For conduct to “… constitute depraved indifference … [it] must be so wanton … so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime. Depraved indifference focuses on the risk created … not the injuries actually resulting.”
It hardly requires profound analytical acumen to identify that this succinct definition of what constitutes the grave offense of “depraved indifference” closely corresponds to the wanton recklessness and disingenuous denial that has characterized the relentless pursuit over the past quarter-century of Palestinian statehood, based on the dubious doctrine of land-for-peace.
Land-for-Peace: The Appalling Historical Record
As a political doctrine of territorial concession and political appeasement to assuage despots, “land-for-peace” has an appalling record of failure. Time after time, attempts to implement this fatally flawed formula have resulted in tragedy, visiting death and devastation on the luckless civilians, who were to be its purported beneficiaries.
Ever since the 1938 Munich Agreement, originally proudly paraded as ushering in “peace for our time,” which led to the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia and precipitated arguably the greatest catastrophe in human history — World War II — in which up to 80 million lost their lives (including war-related disease and famine), the land-for-peace formula has had a virtually “unblemished” history of failure.
This is unquestionably true for Israel as well.
Indeed, every time Israel has conceded land to Arab control in the hope of attaining peace (or even non-belligerent stability), the endeavor has failed miserably. Wherever, and whenever, land has been transferred to an Arab entity, it has invariably become a platform from which to attack Israel. This occurred virtually immediately in the case of Gaza, after several weeks in Judea/Samaria, after several years in Lebanon, and after several decades in Sinai, which is rapidly becoming a potential security nightmare for Israel, with no good options on the horizon.
Yet none of this seems to have been internalized by incumbent decision makers regarding future policy.
Indeed, since the ill-fated and ill-conceived Oslo Agreement, the notion that Israel can coax the Arabs into making peace by means of territorial withdrawal has been — and still is — the dominant prescription for resolution of both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wider Arab-Israeli conflict.
Yet this deadly delusion has brought wholesale death and destruction to Jew and Arab alike for over two decades years:
— The initial withdrawal under the 1993 Oslo Accords sparked unprecedented carnage in the streets of Israel, culminating in a second intifada, and compelling Israel to undertake Operation Defensive Shield (2002) in Judea-Samaria, leaving hundreds dead and wounded on both sides.
— The Second Lebanon War (2006), precipitated by the Israeli government’s capitulation in 2000 to the clamor of pro-land-for-peace activists — and the IDF’s unseemly unilateral flight from South Lebanon — left over 160 Israelis dead and thousands wounded.
— Then came successive rounds of violence in Gaza: Operation Cast Lead (2008/9), Operation Pillar of Defense (2012), and Operation Protective Edge (2014).
Infuriating Disregard of Dangers
The pattern is depressingly clear. We are told, repeatedly and resolutely, that if Israel would only accept Arab demands to withdraw, peace will reign.
Yet with every withdrawal, the result was not only war, but increasing diplomatic condemnation. Indeed, after almost a quarter-century, after the pomp and ceremony that followed the signing of the Oslo Accords, after its acceptance of Palestinian statehood and the land-for-peace principle, Israel is far more isolated and vilified internationally than it ever was under the “recalcitrant” Yitzhak Shamir — who rejected both of them.
Nonetheless, despite the overwhelming evidence of the fatal folly of their failed formula, “two-staters” remain astonishingly unmoved, undaunted — and un-chastened.
But perhaps worse than their callous indifference to the gory consequences that the endeavors to implement their political prescription have precipitated is their steadfast refusal to acknowledge what, thankfully, has been averted by not implementing their proposed policy. With infuriating disregard, they blithely gloss over the horrific realities that would now be upon us, had it, in fact, been applied in cases where it wasn’t — such as in the Golan, and hills of Judea-Samaria, overlooking Greater Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport and the Trans-Israel highway.
What Else But Depraved Indifference?
Indeed, any rational, responsible being can only shudder at the thought of what might well have been, had the land-for-peace advocates had their way. Sadly, however, neither rationality nor responsibility appears to be qualities with which two-staters, in their messianic adherence to the creed of land-for-peace, seem endowed.
Accordingly, it is becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile continuing calls for Palestinian statehood with genuine concern for the security and well-being of the Jewish nation-state — and increasingly difficult to avoid accepting that “depraved indifference” is indeed becoming an ever-more apt characterization of the behavior of two-state advocates.
Dr. Martin Sherman is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, dedicated to the preservation and propagation of joint values shared by the USA and Israel as embodied in the U.S. Constitution and Israel’s Declaration of Independence. He served for seven years in operational capacities in the Israeli Defense establishment and acted as a ministerial adviser to Yitzhak Shamir's government. Sherman lectured for 20 years at Tel Aviv University in Political Science, International Relations, and Strategic Studies. He holds several university degrees — B.Sc. (Physics and Geology), MBA (Finance), and PhD in political science/international relations. He was the first academic director of the internationally renowned Herzliya Conference and has authored two books as well as numerous articles and policy papers on a wide range of political, diplomatic and security issues. He was born in South Africa and has lived in Israel since 1971. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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