There is a Greek tragedy unfolding today in the Middle
East. In response to past mistakes and as a result of
hubristic political calculation, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is setting
in motion forces that promise to lead inexorably to grief for his nation.
The result could be staticide, the destruction of the Jewish State, with
incalculably serious repercussions for the Free World in general and the United States
the pursuit of peace with its neighbors, Israel has made one strategic
concession after another. In 1979, it surrendered the Sinai to Egypt when
Anwar Sadat promised peace and then was murdered for doing so. In 1993, Israel adopted the Oslo
accords, legitimating one of its most virulent enemies, the PLO terrorist chief
Yasser Arafat, and setting the stage for Palestinian control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Eight years ago this month, Israel
unilaterally withdrew from South Lebanon, creating a vacuum promptly filled by Iran’s
proxy army there, Hezbollah. Then, in 2005, Israel
forcibly removed its citizens living in Gaza
and turned the Strip over – temporarily – to Arafat’s
right-hand man and successor, Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Space constraints will not permit a full rendering of
the costs associated with these serial mistakes. The “peace”
proved to be a very cold one. In Sadat’s stead, the government of
Hosni Mubarak has promoted virulent hatred for Israel among its people and
assiduously armed for renewed conflict with the Jewish State. It has also
used the Sinai to funnel ever-longer-range missiles and other advanced weapons
to the Gaza Strip – now under the control of another Palestinian
terrorist faction, Hamas.
latter and its friends, including the Palestinian
Islamic Jihad, al Qaeda and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, are now
using Gaza as a safe-haven for planning and executing terrorism
It is a safe bet that Israel’s
most important ally, the United States, is being targeted from there,
Meanwhile, Hezbollah has not just taken over South Lebanon – its dominance of which was greatly
strengthened when Olmert’s government proved incapable of decisively
defeating the forces of this so-called “Army of God” in 2006.
In recent days, Hezbollah launched attacks in Beirut that effectively produced a coup
d’etat. The hopes for a democratic Lebanon,
free of Syrian and Iranian interference, have given way to a dark future for
the Lebanese people and their neighbors in Israel, alike.
Tragically, despite this sorry record of retreat
followed by intensified danger, Ehud Olmert is making further and even more
strategic territorial and political concessions to Israel’s
enemies. By so doing, the Israeli prime minister evidently hopes to stave
off accountability for these past mistakes. He also appears to be calculating
that “peace-making” will spare him prosecution on myriad corruption
Unfortunately, there is now no basis for depicting
such a policy as one in which Israel
trades “land for peace.” Today, Israel is giving up land for war.
In the illusion that that there is any appreciable
difference between Fatah and Hamas, Olmert’s government is trying to turn
over nearly all the West Bank and even parts of Jerusalem to Abbas and his
faction’s Palestinian police force. A similar illusion is causing
the United States
to give Fatah’s troops training, intelligence collection equipment and
arms. The latter have already used their American-supplied know-how and
weapons to kill Israelis.
Olmert is also allowing the Egyptians to broker a
cease-fire with Hamas. The result is predictable: Hamas will be
legitimated, effectively ending international efforts to relegate it to pariah
status and probably producing a unity government whereby the two Palestinian
factions join forces once again. The stage will then be set for the ultimate
defeat of Fatah by Hamas in the West Bank as well, putting all of Israel within
range of its weapons.
These tragic steps are now being compounded by one
further, potentially staticidal act: Olmert has just launched
negotiations to surrender all of the Golan Heights to Syria.
This concession would place Syrian – and quite
possibly Iranian – forces on high ground which, in Israeli hands, has
kept the peace for 35 years. If once again at the disposal of Israel’s enemies, these heights will put
at risk of, at best, harassing fire and, at worst, a new invasion in
Moreover, as my esteemed colleague, Caroline Glick,
observed in her Jerusalem Post
column last week, if Israel
can no longer use the Golan to threaten Syria,
Damascus and Tehran
may feel free to redouble their subversion in Iraq. Iran may even
conclude the Golan can allow it to checkmate any lingering Israeli willingness
to interfere with the mullahs’ pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Importantly, the Israeli people finally seem to have
had enough of false peace processes. Recent polls indicate that
two-thirds of Israelis oppose their country’s surrender of the Golan; a
majority believe it is motivated by Olmert’s efforts to stave off
prosecution. Even the Bush Administration is said to be unhappy about his Golan
This weekend, the American Israel Public Affairs
Committee (AIPAC) – universally known as “the Israel lobby” – holds its annual
Policy Conference in Washington.
The organization exists to support the Israeli government. At this
juncture, however, attendees have an opportunity and an obligation to object to that government’s
increasingly reckless, and predictably tragic, conduct. After all,
friends don’t let friends commit staticide.