Let's Talk to Assad

Ariel Sharon should meet with Bashar Assad. Although Syria has not expelled the terror groups from Damascus, how could Assad be worse than Mahmoud Abbas, with whom Sharon is willing to meet, as Newsweek reported this week?

Ariel Sharon should meet with Bashar Assad. Although Syria has not expelled the terror groups from Damascus, how could Assad be worse than Mahmoud Abbas, with whom Sharon is willing to meet, as Newsweek reported this week? In spite of his soft words, Abbas over the past few years - years of the war of terrorism - was the No. 2 man in the Fatah movement that waged vicious and lethal terror against us, while Syrian fire was shut down entirely. What's more, Abbas swore before the Palestinian parliament, only a few days before Sharon agreed to meet him, that he would not forfeit the right of return.

Sharon's aides have explained the primary reason for refusing to meet Assad: conceding two fronts is not viable. The anticipated opposition during the disengagement would pale in comparison to the opposition that would be sparked by a simultaneous evacuation of settlements on the Golan Heights.

Logical? Logical. True? Not true. It is only logical because the Israeli mind, including the mind of Sharon in the last few years, "thinks" that it is always Israel that has to make concessions. The conditioning of this "mind" is so deep that it rejects, as totally implausible, any argument that Israel should come out ahead - and not only militarily - from the acts of Arab aggression. And if we continue to think this way, that is, that we and not the attackers - as all historic precedent says - must pay the price for the aggression of the Arab states and the Palestinians, then there will never be peace here. The fact that they never have to pay the price for their aggression is a permanent incentive for aggression.

Which is why Sharon should meet with Assad and say: Peace, yes; uprooting the Golan settlements - never. There is one and the same rule for he who attacks Poland, France and Belgium, and he who attacks Israel. And if there is a difference, it is in Israel's favor: Germany did not intend to destroy and annihilate the Poles, and most certainly not the French. Only the Jews. And Syria, only three years after the Holocaust, invaded the State of Israel the day it was born in order to complete the work of the deadly foe. When it did not succeed, there came the second attempt, that of the Six-Day War. And in this attempt it lost the Golan.

Afterward came the aggression of the Yom Kippur War. These three major acts of aggression, in addition to the other exploits of Syria - for instance, the instigation of the Hezbollah against Israel - are sufficient reason to apply to it the same tenet that the world applied to Germany and Japan: the aggressor pays, mainly in the coin of territory, the cost of his aggression.

Alsace-Lorraine was taken from Germany, and is now France. No one says a word. Eupen-Malmedy is now Belgium. And East Prussia, Silesia, and Pomerania, which once belonged to sovereign Germany, are now part of Poland. Danzig is a Polish city. The Oder-Neisse border is the border, and some 15 million Germans were transferred - heaven forbid we follow this example - from the territories that were expropriated from the Germans. The world viewed these expropriations and this transfer as a worthy punishment because the deportees had put their lot in with their people, the Germans, in the attack on their country - in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Russia, the Baltic states, etc.

Charges that the deportees - such as the Sudetens - had acted in this manner because they had been repressed and discriminated against fell short. A few years ago, the German parliament passed a resolution, with barely any opposition, saying Germany had no territorial demands whatsoever from its neighbors, and that its condensed borders are its final borders. The enlightened world was beside itself with joy. To sum it up, modern-day Germany understands that these are suitable punishments for the aggression of the previous generation, even though the current generation did not commit the crimes.

The reason that there is one rule for the aggression of Germany and another, diametrically opposite, rule for Syria, Jordan and Egypt has not only to do with the evil of the nations of the world, although this does exist, or their own interests. We are to blame, too: we have inured ourselves - and by extension, the world - to a line of thought that says that those who attack us do not have to be punished with the same punishment that is meted out to other attackers. This failure makes it possible for the Arab propaganda, which is often assisted by left-wing Israelis, to present to those who reached adulthood or were born after these events that Israel is an aggressor. And this sector, people under the age of 50, now constitutes the majority of the world's population.

It is not my contention that Assad will be persuaded, and that Europe, despite the precedents that it itself set, would ever support this notion. For even on Israel's terms this is practically an hallucinatory approach, which would require a cognitive upheaval. Nevertheless, we could espouse, even at this late date, this correct and justified argument, and try to convince the United States, first and foremost, of our case. The Americans have an understanding of such arguments - among the non-Jews, of course, more than among the Jews - much more so than the decision makers in Israel, be it in the government or in the army.