Negotiations rarely produce balanced results in political and military spheres. Normally, one side takes the initiative and presses the other side all the way to the bottom. Netanyahu agreed to give Hamas more prisoners in exchange for Shalit than Olmert had offered. He froze settlement construction, which Olmert had refused to do. All Israeli ministers agreed to abandon the Jordan Valley to Arabs―something that Rabin rejected because of its strategic importance―and the Golan Heights to Syria―something that even Peres refused fifteen years ago. Netanyahu’s idea of a demilitarized Palestinian state was advocated by fringe American leftists twenty years ago (the audience laughed at one Axelrod for that very proposal during his debate with Rabbi Kahane). At that time, even the fringe left did not imagine unilateral withdrawal from Gaza or full return to the 1948 borders (in another debate with Kahane, one Greenberg spoke lamely of Israeli withdrawal in return for “crystal-clear peace”). Even fringe leftists imagined that Israel’s borders would be sealed against the Palestinians. The right-wingers’ demand that the Arabs recognize Israel as a Jewish state has been voiced by American ultra-leftists since the late 1980s; since then, no one has bothered to explain what a Jewish state is. When centrists today advocate recognizing Hamas, remember that only leftist nuts spoke of recognizing the PLO two decades ago. Palestinians have active demands, but Jews passively cling to their holdings; the direction of concessions is thus predictable. The fringe left cling to their demands, but conservatives, upon coming to power, become respectable and responsible, and abandon their position.

From Munich to Annapolis

Negotiations depend critically on each side’s adhering to its promises. But that is not the case here. After Israel left Lebanon, Hezbollah found a pretext to continue fighting us in Israel’s occupation of a tiny piece of Syrian territory at Shebaa Farms. Then Hezbollah’s leaders proclaimed their goal of liberating former Shiite villages in Galilee. After Israel retreated from Gaza, Hamas demanded the right of transit through Israel. Fatah claims not to be bound by the agreements Israel signed with the PLO, and other factions have even less reason to adhere to those agreements. Whatever peace treaty the PLO signs with Israel, Arabs will claim Haifa, and Galilee, and Yaffo as the next steps.

Negotiations allow an aggressor time to strengthen himself and defeat or frighten his smaller opponents. In 1939, Stalin signed a non-belligerence treaty with Nazis and gained his country two years of peace―but he lost France. No one in Israeli General Staff has slightest doubt that Syria and―after the victory of Muslim Brotherhood―Egypt are bent on attacking Israel. Yet, instead of demilitarizing them forcibly, Israel negotiates and cooperates with these enemies while they amass arsenals.

Back in his hotel on the Rhine after meeting Hitler, Chamberlain told journalists that there was still hope for peace, but “everything depends on the Czechs.” Likewise, the current pressure on Israel: the world accepts the aggressor’s demands because they are non-negotiable, and blames Israel for delaying acceding to them. International mediators hate the victim for their failure to protect it. They even despise the victim: Masarik, the Czech representative in Munich, noted that Chamberlain did not try to hide his bored yawning during the meeting.

The mediator’s nations and parliaments fully supported their “anti-war” efforts, and welcomed appeasement as peacemaking. Refusal to appease was proclaimed a violation of peace. The concept of “victims of peace process” does not belong to Shimon Peres. The British ambassador to Germany suggested that Poland must bring sacrifices (Danzig and the corridor) for the sake of peace.

Border rectifications were calculated for maximum insult. In Israel’s case, Palestinians have no objective problem with preserving settlement blocs. Step-by-step increase demands. Hitler had not planned from the beginning which countries to attack, but every victory emboldened him for more. Likewise, there will be no end to Palestinian demands, all the way to affirmative action.

If Israel must be grateful to the UN for establishing it, so must Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Austria, which owe their existence to others. At least, Israel won her independence war on her own, whereas Poles failed miserably, and Czechs and Austrians didn’t even try.

Britain and France waited for Germany to conquer Poland, so that absence of the state would give them an excuse for not intervening. America and France watched as Israel struggled in 1973, and attempted to drive a wedge between moderates and hawks: during Chamberlain’s government, Hitler continually lambasted Churchill and refused to negotiate with him, though Churchill didn’t want to.

The aggressors were not strong; just recently, Germany and Palestine had been victims―yet they succeeded by bullying and threatening war.

Czechoslovakia was the only democratic country in Central Europe, a staunch supporter of the League of Nations’ mutual defense system, very friendly with France and Britain. Israel, too. Unlike Israel, Czechoslovakia had a mutual defense treaty with France.

The Czechs lost politically even though they were overwhelmingly stronger than Germans: thirty-five well-trained and well-armed divisions, tanks and aircraft, and strong border fortifications. Israel wins wars but loses negotiations.

Britain and France abandoned Czechs despite great strategic advantage they would have gained by supporting them.

Czechoslovakia agreed to transfer Sudetenland to Germany, but rejected the details: immediate eviction of all Czech inhabitants and German militarization of the region. Israel agrees to abandon Judea to Palestinians, but fights over details. Accepted the rape, if only it would be nominally negotiated and peaceful, but not by German army or Palestinian terrorists . France and Britain praised the Italian offer in Munich, which only rephrased a German ultimatum they had rejected a few days before. Like Czechs, Israel will eventually give up on the details. On August 30, 1939, Polish government agreed to negotiations with Germany over Danzig―something it had refused before―but rejected a humiliating demand for its representative to fly to Germany immediately, insisting instead on a meeting in a neutral country.

Procrastination in negotiating details made final settlement far worse than the unacceptable original demands. Such a worsening of terms happens in any negotiation in which the winning side has time to digest the concessions and whet its appetite for more.

After Munich and Oslo were signed, the aggressors received many more concessions through work of multilateral commissions.

By far, most Palestinians don’t want a war, but most Germans didn’t want one in 1938, either.

The other side’s allies are treated as enemies: France declared war on Germany to defend Poland, but that enabled Germany to paint France as an aggressor. Muslims do the same thing to America, which merely protects Israel against them.

Sudetenland never belonged to Germany, just as the Golans hardly belonged to Syria.

Germany remilitarized in spite of sanctions, as did Iran. France’s inaction gave Germany time to build the Western line of defense, which made French involvement dangerous. Likewise, if Iran, Syria, and Egypt possessed nuclear bombs, that situation would preclude foreign help to Israel in the next big war.

Arabs, like Nazis, have no trouble lying blatantly in public speeches, and world takes their peace rhetoric at face value.

Czechoslovakia wasn’t invited to Munich, just as Israel is not included in the Quartet or UNSC.

Germany armed Czechoslovakian Germans and incited riots. So does Hamas incite Israeli Arabs.

The chief of the British mission to Czechoslovakia and the League of Nations commissioner for Danzig sided with Nazis. So did the UNRWA with Arabs.

The victims of Nazi aggression were offered fake guarantees against further aggression, and received a few soothing concessions (e.g., occupation of Sudetenland would be done in four steps rather than immediately, though it ended up being done in ten days).

Other countries joined the fray: after Germany annexed 11,000 square miles from Czechs, Hungary annexed 7,500 square miles. Syria follows the lead of the Palestinians.

Resistance, even when planned but not executed, was taken for an offense and provoked more demands. The Czech mobilization in this way is like Israel in Gaza.

France reneged on its security guarantees to Czechoslovakia in Munich, but guaranteed its new borders. The new guarantee also proved worthless when the Germans marched into Prague, having forced the Czech president to invite them.

Czechoslovakia’s population had been 23% German, about the same as the ratio of Arabs in Israel. After the war, the Czechs expelled three million Germans―just the number of Arabs in Israel and the West Bank who must be removed.