president, who is determined to establish within a year an independent Palestinian state living in peace, of course, side by side with Israel.
A determined American president can naturally force Israel to accept such an irredentist Palestinian state. But what will be the likely consequences? It is highly probable that within a few months after such a state is established, its “leaders” will be killed or chased away by a violent Hamas takeover as has transpired in Gaza. In its place Hamas will form a more radical and violent Shari’a state that will attack Israel’s center with rockets and make life come to a standstill. Israel will have no alternative but to reconquer the West Bank, this time for real.
A campaign against terrorists who use a civilian population as human shields is necessarily very bloody, as we have learned in the recent Gaza campaign. Tens of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis will be killed or wounded, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians will become refugees after fleeing to Jordan.
They will topple King Abdullah’s regime. Iran will have another base east of Israel.
Despite President Barack Obama’s good intentions and despite the fervent hopes of the Israeli “peace camp,” a Palestinian state will not be a harbinger of peace. More likely it will bring about a war that will be a terrible disaster for many Palestinian Arabs and Israelis.
But what won’t we sacrifice for a good concept?
The writer is director of the Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress.