Watch out for the Goldstoners
Operation Cast Lead weakened Hamas and deterred it, at a terrible human cost. It strengthened the moderate Palestinians and enabled them to grow, at an intolerable moral cost.
Nobody knows yet when the next war will break out. Maybe in a decade, maybe in a year, or maybe even next month. It is also not clear where the next war will erupt - perhaps on the Gaza border, perhaps the West Bank, or maybe in Jerusalem.
But it is already clear what the next war's name will be - the Goldstone War. It will be the war brought upon us by the Goldstone report, Judge Goldstone and his Goldstoner followers.
It's a simple story. In the absence of peace in the Middle East, deterrence prevents war. Israeli deterrence has been eroded considerably by two Lebanon wars, two intifadas and two unilateral withdrawals. Thus Israel is incessantly subjected to terror attacks.
To prevent the region's deterioration into complete chaos, Israel must exercize force once every few years. These limited demonstrations of power do not achieve a decisive military victory or a breakthrough in the peace process.
Their entire purpose is to stabilize the violent relationship between Israelis and Arabs. Thus they create a temporary, strong-arm balance that subdues the conflict and ensures calm for a few years.
For better or worse, Operation Cast Lead created such a balance. It weakened Hamas and deterred it, at a terrible human cost. It strengthened the moderate Palestinians and enabled them to grow, at an intolerable moral cost.
Cast Lead granted Israel's southern residents a rare time-out. Brutal as it was, the operation created an infrastructure of stability on which it was possible to build - layer by layer - a new, sober peace process.
However, in recent weeks the balance has been disrupted. Hamas is rearing its head while the Palestinian moderates are becoming more radical. A trickle of Qassam rocket fire has resumed in the south, while the embers on the Temple Mount are glowing red-hot.
This is no coincidence. The Goldstone report and the Goldstone spirit are causing a situation in which the deterrence that was achieved for such a high price at the beginning of the year could expire prematurely. They are bringing the next round of Israeli-Palestinian war closer.
More than enough has been written about Richard Goldstone's double standard. However, today it is clear that Goldstone is not only guilty of a double standard (see Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Tibet...), but of a double political crime.
With one hand he pushed peace further away, by making it clear that even after Israel withdraws to the Green Line it is not permitted to defend its citizens and its sovereignty. With the other hand he brought war closer, by binding Israel in a straitjacket that prevents it from exercising its power in the future.
On the one hand Goldstone played into the Israeli right wing's hands (by increasing the risks of withdrawal). On the other hand he inflamed Palestinian extremism (by burning Israel at the stake).
The Palestinians see Goldstone as a sort of Delilah, who found the Israeli Samson's weakness and sheared off his tresses. This can lead to only one outcome - violence and more violence, more and more violence - up to war.
The problem isn't just Goldstone. The problem is the Goldstoners. For decades the Goldstone bunch has been conducting an insane incitement campaign against Israel. Israel contributed its part to this campaign with the occupation, the settlements and its arrogance. But the Goldstoners are not driven by an honest attempt to divide the land, create peace and establish universal justice that would apply to all nations. They are driven by a deep need to isolate Israel, condemn it and destroy it.
Although some of the leading Goldstoners are Jews and Israelis, they don't recognize Jewish history, the Jewish tragedy and the difficult circumstances in which the Jewish state is trying to survive. They treat Israel like a wicked, omnipotent power that is responsible for all the conflict's sins and the region's ills.
The Goldstone report would never have been written without the joint work, joint bias and joint Israel-hatred of all the Goldstoners. Thus the report reflects both the Goldstoners' holy fury and their complete belief that the Palestinians can do no wrong.
That belief is now endangering not only Israel but calm and stability. In their fanaticism and extremism, Goldstone and the Goldstoners have brought us closer to bloodshed.