By Israel Hanukoglu*, from The Jerusalem Post, October 13, 1993.
The "Middle East Miracle" was how a recent cover of Time magazine dubbed the Israel- PLO agreement. The centuries-long enmity between Jews and Arabs is reaching an apparent reconciliation; Arafat, the greatest enemy of the Jews since Hitler, is shaking hands with Rabin, the Prime Minister of Israel; The villains of the PLO are being recast as peace lovers.
These transformations, from evil to good, took place, mere days after the unveiling of a secret agreement between Israeli Foreign Minister Peres and the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat. The euphoria of an imagined messianic age rose with an impressive ceremony at the White House, broadcast worldwide, to reach all nations.
For many people these sudden transformations have created a feeling akin to religious fervor, one removed from rational thinking. In Israel especially, where the persistent security problem casts a cloud over everyday life, the yearning for peace and salvation is great.
Psychological studies of cults have found that a promise of salvation by the leader, can attract many to join the cult. The leader can then steer his flock of believers in any desired direction, including suicide.
Rabin and Peres have assumed the role of high priests of just such a cult; they are pied pipers leading the citizens of Israel to national suicide with a promise of salvation.
There are no quick solutions to the complex problems of the Middle East. Only through perseverance and continual sacrifice can Israelis expect that, in time, the flow of events will lead to the establishment of interim equilibriums, until the demographics and national boundaries stabilize.
The lessons of past wars and of existing national conflicts, lead us to expect that, in the years to come, there will be more wars between Israelis and Arabs. This agreement with the PLO will not, unfortunately, mark the end of the Middle East conflict:
History teaches us that the resolution of national conflicts derives from stabilization of national boundaries and demographics by long historical processes, and not by agreements and promises based on wishful thinking.
Given this historical perspective, the agreement with the PLO, by raising Palestinian expectations, can only enflame the ever-simmering Middle East conflict. The agreement is widely perceived as merely a stepping stone to the formation of a 22nd Arab state.
The small State of Israel is to be split into two states, a Palestinian state, composed of the Gaza strip on one side and the West bank on the other, and Israel, wedged in between them in less than a 20 mile wide coastal strip - all within a combined area similar to New Jersey:
The perfect recipe for chaotic instability!
By establishing unstable borders, and creating enclaves of hostile populations, the agreement plants the seeds of more violence by extremist Arabs who are to be armed with Israel's blessing. The Rabin government has confirmed the Arabs' belief that they can profit from violence.
Amid the euphoria of an imagined messianic age of harmony and peaceful coexistence, the followers of the Rabin-Peres cult have lost touch with the realities of history, and with a realistic vision of future scenarios. Nobody can know the future course of the newly formed Arab State. Yet, with the strong presence of Islamic Fundamentalism in this region such a state could easily develop into another Iran, controlled by Khomeini-like elements. Just as American investments and power could not prevent the toppling of the Shah of Iran and the establishment of the Khomeini regime, Israel will have no control over a PLO state.
We call upon aspirants to true peace everywhere to see through the irrational messianic zeal of the Rabin-Peres plan and reject it, in order to assure the continuation of the Jewish People.
*I wrote this article immediately after hearing about the Oslo agreement. I presented it at the Emergency meeting of the Professors for a Strong Israel. It was signed by many professors. Yet, Jerusalem Post had to restrict the authorship to only three to publish it as an Op-ed piece. So, besides myself, only Prof. David Gershon (Technion) and Prof. Michael Rosenblu (Bar-Ilan University) appeared as co-signatories.