Haggai SegalThe writer is a well known Israeli journalist, broadcaster, satirist, editor and author. His book "Dear Brothers: The West Bank Underground" has been translated into English and his most recent book is "Land for Dreams", published in 2013. He has a popular column in the Makor Rishon weekend edition.
"All you do all day is threaten that there will be Katyusha rockets landing in Ashkelon. Would you mind telling me why there are no rockets fired from Aqaba to Eilat?" -- Shimon Peres, Knesset minutes, September 9, 1993
Member of Knesset Moshe Katsav: "'Tell not in [Kiryat] Gat nor in the streets of Ashkelon'* that the Fatah Hawks will protect us from Hamas's Katyusha rockets."
Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin (responding): "Why don't you speak the truth for once?" -- Knesset minutes, November 5, 1994
We Told You So
About two years after the outbreak of the second Intifada (known as the Al-Aksa Intifada) books documenting it began appearing in my mailbox. Six of them were published by Yediot Aharonot and a seventh by the Keter publishing house. The best of Israel's newspapermen and analysts wrote books describing in detail the egregious errors Israel made while dealing with Yasser Arafat and during the entire march of folly from the Oslo Accords up until the Camp David Summit. These writers did not spare Israel's leaders from their barbed criticism (only Yitzchak Rabin was handled with kid gloves). Enlightening secret protocols of meetings appeared for the first time in these volumes.
Only one "minor" thing was missing from each of the books: any mention of the fact that the political Right and the settlers had warned in advance that what did happen as a result of Oslo was going to occur.
For example, anyone reading Ronen Bergman's Authority is Granted will not be informed that the September 2000 outbreak of the Intifada was predicted accurately by tens of right-wing spokespersons. In passing, there is a brief mention of the fact that MK Benny Begin caused a ruckus over Arafat's "Jihad" speech, but that is all there is about opposition to Oslo. It is as if one were to write a complete history of the Second World War without mentioning the debate between Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain that preceded it.
The Right, for its part, committed the sin of misguided humility, deciding that victors should be gracious (and what a sad victory it was!) and let the facts speak for themselves. Naively, the Right felt that history would give short shrift to all the false prophets of peace, that they themselves would be ashamed of their mistakes and disappear from view. Not one person of national significance on the Right said, "I told you so." When someone so much as hinted at any blame, he was hushed immediately.
This "noble" behavior cost the Right dearly, because after several months in shock, the Left returned with renewed energy. Instead of remaining mournfully and apologetically outside the pale, they began pointing an accusing figure at the residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Simultaneously, their public relations people rewrote history without batting an eyelash and developed the theories that put the blame for the Al-Aksa Intifada on Israel's shoulders.
Just this past week, Ben Caspit of Haaretz, a major champion of the Oslo Accords, wrote, "I am not sure that Oslo would have been a catastrophe had we not allowed it to collapse due to the settlements' expansion." He added, lying through his teeth, "No one gave them rifles."
Now that another project of the Left is going up in flames, i.e., the utterly mad Disengagement Plan, the Left is once again avoiding responsibility and disengaging itself retroactively from the Disengagement. The best of the peace-lovers are now claiming that they actually were against the one-sided retreat, that they had warned that it would only strengthen the Hamas at the expense of the Palestinian Authority moderates.
The new trend began with Giora Eiland's interview in Haaretz about a month ago and is to be found on the Internet and in newspaper columns. Readers of opinion columns today might actually end up concluding that at least a third of the demonstrators at Kfar Maimon were actually diehard Leftists who were there to protest one-sided uprooting of people from their homes.
Past experience has shown that this type of chutzpah can gain credibility, and that this very same Left will probably not learn anything from the Disengagement disaster that would preclude its support for the Convergence Plan.
This is what made Rabbi Avi Gisser of Ofra decide to start an ITYS (I Told You So) campaign all on his own. Rabbi Gisser is not at all a vociferous rightist, but he reached the conclusion that there is no choice except to act. In his opinion, the Right must not delude itself into thinking that the Left will admit that it erred and therefore refrain from continuing the process it began in Gush Katif. Advertisements placed by the rabbi in Haaretz (yes, specifically in Haaretz) are entitled "We Told You So", and state, for example, that "he who flees Gaza will be overtaken by Gaza; he who converges and disengages will find that terror finds a way to him." This Sunday there appeared another of his advertisements in Haaretz.
Instead of going out to demonstrate or marching to Kfar Maimon when it is too late to change anything, it is certainly preferable to take advantage of the awful results of the Disengagement Plan and attack the Convergence Project right now. We simply must keep saying "We warned you" and "We told you this was going to happen." This is the only way to arouse public debate about whether the "blues" (the Left) or the "oranges" (the Right) predicted the future accurately before the Disengagement.
No "orange" sympathizer will be awarded a medal for doing this, but maybe, just maybe, at long last, the Left will feel a tremor of insecurity.
* A phrase borrowed from David's eulogy for King Saul, II Samuel 1:20.