Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

24 Cheshvan 5761 - November 22, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Opinion & Comment
What Does Everyone Want?

The most transparent of all are the Arabs. Arafat has said clearly all along that he wants nothing less than a single Arab state from the Jordan to the sea. He has not wavered in the slightest in his declarations. He has betrayed no weakness or lack of focus. This is what he wants and things have been moving in his direction for the past seven years.

Is there a red line short of Arafat's goal beyond which no Israeli will venture? So far even the apparently strongest consensus items like an undivided Jerusalem have proven negotiable. Arafat does not have to plan in advance to be flexible. The Israeli side, at least so far, has enough flexibility for the two of them.

What does the Israeli Left want? Peace? Sometimes it appears that they are blind and dumb. They forge ahead no matter what. If your "partner" calls for a holy war and then proceeds to shoot at you, it is hard to call that a peace process.

In a recent article in The New Republic, Douglas Feith, who was a senior official in the Reagan administration, points out that Arafat never even pretended to fulfill all of the promises he made to make peace. He never changed his rhetoric, never renounced anti-Israel propaganda, never disarmed the terrorists and so on. Yet he purports to want to continue the process.

The truth is, according to Feith, neither Arafat nor the Israeli Left is so excited about peace. "The Israeli leaders who launched and sustained Oslo understood that peace would be, at best, a by-product of the negotiations. For them, Oslo's paramount purpose was `ending the occupation'-- allowing Israel to relinquish control of the populated areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They hoped for peace, but they didn't require it. They wanted out, whether or not the Palestine Liberation Organization transformed itself into a neighborly government that upheld its commitments. Israeli officials had political reasons for calling their policy of unilateral withdrawal a `peace process,' but maintaining that fiction has been costly, and now, after the failure at Camp David, its abandonment would be a sensible stride into a post-Oslo world."

This explains the Left's insistence on progress no matter what the other side does. For them, the main point is to redraw the boundaries of the State of Israel so as to exclude the Palestinian population. Any peace that might result is purely a bonus.

Yet in order to garner public support, the leaders consistently portrayed the process as leading to peace and not just to unilateral withdrawal. Now that Barak has at Camp David offered about as much as even the Left was ever prepared to offer and Arafat rejected it, following with the worst violence since the last war, the next step is not clear.

And what do we want in all of this? We hope that the events will finally show our people that the IDF will not save them, nor will either a Leftist nor a Rightist secular government bring any real salvation. There is no solution of power and force to our dilemma, and no apparent diplomatic or political solution either.

We must make peace with ourselves and with Heaven -- by fulfilling the Torah -- and only then and only thus will we merit peace with our neighbors.

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