69 million page views

An ongoing act of Appeasement?

Reader comment on item: Appease Iran?

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Sep 25, 2008 at 12:51

(In case of doubt as to its responsiveness to Daniel Pipes' article, see last two paragraphs)

As part of my continuing, still-baffled quest for an answer to the mindless, bipartisan, and transatlantic support for a Palestinian State, I've recently read two more books and an article by Natan Sharansky.

The two books are Shimon Peres' Battling For Peace (1995) and Efraim Halevy's Man in the Shadows (2008 ed)

In his book, Peres discusses a plan he urged in 1987 that would set up a tripartite authority of Israeli and Jordanian government figures along with Palestinians to administer the disputed territories on the West Bank and Gaza, a relativelt cautious idea that seemed to have some merit.

Yet just a few years later he was uncritically for the 'Oslo plan' that led to Israel, formerly so steadfast and brave in protecting its National Security interest, to become the only State in memory to actually set up a terrorist entity among a population hostile to itself but which it was compelled to control.

What had changed?

Apparently for Peres, what had changed was the downfall of the Soviet Union, from which event he concluded that without Soviet arms and military backing, the Arab States surrounding Israel, and the Palestinians, would have to 'come to their senses', and a rational settlement would be made. To the extent this kind of thinking led to the Oslo deal and handing a base of operations over to Arafat, it a was a product of wild and boundless optimism indeed.

In Halevy's interesting book, Peres is undoubtedly his least favorite Israeli politician. Albeit in a low key manner, his pages repeatedly bristle with critical comments about Peres. At one point he says that Peres was the only Israeli prime minister to show scorn whenever he was in the room listening to the heads of Israel's intelligence services.

In referring to Peres' activities in 1987, he says that Jordan's King Hussein (who Halevy rather extravagantly admired) did not like or trust Peres. Halevy also says that the whole Oslo affair was a kind of end run around Rabin, indeed a sort of fait accompli which Rabin was forced to accept, including the element of intense pressure from the United States.

And yet, at the very end of his book, Halevy comes up with something rather shocking and almost surreal. After basing his whole book on the thesis that World War III began on 9/11, or perhaps because of that thesis, he ends his book with the remarkable idea that somehow or other, Hamas (Khammas to him) and or Hezbollah might eventually become allies of the West (!), apparently on the idea that they have specific territorial ambitions whereas, in his view, el Queda does not.

Thus, form entirely different reasoning, with Peres espousing a sort of optimism, and Halevy emanating a particularly bleak pessimism, both of them come up with ideas related to appeasement.

And so, arguably, does Sharansky from yet a third point of view. In a Wash Post op-ed (Sept 22), he argued for Israelis and others seeking to build up a rational political entity among the Palestinians "from below" as opposed to the current and long-continued idea to assist a rational political entity "from above", i.e. through the 'moderate' Abu Mazen.

How this courageous and extremely hard-headed fellow with regard to the Soviet Union and Russia (see his Sept 14 piece in the Wash Post) could believe that Israelis can build up another society into a peaceful neighbor when that society shows almost no signs or ability to become a peaceful society from within itself seems utterly astonishing.

And so again I come to a perennial question: Why can't a group of so-called foreign policy thinkers come together and consider whether the whole idea of obsessively seeking a Palestinian State, no matter how ferocious the Arab response - "not if it means accepting and living in genuine peace with Israel" - is an idea of reckless and irresponsible Appeasement. And that the idea of seeking a Palestinian State is not only itself part of the existential threat to Israel but irresponsible with regard to the overall strategic safety of the West, since it is an perpetual incentive to International Islamic terror (Halevy's phrase) to regard the West as too weak to stand up to this demand.

In other words, there are many reasons to think that in the long run, the Islamic world would have more respect for the West in openly rejecting the demand for a Palestinian State than in foolishly supporting it.

Ron Thompson

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to An ongoing act of Appeasement? by Ron Thompson

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2022 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)