Advice from the ex-State Department crowd has proven wrong again and again

by Stephen M. Flatow

Diplomats and ex-diplomats have long demanded one-sided concessions from Israel that endanger its security.

(JNS) Twice in recent weeks, Arab workers from Gaza have been arrested in Israel for terrorist activity. Can you imagine what would happen if 100,000 Gazans were being admitted to Israel every day?

That’s not just idle speculation. A proposal for Israel to admit 100,000 workers from Gaza every day was promoted a few years ago by a former State Department official. It was just one in a long series of attempts by the ex-State Department crowd to pressure Israel into making risky one-sided concessions to the Arabs.

In the aftermath of the recent Israeli elections, a number of ex-State Department officials have been issuing all kinds of dire warnings about the incoming Israeli government. Before we take their prognostications too seriously, let’s look back at that plan for 100,000 workers, and consider what Israel might have suffered had it taken that advice.

Writing in The Washington Post, David Makovsky, a former aide to ex-U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, and Ghaith Al-Omari, a former Palestinian Authority official, urged Egypt “to ask Israel to take steps such as allowing 100,000 Gazan workers into Israel.” The current number of workers admitted into Israel each day from Gaza is 17,000.

I can understand why the P.A. would like to see Israel flooded with six times as many Gazans as currently allowed, but I can’t see how that would be good for Israel’s security.

Two weeks ago, it was revealed that the Israeli security forces had arrested a terrorist named Fathi Ziad Zakot, who resides in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. Zakot was trained in the art of bombmaking by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the same terrorist gang that murdered my daughter Alisa in a 1995 bus bombing.

Exploiting his valid work permit, Zakot entered Israel and began planning to carry out a bombing attack on a bus. By the time of his arrest, he had already purchased wires, batteries and other materials with which to construct a deadly explosive device.

This week, a Gazan named Saber Mahmoud Thabat was arrested for spying in Israel on behalf of the Hamas terrorist group. Thabat too had a valid work permit. He was in Israel legally. According to an official of Israel’s Shin Bet security service, Thabat’s activity was intended to “gather intelligence and carry out missions in Israel.”

Let’s imagine for a moment that Israel had accepted the advice of Makovsky and Al-Ghaith and increased the number of Gazans to 100,000 daily. And then let’s imagine that Zakot had succeeded in planting that bomb on an Israeli bus, or Thabat’s intelligence gathering had resulted in Hamas carrying out additional bloody “missions” in Israel. Would Makovsky and Al-Ghaith have accepted responsibility for the lives lost and the damage done?

I doubt it. It’s easy to make all kinds of proposals from the comfort of a Washington think tank. It’s a lot harder to face up to the real-life consequences that other people will suffer when your advice backfires.

Indyk, Makovsky’s close colleague and former boss, was in the news this week with some dire warnings for Israel. “Peace for Israel will surely come,” he predicted, but only “as a result unfortunately of violence and conflict.” He claimed that “the ground is really fertile for an explosion” and Israel’s actions will “fuel the cycle of violence.”

If that sounds almost like an advance justification for more Palestinian Arab violence, we shouldn’t be surprised. On June 22, 1997, The Jerusalem Post reported that “a senior U.S. official” called recent Arab violence against Jews in Hebron “a plausible safety valve” that “lets the Palestinians vent their anger.” The official’s name was not revealed, but Indyk was the U.S. ambassador to Israel at the time.

On May 2, 2014, the YNet website reported that a “senior U.S. official” said, “The Palestinians are tired of the status quo. They will get their state in the end—whether through violence or by turning to international organizations.” Three days later, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the Israeli government believed the official who made the remark was Indyk.

Meanwhile, two other ex-State Department officials, Daniel Kurtzer and Aaron David Miller, recently urged the Biden administration to cut off weapons supplies to Israel if the incoming Israeli government takes steps that would interfere with creating a deadly “Palestine” along Israel’s nine-miles-wide borders.

In The Washington Post, Kurtzer and Miller had nothing to say about the wave of Palestinian Arab violence that began long before Israel’s elections. But they nevertheless offered up an Indyk-style prediction that Israeli policies will “lead to violent confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians”—in effect rationalizing future Palestinian violence.

For more than 30 years, Kurtzer, Miller and their colleagues have been pressuring Israel for one-sided concessions, proposing risky “peace” plans that endanger Israel’s security and smearing Israel’s good name in the international press. Had Israel’s leaders heeded their advice in the past, the Jewish state would have paid a terrible price. Hopefully Israel will have the good sense to resist their bad advice once again.

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