If we only had a political process!

With Jews under attack again in the streets of Israel, the familiar refrain is heard again that only a political process can lessen the frustration and despair of the Arabs and provide hope for a peaceful future, presuming that is what they hope for. The refrain is accompanied by the equally familiar complaint that the Israeli right and the religious Zionists are ossified in their thinking and committed to a “hardline” position that includes no hope for the Palestinians. Here is a historical reality check.

Back in 1996, Syria, Iraq, Iran and the Palestinian Authority entered into a military alliance aimed at the destruction of the State of Israel, complete with joint command structure, massive joint military exercises and a strategy which called for invasion by a joint force accompanied by the use of poison gas against Israeli cities, backed up by nuclear weapons, which Iran had purchased from Central Asian republics. The source for this account is a 1997 report by a Congressional task force, headed by Rep. Jim Saxton of New Jersey, which provides details. It was not intended for publication but an Israeli journalist obtained a copy and published it. Congressman Saxton’s office confirmed that it is all genuine.

The full text of the report was on the internet from early January 1997. The story was put on the news wires in February 1997 by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. We can presume journalists knew about it and editors knew about it but it has never been reported in the mainstream media. The media uniformly convey and reinforce the impression that the reason for the impasse in the “peace process” is the “hard line” taken by the “right wing” Netanyahu government.

Briefly, in May, 1996, while the “peace process” was still only two and a half years old, Israel was still making major concessions to the Palestinian Authority, Shimon Peres was still prime minister and expected to win re-election by a respectable margin (and therefore before Netanyahu ever had a chance to “ruin everything”), Syria and Iran signed a pact as described above. (Syria, remember, was Israel’s interlocutor in the “peace process” at the time.) Iraq was added to the pact in August 1996. The Palestinian Authority (another of Israel’s “peace partners”) joined in September, before Netanyahu could have “provoked” them by opening the second entrance to the Kotel Tunnel (which does NOT go under Moslem holy sites, as shrill incitement by the Palestinian Authority proclaimed at the time).

Noting Israel’s vulnerability (possibly meaning the vulnerability created by the establishment of the Palestinian Authority under the “peace process” and the relinquishment of control of territory to it) Israel’s enemies (some of whom were called “peace partners”) devised a strategy which, as noted above, calls for a devastating attack by Syria, Iraq and Iran, using chemical weapons against Israeli cities, backed by Iranian nuclear weapons to deter Israeli retaliation. The role of the Palestinian Authority in the pact is to stage a popular uprising, backed by the “Palestinian Police” to prevent or delay the mobilization of Israeli reserves to the northern border.

It is “common wisdom” that if Israel cannot deploy the reserves to the border, the entire North falls in 48 hours. If Iran and Iraq were to send large expeditionary forces, the time would be shortened accordingly. Under the best of circumstances, mobilization takes 24 hours. Israel could no longer move troops to the North along the Jordan Valley because part of it was by then in the hands of the Palestinian Authority. The IDF would have had to go through the coastal plain, on a route which is easily shelled from Palestinian Authority territory. Three of the four main mobilization points are also under the PLO guns. If the North falls, there is nothing to prevent the Syrian-Iraqi-Iranian force from linking up with the Palestinian controlled areas in the Central highlands. That would mean that the entire coastal area, with eighty percent (80%) of Israel’s population, industry and commerce, would be indefensible. The South gets all its water from the North.

It might be that the plan was derailed by the US invasion of Iraq and the later disintegration of Syria in the “Arab Spring,” but there is no reason to suppose that it has been scrapped. Iran now controls the governments of both Iraq and Syria. Both countries are embroiled in civil war, however, and control only part of their respective territories. The Islamic State, in particular, has seized control of much of Iraqi and Syrian territory and so, disrupts Iranian control of the territory. There is little room for doubt, however, that the plan for the annihilation of Israel is still on the table, with modifications as required by new facts.

The ruling elite of the world and the opinion makers in the establishment media would have us believe that the impasse, with its periodic descent into violent confrontation, is the result of the “hardline” right wing and what they perceive as its lack of commitment to a diplomatic process. The PLO’s resort to war, terrorism and incitement is never presented by the diplomatic corps or the establishment media as a cause.

The plan outlined above, however, came about during the most active phase of the political process, while Shimon Peres, one of its fathers, was still Prime Minister. So of course they did not report this resort to war by the PLO/Fatah, aka, the Palestinian Authority. Shimon Peres lost the election at the end of May 1996 to Netanyahu, due in no small part to the wave of terrorism, characterized by ghastly suicide bombings, that began very shortly after the beginning of the Oslo process, while Yitzhak Rabin himself was still the Prime Minister, and continued in full strength after his assassination, while Peres was Prime Minister, still fully engaged in the “political process,” still doggedly making concessions.

The “political process” does not dampen terrorism. It absolutely generates terrorism. Those who hate Israel see that the way to wring concessions from Israel is by killing Jews. The “hope” that they long for seems to be only the hope that they can destroy Israel and kill all the Jews. They do not see concessions as coming from magnanimity but rather from weakness. By their lights, if Israel is making concessions or even entertaining the possibility, it means that Israel is weak and can be destroyed.

Whose thinking is it that is ossified and inflexible?

Prime Minister Netanyahu is about to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry and has let it be known that he will have no concessions to offer Kerry, no good will gestures. Rather, he will demand an end to incitement and violence, and that the Palestinian Authority take concrete steps to prove it.

Quite right. Stop looking to Israel to make peace with an enemy who does not want peace. Look to the Arabs to demonstrate that they do.

About the Author
Ya'akov has practiced law in New York, California and Israel for a multi-national clientele including Israeli NGO's. He was a professor of law in the US and has contributed numerous opinion pieces to various media outlets.