The Way to Peace (1976)
"The Way to Peace"
SHORTLY BEFORE ROSH HASHANAH, there occurred the first anniversary of the signing of the Israel-Egypt Sinai interim agreement – and the Israel Government attempted, unsuccessfully, to have the day celebrated as a virtual "holiday."
In fact, it was a member of the Cabinet itself, who gave expression to the doubts of the masses when he exclaimed that he felt no inclination to celebrate.
Yet the Government persisted in its shallow thinking to such an extent that its spokesman officially suggested that Israel should accept – and even initiate – further interim agreements, which, in plain language, means further retreats without attaining peace.
Even some of those who last year wholeheartedly supported the abandonment of Abu Rodeis and the Sinai passes, must have wondered what else could be abandoned without our drawing dangerously close to the indefensible lines of June 4, 1967 – thereby losing all hope of achieving peace.
That fear, of course, was the reason at the time for the demand that last year's interim agreement should be the last of its kind.
Israel insisted then that Dr. Kissinger should inform Cairo that any further agreement between the parties would have to be a peace agreement. And yet a year later, Mr. Rabin's Government is ready to change its mind again. This time not even Dr. Kissinger has urged that upon it. In fact: "The step-by-step policy has reached its end," he told the last Knesset delegation to see him.
A Government's credibility is one of the most vital factors in its conduct of national policy. Foreign Minister Allon is in total agreement – as far as credibility on the home front is concerned. He is determined that the threats uttered against the settlers at Kaddum, in Samaria, must be carried out, and his language suggests that he is even threatening to resign if the Government loses its "credibility" on this issue and the Gush Emunim remain at Kaddum!
But he sees no conflict in the Government's various pronouncements about interim agreements, no inconsistencies, no threat to its credibility.
I can affirm without fear of contradiction that there has never yet been a Government in Israel so lacking in credibility as this present Government.
In the circumstances, it is a citizen's right to affirm that further interim agreements merely mean further retreats without peace, while our enemies, especially their leader, Sadat, continue to proclaim that their unalterable aim is that Israel withdraw to the armistice lines established at Rhodes in 1949 (which are the June 4, 1967 lines) and the establishment of a State in Judea, Samaria and Gaza headed by Yasser Arafat.
In plain words? What they want is a situation in which they continued existence of the Jewish State will be uncertain. And yet we agree to steps (or step-by-step retreats) that will bring us to just such a condition.
What has happened in the Lebanon should be a warning to all those who cannot see the reality of the situation. This has been one of the cruelest civil wars of this age – and one of the most instructive aspects of it has been the stance adopted towards it by Russia.
Latterly, Russia's policies in the Middle East have been based on reliance on Syria – and on massive arms supplies to Damascus. While Sadat, for whatever reason, has been complaining that the great Soviet Mother of peace has failed to keep up his supplies of military spare parts since the Yom Kippur war, Syria has not been heard to utter any complaints.
Moscow helped Syria replace every item it lost in the Yom Kippur War – and then some. Even the much vaunted Mig-23 is based in Syria now (piloted by Russians) and Syria is replete with Russian "advisers." So one may talk with assurance of a virtual military and political pact between Russia and Syria.
And yet – let Israel take note – when it came to a clash between Syria and Yasser Arafat, Moscow unhesitatingly put its weight behind Arafat. It issued a special statement criticising all those who were harming the "Palestinians" in their struggle in the Lebanon.
The Soviet Press has carried official criticism of Damascus's policy in the Lebanon – and Russian agents are supplying Arafat's gangs with arms and equipment. With the assistance of Soviet Advisers, two airfields have even been established adjacent to Beirut and Tyre to receive arms airlifted from Russia for Arafat's men.
In the light of these developments it should not be difficult to realise what the Kremlin would do if a State were created in Judea and Samaria which, in the jargon of the confused, would be called "Palestinian."
It is necessary to remind one's self that, in present circumstances, if Israel were to surrender Judea and Samaria, they would pass immediately under the control of the Arafat murder organisation which the world calls "P.L.O."
So what would Russia do given the opportunity of making use of its pact with Arafat in another area of the Middle East?
In the light of what is happening in the Lebanon, there can be no doubt about the answer to that question.
No many days would pass before Russia, with the agreement of its "Palestinian" ally, would turn Judea and Samaria into its main military base, in view of its central position in the Middle East.
***Airfields can be established not only on the Lebanon or Angola – but also in Judea and Samaria
***Sophisticated weaponry could be airfreighted continuously from southern Russia.
There are "adventurers" in Israel who say: "So what? If they attack us, we'll more against them and crush them."
"If they attack us…"
Would there be any doubt about that? Aren't we promised just that in the so-called "Palestinian Covenant" and the repeated declarations about the intention to claim all the "Palestinian rights," of which they say the Jews have dispossessed them.
In any such attack, Israel would be endangered by gunfire from long-range Russian artillery … and thereafter our army would "move against them and crush them?" It would liberate Judea and Samaria again – which it liberated in June 1967 – and restore them to Israeli rule – where it is now.
In all history has any other nation considered such paradoxical behaviour or such dangerous ideas?
The establishment of a Russian base in Judea and Samaria would also pose a danger to all free nations. One has merely to consider the cases of Southern Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and the Lebanon to realise what would happen to the strategy of the western democracies if they were faced with another such Soviet concentration.
Foreign diplomats realise that. The efforts of the Likud to make the West realise the dangers involved in such a development have been met with understanding.
But what does the Israel Government do? Instead of perservering at every opportunity to stress the partnership of interests between Israel and the free world in preventing further Soviet penetration into the Middle East in the guise of an Arafat State in the heart of Eretz Israel, the Government does no cease proclaiming its readiness to surrender Judea and Samaria – and adds to its folly by proclaiming, in conflict with what it, itself, requested and signed only a year ago that we look forward to further interim agreements in the future, that is to say, further retreats without attaining peace in return.
Where is such a policy likely to lead, as far as peace prospects are concerned? If we continue to retreat without peace, peace will simply be lost. If Judea and Samaria were handed over to any foreign administration, the Arabs would reach the natural conclusion that one day they would be in a position to destroy the Jewish State. They would once again be a mere 14 kilometres from the sea, and almost all our houses would be in their gun-sights.
Why should they think of peace in such circumstances? Why should they give any thought to negotiations for peace? What would impel the Arabs to think about peace? Obviously, peace would be the thing furthest from their minds.
Through rational analysis, any perceptive person must reach the conclusion that whoever is prepared to surrender Judea and Samaria and Gaza to others not only harms our national security – but jeopardises the very prospect of peace.