WHERE WILL THIS
Where will the current Israel-PLO negotiating process lead? Every citizen of Israel, and every friend of Israel around the world, has a right to ask this question, and the Prime Minister of Israel has a responsibility to provide an answer.
Journalists who have asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this question have been told, "Of course we have our plan as to where it is all headed, but that can't be revealed in public." Such evasiveness is unfair. If the Israeli public is being asked to
support the Prime Minister's approach to the negotiations, and if supporters of Israel around the world are expected to explain and defend Israel's actions to the international community, then they have a right to know where it will all lead, so they can decide for themselves if they agree with the likely outcome.
Israel's enemies have a very clear idea of where they want the negotiating process to lead. On the very day the Oslo accords were signed on the White House lawn, PLO chairman Yasir Arafat was reassuring a Jordanian television audience that the accords were "Phase One" in the PLO's "Strategy of Phases" for gradually destroying Israel. Phase Two would be a PLO state in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and at least half of Jerusalem.
That's why those hostile to Israel so warmly embraced the Oslo accords. The State Department, the U.S. media, the United Nations--all of them have been consistently hostile to Israel, and all of them applauded Oslo, because they saw it as the way to achieve their goal of whittling Israel down to an indefensible size.
But where does the Netanyahu government see the process leading? How can it accept the same Oslo process that the Arabs expect will lead to a PLO state, and claim that it will not lead to a PLO state? How can the Arabs be given wider and wider autonomy, without it turning into a de-facto state? How will Israel prevent the PLO from declaring statehood? How will it stop countries around the world from recognizing such a state?
There are two possible final outcomes of the Oslo process. Peace is not one of them, because there is still
no meaningful or verifiable evidence that the Palestinian Arabs have sincerely accepted the permanent existence of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel.
One possible outcome is that Israel will, under pressure--and with U.S. "encouragement"--gradually surrender virtually all of the territories, and be reduced to indefensible boundaries. From there, it will be only a matter of time before the Arabs move in for the final kill.
A second possible outcome is that Israel will stop making concessions, and the Arabs will respond either with another intifada or a full-scale war, or perhaps both. Israel still has the military ability to repel both forms of aggression.
As the Nazi military buildup progressed in the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt bluntly told the American people: "There is danger ahead, for which we must prepare." He did not try to delude the public into believing that peace was likely. He spoke of the danger, and prepared the nation for the inevitable confrontation with Hitler.
Today, Benjamin Netanyahu must do no less. With Egypt beating the drums of war, with Syria stockpiling advanced Scud missiles and chemical warheads, and with Arafat urging his followers to join a jihad, the prime minister of Israel has an obligation to stop pretending that peace is possible, and start preparing the nation for the inevitable.
Herbert Zweibon is Chairman of Americans For a Safe Israel.