The Zionist Conspiracy
Thursday, February 26, 2004
Peres and Morality
I've always completely rejected the notion that Shimon Peres and other mainstream left-wing leaders are traitors, and still do. I wonder, however, what motivates the stances of Peres and others. The need for international acclaim is probably part of the motivation, but not all of it.
In a speech earlier this week in Washington, Peres said that Israel has no moral claim to the territories captured in 1967. "If you keep 10 percent of the land you keep 100 percent of the conflict... "It is not a political decision, it is a moral decision," Peres said.
In other words, Peres would argue that the Clinton Plan, under which Israel would annex about 5 percent of Judea and Samaria, is immoral, since it did not require a 100 percent withdrawal. He would, then, totally agree with Yasser Arafat's rejection of Israel's concessions. After all, why should Arafat agree to the "immoral" theft of Palestinian land? Indeed, why should any Palestinian even discuss peace with Israel while Israel remains in the territories?
In contrast to Peres, Ehud Barak has disavowed the Clinton Plan in favor of his original offer at Camp David, which would keep about 8-10 percent of the territories and all of the Old City under Israeli control.
Interestingly, Peres does not explain why in the 1970's he spearheaded the construction of many new settlements if Israel has no moral claim to Judea and Samaria.
What's disgraceful about much of the Israeli Left is not their worldview, that peace requires withdrawal, perhaps all the way to (or close to) the '67 borders. It's their insistence that Israel has no right to any of the disputed territories, thereby undermining their country's negotiating position and ultimately, by raising Palestinian demands, making peace impossible.
Similarly, it's one thing to oppose settlement of Judea and Samaria, but now that 230,000 Israelis already live there, there is no justification for not at least seeking - as Barak claims to - a peace agreement in which most would be able to stay.
Labor used to stand for the principle that Israel should make territorial concessions for peace, but had to retain the Jordan Valley, Western Samaria, Gush Etzion, the settlements near Jerusalem and, of course, an undivided Jerusalem. That was Yitzhak Rabin's position.
The Rabin assassination forced Likud to moderate its views, but since then, whenever the Israeli right-wing moves leftward, the Left simply takes a more extreme leftist position. When Netanyahu accepted Oslo and gave up Hebron, the Left attacked him for tying progress in the peace process to Palestinians compliance with Oslo's provisions, particularly an end to terror and incitement. When Sharon accepted the idea of a Palestinian state, the Left attacked him because he did not explicitly offer any major territorial concessions. Now that Sharon has done just that, announcing that Israel would unilaterally withdraw from Gaza and part of Judea and Samaria, the left-wing has responded by saying that too is not nearly enough, that instead the withdrawal from be to the '67 borders.
The motive for this, I believe, is ideological hatred for Likud and Herut (Likud's predecessor), which Labor will forever blame for all of Israel's problems. Leftist leaders see that they are winning the battle over partition of Israel, and are anxious to vanquish any trace of the fulfillment of Herut's ideology. Once Labor and Peres proudly led the idea of settlement, but now that Likud is identified as the supporter of a presence in Judea and Samaria, Labor and Peres oppose and undermine that presence.