How Much Land for Peace?

By Leci, Colin | Midstream, January 2001 | Go to article overview

How Much Land for Peace?

Leci, Colin, Midstream

The time has come for all those who believe in the Land for Peace ideal to face reality and reflect on the situation prior to 1967. During the period between 1948 and 1967, the tortuous and elongated border between Israel and its neighbors was annually the scene of hundreds of Arab raids across the line. Israeli men, women, and children were killed indiscriminately, villages were attacked, houses blown up, and civilians kidnapped in unending Arab guerrilla warfare. It is possible, of course, that those who subscribed to the policy of land for peace, including Prime Minister Barak, had either forgotten or possibly were not even born when these civil incidents took place and felt that by giving land for peace, the situation that occurred in the 19-odd years from 1948 would not repeat itself.

How wrong they are. Barak's overgenerous offer to Ararat at Camp David II was rejected, resulting, prior to Rosh Hashanah, in an unprecedented Arab insurrection with a repeat of violence and terrorism unseen in the history of Israel. The goal in this case, as itwas between 1948-1967, is the demise of Israel. But this time the aggressor is being portrayed by the media (and thus the international community) as the victim -- and Israel's image and reputation is becoming tarnished beyond belief.

Barak's attempt to subdue this insurrection by giving a multitude of warnings to the PLO to cease the violence or else Israel would strike back with great force failed because the threat was not carried out; he eventually recommenced negotiations with Ararat even when there was no cease-fire, increasing the prospect of the abandonment of the Temple Mount and the demise of Israel as a sovereign and viable state.

Here are some statistics to remind those who have forgotten. Between May 1950 (when the armistice lines were guaranteed by the great powers -- now we are currently witnessing an attempt of a repeat performance) and October 1953, 421 Israelis were killed or wounded, there were 128 acts of sabotage involving explosives, and 866 armed attacks. Or perhaps we should refer to 1955 as a typical year in which there were 257 Israeli casualties along the so called cease-fire lines, including 75 dead, 179 wounded, and 3 taken prisoner. One can ask where did these terrorists come from, and why were the armistice agreements broken by the Arab countries -- just like the PLO is repeating today? Egypt and Gaza were the source of 53 percent of the terrorist attacks, Jordan (including the West Bank) 23 percent, Syria 22 percent, and Lebanon 2 percent. All of this was before the "occupation," where there was no alien Israeli force imposing its will on the Arab population, unlike that practiced by the US on occupied Germany and Japan after Word War II.

On 13 October 1953, a mother and her two children were murdered in their sleep on Moshav Yahud, just south of Petach Tikvah. Tracks led across the nearby border to the West Bank village of Rantis. In December of that year, a member of Kibbutz Ein Shemer was shot by infiltrators while walking near Karkur in central Israel. In March 1954, Arab gunmen ambushed and attacked an Israeli bus at Malei Akribim, south of Beersheva, murdering 11 including women and children. If that is not sufficient, consider June 1954: Jerusalem suddenly became a target -- Jordanian machine guns, rifles, grenades, and two inch mortars opened fire from the Old City walls. This continued for hours and was repeated several days later. Casualties, -- four dead, 27 wounded.

Of course, events like these don't tell the whole story, for there were hundreds of instances like these where the Israeli Defense Forces succeeded in foiling such attacks. And so it went on, day by day, for years. On other occasions the Fedayin crossed nearby truce lines, supposedly patroled by the UN and guaranteed by the Great Powers, to carry out their deadly missions. Is this not a repeat of what is now being seen? -- freight trains blown up, farmers murdered in their fields, soldiers ambushed and killed, children attacked by snipers, mines laid as gangs come across to burn, kill, steal, and destroy. …

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