"Israel Has No More Options" by Daniel Theeboom - How appeasement and diplomacy made peace no longer possible
July 25, 2006
MIM: Dutch writer Daniel Theeboom has written this piece in english providing a European policy perspective on the current Mid East war and concludes that tacit acceptance of Hezbollah is to blame for the violence.
Israel Has No More Options
by Daniel Theeboom
Through a combination of Western appeasement of Islamic Fundamentalism and diplomatic pressure on the Jewish State, peace in the Middle East is no longer possible.
A Dutch parliamentary commission decided in November 2004, right before Theo Van Gogh was murdered, to ban Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. This would have far reaching results for Hezbollah in Europe, and its relationship with the EU. Bert Koenders, an expert for foreign affairs for the Dutch Labour party, made it known how unhappy he was with this decision. According to him it would have been much better to involve Hezbollah in Lebanese politics, instead of banning it. A rapport of the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR), which was published about a year and a half later, reached a similar conclusion: Do not fight the Islamic terror organisations, but give them political power and money instead. As a result, the theory goes, they will become more moderate. The so called experts thought the same after the election victory of Hamas, which according to them would surely force Hamas to abandon its radical ideology. The reality was of course different, but most experts on the Middle East here in Europe, do not let their opinions be influenced by something as trivial as that. Nothing came of Hezbollah ban, the party of Allah is still recognized by the EU as a legitimate Lebanese party. Albeit a party with an army, 10.000 rockets and 100 million dollars of aid per year from Iran. Obviously it was not Hezbollah that got involved in Lebanese politics, but Lebanon which got involved with the politics of Hezbollah.
Many European leaders complain that Israel's response to the kidnappings is far from proportionate. They could well be right because Israel has no other option except to strike with full force. The Israeli's might have won many wars but through a combination of Western pressure and Islamic terrorism, those victories have lost their value. Israel appeared invincible after the Six Day War, and the Yom Kippur war more or less confirmed this notion. The largest and most powerful Arab country, did not decide to make peace because of its love for Israeli's. It agreed to make peace because it could not defeat Israel militarily, nor did it have any hope to force Israel's hand through a combination of diplomacy and terror. The Camp David accords were signed at a time when Israel was still supported by the entire Western world. This has now changed. A country which is not supported by what should have been its natural allies, appears weak and vulnerable. Would Egypt have agreed to a peace deal had it known that it could get the entire Sinai back through terrorism? The flow of condemnations from the UN and the constant pressure from the EU, give Muslims the hope that Israel can be defeated through a combination of political manipulation and violence. It is this knowledge that attracts recruits for Hamas and Hezbollah. Not despair but hope is the reason why the violence never ends. Nobody blows himself up for a compromise.
Israel planned to trade most of the the occupied territories for peace. But terrorism combined with international pressure has forced Israel to abandon this plan and give up land unilaterally. As long as Israel keeps land occupied it is losing international support, and eventually will risk sanctions. The retreats from Gaza and South-Lebanon have demonstrated that giving up land leads to war, while the Oslo-peace accords have shown that negotiating with terrorists results in the same. Terrorists are not interested in peace -there would be no need for terrorism if they were- and therefore feel no need to keep their promises. Many people in Israel already knew this, which explains the furious opposition to negotiations with the PLO in the early 1990ies. It is very bitter that Israel lost so much European support after agreeing to negotiate with the PLO on the insistence of the EU.
Israel is back where it started in 1948. Peace is impossible and negotiations lead to nowhere. What is left is only the use of force. But this is not without problems either. Israel is expected to fight without killing and this is clearly not possible. Muslim fundamentalists are simply not impressed by blowing up empty buildings. Neither do they care if their activities ruin the country from which they operate. Anyway they get their money from Iran. Basically Israel will need to kill a lot of Hezbollah terrorists in order to win this conflict, but the West will not allow this. Doing nothing would surely have been fatal, but this counter offensive in Lebanon could be very risky indeed. If Israel cannot, or is not allowed to, break Hezbollah then the North of Israel, including Haifa, might suffer missile attacks for a long time to come. I am sure that terrorists in the West-Bank are taking notice as well. Israel might very soon be confronted with a situation where missiles strike anywhere in the country at anytime.
It is possible that the people who work on the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy and folks like Bert Koenders are actually very stupid. It is possible, though very unlikely. But why else would they want to give a Taliban like organisation the chance to turn Lebanon into an Afghanistan clone? Why do they invest so much effort to legitimize extremely violent and anti-Semitic organisations? Are they anti-Semites themselves? I prefer to resist this conclusion. But I do think that these people and their views are telling us something about the mind of another schemer, a man who tried to neutralize the terrorists of his time by also giving in to their demands. This man was Franz Von Papen and his 'brilliant' plan to moderate the extremists, was to ask Hitler to become chancellor of Germany. We all know what happened as a result of that. Franz Von Papen surely never intended for his actions to lead to a Second World War. Nevertheless it did and he was forced to give accountability for his actions in front of a court of law. Bert Koenders and the people of the Scientific Council for Government Policy are partly responsible for this war. When will they be held accountable?