The peace is more dangerous than war. It’s not an issue what concessions we can offer for peace. Jews might argue endlessly whether the sacrifices of Jerusalem and Judea are worth peace with a bunch of Palestinian Arabs, or whether—as Lieberman imagines and Livni hopes—such peace can involve transfer of Israeli Arabs to Palestine. The major presumption behind the peace efforts is that peace is good. What if that is a fallacy? What if the Jews relinquish their land in exchange for something highly negative? Counterintuitive as that may sound, it is true nonetheless.

There is no eternal peace; every peace treaty is eventually violated or becomes irrelevant. Greeks and Persians, Romans and Carthagians, Francs and Germans, Hutus and Tutsis—all made peace and went to war intermittently. Of the various kinds of peace, unconditional surrender tends to have the longest life-span, but even such a peace is often reversed, as was the case with Russia’s capitulation to Germany in WWI, or Czechoslovakia’s in WWII.

A peace treaty is liable to several tests. It must establish a situation significantly better than war. It must not lay the foundation for another war. It must leave the victorious party in a good position to wage the next war should it break out. Israel-Arab peace settlements fail on all these counts.

To all purposes, Israel lives at peace with Syria and West-Bank Palestine. No hostilities whatsoever have originated from Syria during the last thirty-five years, and almost no successful terrorist acts currently originate in the West Bank. Syria sabotages Israel through Hezbollah and Hamas while Palestinians attempt many unsuccessful terrorist acts—but how would a peace treaty put a stop to this? Support for terrorists is clandestine by definition and legally not a violation of any peace treaty. America aided Afghan guerrillas against the Soviet Union, with which it was at peace. It is normal, common, and legal for one country to subvert another with measures short of war.
Syria cannot stop supporting Hezbollah, which is Syria’s proxy in Lebanon, and it doesn’t control Hezbollah to the extent of prohibiting it all anti-Israeli activities. At any rate, Hezbollah is practically at peace with Israel. The cross-border raid that jump-started the Second Lebanon war in 2006 was just a limited affair, apparently not authorized by Syria or even by Hezbollah’s leadership. Now that Hezbollah has become the ruling party it has still fewer incentives to provoke a war with Israel.

Hamas can operate without Syrian support. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood channels considerable money to Hamas, which is also strengthened by Gaza’s taxes and UNRWA funding. If not from Syria, Hamas can obtain weapons from Sudan.

Palestinian grassroots terrorists need no one’s support. Even school kids can arrange $30 for a pipe bomb—and they often do. There is no reason to believe that a peace treaty would disincline them to operate against Israel. After thirty years of peace, Egyptians still hate Israel and give massive aid Palestinian terrorists. Why would young Palestinians forget that the Jews took over what they believe is their country? The peace-process pundits imagine that a peace treaty would end domestic anti-Israeli incitement, but that’s nonsense: no international agreement can demand or control that. Ending such incitement was one of the terms of Austria’s ultimatum to Serbia, which led to WWI. Democratizers cannot simultaneously argue for freedom of speech in Syria and demand that its government crack down on anti-Israeli rhetoric in newspapers.

The Israeli peace treaty with Syria and Palestine sets the stage for another war. The treaty’s terms encourage the Arabs. Syria started and lost three wars against Israel, but lost no land. In fact, Israel acceded to Syrian occupation of the Kineret shoreline and, consequently, half of the lake beyond the internationally demarcated border. Syria started and lost three wars but annexed what even the UN accepts as Israeli land. Palestinians—a no-nation just forty years ago, a terrorist entity just a few years ago—receive Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, and grossly defeat Israel on every demand. If that’s not encouraging, what is?

Consider the case of Egypt: it started and lost four or five wars against Israel. Contrary to the common misunderstanding, Israel decisively defeated Egypt in 1973. Repelling the Arab attack, Jews occupied the other bank of Suez in an exact fulfillment of the Promised Land commandment. Only the immense pressure of a US administration bent on using Israel’s advances as a bargaining chip with the Russians on their own Middle East issues prevented Israel from annihilating the Egyptian army. The Camp David return of Sinai positioned Egypt as the undisputed regional leader, in place of Israel, simply because Israel was—to all purposes—defeated, diplomatically if not militarily. Egypt proceeded to build a huge army, whose only target is Israel. Egypt supported Hamas and the PLO—in effect, staging a proxy war on Israel despite having no land dispute with her. How much more would Syria and Palestine continue carping at Israel who, they believe, occupies their land? A peace treaty cannot change national perception. Defeated Germany conceded Alsace-Lorraine to France after WWI, but violated the peace treaty as soon as that became practical.

Crowded onto an eight-mile-wide beach strip, Israel is a target too tempting for Arabs to ignore. Such a state is utterly indefensible. How then, was it defended in 1948 and 1967? In the last case, Jewish victory was only a matter of surprise attack—a lack, essentially. In the first case, Jews fought what were really Arab militias rather than mobile armies. The minuscule land still provided ample battleground for unmounted infantry. Even so, in a year of fighting, Jews lost two percent of their population. Two percent dead and ten percent wounded. That’s twice the Russian and ten times the American losses in the four-year-long WWII. In a new war, Jews could kill more Arabs, but the Syrians with their advanced weapons would be able to kill a significantly higher percentage of Jews. Despite Israeli defense capabilities, the existing one thousand mid-range missiles in Syrian hands could easily translate into hundreds of thousands of maimed Jews.

Israel, accordingly, cannot afford to trust the Arabs and dismantle her army. Economically, peace brings no benefit whatsoever. The Israeli army actually grew more expensive after the peace treaty with Egypt. Ideologically, too, there would be no end to incitement, as we have seen with Egypt after three decades of cold war.

Formal peace with Arabs works against Israel. The immediate problem is the sensitive investment. Saudis and Jordanians already pump money into Israel to buy out land rights and real estate in Jewish areas. Israeli security services somewhat counteract the trend because the Saudis, who are the main financiers, remain an enemy state. But at peace with Arabs, how would Israel prevent Saudis from channeling tens of billions of dollars into Galilee and Jerusalem real estate? In America, Saudis can buy companies—about a trillion dollars currently—but in Israel their investments run against the state’s Jewishness.

Peace with Syria and the Palestinians would bring them American aid. In their audacity, despite losing the wars, the Arabs demand 100 percent of “their” territory, as well as aid, in exchange for accepting the Jewish state’s existence for the time being. Though the aid is technically non-military, it would allow the Syrians to free other money for military purposes. This is made clear by Egypt, which has built a very capable army on thirty years of massive American aid.

The peace process shields the Arabs from Israeli retaliation, preemption, or self-defense. Between 1948 and 1967, Israel continually retaliated against Egypt for its sponsorship of terrorist attacks. Since the Oslo peace process, the deadliness of the attacks has increased—Egypt has undoubtedly facilitated them by working closely with terrorist organizations—but Israel doesn’t retaliate. The law-abiding Jews loathe violating the US-sponsored peace treaty.

In 2007, Israel bombed a Syrian nuclear reactor. What if we were at peace with Syria? There is no way Israel would have violated the peace agreement. If Jews abandon the biblical Basan—the Golan Heights—to Syria and sign a peace deal, what prevents Syria from re-launching its nuclear program? It is next to impossible that Syria would renounce its nuclear aspirations in the peace treaty, but suppose it does—what precludes it from violating the treaty? Such a violation technically falls short of war, as did German re-occupation of Rhineland, and does not constitute a casus belli. Israel won’t dare be stamped as an aggressor and an enemy of peace for bombing Syrian nuclear facilities while it remains formally at peace with her.
With peace shielding them from Israeli preemption, various Arab states will engage in military buildup. Israel currently tolerates mammoth purchases of advanced weapons by Saudi Arabia, an American client. Arabs will stockpile missiles too numerous for Israel to intercept. Patriot interceptor rocket cost ten times as much as a cheap Scud missile. Scuds can be launched by the hundreds while Patriots can only be launched a few at a time. When formal peace ensues, Israel won’t be able to object to the American and Russian sales of advanced arms to Arabs. They will be able to mobilize almost without fear of Israeli preemption—and strike all together.

Peace with Arabs is obscene, as it cedes the Jewish land of paramount religious importance. The peace is insulting as it betrays the memory of tens of thousands of Jews who died repelling the Arab aggression. The peace lacks a credible historical precedent: victors don’t give away the land annexed from conquered aggressors. The peace is economically futile. But forget all this. Most importantly, the peace puts Israel in grave danger of an Arab military buildup.