Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict
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Israel did not benefit from the Sinai treaty

Cruelty to Arab prisoners in Israel

Giving the Palestine Liberation Organization Israeli permission to leave Beirut and releasing Egyptian prisoners of the war with Israel in 1973 were mistakes. Americans and Australians in the Pacific and Russians routinely did not take prisoners in WWII. Short of annihilation, Arab enemy soldiers could be sent to Israeli forced-labor camps. Israel could release them as part of an Arab-Israeli peace treaty, but no such treaty was in Israel's sight. Many Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorists returned to Palestine to fight Israel, and the Egyptian POWs joined the reserves and remained a potential threat to Israel at least until the Egyptian-Israeli normalization in 1979. Israeli releasing POWs without de facto peace is without precedent.

Israel could have entrusted annihilation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Beirut to Israel's Lebanese allies. Israel could release the Palestinian prisoners naked, smeared with tar, and covered with feathers, laughed at and humiliated. Such Israeli treatment of Islamic terrorists and their supporters will bring Arab-Israeli peace closer.

Arabs take Israeli releases of prisoners as an encouraging sign of Jewish weakness and lack of manly cruelty. Small Arab boys slaughter sheep during festivals. Israelis should consider the events from the Arab viewpoint, not the world's. The Islamic enemy must understand and fear Israel, not laugh at Israel's morality. Iraqi doctors cut ears off deserters. The Taliban castrated the Afghan ex-ruler Najibullah. The mujahedin elaborately tortured Russian prisoners and executed them by skinning or shoving snakes into their rectums. Even American soldiers in Vietnam sometimes mutilated prisoners. Palestinian collaborators of Israel could do the same. For Israel to oppose the Islamic monsters with their methods is terrible but allows Israel to efficiently crush their will to fight. Arab-Israeli war is not a competition in moral values between Judaism and Islam. If Israelis speak to the Arab enemy in his language, why Israelis not treat him according to his ethics?[22] Israeli clemency for Arab POWs is questionable. Burglars caught in the act are not sent back home but tried and sentenced for breaking and entering. Courts require restitution for damages caused. The same logic applies to POWs, whom Israel should put to hard labor for killing Israelis and destroying Israeli property. Arab soldiers are the armed extension of political policies Israel opposes, and the killing they do in war with Israel is by definition illegal—murder—in the eyes of Israelis. Arab enemy soldiers are always criminals to Israel.

On the pragmatic side, Israeli leniency with POWs can be used to induce the Arab enemy to surrender to Israel Defense Forces. Given the alternative of being killed by Israelis in action, especially if Israel uses nuclear weapons, many Arabs would prefer fairly harsh treatment in Israeli camps—and survival. Soldiers surrendered centuries before the Geneva convention.

If Israeli warfare were more brutal, Arabs would go to war less enthusiastically and oppose their ruler’s bloody ambitions more vigorously. Arab citizenry that expects war to mean high casualties or slave labor for citizen soldiers is likely to oppose policies likely to lead to war with Israel.

Israelis are lenient with POWs because they do not tolerate Israel Defense Forces soldiers’ suffering well and fear escalation and retaliation. Islamic terrorists, however, rarely take hostages and do not treat them humanely when they do.

The Sinai treaty was misguided for Israel

Peace treaties are not necessarily beneficial to Israel. The Arabs saw Israel’s peace with Egypt as a sign not of Israeli goodwill but rather of Israel’s weakness and folly. Israel swapped land for paper. Arabs may be right about Israel. Before World War II, the Entente guaranteed France's security but did nothing when a German army reoccupied the demilitarized Rhineland. It was German territory, after all. If some radical Egyptian leader moved troops into the Sinai just for show, Israel would still be one-on-one with her enemy. In 1967, Israel’s allies did not agree that war maneuvers justified Arab-Israeli war and refused to support what they considered an Israeli pre-emptive strike against Arabs.

Israel holding the Sinai Peninsula—unlike the West Bank—increased the depth of Israel’s defenses significantly, and Israel should declare war automatically any time the Egyptians militarize the Sinai. The peninsula and the Red Sea contain deposits of fissile materials which can be used in an Egyptian nuclear-weapons program aimed ultimately against Israel.

Following the peace treaty with Israel, Egypt started receiving massive American aid and became a de facto arbiter of Israeli-Arab relations. Its nuclear program targeting Israel was tolerated.

To say Egypt had no reason to go to war with Israel is silly. The existence of Israel is cause enough for many, notably Islamic radicals and those who fear Israeli Western values and democracy. Egypt is ripe for such people to come to power and turn on Israel. To say Egypt would not have given up territory to Israel is equally mistaken. Egypt’s territory was not fixed in antiquity, nor is it now. Egyptians are used to occupation—the Turks, the French, the British—and occupying powers do not ordinarily excuse themselves and offer to retreat, as Israel did. Most absurd is the argument that Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty guarantees Israeli peace. Wars always break legal peace, including peace with Israel, and treaties signed under duress do not usually last long, and would not protect Israel.

Israel wasted the Sinai treaty. Israel failed to exploit the opportunity the United States-gave her, by guaranteeing Egyptian non-involvement in Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to annex the Palestinian territories at once to Israel and relocate the Palestinians to Lebanon and Jordan.

[22] Preempting the obvious retort: yes, with Nazis, too. I could have found no objections if the Allies delivered SS troops to the vacated death camps.