MODIIN, ISRAEL — Two events this month showed conclusively that the positions on peace and security espoused by the Left in Israel (and elsewhere) over the past ten years have been merely wishful thinking masquerading as pragmatism. By the same token, the view espoused by the Right — that peace is attained and maintained through strength, not capitulation — was proven correct. This is important to keep in mind as Israelis go to the polls this week and (as all public-opinion surveys are showing they probably will) give a sweeping victory to the right-wing bloc in parliament.
Like liberals everywhere, those viewed as “deep thinkers” on the Israeli Left tend to believe that appeasement breeds moderation. “With the Palestinians,” former foreign minister Shimon Peres boasted, “we negotiated on uncharted grounds. Never had they experienced self-rule. Today they possess a territorial address, an administrative authority. For the first time in their history, their children’s education is solely Palestinian.” Peres was addressing the 49th session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1994.
That education which Nobel-prize laureate Peres was so proud to have facilitated is now producing child terrorists. On Saturday, January 11, two young Arab boys — aged 10 and 13 — infiltrated the Jewish town of Netzarim in Gaza armed with knives. After attacking one boy, they entered a family home and were shot at, captured by security forces, and taken to an Israeli hospital. In fact, attacks using children are not new for the terrorists running the Palestinian Authority. Why should they be? PA children’s television, school textbooks, newspapers, summer camps, and — most horrifically — some parents all push the same message: that to seek death by murdering Jews is the highest goal for any proud Arab.
The day after the Netzarim child terrorists were captured, three Qassam rockets, produced in PA factories, were fired from PA-controlled Gaza into the southern Israeli town of Sderot, within the 1967 “Green Line.” The rockets, one of which landed near a kindergarten, injured two people. It was at least the sixth rocket attack on Sderot in the past 21 months.
Yet no one can pretend to be surprised. At the 1993 parliamentary session at which the Oslo Accords were ratified, then-opposition Likud Knesset member Moshe Katsav asked: “Tell me please, Mr. Foreign Minister [Peres] and Mr. Defense Minister [Rabin, who was also prime minister], how will you prevent a little van traveling within Arafat’s areas from loading up with katyushas and shooting towards the coastal cities? How will you prevent [katyushas from being shot towards] Ashkelon, Netivot, Sderot, Ofakim, and Ashdod?” In March 1993, even before the Oslo agreements had been made public, then-tourism minister Rehavam (“Gandhi”) Zeevi, of the right-wing Moledet party, reminded the Knesset: “Every time there is a wave of terrorism, all sorts of ‘experts’ say that we should unilaterally get out of Gaza. If we do so, the Gaza Strip will become a cancerous thorn of terrorism, 1,000 times more dangerous than it is now. What will we do when katyushas are fired from Beit Yachie on Ashkelon and from Beit Hanoun on Sderot?”
Last Monday, IDF troops went into Gaza’s Beit Hanoun in search of the Qassam rocket launchers used to attack Sderot.
In 1995, Yitzhak Rabin commented on the Right’s warnings: “We know all the scare-stories of the Likud. They promised [when the first Oslo agreement was signed] that there would be katyushas from Gaza. It’s been a year already that Gaza is mostly under PA control, and there haven’t been any katyushas, and there won’t be any… The Likud is simply scared to death of peace, and for this reason is reacting in a truly childish manner.”
And what was it Shimon Peres told the parliamentary plenum on October 11, 1993? Ah, yes: “We are approaching the stage at which it will become clear that terror has no future and is fated to die.”
The truth is that, at the end of nearly ten years of the “peace process,” more Israelis have been killed by terrorists than in any equivalent period before “peace processing” was made state policy. Let us hope that this week the Israeli electorate will, once and for all, thoroughly repudiate the liberals’ failed policies and promote the conservative principle of “peace through strength.”
— Nissan Ratzlav-Katz is opinion editor at www.IsraelNationalNews.com, and frequently writes for NRO. His commentaries have been published internationally and translated into several languages.