A number of years ago, I encountered the Israeli author and Peace Now activist Amos Oz at a New Jersey forum. Following his lecture, I asked him – in his native tongue – to explain how he could possibly demand that peace be delivered “now,” as if it would simply come by commanding it. He chuckled for a moment and replied, “The name might have been adopted a little hastily but peace is within our [Israel’s] reach.” Amos Oz was one of the original signatories of a letter sent to Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1978, which marked the creation of Israel’s left-wing Peace Now movement.
In the letter to Prime Minister Begin, the founders of Peace Now wrote:
[A] government that prefers the existence of the State of Israel within the borders of “Greater Israel” to its existence in peace with good neighborliness, will be difficult for us to accept. A government that prefers the existence of settlements beyond the Green Line to the elimination of this historic conflict through the…normalization of relationships in our region will evoke questions regarding the path we are taking. A government policy that will cause a continuation of control over millions of Arabs will hurt the Jewish-democratic character of the state, and will make it difficult for us to identify with it.
It is critical to note the naiveté of the left-wing Israelis that established Peace Now – especially in light of Khartoum’s “Triple No” decision (no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel) delivered at the September 1967 Arab Summit. This move unequivocally demonstrated that the Arabs and the Arab-Palestinians were not at all interested in “peace” or in “good neighborliness.” The Coastal Road Massacre perpetrated by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) on March 11, 1978, in which 38 Israeli civilians (including 13 children) were murdered, and 71 others were wounded, proved it as well.
Ironically, the left-wing Israelis who formed Peace Now did so against the center-right Likud government of Prime Minister Begin, despite the fact that it was the Likud government that had orchestrated and signed a peace treaty with the largest Arab state: Egypt. Moreover, PM Begin stated that he was willing to trade all of the Sinai, including its oil wells, and the settlement of Yamit (where the PM owned a home) for peace.
While this 31 year-old peace is cold and tenuous, it still holds. The Oslo Accords, signed by the Rabin-Peres-Beilin center-left Labor government and enthusiastically supported by Peace Now, were an unmitigated disaster and cost Israel over a 1,000 innocent lives. The murderers were Arafat’s Palestinian terrorists – the same individuals with whom Peace Now advocated “making” peace.
Peace Now claims on its website that in 1988, upon the PLO’s acceptance of UNSC Resolution 242 and the principle of the two-state solution, the group “led a massive demonstration of 100,000 persons calling on the [Israeli] government to negotiate with the PLO.” A mere six months after the declaration, the PLO approved a terrorist raid on the Israeli coastal village of Palmachim with the intention of killing as many Israeli-Jews as possible.
In 1993, Peace Now (in its own words) “fully supported the break-through represented by the Oslo Accords,” during which Israel and the PLO negotiated directly for the first time. As a result, Israel withdrew its military from areas of the West Bank and Gaza, and the PLO renounced violence and publicly accepted Israel’s “right to exist.” Again, only six months after Peace Now “celebrated” the Oslo achievement, suicide bombers began blowing themselves up in Israeli cities.
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