Sunday, September 25, 2005

Israel's Revisionist History 101

We are all familiar with the saying, "time heals all wounds", yet it seems that that is not the case here in Israel, as not only does time not heal old wounds, but manages to open new ones - that are generally of the self-inflicted sort.

David Kimche, former Director General of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in this past Friday's Jerusalem Post, gives us a revisionist history lesson on who is to blame for the lack of peace in Israel and the Middle East.

Lessons 1
ON FEBRUARY 14, 1971, history was made in our country, or rather, it could have been made. For the first time ever one of our neighbors, Egypt no less, used the magic word of "peace" in an official note to Israel. Thunderstruck Foreign Ministry officials could hardly believe their eyes when UN Special Representative Gunnar Jarring delivered the note. It declared that "Egypt will be ready to enter into a peace agreement with Israelā€ under certain conditions, the principal one being the return of Israel to the international boundary with Egypt.

There was no mention of Palestinians. The Foreign Ministry wanted to send a positive reply, welcoming Egypt's willingness to enter into a peace agreement and proposing immediate negotiations. The hawks in the cabinet, foremost among them prime minister Golda Meir, were skeptical. They distrusted the Egyptian intentions.

Golda took upon herself the final wording of Israel's reply, which contained the following key sentence: "Israel will not withdraw to the pre-5 June 1967 lines." No to the return of Sinai.

Two years later the Yom Kippur War broke out with its thousands of casualties. That war would never have occurred if the Foreign Ministry had been allowed to send its reply. The attitude of "nothing good can come from talking to the Arabs" had vanquished the professionals of the Foreign Ministry. The result? A war that should never have happened, thousands of dead, and, despite our hawks, Sinai returned to Egypt to the last grain of sand.

In David Kimche's revisionist history class, he fails to note two very important facts:

1) How did Israel find itself in the Sinai in the 1st place? Was it not as a result of the Six Day War, where Egypt, led by her President, Nasser, spoke of driving every last Jew into the sea, of how the streets of Tel Aviv would run red with Jewish blood? Was it not Egypt who closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, serving as a casus belli, and justifying Israel's pre-emptive strike?

Israel need not apologize, if as a result of Egyptian aggression, she is able to expand her borders, and increase the overall security of the Jewish State.

2) Perhaps Golda Meir, and the other Israeli hawks that did not wet their pants at the sight of seeing the word "peace" in an official letter from Egypt could be forgiven. After all, Egypt was a country who sought Israel's destruction in Israel's War of Independence, the Sinai campaign in 1956 9where Egypt closed off the Straits for the 1st time), the Six Day War, and the War of Attrition.

Perhaps, those Israeli "hawks" had reason to be skeptical of Egyptian overtures towards peace. A scant two years later, Egypt made it perfectly clear that what they could not get through negotiations they were willing to take by force, by launching a surprise attack on the Jewish State on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for the Jewish People, and it was that which led to the thousands of Jewish dead and wounded, and not Israel's supposed stubborness in rejecting Egypt's peace proposal.

Lesson 2
It's 1967 and the West Bank and Gaza have fallen to our advancing troops. A team of reserve officers is given the task of discovering who among the Palestinians belong to the political elite, and what are their opinions. The officers reach the conclusion that a peace deal is possible.

At that time Fatah was still weak ā€“ it was only two years old ā€“ Hamas was non-existent, there were no settlements to complicate the issue, and the Palestinians were hugely dissatisfied with the previous Jordanian rule. Leading Palestinians were willing to organize an assembly in Jericho in which they would declare their desire for peace with Israel, in return for some form of independent entity bound in alliance with Israel.

The officers delivered their findings. They were rejected on the grounds that "Jordan made war against us and we must make peace with Jordan, not with the Palestinians."

"Jordan First" was the prescribed policy. Disillusioned, the Palestinians flocked to the open arms of Fatah, and the inevitable spiral of violence took root, with the helping hand of Yasser Arafat and his cronies. Creative thinking at that particular crucial crossroad could have engendered very different results, a very different history.

Once again, Prof. Kimche is forgetful of some basic facts surrounding this event in Israel's history:

1) Why is it that from 1948 - 1967, when Judea and Samaria were under the Occupation of Jordan, did the "Palestinians" not declare a "Palestinian" State?

2) How could anyone have taken these "Palestinians" seriously of their desire to live in peace with Israel when a mere 3 years earlier, in 1964, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was established with the main objective being the destruction of the Jewish State - this call coming before there ever were any "occupied territories"!!!

If there is one thing that Prof. Kimche should be aware of, with all of his experience in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is that Arab declarations, as well as signed agreements are worth less than nothing.

In David Kimche's world, Israel must apologize for her military victories over those who seek to destroy her. Sadly, David Kimche's world is also that of Israel's Foreign Ministry - and we wonder why it is that Israel has an image problem around the world, as well as a disillusioned Israeli populace who can't understand why the Arabs won't let her live in peace, and assume that it must be they who are at fault.

Class dismissed.


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