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Reader comment on item: Israel's Unnecessary War in Lebanon

Submitted by Prof. Paul Eidelberg (Israel), Jul 18, 2006 at 18:10

Dr. Pipes' brilliant article contains a fundamental error. First of all, It was not "Israel" but rather the left-wing government of Yitzhak Rabin that initiated the 1993 Oslo "peace process"--the policy of territorial retreat and appeasement to which Dr. Pipes alludes.

That government came to power after the June 1992 election. A majority of the electorate actually voted for right-wing and religious parties. Moreover, in the election campaign, Labor leader Rabin pledged there would be no recognition of, or negotiation with, the PLO. Even before the election, however, various spokesmen of the Labor Party were conducting clandestine and illegal meetings with the PLO--the negotiations that led to the Oslo or Israel-PLO Agreement of 1993. Mr. Rabin and his colleagues betrayed their pledge to the nation.

Secondly, turning to "unilateral disengagement": this policy of the Labor Party was the paramount issue of the January 2003 election The parties that opposed that policy won 84 seats or 70% of the Knesset's membership--which means an overwhelming majority of the electorate had opposed that policy.

Nevertheless, Prime Minister Ariel.Sharon negated the results of the 2003 election by adopting Labor's policy! Moreover, and as a direct consequence of the fact that, in Israel, Knesset Members are not accountable to the voters in constituency elections, Mr. Sharon, by means of political bribery--cabinet and other posts--induced 22 Likud MKs to vote for disengagement when the bill came before the Knesset. The Knesset passed the bill by a vote of 67 to 45--and this, contrary to the warnings of Israel's highest military and intelligence officials.

As a consequence of this political flip-flop, Gaza is now wholly in the hands of the Palestinian Authority and has become a Mecca of international terrorism. Sharon's policy of "disengagement"-- a euphemism for retreat under fire--must be factored into the causes of the present war between Israel and Hezbollah.

Not "Israel" so much as unrepresentative Israeli governments led by foolish, timid, and even treacherous prime ministers constitute the basic cause of what Dr. Pipes calls an "unnecessary war."


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Daniel Pipes replies:

1. The left-wing government was elected, so it was "Israel."

2. True, Sharon flip-flopped, but his successor won electoral endorsement afterwards.

So, I blame the Israeli body politic, not malfeasant politicians.

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