Yossi Beilin has again hoisted himself on his own petard. The recent negotiations with the Palestinians in Amman and the anticipated signing ceremony in Geneva demonstrate that he and his fellow Osloists have learned nothing from the decisive rejection of their policies by the vast majority of the Israeli public.
Beilin, the leader of the pack was not even re-elected to the Knesset. And so for a former minister of justice and a former speaker of the Knesset, Avraham Burg to display such contempt of the democratic society is mind-boggling.
In any normal democratic country, failed leaders conducting activities akin to a government in exile during a time of war would at the very least be sent to Coventry.
Imagine the resigned UK foreign secretary Robin Cooke going off to negotiate with the Ba’athists in Iraq; or the resigned foreign secretary Lord Carrington negotiating with the Argentineans during the Falklands War; or a former speaker of the US House of Representatives conducting negotiations with the Taliban.
Even a radical dissident like former US attorney general Ramsey Clark would never have dared set himself up as an independent negotiator on security issues in defiance of his government.
During a time of war when civilians are being targeted by terrorists, actions such as those of Beilin, Burg and Amram Mitzna, would undoubtedly have been considered in breach of the law in the United States.
But here in Israel everything goes. The press gave Beilin enormous coverage and predictably Haaretz even lauded the initiative, validating anarchy by describing it as a constructive act designed to break the impasse with the Palestinians.
The civic immorality displayed by Beilin, Burg, Mitzna and their acolytes is compounded by the fact that they are being financially assisted by foreign sources.
In addition, orchestrating the timing for the signing ceremony with the anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin is an outrageous exploitation of his memory.
Rabin had little time for Beilin. Rabin made a catastrophic blunder by allowing himself to be sandbagged into supporting the Oslo Accords. But had he lived and finally realized the extent to which Arafat had duped him and witnessed the renewal of terror, Rabin would probably have responded in a much tougher manner than his successors. He would have been appalled to see the Beilin group resurrect the discredited Taba agreements, negotiated three years ago without a mandate.
But the failed politicians whose disastrous policies were rejected in a landslide electoral defeat, have now gone further. They have agreed to grant the Palestinians jurisdiction over the Temple Mount and relinquish Ariel and Efrat, surely an act to which the vast majority of Israelis would not agree.
In return the Palestinians conceded nothing of substance. Their alleged suspension of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel was immediately repudiated. So we are back again to Oslospeak – the act of claiming things on behalf of the Palestinians which the Palestinians have never committed themselves to.
IT MUST be clearly understood that what Beilin and his entourage have offered the Palestinians is conceptually far worse than the Oslo Accords, which have already taken such a huge toll in Israeli life and limb.
The accords were based on interim steps designed to test the Palestinian commitment to peace before fulfillment. In contrast the “Geneva Initiative” would have us jump to the end result at a time when, in lieu of making reciprocal concessions, the Palestinians are openly demonstrating their contempt of any process short of a termination of our Jewish sovereignty.
We should be under no illusions. These actions will have untold negative repercussions on our standing throughout the world. More importantly, it will reinforce those Palestinians who insist that terror does pay off. And unfortunately, should we begin renewing negotiations with the Palestinians, they and most of the world will endeavour to use the latest Beilin offers as a new benchmark.
The time has come to say enough is enough. Even if such action is not technically in breach of the law, our government would have the enthusiastic support of most Israelis if they initiated legislation to restore some order in the current chaos and bring us in line with other democratic countries.
To his credit, former prime minister Ehud Barak condemned the “Geneva Initiative” in no uncertain terms. Labor leader Shimon Peres was at first ambivalent and then endorsed it in a lukewarm manner. This is hardly surprising from a political leader who on his 80th birthday reaffirmed his faith in Oslo and publicly reiterated his faith in Arafat’s Nobel Peace Prize.
Beilin is surely a man possessed. His shallow passion for his roots in Eretz Yisrael is exemplified by his repeated assertion that his grandfather, a Hovevei Zion delegate to the Zionist Congress, was profoundly mistaken in rejecting Herzl’s proposal for Uganda as a Jewish homeland. But beyond ignorance, arrogance and hubris, Beilin has also genuinely hypnotized himself into believing that he can come to an accommodation with those committed to our destruction.
People compare his appeasement policy to that of Neville Chamberlain. This is unfair to Chamberlain. When Munich demonstrated how misguided he was he confessed as much and supported Winston Churchill in taking over the helm.
Burg is no better. For a few months when he believed he was about to be elected head of Labor, Burg began moving toward a more centrist political position. After his defeat he began fiercely promoting his ultra-left credentials. Then blinded by ambition, he placed articles in prominent world newspapers proclaiming that Zionism has lost its soul and that “Israel is a colonial state, run by a corrupt clique which scorns and mocks law and civic morality.”
The websites of enemies of Israel have been gleefully quoting and promoting him ever since. It was ironically on Succot, one of the three Jerusalem pilgrimage festivals, Burg and Beilin offered the Temple Mount to the Palestinians.
Even during a war, dissenters in a democracy are entitled to express critical opinions of Government policies. But that does not mean that they are entitled to arrogate for themselves the right to negotiate with the enemy.
Today in Israel the greatest threat facing us does not emanate from our Palestinian enemies. It is from within. Surely it is time for Israelis to express their outrage to their government and call on them to end their impotence and indolence, and in the name of democracy itself, legislate red lines, which if crossed, constitute crimes against the security of society.