There is a Greek tragedy unfolding today in the Middle East.
In response to past mistakes and as a result of hubristic political
calculation, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is setting in motion
forces that promise to lead inexorably to grief for his nation. The
result could be staticide, the destruction of the Jewish State, with
incalculably serious repercussions for the Free World in general and the
United States in particular.
In the pursuit of peace with its neighbors, Israel has made
one strategic concession after another. In 1979, it surrendered the
Sinai to Egypt when Anwar Sadat promised peace and then was murdered for
doing so. In 1993, Israel adopted the Oslo accords, legitimating one of
its most virulent enemies, the PLO terrorist chief Yasser Arafat, and
setting the stage for Palestinian control of the West Bank and Gaza
Eight years ago this month, Israel unilaterally withdrew from South
Lebanon, creating a vacuum promptly filled by Iran's proxy army there,
Hezbollah. Then, in 2005, Israel forcibly removed its citizens living
in Gaza and turned the Strip over - temporarily - to Arafat's right-hand
man and successor, Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Space constraints will not permit a full rendering of the costs
associated with these serial mistakes. The "peace" with Egypt proved to
be a very cold one. In Sadat's stead, the government of Hosni Mubarak
has promoted virulent hatred for Israel among its people and assiduously
armed for renewed conflict with the Jewish State. It has also used the
Sinai to funnel ever-longer-range missiles and other advanced weapons
from Iran to the Gaza Strip - now under the control of another
Palestinian terrorist faction, Hamas.
The latter and its friends, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, al
Qaeda and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, are now using Gaza as a
safe-haven for planning and executing terrorism against Israel. It is a
safe bet that Israel's most important ally, the United States, is being
targeted from there, as well.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah has not just taken over South Lebanon - its
dominance of which was greatly strengthened when Olmert's government
proved incapable of decisively defeating the forces of this so-called
"Army of God" in 2006. In recent days, Hezbollah launched attacks in
Beirut that effectively produced a coup d'etat. The hopes for a
democratic Lebanon, free of Syrian and Iranian interference, have given
way to a dark future for the Lebanese people and their neighbors in
Tragically, despite this sorry record of retreat followed by intensified
danger, Ehud Olmert is making further and even more strategic
territorial and political concessions to Israel's enemies. By so doing,
the Israeli prime minister evidently hopes to stave off accountability
for these past mistakes. He also appears to be calculating that
"peace-making" will spare him prosecution on myriad corruption charges.
Unfortunately, there is now no basis for depicting such a policy as one
in which Israel trades "land for peace." Today, Israel is giving up
land for war.
In the illusion that that there is any appreciable difference between
Fatah and Hamas, Olmert's government is trying to turn over nearly all
the West Bank and even parts of Jerusalem to Abbas and his faction's
Palestinian police force. A similar illusion is causing the United
States to give Fatah's troops training, intelligence collection
equipment and arms. The latter have already used their
American-supplied know-how and weapons to kill Israelis.
Olmert is also allowing the Egyptians to broker a cease-fire with Hamas.
The result is predictable: Hamas will be legitimated, effectively
ending international efforts to relegate it to pariah status and
probably producing a unity government whereby the two Palestinian
factions join forces once again. The stage will then be set for the
ultimate defeat of Fatah by Hamas in the West Bank as well, putting all
of Israel within range of its weapons.
These tragic steps are now being compounded by one further, potentially
staticidal act: Olmert has just launched negotiations to surrender all
of the Golan Heights to Syria.
This concession would place Syrian - and quite possibly Iranian - forces
on high ground which, in Israeli hands, has kept the peace for 35 years.
If once again at the disposal of Israel's enemies, these heights will
put northern Israel at risk of, at best, harassing fire and, at worst, a
new invasion in force.
Moreover, as my esteemed colleague, Caroline Glick, observed in her
column last week, if Israel can no longer use the Golan
to threaten Syria, Damascus and Tehran may feel free to redouble their
subversion in Iraq. Iran may even conclude the Golan can allow it to
checkmate any lingering Israeli willingness to interfere with the
mullahs' pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Importantly, the Israeli people finally seem to have had enough of false
peace processes. Recent polls indicate that two-thirds of Israelis
oppose their country's surrender of the Golan; a majority believe it is
motivated by Olmert's efforts to stave off prosecution. Even the Bush
Administration is said to be unhappy about his Golan initiative.
This weekend, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) -
universally known as "the Israel lobby" - holds its annual Policy
Conference in Washington. The organization exists to support the
Israeli government. At this juncture, however, attendees have an
opportunity and an obligation to object to that government's
increasingly reckless, and predictably tragic, conduct. After all,
friends don't let friends commit staticide.