On September 1, 2014, I composed an article entitled “Netanyahu, the Disciple of Shimon Peres.” The article quoted key passages in Shimon Peres’ book, Tomorrow is Now (Jerusalem: Keter, 1978).
What Shimon Peres predicted
The following is a chillingly accurate prediction made in 1978 by none other than Shimon Peres. In it he foresaw, in precise detail, the dire perils that would result if Israel were to embark on precisely the policy he himself championed (the creation of a Palestinian state) which he continues to advocate with passion:
“The establishment of such a (Palestinian) state [Peres wrote], means the inflow of combat-ready Palestinian forces (more than 25,800 men under arms) into Judea and Samaria; this force, together with the local youth, will double itself in a short time. It will not be short of weapons or other military equipment, and in a short space of time, an infrastructure for waging war will be set up in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Israel will have problems in preserving day-to-day security, which may drive the country into war, or undermine the morale of its citizens. In time of war, the frontiers of the Palestinian state will constitute an excellent staging point for mobile forces to mount attacks on infrastructure installations vital for Israel’s existence, to impede the freedom of action of the Israeli air-force in the skies over Israel, and to cause bloodshed among the population in areas adjacent to the frontier-line.”
But how could he reverse himself?
Now some concerns and questions for thoughtful citizens. The citizens of Israel deserve, indeed should demand, an explanation for this dramatic shift in Peres’ position: from total opposition to total support for Palestinian statehood. Of course, one is entitled to change his mind. However:
- Why would any rational person shift from a well-founded position to a demonstrably ill-founded and lethal position?
- What induced Peres to endorse a policy he previously rejected as perilous to the security of the nation …?
- Why would any responsible leader urge his people down a path that he himself warned was disastrous …?
I shall now try to answer these questions.
These questions seem to involve nothing more than the security of the nation. I shall show that they involve not only the nation’s security but also the most fundamental question of politics, WHO SHALL RULE? This was the cardinal issue underlying the Rabin Government’s policy of “land for peace,” which precipitated the Israel-PLO Agreement of September 1993, as well as the Sharon Government’s policy of disengagement from Gaza in August 2005 – the former, a Labor or leftwing Government, the latter, a Likud and reputedly right-wing Government.
What did these diverse Governments have in common? Both were ruled by secularists. Both advocated the policy of “land for peace.” What land were they willing to bestow on the Palestinian Authority (PA), ostensibly for the sake of peace? More precisely, what was the most distinctively Jewish land that the Labor and Likud parties were willing to turn over to the Muslim-Arab rulers of the PA? The answer is obvious: Judea and Samaria, which constitute the cradle of Jewish civilization.
This land is not only the heartland of the Jewish people in which their prophets and sages walked, and where their unique national identity, was formed. indeed, their historical memory and consciousness. Surrendering this sacred land of Judea and Samaria to the disciples of Muhammad would eviscerate not only the hearts and minds of the Jewish people. It would also undermine their physical safety, the paramount issue of Peres’ book Tomorrow is Now, and the primary concern of the “land for peace” policy pursued by both Labor and Likud Governments.
Security v. identity
This being so, we see here a dichotomy between the security of the Jewish people, which requires their retention of Judea and Samaria, and the national identity of the Jewish people, which requires retention of this holy land. But it was precisely retention of this land that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a reputed “nationalist” and “right-winger,” renounced in his speech at Bar-Ilan University on June 14, 2009 when he endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state, which would encompass Judea and Samaria!
It thus appears that Netanyahu is hoist by his own petard. Judging from his Bar-Ilan speech, he is willing to sacrifice Judea and Samaria, hence Jewish spiritual identity, for the sake Jewish physical security. At the same time, however, he would undermine both by advocating a Palestinian state!
This dilemma dissolves once we recognize that the paramount objective of the Likud and Labor parties – evidence to the contrary notwithstanding – is NOT security as much as POWER, hence WHO SHALL RULE? Shall it be Israel’s religious Jews or her non-religious Jews? This is why Judea and Samaria are so crucial!
This is the land which both the Labor-led Government of Yitzchak Rabin and the Likud-led Government of Benjamin Netanyahu are willing to surrender to the Palestinians, to Arabs who are infinitely more faithful to Islam than those Jews are to Judaism – Jews who, like Esau, are willing to sacrifice their heritage for the pottage of peace. To be or not to be Jewish: this is Israel’s paramount issue. ◙
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