With Friends Like These…
Last week, the Israel Policy Forum (IPF) published an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which 100 Jewish activists urged the Israeli leader to “take confidence-building steps,” in order to jumpstart the now-moribund peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. However, the IPF’s passion on the issue hardly justifies the rhetoric behind it.
Indeed, the IPF’s main contention – that “painful territorial sacrifices by Israel would challenge Palestinian leaders to take similarly constructive steps, including, most importantly, a prompt return to the negotiating table” – is verifiably false. In 2005, Israel in fact withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Instead of coming to the negotiating table, however, Hamas turned Gaza into a launching pad for incessant rocket attacks against Israeli cities and towns situated along the Gaza border.
On Sunday, United States Secretary of State John Kerry offered Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas additional Israeli territorial concessions in exchange for agreeing to return to the negotiating table. If the past is premonition, a similar type of scenario to what occurred in Gaza would likely unfold in Judea and Samaria if Prime Minister Netanyahu were to cede control of those areas to Abbas – as the IPF essentially implores Netanyahu to do in the letter.
Our actions distinguish us as individuals and chart our collective course as a people. By pursuing terrorism, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have consistently demonstrated their fundamentally-flawed societal character – and, hence, the true meaning of failed leadership. Palestinian terrorism, not Israel’s supposed intractability on the issues, is the real killer of peace in the Middle East.
A viable and, hopefully, long-lasting peace process will emerge only when the Arabs decide to celebrate life more than they champion death. Until that unlikely eventuality occurs, 100 Jewish activists should know better than to pigeonhole Israel into the same corner as Palestinian terrorists, who rein death and destruction upon innocent Israeli civilians.
Mr. Raskas served in the Israel Defense Forces and is a research analysts for SecureAmericaNow.org.