Whoever decided to go ahead with the Oslo agreement in, which peace is to be made in stages, failed to address a simple question; What if? What if things break down at the very final session because Arafat is still not satisfied and presses on for more than Israel feels it can give without being pushed completely into the sea: What then?
Will the world then decide that Israel has already given up more than its share and therefore Arafat must now concede to Israel’s terms? Or will the entire world bear down on Israel and force it to continue making concessions despite Israel’s insistence that this is as far as they can go?
Everyone knows the answer to this question yet few are willing to confront it. Why worry needlessly they say! We’ll cross the bridge when we get there. Perhaps it will never happen! Perhaps the mutual good feeling created will avoid a final impasse! Perhaps… But the chances of that happening are as likely as solving the alchemists’ dream of turning copper to gold.
And then what? Will Arafat now simply throw up his hands in surrender and be satisfied with what he got? Or will he use the powerful pressure of world opinion in conjunction with a well equipped police force, armed by those who believed and trusted that these weapons would only be used against invaders from outer space, to achieve his goals?
One doesn’t have to be a prophet to answer this question. Recent events are a good harbinger of what the future will bring. All one needs is common sense! If a non-issue like a tunnel opening could cause a three day shooting match just imagine what would happen if Israel refuses to hand over Yerushalayim?
To paraphrase Heywood Brown (an American novelist), “Appeasing an aggressor in the hope that he will eventually renounce violence is like throwing steaks to a hungry tiger in the hopes that he will turn into a vegetarian!”
Every time Arafat doesn’t get what he wants he openly reminds Israel that he will be left with no other option but violence. And for this the world has declared him the winner of the peace prize.
So if you trust and believe Arafat that he will actually keep to all his promises, then I have a bridge over the East River to sell you.