The proposition of exchanging land for peace is unheard of in the annals of history. Whenever has a nation that won territory in a defensive war surrendered it to the very nations which attacked it?
And will giving back land lead to peace? Let us look at the situation as it is. Never in the history of Israeli-Arab relations have concessions led to an attitude of conciliation and peace. Instead, the initial concessions have communicated feelings of weakness and insecurity that have been exploited by the Arabs and have encouraged them to make further and more excessive demands. Every retreat before pressure has called forth greater pressure to retreat even further.
A pattern has been established: The Arabs make vociferous demands. Afraid of “cutting off our dialogue,” we make concessions, agreeing to at least several of their claims. And shortly afterwards, they demand more, explaining to us and to the world at large that these new claims are logical corollaries to the claims that we have already accepted.
And there is a certain logic to their argument. After all, once Israel has accepted the basic premise that it is proper to compromise its security to placate the Arabs, it is hard to draw red lines. If danger to life is no longer a reason to say “No; no more,” what is?
It is high time we stopped merely reacting, and establishing our policies in response to Arab claims. Instead, we have to be concerned with our own priorities. We have to know that there are certain things that are simply not for sale. They will not be presented on the bargaining table. And this restriction is not prompted by sentimental reasons; it is simply that one does not take risks when lives are at stake.