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You Don't Make Peace with Your Enemies

By Michael Freund
10/6/2006, 12:00 AM

Just the other day, Yossi Beilin was at it again.

In an interview on Israel Radio, the dovish head of the Yahad/Meretz faction in the Knesset spoke about the need to start negotiations with Syria in an effort to reach a peace deal with the Dictator from Damascus, Bashar al-Assad.

It doesn't seem to matter one whit to Mr. Beilin that Assad is a ruthless tyrant who has been busy aiding Hizbullah in Lebanon, the insurgents in Iraq, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Assad's hands may be full of blood, but Beilin just can't wait to shake them anyway.

Assad_sucks_big_timeNor, it seems, does Syria's beating of the war drums seem to dissuade him. Just yesterday, Syria's Information Minister echoed remarks made by Assad in recent months, threatening that if Israel did not hand over the Golan Heights, Damascus might resort to "other means, which struggling people have used at various points in history, beginning with legitimate resistance".

Similarly, Israel's military intelligence now reportedly believes that Syria and Hizbullah are planning to launch another round of conflict with the Jewish state next summer.

It just goes to show how wrong the left has been in asserting that, "you can only make peace with your enemies." This may be a good sales slogan, but it is intellectually vacuous. The fact of the matter is that you don't make peace with your enemies – you make it with your former enemies. And this is not just an issue of semantics. When someone is out to get you, you can't fool yourself into thinking that smiling at him a couple of times will change his mind.

What Beilin and his comrades on the left fail to understand is that Syria is gearing up for war – verbally, psychologically and militarily. All the evidence points in that direction, and wishful thinking on Israel's part won't make it go away. Hence, Beilin's call for peace talks with a nation that is preparing to strike at Israel is as naïve as it is dangerous.