Arutz Sheva Israel National Radio January 14, 2000
THE PSYCHIATRIC WARD
By Elyakim Haetzni
I THINK I'M NORMAL
I'm normal. Or at least I think I am. I take my cue from the fact that no psychiatrist has yet recommended that I be put away in the nearest institution. Even so, I sometimes think that I am indeed living in a mental ward. Permit me to explain.
Yasser Arafat was unwilling to receive another 5% of Judea and Samaria "free." He wanted in exchange, and received, a commitment from Israel that the next Oslo withdrawal will include neighborhoods bordering Jerusalem, namely, Abu Dis and El Azariya. You might want to read the above paragraph a second time. If it seems logical to you, you may be advised to undergo some psychiatric tests.
Assad, too, is not willing to receive the Golan "for nothing." In exchange for Assad's agreement to accept the Golan, he is demanding - and will probably receive - billions of dollars and modern military equipment for the hopelessly outdated Syrian army.
If all this seems logical to you - call your psychiatrist.
THE PEACE INVENTORY
Minister Chaim Ramon of Labor promises us the end of the "cycle of war" after Israel withdraws from the Golan. For the record, the IDF presented the Americans with the following "Peace Inventory": Tomahawk missiles, Apache Helicopters, Hercules jets, hundreds of Hellfire missiles and AWACS intelligence aircraft.
The list also includes: observation towers with high-power floodlights, 60-centimeter walls next to each home, the closing of the northern road for the entire stretch of the Galilee panhandle to civilian traffic, and the distribution of beepers and personal ammunition to each citizen.
People who live on the outside of the mental ward have always had a slightly different perspective: we think that "the end of war" means less, and not more, arms!
Israel has enjoyed almost 30 years of quiet in the Golan, as a result of our sitting 60 kilometers from Damascus. But we are now told that "quiet" is not enough, and that we also need "peace" - that which will bring the Syrians back to the Golan, will modernize their army, and will solidify their presence on our northern border. This has frightened the directors of the mental ward, and they have asked the Americans for even deadlier ammunition provided by the U.S. to the Syrians. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the new Middle East arms race!
CLOSING THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY
Fact: The Syrian army is old and tired. As a result, says the ward's directors, "the window of opportunity has been now opened, and through it we must toss the Golan, before that window of opportunity slams shut!"
Question: Along with the Golan, the Syrians are to receive American arms of the type and amount that will transform the Syrian army into a major power. According to the very logic of those running the psychiatric ward, this means that the window of opportunity will have closed. If so - why give up the Golan?
"Just think," yell the ward attendants, "a person can hop into his car in Tel Aviv, and reach Paris via Damascus!" It's worthwhile noting that residents of Paris have been able, for a long time now, to reach Tel Aviv via Damascus. If so, why has not one of them jumped at this fantastic travel opportunity?
The ward directorate says that we can take chances with the Golan, since Assad can be trusted, and Syria honors its signed agreements. And yet, the Golan deal would itself be a violation of one of Assad's commitments. It would solidify Syria's occupation of Lebanon, thus violating the Ta'if agreement, in which the Assad regime committed itself to leave Lebanon. Is the belief of the ward that although Syria violates agreements it made with the U.S. and the Arabs, it will honor treaties with the Jewish state?
A conversation overheard in the mental ward: "What good is Assad's signature - isn't he sick and about to die? What will become of our peace deal?" Their concerns were soon alleviated: "Don't worry," came the answer. "Whose signature could be worse and less reliable? Assad has violated every water agreement he ever signed with the Jordanians and the Turks, and his cease-fire with us; slaughtered tens of thousands of his own people; awarded a medal of honor to the soldier responsible for the axe-murders of Israeli captives; provided refuge for Adolph Eichmann's right-hand man, Alois Bruner; and murdered a major Druze leader as well as Lebanese President Amin Jemayal. And this is only a partial list." The listeners were comforted.
Experts hired by the psychiatric ward are looking for solutions for the expected lack of water after Israel recognizes "Syrian rights" to Golan water. One serious possibility being considered: Offer the Syrians water from Turkey!
It is told that in Chelm, somebody removed the protective railing from the local bridge. Carriages fell off and many people unfortunately died. But the Chelmites found a way to rectify the situation: "Let's build a hospital under the bridge!" In the mental ward, too, they are preparing similar solutions for: the Jewish population that is to be evacuated, the IDF which is to retreat, the new arms race, the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Syria, the water shortage, and the environmental and security problems. How comforting!
Atty. Elyakim Haetzni, a former Knesset Member of the Techiyah party, resides in Kiryat Arba. He authors a column in Yediot Acharonot, and speaks weekly on Arutz-7.
Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of January 14, 2000