If Egypt 'reviews' Camp David, the 'land for peace' paradigm will be overThere is only one working example of the 'land for peace' paradigm, and that's Israel's treaty with Egypt. Evelyn Gordon writes that if the Camp David treaty is 'reviewed' (or worse), Israel will never take the risk again.
Territorial handovers to the Palestinians under the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, for instance, produced not peace, but a massive increase in terror. In the first two and a half years after Oslo was signed in1993, Palestinians killed more Israelis than in the entire preceding decade, while the first four years of the second intifada (2000-2004) produced more terror-related casualties than the entire preceding 53 years.But none of this should come as a surprise to anyone. We all know how little value the Egyptians give to the treaty and why they entered into it.
In May 2000, Israelis expected their UN-certified pullout from every inch of Lebanon to eliminate Hezbollah's motivation for war. Instead, Hezbollah escalated, committing its first ever cross-border kidnapping just five months later. In 2006, another such kidnapping sparked the Second Lebanon War.
Similarly, Israel's unilateral pullout from Gaza in mid-2005 produced nothing but a dramatic escalation in rocket and mortar fire on southern Israel. Rocket launches alone jumped from 475 in 2001-04 to 5,765 in 2006-10, or from about 120 a year to about 1,150 a year - an almost tenfold increase.
And while the peace with Jordan has held, that treaty was not a land-for-peace deal. Since Jordan had previously relinquished all claim to the West Bank, it entailed no Israeli territorial concessions. Rather, it merely formalized a de facto peace that had existed for two decades already.
But through all this, the treaty with Egypt served as the shining counterexample - the proof that land for peace could work, given the right partners and the right conditions. Though never more than a cold peace, it consistently provided Israel with the one great good it promised, a secure southern border. And it survived despite repeated tensions, including two Palestinian intifadas and two Israeli-Lebanese wars.
Now, however, it looks increasingly likely that what made the Egyptian peace succeed was not any intrinsic merit in the land-for-peace paradigm, but merely the remarkable longevity in office of one man, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose 30-year tenure encompassed most of the treaty's lifespan.
And that in turn is leading a growing number of Israelis who previously supported land-for-peace to wonder whether it may not be an inherently unworkable paradigm, due to the fatal flaw encapsulated in its very name. In any land-for-peace deal, only one party actually considers "peace" a value worth trading for. What interests the other party is not peace, but gaining strategic assets such as land.
But perhaps the greatest indicator of how little there is to appreciate about the Israel - Egypt treaty comes from Egyptians themselves. This comes from the Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey and I quoted from it here and here. Sandmonkey is a very straight shooter.Read the whole thing. 'Land for peace' is on life support - even for the Left.
But then I rememebrd that we- the majority of us anyway- don't want peace with Israel, and are not interested in any real dialogue with them. We weren't then and we are not now. The Entire peace process has always been about getting the land back, not establishing better relations. Even when we do get the land back, it's not enough. People in Egypt lament daily the Camp David treaty that prevents us from fighting. In Gaza they never stopped trying to attack Israel. In Lebanon Hezbollah continued attacking even after the Israeli withdrawel. And the people- the majority of the arab population- support it. Very few of us are really interested in having any lasting Peace or co-existance. I mean, if our left is asking for war, what do you think the rest of the population is thinking?
I think that the Israeli want peace with us because they don't want their lives disrupted. They don't want to have the IDF soldiers fighting in Gaza, rockets coming into their towns from Hamas or having to go to wars against Hezbollah to get their soldiers back. I think they want peace because they want their peace of mind. They view us as if we were a headache. We view them as if they are a cancer.