The signing of the Camp David accords by Eretz Yisrael is the most senseless folly imaginable. We have ceded our security -- lands, oil, settlements and airfields -- for nothing but a piece of paper that can be torn up at any time. The "peace" we thought to gain is a bitter illusion, and the only result is that now we are infinitely weaker and the enemy infinitely more powerful.
The beginning of defeat is retreat. (Sotah 44b)
The kindness of the peoples is sin: all the charity and kindness of the heathen is counted to them as sin, because they only do it so that their dominion may be prolonged. (Bava Basra 10b)
I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war. (Tehillim 120:7)
In Part I of this series, we discussed the Camp David accords from the perspective of halachah.
We established that the halachah
prohibits us from allowing non-Jews to take possession of territory which is necessary for the security of Eretz Yisrael and its inhabitants. Since ceding such territory poses a threat to Jewish lives, we are obligated to do our utmost -- even to the extent of desecrating the Shabbos -- to prevent this from occurring. All military experts agree that most of the Sinai, the Golan Heights, Yehudah and Shomron are vital to the defense of Eretz Yisrael. Thus, the halachah
prohibits our giving away any of these territories as stipulated in the Camp David accords.
Aside from considerations of security, the treaty itself defies all logic. What kind of peace treaty is it in which one side gives away so much and the other side nothing but a piece of paper that is good only as long as the whim of the current leader of Egypt deems it?
We are so insecure of our own worth that we crave the approval of other nations. When Egypt, who shed the blood of our sons in four successive wars, deigned to recognize us as a legitimate country, the Jewish world was ecstatic, jubilant. After the signing of the Camp David accords Jews threw parties, danced in the streets, wished each other Mazal Tov.
Why? Because in return for "recognition" we had been granted the privilege of surrendering settlements, land, oil. It is incredible how low we have sunk, disgraced and humiliated ourselves. We deem it a privilege to surrender that which is ours, that which we regained in four bloody wars started by our "brothers in peace."
Not only are we insecure; we seem to regard ourselves as lowly beggars rather than as equals. A treaty in which one side gives so much and the other nothing is not a treaty between equals; it is rather an ultimatum issued to a defeated foe. Who was the aggressor in the past four wars, and yet who pays for peace? Who was the victor, and yet who has gained in the end?
We fool no one by our magnanimity. When we surrender parts of our land we are saying loudly and clearly that it does not now nor did it ever belong to us. Who willingly gives away that which is rightfully his? We give away oilfields that our labor developed and place ourselves in alarming dependency on foreign sources, besides straining an already weakened economy. We give away the settlements that our people labored so long and hard to establish and lose our first line of defense. We give away to the enemy some of the most advanced airfields in the world, built by Jewish ingenuity. We give away huge chunks of land, and render all of Eretz Yisrael vulnerable to attack. The list is heartbreakingly endless. We give away everything, including our respect, pride, dignity, and receive in return -- nothing. Even the expected economic benefits are a bitter joke. The increased aid from the U.S. does not even cover the cost of withdrawal, let alone the enormous increase in the cost of energy due to relinquishing the oilfields. And this is in addition to the absurdity of allowing our only source of oil to pass out of our hands, thereby making us dependent on foreign sources for 98% of our current oil requirements. In the event of war, G-d forbid, we will have no sure oil supply. And not only do we receive nothing in return, but for our pains we are called aggressors and thieves, and are branded a bandit state in the sanctimonious councils of the United Nations.
What have we gained? Peace? The other side is continually
breaking the terms of the Camp David accords. Immediately after Eretz Yisrael gave up parts of the Sinai to Egypt, the Egyptians moved in troops -- in complete contravention of the terms of the accords.
Peace? Egypt’s leaders and generals have said more than once that the peace treaty will not take precedence over its ties with other Arab countries. Should there be war G-d forbid, between Eretz Yisrael and one of the other Arab countries, Egypt will consider itself on the Arab side.
Peace? Egypt has emphasized time and again that there will be no final peace until all its demands are met. Jerusalem must be handed over to the Arabs, autonomy must be given to the Palestinians. Will we hand over Jerusalem? There will be no "peace" otherwise. Will we allow a Palestinian state to exist from which terrorists can operate at will? There will be no "peace" otherwise.
Peace? When Jews are continually being reviled in the Egyptian media? We submit to all types of humiliation, and consider ourselves fortunate that an Egyptian leader consented to visit Jerusalem. We point to the fruits of the peace process with pride, citing as proof that...Jews are allowed to visit Egypt! We congratulate ourselves that now we can see the Pyramids, while the Ambassador of Eretz Yisrael to Egypt is shunned and despised. We clamor for visas, and wonder why they are not forthcoming.
But, it is claimed, we had no choice. Pressure from the U.S.A. to sign the accords was intense, and we must submit because we need their weapons, because we need their support, because without them we are too small and insignificant. But if we capitulate today on Sinai, tomorrow we will be forced to capitulate on something else. The same "becauses" will still be valid. They will be even more compelling for we will be weaker due to past concessions. Arab victories at the negotiating table embolden our adversaries and weaken our own determination. The more concessions we make, the greater their demands. Concessions beget further concessions, and each successive retreat before pressure calls forth greater pressure to retreat even further. Next it will be the Golan, and then the settlements in Yehudah and Shomron. And then...Jerusalem? Why not? Arab demands for Jerusalem are already vociferous; and if Jordan agrees to peace in exchange for Jerusalem, why should it be different from Egypt and the Sinai? Or Syria and the Golan Heights? If, as we demonstrated to the Arab world, we are willing to give up anything
for peace, that logic will certainly hold true in these other cases. For if we bartered away our security
, then everything else is certainly forfeit. Our enemies will tell us to give up Jerusalem for "peace." The U.S.A. will pressure us as now. And we will be infinitely weaker, and the enemy infinitely more powerful.
Let us look at what our craven submission to pressure has won us so far. We thought that if we bowed to America’s demands our good relationships would be assured. Instead, the reverse has occurred. We gave up everything, and our relationship with the U.S. has deteriorated drastically. Never before has the U.S.A. moved so close to the Arab position, and never before has Eretz Yisrael felt so estranged. Since the accords were signed, the U.S.A. has assumed an increasingly hostile posture with Eretz Yisrael: the AWACS deal, the censure for the destruction of the Iraqi atomic reactor, the censure for extending of sovereignty to the Golan Heights, the increasing move to give the Arabs parity in armaments. The list is endless, and there is no end in sight. The future is bleak indeed; and in the meantime, we have ceded land invaluable for our defense, oil vital for our security, settlements and airfields indispensable to our safety -- all for a piece of paper!
And the co-signer of the treaty, Egypt, has never before received so much aid and advanced weapons from the U.S.A. Never before has the U.S.A. talked of Egypt as equally valuable an ally as Eretz Yisrael. Make no mistake: this is direct outcome of the Camp David peace process. Since the signing of the accords, there has been a subtle -- and at times not so subtle -- shift away from Eretz Yisrael towards the Arab nations.
Even now, when practically everyone recognizes the colossal mistake Eretz Yisrael made, when all others pronounce the "peace process" dead, Eretz Yisrael continues to withdraw, to cede more land, to buckle under pressure.
Everyone, including Eretz Yisrael, is currently debating what Egypt will do once it has all of Sinai in its possession. Will it still keep the peace treaty? It is incredible. The whole world is saying that Egypt signed the Camp David accords only to obtain that which it couldn’t win through war. After than, who knows? In other words, the "peace" is universally recognized as non-existent, and it is only a matter of time before Egypt reneges. Only Eretz Yisrael continues to obstinately bury its head in the sands of its own desperation and refuses to see the results of weakness. To show the world that its word is inviolate, Eretz Yisrael zealously upholds the exact terms of the treaty. The phases of withdrawal are adhered to with admirable punctuality -- although Eretz Yisrael knows that Egypt is constantly breaking its part of the accords, and knows that afterwards the peace will be nothing but a hollow mockery. Eretz Yisrael’s word is its honor! Honor? When the other side has no scruples? When the lives of over three million Jews are endangered?
Other hoped for gains from the peace process have similarly not materialized. Not a single country that previously refused to recognize Eretz Yisrael has extended diplomatic recognition. Vote after vote in the U.N. is against Eretz Yisrael, and the representatives of every Arab country deliver vicious tirades against us. Despite our immense sacrifices, we are still denounced as aggressors who do not want peace. Indeed, since the signing of the treaty, even so called "friendly" countries have turned away from us; all the European countries are steadily moving into the Arab camp, and there is no hope for a reversal in the foreseeable future.
We thought to appease the enemy, to curry favor with our new found "brother in peace." As a gesture to Sadat, Eretz Yisrael released tens of terrorists who had viciously murdered Jewish men, women and children. Is the blood of our people so cheap that we spit on it for a "gesture" -- and to the one who caused the loss of so many Jewish lives in the Yom Kippur War?
And let us not forget that part of the Camp David accords which calls for autonomy for the Palestinians. The Arabs have not forgotten. We may try to squirm our way out of it, but in the end the same pressures which dictated its inclusion originally will dictate its implementation -- in full. A Palestinian state in the heart of Eretz Yisrael -- and make no mistake, that is exactly what "autonomy" means -- is an open invitation for full-scale terrorist attacks on all parts of the land, G-d forbid. As an indication of what we can expect, ever since autonomy was even discussed, terrorist attacks have become much more frequent and much more brazen.
Autonomy for the Palestinians must lead to an independent Palestinian state, for the rationale that dictated signing the accords will dictate letting the autonomy be transformed into independence. If Eretz Yisrael refuses, Egypt will break off the peace (such as it is), and nothing will have been gained; particularly since the rest of the world, including the U.S.A., is increasingly recognizing the "legitimate claims" of the Palestinians to a homeland of their own. The same logic which dictated bowing to American pressure at Camp David will apply in this case too.
The very terms of the treaty are bogus. Its purpose is to bring "peace" if Eretz Yisrael gives back Sinai, Yehudah and Shomron, etc. But how can Egypt promise such a thing? Egypt has no control over the other Arab countries, and certainly none over the terrorists. They hatred Sadat for signing the peace treaty, and will never make peace with us because he said or signed anything. How can we agree to negotiate on Yehudah and Shomron with Egypt
, when it is Jordan and Syria we will have to deal with on these matters? To make Egypt’s president happy we endanger our lives in areas that have nothing to do with him. Egypt cannot guarantee peace except in those areas under Egyptian control.
Even the peace with Egypt is bogus. No one knew if Sadat was trustworthy, if he really wanted peace. But now, even that broken reed of hope is gone. Sadat, the "friend" of Eretz Yisrael, is dead, and who can predict what his successors will do? Egypt is not a stable democracy. As has happened before, a new leader can seize power at any time and he is unlikely to be any more friendly to Eretz Yisrael than were his predecessors. Yet Eretz Yisrael still intends to surrender the last of the Sinai!
It would be so easy for Egypt to break off relations with Eretz Yisrael. The Camp David accords included autonomy for the Palestinians and further discussions on Yehudah and Shomron. When Eretz Yisrael refuses to implement full autonomy, or refuses to surrender Jerusalem, Yehudah of Shomron. When Eretz Yisrael refuses to implement full autonomy, or refuses to surrender Jerusalem, Yehudah or Shomron -- as it must refuse -- Egypt will have the perfect excuse to break the accords. We will be left without peace -- and without the Sinai, the oilfields, the settlements or the airfields. No peace, and our security infinitely diminished.
The choice was not simply peace or war -- sign the Camp David accords and gain peace or don’t sign and face certain war with Egypt. The reverse is true: War with Egypt is more likely when we are impotent to deter it. It is weakness that brings war, not strength. History is full of instances where one country sought to appease another by making concessions for the sake of peace. It never worked. When one side is weaker than the other, and worse still, deliberately makes itself weaker -- that is a situation ripe for war. Conversely, the Camp David accords do not spell out peace, not even a small step towards it. The accords imperil our security, the "peace" was counterfeit from its inception, and the enemy remains the same. We surrendered all for nothing.
Certainly we must do everything possible to achieve peace. But we cannot jeopardize our security for a "peace" that can never be guaranteed, a piece of paper that can so easily be torn up. A treaty should indeed have been signed -- but not with one side making all the real concessions and the other none.