They Are Afraid of Peace

The Geneva initiative proves there is a partner on the other side and an alternative to the bloodshed. The panicky attacks by the prime minister and his ministers on the Labor Party, the opposition and those who initiated the document, can therefore be interpreted in only one way - fear.

If the prime minister decided to implement the Geneva initiative, he would go down in history for confirming the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, by agreement. That would be even more important than the declaration of the state in 1948, since that was unilateral and recognized by only a few other countries at the time.

The Geneva initiative proves there is a partner on the other side and an alternative to the bloodshed. The panicky attacks by the prime minister and his ministers on the Labor Party, the opposition and those who initiated the document, can therefore be interpreted in only one way - fear.

They are afraid of the peace because the entire essence of the peace rejectionists is incitement, intimidation and struggle. And they are afraid because now many people will reach the understanding that they have been deceived for the last three years. For three years the prime minister brainwashed the public on the grounds that only force will bring victory.

He and his colleagues made the public believe that there truly is "nobody to talk to," that "the IDF can win" and that if we use more force, the Palestinians will break.

They told the citizens that if we are strong, the terror will end. But the situation only worsened. The assassinations became the government's only policy and instead of eradicating terror threaten to wipe out all that remains of the country.

The terror is intensifying, the economy continues to collapse, and society to break down, and the demographic reality threatens the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. But none of that has made the government change course and try a different tack.

We reached the Geneva initiative after long months of hard work. Although none of us thought that tomorrow morning we'd begin implementing the agreement, we conducted a war over every detail, every centimeter, as if it were the real thing.

It was a war, without casualties. We sweat, but not in uniform. We conducted battles for Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and Gush Etzion. We fought for the permanent borders of the state of Israel, for the very existence of the state and its character, and we reached many achievements.

For the first time in history, the Palestinians explicitly and officially recognized the state of Israel as the state of the Jewish people forever. They gave up the right of return to the state of Israel and a solid, stable Jewish majority was guaranteed. The Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter and David's Tower will all remain in our hands.

The suffocating ring was lifted from over Jerusalem and the entire ring of settlements around it - Givat Ze'ev, old and new Givon, Ma'ale Adumim, Gush Etzion, Neve Yaacov, Pisgat Ze'ev, French Hill, Ramot, Gilo and Armon Hanatziv will be part of the expanded city, forever. None of the settlers in those areas will have to leave their homes.

It is very easy to criticize those accomplishments, and very easy to incite, but incitement is an expression of panic. There is someone to talk to and reality can be changed tomorrow morning if the government only wants to do so. The problem is that Ariel Sharon does not want to each an agreement and does not have the necessary courage of leaders to look forward.

The decision making is based on partisan considerations and is an expression of surrender to extremists. The courage of the prime minister and his ministers is expressed in their ability to lie and claim there is no other way. Where do they get the courage to send soldiers to their deaths in a war that is not required by reality?

The Geneva initiative is the little boy shouting the emperor's not wearing any clothes; that the government is leading us to disaster. The angry responses from them prove that. The government is in a panic, and justifiably so. A leader, who knowingly and deliberately leads his people to war and allows the blood of the citizenry to flow freely, is an illegitimate leader.

And now everyone understands that. Instead of explaining why he didn't act on his own to achieve a similar agreement, he spends his time inciting. He's good at it. Like at Kikar Zion eight years ago. Now he's doing it from the government table, but the words are the same.

The Geneva initiative is a model, not a formal document between governments. It is a proposal for a permanent agreement, agreed upon by the two sides. Two things make it special - it delineates the end of the conflict and does not leave any question marks over anything. All the details, down to the last, have been resolved and neither side has any more demands.

Its other advantage is the fact that the Palestinian side was represented by an authentic, broad Palestinian leadership that enjoys the support both from the official Palestinian Authority leadership and from the activist leaders at street level.

The Israeli government can take the initiative as is and implement it tomorrow morning and it can open it for new negotiations. It's the public's duty to demand that the government do one or the other. I very much hope the citizens of the country, each of whom will be receiving a copy of the agreement and will be able to see all its details, won't be captivated by this panicked government's insane incitement and that of those on the left who support its policies.

The Geneva initiative is an historic turning point, because it allows the governments - if they want - to understand exactly what each side is ready to give up to bring an end to the conflict. If the governments don't adopt the initiative or don't initiate any alternative proposals, we will continue living by the sword. The decision is in our hands.

The writer is a Labor Party MK.