In September 1938, Hitler escalated his diplomatic assault on the Czechoslovak government. After Nazi elements in the Sudetenland, an area of Czechoslovakia with a majority of ethnic Germans, held violent demonstrations, Hitler demanded that the Sudetenland be ceded to Germany. The Sudeten Germans were being slaughtered, he said.
On September 30, France, the UK, Italy and Nazi Germany signed the Munich Pact. It gave Czechoslovakia two options: either cede the Sudetenland to Germany as Hitler desired, or the French would not honor their prior commitment to protect Czechoslovakia. In return, Hitler promised to leave the rest of the country alone and signed a peace treaty with the UK.
Czechoslovakia, which was not invited to the conference, had little choice. It allowed the Germans to occupy the Sudetenland, which meant that it lost “its defensible border and fortifications,” 70% of its iron and steel industry and 70% of its electricity (Wikipedia). In November, more pieces of the country were bitten off and by March 1939 what was left became a German protectorate. And as we all know, a few months later Chamberlain’s ‘peace’ evaporated.
This September will mark 73 years since the Munich Pact, which has become emblematic of the failure of appeasement to bring peace. And Europe is eerily preparing to repeat history, with the Arab world as the Third Reich:
Several European countries are threatening to recognize an independent Palestinian state — on the basis of the pre-1967 boundaries to include the West Bank, Gaza, and with East Jerusalem as its capital — if Israel refuses to return to the negotiating table with the Palestinian Authority by September. Given the new “reconciliation deal” between the rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, Europeans are effectively demanding that Israel negotiate with Hamas, an Islamist terrorist group unambiguously committed to Israel’s destruction …
In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy, in an interview with the L’Express newsmagazine on May 5, said: “If the peace process is still dead in September, France will face up to its responsibilities on the central question of the recognition of a Palestinian state. The idea that there is still plenty of time is dangerous. Things have to be brought to a conclusion” before September. Sarkozy also said that during the next few months, European countries would try “to relaunch the peace process along with the Americans, because Europe cannot be the main one paying for Palestine and yet remain a minor figure politically in the matter” …
In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on May 3 that Britain is prepared to formally recognize an independent Palestinian state in September unless Israel opens peace talks with the Palestinians. That warning came after Netanyahu told Cameron that the so-called unity pact between rival Palestinian factions Fatah, which rules the West Bank, and Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement that rules Gaza, is a “tremendous blow to peace and a great victory for terrorism.” Palestinian leaders say the deal is a major step towards an independent state, but Israel fears the reconciliation will open the door to Hamas militants being deployed in the West Bank.
In other words, with the Palestinian Arabs playing the role of the Sudeten Germans, Europe is trying to force Israel to give up its defensible borders, in return for what will clearly not be “peace in our time.”
True, they are not demanding immediate cession of the territories, just that Israel will “return to the negotiating table.” But it is the Arabs who have refused to negotiate, insisting on prior concessions such as a freeze on all construction in Judea/Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. This means that what is really being dictated to Israel is that it must agree to whatever conditions are demanded by the Palestinian Authority — which today includes the genocidal Hamas.
Of course analogies are just analogies. Israel isn’t Czechoslovakia — it is capable of defending itself against the Arabs and Iran. And while Chamberlain likely really believed that the piece of paper he received from Hitler would bring peace, it’s hard to imagine that today’s European governments are stupid enough to believe that forcing Israel to expose its soft underbelly to Hamas will result in anything other than war.
Unlike in 1938, the US is engaged in this conflict, and what it does could have a great effect on the outcome. The US President is expected to make a speech about the Middle East in the near future, and what he says will probably have a profound effect on what happens between now and September.