In an editorial in Haaretz, Moshe Arens notes that the "Arab Spring" at this point offers not so much an opportunity, as a lesson:
It is now 34 years since Israel agreed to turn the Sinai peninsula over to Egypt as part of the peace treaty signed by Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat. Although many do not like to be reminded of it, Sadat was a dictator. The peace treaty survived his assassination four years later, when he was replaced by Mubarak. Whether it will survive the downfall of Mubarak is not clear at the moment.As a democracy, Israel welcomes the fall of dictators, but in view of the special conditions in the Middle East--for all the evils of dictatorships, dictators assured a status quo when it came to agreements. And a degree of status quo in the tumultuous Middle East can be a rare and precious thing.
When it was signed, Arab dictatorships were considered to be a permanent feature of the Middle East. It seemed obvious that Israel had to make peace with Arab dictators, and that the formula for making peace with them was "territories for peace" - giving up territorial strategic assets for peace with a dictator.
That peace is security was considered a tautology. Dictators were famous for their ability to enforce their will upon the people. When they signed a peace treaty you could depend on them.
Just look at the anarchy in Egypt and how it has now affected Israel's security--
And imagine "what if" Israel had returned the Golan Heights to Assad as part of a peace agreement.
It is time for a reappraisal of pre-conceived ideas.Sounds logical--but don't bet on either of those 2 happening.
This is not a time to throw caution to the wind. This is not a time to withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines. It is not a time for "daring political initiatives." It is a time for watching and waiting to see how things are going to turn out. It is a time to think how we are going to assure the security of Israel's citizens in the southern part of the country from daily rocket attacks, and make sure that those living in the north and the center of the country do not share their fate.
Iron Dome is a great technological achievement but it alone cannot do the job.
It is a time to put away the placards calling for "Peace Now" and "An End to the Occupation." It may be the time for those demanding "social justice" for the "middle class" to fold their tents.
But Israelis in general are aware that this is a new playing field--with new players and new rules, many of which are not even clear yet.
Technorati Tag: Israel and Middle East.