The outrage caused by Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert’s promise of concessions to the Palestinians is odd. Olmert said nothing new. Too many people refused to believe that would happen. After the withdrawal from Gaza and subsequent escalation of Arab violence, Israelis imagined that the government learned its lesson and won’t evacuate from Judea and Samaria. That belief was evidently nonsense. Israeli government does not care about Jewish land or security, but shows the voters and foreign sponsors feverish action dubbed the “peace process.”
The Jews sat comfortably at home when Olmert clearly announced his plans of surrendering Judea and Samaria to the Hamas-run Palestinian state. No significant protests took place. No group tried to take over the Knesset building. No systematic campaign was conducted in the army to make sure it would refuse to carry shameful eviction of Jews from Judea. Predictably, Olmert proceeded with his plans.
It is comforting to imagine Olmert as an exceptionally evil ruler. He is not. Save perhaps for Yitzhak Shamir and Golda Meir, any other prime minister would have done the same. Israel suffered the largest territorial losses under the ostensibly hawkish Menahem Begin and Ariel Sharon. Concessions are the product of Israeli apathy, the exile mentality, and the Jewish penchant for appeasing the world. The democratically elected government is no more evil than its voters.
Complacency in the face of evil is itself evil. In Torah, failure to purify oneself is a greater sin than the sin that called for the purification. Most Germans only voted for Nazi government; few manned the gas chambers. Few Israelis would beat the Jews out of Judea and Samaria; many voted for the Kadima, Olmert’s amorphous party.
Back to Olmert’s speech, note that he addressed the Palestinians as “our neighbors.” If only they were Olmert’s neighbors! Instead, Palestinians are the neighbors of the unfortunate residents of Sderot, which is daily shelled from Gaza.
Opening the checkpoints is a dubious measure sure to repeal the advantages of the wall. Israel would either have to let the Palestinians in without sufficient security control, or present the world media with a show of the poor Palestinians suffering in mile-long queues at the border. Palestinian employment is not Israeli business; Jewish security is.
Olmert promised to release Palestinian prisoners in return for only a move toward peace. What could be the move? Stop shelling us for some time, and get your terrorists back? That’s quite a deal. Conditioning the release of prisoners on the return of the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is an insult to the relatives of their victims. It is apparently OK to kill scores of inconspicuous Jews in terrorist attacks, but kidnapping a soldier who enjoys publicity is a no-no. It is out of love for his son that Gilad’s father shamefully licks the Palestinian bottoms, but Olmert’s concern for Shalit only caters to the media.
Hamas would welcome the release of the frozen funds. Much of the money would end up in Hamas’ and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s coffers, and soon be used to buy more weapons and explosives. It is exceedingly immoral for Israel to send money to Palestine to tacitly share it with murderous Hamas and PIJ; distributing the money among the people of Sderot would be the just solution.
Olmert hinted that Israel would help the Palestinians with their economy. That won’t succeed. Even Israeli Arabs are on the bottom of economic development. Many of them are well off because the Jews buy from them and hire them. In effect, Israeli Arabs are parasites on Jewish taxes, minimum wage, and welfare. To have the entire Palestinian state similarly parasiting on Israel is too much economically.
Olmert’s call for a moderate Palestinian government is counterproductive. Hamas would be back into the shadows, bereft of the political responsibility and free to stockpile the weapons for the next round of confrontation. Abbas, unable to deliver economic or political improvements, will lose credibility. In the end, the refreshed and strengthened Hamas will again win the elections.
Olmert doesn’t know what he does want. He suggests a dialogue with Abbas. What about? Israeli ruling clique already promised the Arabs just everything: Gaza, Judea and Samaria, work visas, and money. What else? Olmert wants to hear Abbas’ promises that the militants won’t come to power in the Palestinian state; Abbas could promise that, but not deliver.
Perhaps, Olmert imagines that Hamas would abandon its militant attitude and the guerrillas will steer the Palestinian economy to capitalist abundance? Hardly so. Or, maybe the Palestinian voters would abandon their support for Hamas? No, the Palestinians saw that Hamas effectively put Israel on its knees and got everything: money, prisoners, and likely even statehood for a flimsy peace treaty.
We Israelis cannot count on our government, but we can expect good things from the Palestinian Cabinet. Olmert doesn’t care about the national interests, but the Hamas leader Khaled Mechaal does. Olmert betrays the Jews easily, but perhaps Mechaal would stand for the Palestinians. If Hamas continues to insist on truce rather than the peace, on return of the 1948 refugees, on Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, we the Jews need not fear the peace with our Arab enemies.