Camp David Accords Created Hamas

So the PM reminds us not to hate them, but let us remind him, it is no mitzvah to embrace them.

Aliza Karp

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In his presentation to the Knesset session commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Camp David Accords treaty with Egypt, Prime Minister Sharon quoted the Torah's directive: "Do not hate an Egyptian, for you were a stranger in his land (Parshat Ki Seitzei, Devarim 23:8)." Fair enough. But the Torah does not instruct us to appease them, nor does it say that it is meritorious to enter into a treaty with them. Just not to hate, that's it.

Not hating is one thing, abiding by a treaty while the other party is in breach of contract is another thing. The mitzvah to not hate does not include handing over oil wells. It does not include handing over land that is needed for security. It does not include tolerating those who supply terrorists with weapons through tunnels. Nor does it include allowing the placement of weapons in contradiction to the agreement. Not hating, in no way, includes destroying the blossoming city of Yamit.

I get all bent out of shape when people point to the Camp David Accords and say that it is the model for a lasting treaty with our enemies. With all the infractions, the one condition Egypt has not overstepped in the last 25 years is launching a major attack. And if you think that is because of the treaty, think again. The reason Egypt has not attacked is because the IDF has defeated, crushed, vanquished, subjugated and embarrassed them on the battlefield, time and again.

In the Camp David Accords, the Egyptians made real advances and sacrificed nothing. The Jews, what did they gain? From the reports of the commemoration ceremony that I read, there was a lot of talk about the parties to the treaty being astounding personalities, but no hard evidence of what has been accomplished. There was mention of a cold peace. But that we had because of the victory on the battlefield, not because of the treaty. Egypt does not even have an ambassador in Eretz Yisroel and the Egyptian media spews out anti-Semitic propaganda in bulk. Textbooks in Egyptian schools portray Jews as racist and greedy; as having stolen the land of the Palestinians and continuing to perpetrate war.

So the PM reminds us not to hate them, but let us remind him, it is no mitzvah to embrace them.

There are two realities we have to deal with that did come from the treaty with Egypt. One is a misconception and one is a conception. The misconception is that a similar treaty can be made with the Arabs living within Eretz Yisroel, and the conception led to the birth of Hamas.

The argument that a similar treaty can be made with Arabs living on our land is a widespread misconception and many people find it hard to refute. Here are three good reasons why it is not a model to be emulated:

Firstly, having a cold peace with a neighboring enemy nation is very different from having a cold peace with enemies in our midst, especially if the enemies would have access to the waterfronts of Aza or the hills of the Shomron. In order to attack, G-d forbid, the Egyptians would have to advance. The Arabs in our midst would just need to pull the trigger, making security impossible.

Secondly, a cold peace is only applicable to the formal military forces of a country. The Egyptians are engaging in terror by supplying arms through tunnels to Aza, but the army has not attacked us. The threat from the Arabs within our borders is not the threat of a formal army. It is the threat of terrorists. It is bad enough having the Egyptian terrorists infiltrate our borders, but it is not a model to enter into a treaty that will allow terrorists to run free in our midst.

And thirdly, the same Torah that the PM turns to when he wants to defend the treaty with Egypt teaches, in Parshas Ki Tisa (Shemos 34:12), "Be most careful not to make a treaty with the people of the land to which you are coming, since they can be a fatal trap for you."

The Abarbanel explains that if the nations living in Eretz Yisroel will engage us in war and they will lose, they will always be waiting for the day when they will be able to take back the land they consider to be theirs. Therefore, entering into a treaty with them will only be a ruse, because their real intention will be to destroy us. This is why the Torah explicitly states not to make a treaty with the people who are on our land ("The Arabs in Israel," Rabbi Meir Kahane).

Possibly the most tragic product of the Camp David Accords was the inception of Hamas. It was in 1978, when the negotiations leading to the treaty with Egypt were taking place, that Sheikh Ahmed Yassin saw a window of opportunity and established Hamas. The Arab population was being betrayed by opportunists who were cozying up to the infidel Jewish state. It was a chance to promote unsullied Islamic doctrine as the path to salvation for the Arabs living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha).

The betrayal by the secular Egyptians, coupled with the victory of Islam in Iran (also in 1978) produced conditions fertile for the planting of a movement that would promise purity and supremacy and appeal to the lust for power, dominance and violence under the banner of Islam.

At first Hamas, officially called Al-Mujama (the Assemblage), gained its power base by operating openly as a welfare organization, while trusted followers of Yassin were forming cells, gathering information and amassing weapons. As early as 1983, Yassin's home was raided by the Shin Bet and he was arrested, tried and convicted for possessing a cache of weapons. In 1985, he was released in a prisoner exchange.

Now, after years of growth through careful planning and abundant funding, Hamas operates openly as a terrorist organization. It has been responsible for the most heinous of terror attacks on unsuspecting victims. It is totally popular in Aza, where the corrupt Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Authority are held in disdain. And it is the Camp David Accords, the treaty with Egypt, which was so cordially commemorated in the Knesset, that was the mechanism for Hamas to establish its foundation.

And how do our peace partners, Egypt and Jordan, feel about Hamas? Just look at the news following the liquidation of Sheik Yassin. Egypt: Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher on Wednesday equated the State of Israel with a terrorist organization, stating that "Israel's policy of hits, claiming the life of Sheik Yassin, makes her a terror organization in every way." Jordan: the Government of Jordan announced it would be paying the sum of $12,500 dollars to each family whose loved one was killed in the Israel Air Force counter-terrorism strike that eliminated Ahmed Yassin. In other words, they are supportive of Hamas.

Hindsight is always 20/20. But back then, how could Menachem Begin have known he was setting the stage for advancement of terror?

At the time of the Camp David Accords, Begin was in direct contact with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who warned him not to give concessions to Egypt. The Rebbe was adamant that even talk of concessions would lead to the murder of Jews.

Begin was hearing lots of advice and he was obviously not equipped to choose the correct path. But with Sharon it is different. The facts are in.

Sharon had a very warm and close relationship with the Rebbe. One time, after a successful military operation, Sharon was pleased that he had lost less than ten men. The Rebbe was not pleased. To the Rebbe, even one loss was one too many, and he let Sharon know.

If Sharon is so careful with the commandment not to hate the Egyptians, let him be just as careful with the mitzvah to love each and every Jew, to value each and every Jew and, as prime minister, to protect each and every Jew.

The liquidation of Yassin was a fitting commemoration to the Camp David Accords. Twenty-five years ago, it would have served its purpose. Today, it serves as a first step in eliminating the triangle of Hamas, from the top down.