Back in the spring of 1986 I took a trip as part of a program I was in to the shores of the Dead Sea. As we stood overlooking the waters, the sun sinking into the west behind us, our director, Amichai, pointed over to one of the many places where dry land had replaced the evaporating body of water.
"You will notice," he said, "that the land there is dry all the way over to the other side." He paused and then continued, "You will also notice that there is no fence."
Now, remember the geography of the area. The western shore of the Dead Sea is Israel, the eastern shore the kingdom of Jordan. The border goes straight down the middle which means that if an area drying up completely would leave open land between the two countries. And this was 1985, a time when Jordan was still officially at war with Israel and did not recognize it as a member of the international community. When we protested the impossibility of an open border to Amichai (after all, even the Canadian-American border has some kind of markings all along its length) he smiled.
"It's not in Jordan's interests for this space to be used by terrorists so they simply don't allow them to operate down here."
The recent re-kindled obsession with finalizing peace deals with Syria and the so-called Palestinians, along with the attendant land withdrawals, that occured at the Annapolis conference reminded me of this event. The standard line for so long - we want peace - seems to have obscured the reality of the last few decades.
Here, for those who haven't been paying attention since 1974, is what has happened: In the absence of a peace deal, the border between the Golan Heights and Syria has been essentially quiet. The time period between 1967 and 2000 when Ehud Barak attempted to win a peace deal with Yassir Arafat, y"sh, was the most prosperous in the history of the Arab community in Israel. In other words, it is when Israel wasn't actively engaged in peace negotiations that the country was the most peaceful.
Speaking recently in Toronto, Ami Ayalon continued to show this same idiotic obsession with peace deals. Consider the description of his current job which follows the pattern of previously sensible Israeli leaders become complete fools once they retire:
Ayalon, a former naval commander and chief of Israel's feared security service from 1995 to 2000, surprised many in his country by heading a peace initiative called People's Voice, teaming up with Palestinian university president Sari Nusseibeh.
The two have promoted a two-state solution, drawing up borders along lines set in 1967, removing illegal Israeli settlements from Palestinian land, and disarming Palestinian militant groups.
Yes, once again the familiar refrain from the Arab side: You give us everything we want unconditionally and we promise (heh, heh) to disarm. His most ingenious statement in the article was:
After the January 2006 election in which Hamas swept the polls "we did not do enough to empower the pragmatists," Ayalon said. "Israel's policy should be very clear: we should empower those who accept a two-state idea. And we have to fight to stop terror and extremism."
Pragmatists? What pragmatists? Mahmood Abbas, whose PhD thesis was on how the Holocaust was a hoax, and who continues to call for Israel's destruction in the Arab press which the Western media does not pay attention to?
Understand what has happened since 1993. Israel has ceded land, armed its enemies, lost 1000's of its citizens and surrended effective security control for a large part of its southern territory. The concept of our Yerushalayim being handed over to our enemies has been raised as ana acceptable option for negotiations. And has the Arab set of demands - full retreat in 1967 borders, right of return for millions of "refugees" to pre-1967 Israel - changed one bit in the interim as a show of flexibility? Not a chance.
Perhaps it's time for the Israeli leadership to recognize the obvious - the other side is interested in dismemberment, not peace, but it is still Israel that holds most of the cards. Sit back, relax and continue the job of protecting the Jewish homeland. Let the Arabs come knocking on our door and let them not be the ones to choose when it opens.