Weekly Commentary: Thinking About Israel’s Appeasement Option
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 28 January 2009
IDF brass recently re-launched a campaign with Israeli journalists promoting
withdrawal from the Golan in order to avoid the casualties the Jewish State
could expect to suffer should Syria attack.
Granted, there are people in the IDF who religiously believe (that’s
“believe” rather than “think” – because this is a matter of “faith” rather
than “logic”) that withdrawing from the Golan in and of itself would secure
Israel’s northern border since Syria would never attack if it had the Golan
But is there a logic to withdrawal even if you recognize that there are
countless conceivable scenarios under which Syria would opt to strike Israel
even after a beautifully moving signing ceremony on the White House lawn
followed by a complete Israeli withdrawal from every last centimeter of the
Here are some explanations:
There are gizmos on the drawing boards that would significantly reduce
Israel’s casualties in the event of a conflict with Syria. So it is best to
postpone conflict until the gizmos are deployed by leaving the Golan.
Israel would be in a considerably better diplomatic situation being attacked
by Syria after signing a peace agreement and handing over the Golan than if
Syria attacked in order to “liberate” the Golan.
Postponement of conflict in and of itself is worthwhile.
But there are problems with these arguments.
Israel isn’t making gizmos in a vacuum. There is no reason to assume that
foreign military industries won’t develop and sell gizmos to Syria that
balance our gizmos out. In fact – following the Egyptian model, Syria could
easily find itself being supplied with just such made in USA gizmos as a
reward for agreeing to sign a treaty with Israel in return for the Golan.
When it comes to nations deciding who is at fault in a conflict, the facts,
unfortunately, take a back seat to other considerations.
More importantly, better press – even if we enjoyed it as a result of being
attacked from the Golan rather than on the Golan, wouldn’t likely translate
into the kind of timely military support we would require if we faced Syrian
attack after leaving the Golan.
Want to argue for appeasement?
But let’s talk about it without the blinding assumption that a
post-withdrawal Syria would never attack.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
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