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Soon after the end of the first Iraqi War, Israel was pressured into negotiating with the Palestinian Arabs - a small fraction of the Arabs in the Middle East - as if these Arabs were a people. These Arabs came mainly from the neighboring Arab states and were indistinguishable from other Arabs in history or culture. They were fitted out with a retroactive history, given Arafat as leader, and the world accorded them the same status as the Israeli people, with its 4,000 year history.
Israel signed the Oslo Accords. Then came Camp David. And even after the Barak disaster and the daily horror of Arab violence, Israel continued to think in terms of negotiating. Israel usually sent negotiators with the street smarts of a pampered 3-year old. Shlomo Ben-Ami, Ehud Barak's representative to the peace talks, has since said, "Never, in the negotiations between us and the Palestinians, was there a Palestinian counterproposal. There never was and there never will be. So the Israeli negotiator always finds himself in a dilemma: Either I get up and walk out because these guys aren't ready to put forward proposals of their own, or I make another concession. In the end, even the most moderate negotiator reaches a point where he understands that there is no end to it." Duh.
Did Arafat's absurd demands at the negotiating table make the Israeli Government balk? No. Did it ever think in terms other than slightly modifying Arab maximalist demands? No. Did it condemn how the Arabs, who supposedly shared a desire for peace, were teaching their children hatred of Israel and techniques of murder? No. Did it say: Jerusalem is ours and that is a closed subject? No. Did it say the Arab refugees were not coming back to Israel? No. Did it promote patriotism and try to discredit the Israeli Marxists, who were increasingly acting as unpaid mercenaries for the Palestinians? No. It was only after Arafat rejected Barak's idiotically generous offer was Arab hostility so obvious that not even the Israeli government could pretend it away.
Israel has been told to shut up and do as it's told.
Israel doesn't know how to say NO in a forthright, straight-forward way. It has never said, "Sorry. There must not be a Palestinian State for the following reasons..." It sort of agrees and disagrees and mumbles its unhappiness. It asks for changes that are not only legitimate but crucial, but it asks in a way that sounds like it is raising trivial quibbles. And that just annoys those Europeans and American who are eager to have another go at peace. The reconstructed pressure group is currently called the Quartet. Mislabeled as neutral, three members the United Nations, the European Union and Russia - are hostile to Israel. The US is the fourth member. The Quartet has produced what is called a road map that Israel and the Palestinians are supposed to follow. (See David Wilder's article for details.)
The Israel Government shows all the attributes of stress. It knows Israel has little chance of surviving without the settlements. It knows that the 22nd, or is it 23rd, Arab State will immediately become home to murderous Arabs planning their next move against Israel. Yet instead of insisting loudly that the whole idea is folly, it has focused on some of the defects, so, perhaps, the world can not be blamed for thinking that the plan, as a whole, is structurally sound and worth trying.
Instead of fighting the enemy, instead of broadcasting that there are illegal Arab settlements, the Israeli Government lets out its frustration by hitting at the Jewish settlers. Just a couple of weeks ago, soldiers brutally came in the middle of the night and pulled a widow and her 5 children from their 'illegal' home on hilltop 26, in the Kiryat Arba-Hebron area. She was a widow because Arab terrorists had recently killed her husband.
New settlement were allowed under Oslo; this time they will be forbidden. It isn't clear whether the Israeli Government has bought into the Arab lie that Oslo forbid the settlements. Or whether they are already caving in to pressure and precipitously starting to dismantle the settlements.
We know the Jewish settlements are not illegal. True they have been the subject of UN nonbinding resolutions. But, as long as Israel lives, the UN, as currently structured, will find fault with it. The UN has never once condemned the new Arab settlements as illegal. The usual retort to this is: how can Arab building be illegal, when it's their land. And there's the rub. It is not their land. The Jews in their timidity and stupidity and ignorance of their own history have been willing to barter their historic land away. But until there's a final determination, the claim of the Arabs is just that: a claim. And, viewed historically, a not-well-substantiated claim.
Speaking of settlements, did you know that illegal Arab settlements have been and continue to be established inside the Green Line, in Israel - in Jerusalem, Lod, the Galilee, and the Negev?
Did you know that after Jordan annexed Samaria and Judea (renaming them the West Bank) in 1950, 261 settlements were established, mostly by Syrian, Jordanian and Iraqi settlers. This accounts for 750,000 of the West Bank population. It is described this way on the eretzyisroel.org website:
"Terms such as "settlers" and "settlements" apply to Palestinians as much as Israelis. Over ~400,000 Arabs have entered the West Bank and Gaza via Jordan since the start of Oslo. ...Jews have built ~144.settlements... We must be aware of the implications of massive illegal Arab immigration into the West Bank and Gaza. There have been twenty at least new Arab settlements since 1998."
Considering that the propaganda is that Israel brutalizes the Palestinians, it is a wonder that hundreds of thousands of Arabs have come into Israel from Jordan and Egypt as tourists, as spouses of Israeli Arabs and as foreign workers; and they never leave. The Government ignores the problem.
The Israeli Goverment has started to suppress factual information about the new Arab leadership. The newly-appointed Palestinian Authority (PA) minister, Abu Mazen, recently gave an interview to al-Sharq al-Awsat, an Arab newspaper, which made clear that the goals he has shared with Arafat since the 60's have not changed. Terror will be used whenever the PA finds it politically or militarily useful; at the moment, he says, it is to be confined to the West Bank, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem. (BTW: do you understand that abu Mazen is indirectly acknowledging PA control of terrorism?) The interview was on the IDF website. And then it was deleted. Mazen has been puffed and his image airbrushed; references to his denial of the Holocaust - it was the subject of his Ph.D. thesis - have stopped. He and Arafat have been of one mind from the beginning of the PLO in 1964. He still insists on the return of the Arab refugees to Israel. But heck. Spring is here. It's a new beginning. Give peace a chance. Private talks have begun.
The Jews who hate Israel are coming out of hibernation. The Israeli Marxist academics are starting to tell us how much the world will love Israel once it has conceded all but Tel-Aviv and maybe Haifa. Yossi Beilen and the other Oslo rejects are coming out of the woodwork and beginning to advise the Jews that negotiation is the way to go. Peace Now, a much reduced group, has become the Israeli Government's source of information on settlements and how to get rid of them. Just as the American Jewish leadership is starting to concede that, yup, Mort Klein of the Zionist Organization of America was right all along not to trust the Arabs and the Oslo Accords, Ha'aretz - Steve Plaut characterizes it accurately as "the main Palestinian newspaper published in Hebrew" - starts gunning for him.
Pontificating journalists have started reassuring us the Arabs admire and respect America. I don't know how much Arabic they understand. Love isn't what comes across on the Arab news and T.V. media. The Arabs constantly castigate Bush. They rooted for Saddam Hussein to win in Iraq. America is the Big Satan, which they believe they will eventually be able to beat. But this is treated in much of the Western media as the disgruntled excessive language of sulky children. Or it is waved aside, with the promise that the Arabs will be our friends once the Israeli occupiers are out of Palestine.
The diplomats of the UN and EU have got their hands on another heady stash. They can't wait to start the game of negotiate, coo, bully, outflank, surprise, lie, pontificate, be ambiguous, embarrass your opponent by implying his manners are undiplomatic, or act disappointed that he is raising difficult questions when, otherwise, harmony would reign. They will do all the shirty things diplomats do. The only thing they won't do is first examine the facts and then act on them.
USA blandly insists that if Israel stops its settlements and if the Arab leadership wears its new face, all can be ironed out. What's significant is that it has put the CIA in charge of training the Palestinian security forces and it is selling weapons to Egypt that can reach Israel. In a miracle of split-brain compartmentalization, we give Iraqi civilians a day to learn not to shoot at American soldiers. And we target Iraqi leaders - too bad if they are hiding among civilians. Yet the White House complains that Israel, in targetting a top Hamas terrorist, killed some of his civilian shields.
England continues to try to cut into Israel, a job it started doing in 1922, when it first abused its power - it had been given the Mandate to the part of the Ottoman Empire called Syrian Palestine. Instead of aiding and abetting the expected Jewish State, it hacked off some 78% of Palestine and put it under Arab control. It stopped Jewish immigration in the late 30's, when staying in Europe meant death. It gave the Arabs arms and tried to stop the Jews from arming themselves when the Arabs attacked the brand new Jewish State in 1947. And today, when England has economic problems, when it is fast becoming an Arab colony, when it has never solved the North Ireland problem, what does Tony Blair want for his gift of friendship to American? He wants more land from Israel: Gaza, Samaria, Judea, Eastern Jerusalem. Like Salome, of all the gifts he could have asked of Bush, all he wants is to dance before his European buddies, holding Israel's severed head on a Sheffield plate.
If Syria can be made to look human for a while, they may get the Golan back.
All this activity is too, too familiar. Take as a single example, the events in the late summer of 1997, well before the current Intifada, but long after Israel should have brought her participation in the Oslo charade to a close, permanently. Israel was being yelled at for constructing the Har Homa housing project for Arabs and Jews in Eastern Jerusalem. It was seen as a plot to judaize Jerusalem. Clinton was threatening military action against Saddam if he didn't comply with that month's UN resolution; he was supposed to allow continuous, intensive and unannounced inspections. Saudi Arabia said flatly that the USA couldn't use her bases to attack Iraq. The USA declared its delight at what it saw as the support of its Arab `coalition', though the Arab states had stated they wanted a diplomatic, not a military, solution. Israel was told not to respond if Saddam lashed out at her.
The Israeli Government was trying to persuade a U.S. Administration that didn't want to hear about such stuff that some of the Jerusalem suicide bombers that summer had come from land controlled by the Palestine Authority. I forget what the Arabs gave as reason for the bombing. The PA's contribution to fighting terrorism was to release the suspected terrorists they'd been forced to imprison.
Lip service was paid to Israel's security needs, but there was no real effort to force the Arabs to keep to their promises. Indeed, ignoring their lack of effort to stem terrorism became official policy. As Madeleine Albright, the then Secretary of State, said, "there is no room for using security cooperation as leverage in a negotiation." To do so "destroys confidence [and] breeds extremism." Dennis Ross was flitting back and forth between the Arabs and the Israelis to get the "peace process back on track." The peace brokers wouldn't acknowledge the root cause of the conflict: the Arabs want to kill off the State of Israel. But deep down they probably knew their peace promotion was vaporware. They talked about an Arab effort to stop terrorism; they couldn't bank on real results. They didn't really expect the Arabs to stop what they sincerely wanted to do and were already doing: killing Jews. Albright pushed for "accelerated final status negotiations", hoping the diplomatic glue would hold long enough.
As the old saw has it, it's deja vu all over again.
Actually, not everything is the same. In the few years from just before Oslo to Iraq 2, the ground rules shifted.
First, before Oslo, Israel was seeking peace with her Arab neighbors. With Oslo, the conflict was viewed as a one-on-one with the Palestinian people. Now, if the road map is implemented, Israel will be confronted by a Quartet, which has always sung an anti-Israel one-note tune.
Second, starting with the absolute that there'd be no Palestinian State, through the notion that there'd be a long evolution while the Palestinians learned how to govern themselves in a peaceful manner and built an infrastructure, the new line is that the Palestinian State is to be force fed into full growth in three years.
Third, previously, before the evidence that even Palestinian children were being systematically trained to kill - and they believe this is in keeping with their religious beliefs - we could pretend that all humans are reasonable and strive for peace and self-determination above all else. Unfortunately, the road map comes at a time when the Administration is taking a rosy view of the Iraqi ability to determine its own destiny peacefully.
During Oslo and afterwards, no matter that the PA didn't keep any of its promises of reducing violence - it just demanded more to do less - negotiations were continued. More recently, and for a while, we could believe that the wiring diagram for a Middle East peace process had changed. Instead of having terror and peace working in parallel, it seemed that President Bush was a in-series man. First stop the terrorism. Then, and only then, would we have a Palestinian state.
On June 24 2003, Bush made what was widely perceived as an amazing, if somewhat schizophrenic, speech. He said:
"It is untenable for Israeli citizens to live in terror. It is untenable for Palestinians to live in squalor and occupation. And the current situation offers no prospect that life will improve. Israeli citizens will continue to be victimized by terrorists, and so Israel will continue to defend herself."
He understood that this was not a war perpetrated just by the small group of Arabs that called themselves Palestinians. He said:
"I've said in the past that nations are either with us or against us in the war on terror. To be counted on the side of peace, nations must act. Every leader actually committed to peace will end incitement to violence in official media, and publicly denounce homicide bombings. Every nation actually committed to peace will stop the flow of money, equipment and recruits to terrorist groups seeking the destruction of Israel - including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. Every nation actually committed to peace must block the shipment of Iranian supplies to these groups, and oppose regimes that promote terror, like Iraq. And Syria must choose the right side in the war on terror by closing terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organizations."Then the flip:
"As we make progress towards security, Israel forces need to withdraw fully to positions they held prior to September 28, 2000. And consistent with the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee, Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories must stop."
It was amazing because it was unlike speeches by previous Presidents and high officials, who murmured how the Arabs should curb their hostility and then went on to what Israel must do to make peace. It was schizophrenic because in some of the speech, he put the blame smack down where it belonged: the Arab hatred of the Jewish State. And then, not only did he promise the Palestinians a state in three years, he challenged Israel "to take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable, credible Palestinian state."
Why should Israel become responsible for making an Arab state viable? Maybe Bush has a premonition that with their inability to accomplish anything productive, the Palestinians will soon have the land looking as bleak and dismal as it did in 1850.
The problem with Bush isn't his heart or his head, it's his arithmetic, especially when his advisors advice him to square the circle, mediate, do a political dialectic. In a way, his contradictory position is reminiscent of how he handled stem cell research. It can't really be stopped, not for long, at any rate; it's too important and too useful to medical research. Bush weaseled: if it was in use, keep using it. Else, it was forbidden. This satisfied no one. In the same way, you can't start with one well-organized democratic state with respect for the rule of law and one totally undemocratic hodgepodge with no infrastructure and a tradition of tribal feuding and expect they will average to two sort-of-democratic states.
Meantimes, the world leaders chimed in with their own corrupted version of reality. So this is the majority view at the moment:
They tell us the Palestinians have been on the West Bank forever. It's their land. All they want is their country back. Then they will become good neighbors.
They tell us that, true, Arabs are massacring Jews, but it is just as awful that they are humiliated at checkpoints. This may be less important now that the USA is shooting Iraqi civilians that don't stop at checkpoints. On the other hand, stopping civilians by killing them prevents them from being humiliated at checkpoints. So maybe it's still on.
They tell us that Israel is obligated to support the new state economically. It is true that in the years since Oslo, the PA has built no economic infrastructure for manufacture (unless the bomb factories in Gaza count) or industrial or service skills. So Israel is to continue to give them jobs. 50% of the Israelis are below the poverty line, but that doesn't count.
A message went out to the PA: appoint somebody - anybody - instead of Arafat. And stop terrorism. Well, at least try. Well, at least look like you're trying. Well at least hold the mayo for a week.
In Iraq, we expect to help them grow the fragile flower of democracy. We expect it will take time and patience. We know that democracy is more than letting people vote for their form of government. We know that a single victory of fascism at vote time can preclude democracy and future voting, as when Hitler's party won significantly in 1933. We know that democracy demands a certain kind of person: someone who can lose gracefully, someone who is fairminded, someone who doesn't think killing is the only alternative to getting his way at the ballot box. The fact that so many dictators call themselves President doesn't mean they respect democracy or have a clue to what democracy means in practice.
But in Israel, we expect instant results from unreconstructed murderers. The Palestinians have added two thugs to the Thug-In-Chief. and voila, they can now be entrusted to run a state. As Herb Zweibon has remarked, "The Reality is that in the cauldron of hate the PA has cooked up, the only viable alternative in a 'democratic' election is Hamas."
Anything Israel does vis a vis the Arabs will be scrutinized by her enemies. They will be judge and jury. They will decide what Israel can do and what the Arabs can not do. They will decide whether an Arab suicide bombing was really provocative enough to demand a response. Having the Quartet as a supervisory body isn't letting the fox into the chicken coop. It's letting him invite in his buddies for a chickenfest.
Weapons and ammunition won't need to come from Egypt via tunnels into Gaza. They can come right across the border into Palestine. Syria will continue to sanction Hezbollah activity in Lebanon. Jordan will continue to play both sides and hope that this time it guesses right when the crunch comes.
According to the U.N, any Arab who had lived for two years in Western Palestine before 1948 can claim the right of return for himself and his descendants. There are some 3-5 million Arabs, who claim to be descendants of these original refugees. Arab refugees will have the right to return to villages they abandonned when Israel was attacked in 1947. They can each take with them, of course, their 10-16 children and the 10-16 children of each child, who have started their own families. (Read: http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~jkatz/immigration-oslo.html.)
Jews do not have the right of return. The settlements immediately under attack are those established after March 2001 but no settlement community can be expanded. It is troubling that Sharon has already announced he will probably have to give up places like Shilo, Bethlehem and Beit El. Settlements that interrupt Palestinian territorial contiguity are also to be uprooted - the wording is vague enough that Jews could find themselves locked out of most of biblical Israel. Even if Israel retains some of the West Bank, they will have lost the flexibility to pursue Arab terrorists into Palestine, which will then be a sovereign state. Admittedly, I assume that violence is endemic in the Palestinian Arab society, but then I've seen no contrary evidence.
Israel's annexation of all of Jerusalem will be tossed aside. East Jerusalem will become the PA capital. Jews will lose the right of return to their homes in eastern Jerusalem. Jewish homes that were restored to Israelis after 1967 will again need to be vacated; they will again be inhabited by Arab squatters. The Bush Administration is already pressuring Israel not to allow Jews to move into their newly-built homes in the Maaleh HaZeitim (Ras el-Amud) neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem.
Saudi Arabia, Jordan and even Morocco have been sending money for Arabs to buy and build in East Jerusalem. The purpose was to construct large Arab housing rings to encircle and contrain Jewish building. We can now expect them to shift the money so that Israeli Arabs can buy land and homes in Western Jerusalem, which they have always had the right to do.
So 250,000 Jews will be kicked out of their homes and holy places in Biblical Israel - Samaria and Judea and Gaza - and 200,000 Jews will be expelled from eastern Jerusalem. Why is kicking out the Arabs so terrible and kicking out Jews OK? Many of these Arabs moved in after Israel conquered the West Bank in 1967. And many of the Jews are resettling the land their grandparents were living in before Jordan kicked them out in 1948. In fact, as we pointed out elsewhere ("The Settlements Revisited", see below): "It is sick humor that the Arabs claim Yesha [the West Bank and Gaza] and East Jerusalem in large part because they are in the majority there. It is the Orphan's Defense. You know the one. The boy kills his mother and father and then asks for mercy on the grounds that he is an orphan. Jordan kicked out all the Jews from East Jerusalem and Samaria and Judea in 1948. And now the Arabs claim these areas because there were no Jews there when Israel conquered it in 1967."
In 1967, the Israelis were indeed willing to give up their historic land for peace with their Arab nations. As late as a few years ago, Barak was willing to jeopardize Israel in the hopes of getting a final peace - of course, by then, some in Israel had tunnel vision and focussed on the PA, not the Arabs.
In the loony hope that things would naturally get better as peace took hold, Israel was content to leave issues ambiguous that should have been clarified from day one. Given the behavior of the Arabs, the romantic notion that Israel could build a multinational state responsive to Jews and Arabs, that satisfied the dreams of both Jews and Arabs, is probably on its last leg. The diseased version of this fantasy, where Jews and Arabs live in a Marxist paradise, has become, in the last few holdouts on the Israeli Left, a total commitment to Arab demands. In reaction, the rest of Israel has become much more right wing.
The Palestinian Arabs have gone too far.
The damage they have done to Israel and to themselves have led to attitudes that are probably irreversible. You can't poach a hard-boiled egg. You can't expect Israel to continue to do all the bending and trying. This time, she isn't as trusting.
As reported in the Economist, April 14, 2003:
"Israel, for instance, wants the mutual 'unequivocal statements' of recognition envisioned in the draft to include the Palestinians' recognition of Israel as a 'Jewish state'. Some Israeli ministers demand an explicit Palestinian renunciation of their refugees' 'right of return' to Israel, at this initial phase of the road map. Above all, the Sharon government insists on a principle of sequence or conditionality that the December draft carefully left vague. First, says the foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, the Palestinian side must curb the terrorism and stop all incitement. Only after a lengthy period of quiet would Israel's duties kick in, including the duty to freeze the building of new settlements."
And the Arabs are dramatically radicalized. When Jordan controlled the West Bank, there was a cowed group of Arabs run by local thugs in the West Bank and a group of Arabs who were Israeli citizens who maybe didn't like the Jews - they knew Jews and Christians were basically inferior to Arabs - but they lived well, better than in any Arab country, voted, elected Arabs to the Knesset and had good medical care. But now the WestBankers have had years of tutoring on the glories of sudden dramatic death which inflicts terror on the Jews. And the Israeli Arabs have also been radicalized. They see themselves as Palestinians, not as Israelis.
The mix of the new glorification of death and the old Arab ability to ignore reality - Egypt insisted she'd won a great victory in 1972, when Israel had trapped her army - does not make for the kind of national character that translates easily to a model citizenry able to handle democratic give and take. Others have pointed out other defects that don't make the Arabs good candidates for becoming the kind of peaceful nation "living side-by-side [Israel] in peace and security" that President Bush envisions. In a recent article in the New York Post, Ralph Peters described the condition of the Arab world:
There's another difference between then and now. More people have been educated into the real history and geography of the Middle East. An Arab claiming he's descended from the Canaanites is good for a laugh. Saudi Arabia is no longer cocooned from biting criticism. CNN admits it was terrorized by Iraq into producing false or incomplete news. More is being written about how the news from Israel too often comes from PA-controlled journalists. We watch our ex-ambassadors to Arab countries talking nonsense and wonder how much they are costing Saudi Arabia. People are beginning to wonder why the Arabists, the Middle East academic community in our universities, get so little right; they seem to have a perfect prediction score of zero. Who knows, maybe one of these days, the NY Times will be fit to read. All in all, it has become increasingly difficult to present the Arabs as friendly little peace lovers.
Given these new conditions, there really is no going back to simple measures. I mispoke. We can try to go back to some pie-in-the-sky peace table. But a 2-state solution won't work. Until we take the current facts into consideration, a make-belief peace will be just that. Make belief. Not peace.
I confess that I don't understand politicians. How can they hope to solve problems when they start with the wrong premises and ignore the facts? Salomon Benzimra, who wrote "Peace In the Middle East: A Pragmatic Road Map from Truth to Peace" in the March-April edition, puts it well:
"Caroline Glick dubbed it the "road map to perdition." Up until now, we have seldom seen any political decision of importance based on truth. It's all expediency, ambiguity, temporary solutions, and horse trading. 35 years of Arab propaganda have done a terrific job in shifting reality upside down and having the whole world accept the most absurd nonsense. That is why a good starting point for Israel would be to go back to the pre-67 discourse and rename the present conflict the "Arab-Israeli" conflict, just to show what the real stakes are: non-acceptance of Israel by most of her Arab neighbours; direct involvement of the surrounding Arab nations in the creation of the Palestinian problem; and (hopefully) a substantial Arab contribution to the solution.
But of course, this requires an "engineered" set of principles, rather than a "diplomatic" one. If only the present diplomats were engineers, they would never try to build layer upon layer of dubious artificial constructs upon shaky foundations! They would also understand that as long as the foundations are not secure, there is no point in starting building upon them, as they all did in the Oslo process. And they were all surprised when the whole edifice crumbled!"
An imposed settlement and the creation of a coelenterate of a Palestinian state won't work. Until the Arabs are forcibly wrenched from their obsessive stalking of Israel, they will continue to try to kill off Israel as a state and Israelis as Jews.
But why not try a Palestinian state? Why not demonstrate once more that we tried for peace. It will show it ain't our fault we got war, not peace. Why not? Because, the stakes are getting higher. The Arabs, thanks to the incomplete incursions of the IDF, have learned to fight better and nastier. What will it behoove us to win the propaganda war (which in itself would be a miracle) if we lose more and more Jews. Let's face it. Jews are important to the world. They move civilization forward in the arts and the sciences and the crafts. Maybe the world should start thinking about preserving an important resource instead of killing it off.
Islam has been going nowhere when compared to Western culture. But that doesn't mean it has been passive or peaceful. It has given rise to many movements: Wahhabism, the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood, the philosophy that led to bin Ladin. As Martin Kramer put it (Commentary, December, 2002): "Islam continues to generate new and potent antidotes to the infection of the West. All of which suggests that the power of radical Islam (like Islam itself) is its ability to mutate - to adapt itself to ever-changing circumstances. Today it ingeniously exploits the very modernism that it seeks to thwart. Just when you think it is outmoded - as many analysts thought 30 year ago - it suddenly reappears in some completely new (and often more virulent) form."
It has developed ingenious and innovative ways to kill and maim, using unskilled labor and cheap materials. But these aren't the skill needed for self-governance.
It is unlikely that even extending the time to an autonomous Palestinian state by a few years will work. The conflict is not between Israel and the Palestinians. It is between the Arab world and Israel. A Palestinian state, gained as a reward for terrorism, just feeds the Arab dream of eliminating Israel.
Another reason it is won't work is that the Quartet is to have supervisory power over the coming peace process. In theory, they will be evenhanded. Unfortunately, pushing on Israel and the Palestinians to force peaceful relations has never worked. As we have seen, Israel complies, Palestinians do not. If Israel complains, she is not taken seriously. Either she is ignored or is accused of having little faith or of having bad faith. The Palestinians are admonished to curtail terrorism; the Israelis are ordered to make another concession. There is no reason to suppose that this time the script will be played out differently than in the past. Particularly, with a biased Quartet in charge.
OK. Hope springs another leak. And we try again.
What can we expect? If the tooth fairy favors us, we establish a democratic procedure. We preach democracy, and we teach them about the ballot box and voting procedures. They vote. And Hamas takes over. We let them govern themselves, and Hamas or some splinter terror group takes over. Or we become embroiled in the feuding of the factions. Can't you see it now: the CIA and Hamas versus the State Dept and Abu Mazen!
Realistically, at the very least, we can expect more terrorism. With control of the West Bank, they will be some 10-15 miles from Tel-Aviv. Will they need the fancy missiles the USA is selling to Egypt? Hell no. All they will need to do is to cynically round up several thousand of their disposable children and march them in a Children's Crusade into Tel-Aviv. Whatever the Jews do in response will be wrong.
At some point, it is likely that the Arabs - it is after all their war - will use Palestine (or as they will pronounce it: Filistin) as a staging ground. They could succeed. At that point, Israel will become completely demoralized and succumb or, with poorer resources and less strength, it will finally fight back.
A bleak prognosis. But not an implausible one. And why is George Bush willing to jeopardize Israel's future. Social engineering? The belief that a State based on Torah is bad? Of course not. His motives are not those of Israel's enemies. He has conflicting pressures and going the 2-state route seems a good averaging.
A Palestinian State, with more or less land, with more or less autonomy, is the wrong approach.
In "Does Israel Need a Plan?" Daniel Pipes argues that the road map and other plans for peace in the Mideast will amount to nothing unless and until there is a fundamental change in the Palestinians' rejectionist attitude vis-a-vis Israel. Deterrence, he argues, must be Israel's strategy until then:
"A bedrock condition of such a strategy - and one no less frustrating in the short term - is that Palestinian acceptance of Israel is a binary proposition: yes or no, without any in-between. This suggests, in turn, the futility of negotiations - at least until the Palestinians do accept the Jewish state. Such matters as borders, water, armaments, the status of Jerusalem, Jewish communities in the West Bank and Gaza, so-called Palestinian refugees - in brief, the central issues of the Oslo period - cannot productively be discussed as long as one party still aims to murder the other. In principle, something along the lines of the Oslo agreement could turn out to be workable - but only after the Palestinians definitively and unequivocally, and over an extended period of time, demonstrate that they have made their peace with the existence of the state of Israel as an irreversible fact.
If, moreover, we have learned anything over the past decade, it is that interim Israeli concessions are counterproductive and must be discouraged. As the Oslo experience proved, they inflame, rather than tamp down, Arab aggression. By offering repeated concessions even as the Palestinians failed to live up to a single one of their obligations, Israel signaled weakness. That is how, beginning in 1993, the effect of Oslo was to take a bad situation - there was some violence in the late 1980's and early 90's, but a mood of caution still prevailed on the Palestinian side - and make it far worse. Only when Palestinians are convinced there is no other way will an end to the conflict become conceivable, along with the mutual concessions that will seal it." (Commentary, February, 2003)
An extension, of course, is to apply this concept to Palestinian Arabs more generally. One solution that will work is to move the Arabs to some uninhabited part of Arab land. It shouldn't be too hard. For the last few years, the Palestinians have claimed Israel is occupying their land and they have a right to regain it any way they can. And the leaders and spokesmen for the Arab countries have sung as a chorus: "the PA's are persecuted by the Occupiers. We feel terrible for our Palestinian brothers." OK. If they feel so bad, let them let the Arabs out of the refugee camps and live like anyone else in the Arab countries. And if they feel so terrible for the persecuted Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza, they won't mind them living on a smidgeon of the large uninhabited space they own. It would cost them nothing. The EU and the UN could continue their payment. The USA would likely be happy to kick in.
The reflexive response is: no, that's ethnic cleansing. But why is it ethnic cleansing to kick out Arabs from the West Bank, even though most of the connection to the Land is of recent origin? Arabs continue to move in from neighboring Arab countries as they have for a hundred years. And why it is not ethnic cleansing to kick a half million Jews out of their historic land, from Samaria, Judea, Gaza and Jerusalem?
Actually, to ship the Arabs off to some part of Arab land would be the second part of a population transfer that began around the time that Israel became a State. Some 800,000-900,000 Jews were kicked out or were terrorized into leaving the Arab countries. It is true that the case isn't exactly like that of the Arabs on the West Bank. The Jews had, in most cases, been living in these Arab countries for hundreds of years; in many cases, they predated the coming of the Arabs. Conversely, most of the Arabs on the West Bank have a short attachment to Palestine; they came there after the Jewish aliyahs started providing economic opportunity.
Are there other solutions? Sure. Many people, and not just in Arab land and Europe, would be just as happy if it were the Israelis, who are the ones shipped to some uninhabitated part of the world. What's the difference? We'd have peace, wouldn't we? No, probably, we would not. There will be no peace in that part of the world, not while so many Arabs feel they have a chance at becoming a world power again.
In the absence of Israel, a likely scenario is that the Arabs fight among themselves for the spoils. This is based on this reasoning: As oil revenue decreases - and they have few other talents or ways to make money - looting and taking over some one else's property makes good sense.
When the dust clears, the Arabs will have a central fact to inspire them: they are rid of Little Satan. It is time to go after Big Satan. This scenario places less emphasis on oil as political weapon. They need not rely just on oil to conquer the world. They can count on other techniques. They are conquering Europe by making lots and lots of Islamic babies. Islam is 20% of Norway's registered religious denominations; and Islam is the second largest religion in Sweden and Denmark. Walk on a London street and be prepared to jump into the street as a row of Arab ladies, dressed as black bats with only their eyes showing, straddle the entire sidewalk and won't yield space to anyone. And now the Arabs have another magnetic North they can bang against: the Big Satan, the USA. Infiltration has begun. They have bought up Middle East departments and prestigious chairs on many campuses. A government official who is 'friendly' knows he has a good chance of getting a job in or through Saudi Arabia when he leaves the government. Muslim schools attached to mosques continue to teach hatred of the Jews and a fanciful history of Palestine.
So what experiment shall we try next? There are 22 Arab states, which control 99.9% of the Middle East land area. There is one Jewish state, which has 1/10th of 1% of the land - and that includes the West Bank and Gaza. What if the solution leads to disaster for Israel. Think about it. Suppose you were a scientist and you had 22 rats and 1 mouse. You needed to try some new theory out. Would you experiment on the single mouse? Or would you use one of your rats, of which you have a good supply?
And what is the rationale for playing with Israel's future? To be evenhanded? To win friends in the Arab world? To fight Islam by destroying Israel?
What are we who love Israel to do?
In general terms, we need to become one people again. We need to understand that Judaism itself is under seige. We need to identify those who are trying to destroy us as a religion and a people. Aside from the Quartet politicians, there are groups we need to scrutinize.
Much of the media are not helping Israel survive, and that includes some radical Israeli newspapers. In England, of course, anti-semitism is traditional and will probably outlast the monarchy. Others in the media make a show of even-handedness. A few weeks ago CNN proudly pointed out that both the Jews and the Arabs have criticized them, so they must be doing something right. This is an incorrect interpretation. Jews ask for fairness, for objective reporting. Arabs complain if they feel slighted or criticized at all.
There are the fossalized Communists, the supposed humanitarians and those who put freedom of speech above all else. And, regretfully, that group includes a large number of Jews. They make it seem as if an aggressive war against terror and freedom of speech are either or. Either you are for one or for the other. I myself don't understand how letting terrorists flourish promotes free speech. It would seem just the opposite: if you protect yourself against the violence of the terrorists, you have a chance for free speech. We need to say out loud what the media ignore: that the people against us waging war on Iraq are infested with anti-Semites; that many humanitarians are one-sided and anti-Israel; that the pro-peace groups are often pro-Arab fronts.
The Israeli Government seems to have blown a fuse. Israel voted for a Right Wing Sharon and got a Left Wing Peres do-alike. Ariel Sharon may of course be a closet Believer and hope God will rescue the Jewish Nation. Or he may think that, after Bush has spent his political capital on the road map, he can be persuaded to blithely argue against it. Or, what is most likely, Sharon has incorporated the enemy's arguments and made them his own. Wouldn't it be wonderful though if we had the young Sharon back? If he stopped just reacting to other people's ideas and started boldly to present ideas that would benefit Israel and not a couple of diplomats out to win the Nobel Peace Prize?
Someone should tell George Bush his instincts to stay out of the fight were right. As long as a solution to Middle East peace is channeled into creating a Palestinian state and not into changing the Arab mindset, sooner or later, the process will blow up in his face. Of course, he may be the first American president who sees that the Arab Middle East is the problem and starting thinking intelligently about a solution.
America and Israel can learn from each other. America has shown us the only reasonable way to cut out the cancer of Arab hatred: military action. Israel has taught us that what happens first in Israel will be used later against the West: using civilians as bombs, training Arab children and young men as killers, blowing up anyone and everyone to create havoc. I hope Israel doesn't have to learn the hard way that it is apparently better to be America's enemy than its true friend.
In specific terms, we need to write, petition, hold rallies. Boycott Western Europe: don't travel there, don't buy their products. Notify sponsors of anti-Jewish TV and advertisers in anti-Israel newspapers that you won't buy their products.
At the moment, the most effective rebuttal of the Quartet plan is coming from Congress. The House and Senate are both circulating bi-partisan letters asking the Bush Administration to support Israel. They want the Palestinians to actually stop their terrorism and incitement and comply with President Bush's June 24, 2002 speech. The Protect Our Heritage PAC has issued a current action alert that two alert can be read in full on the Protect Our Heritage website. Or look at the J.A.T. Action Alert article entitled "Help Congress Protect Israel From The Road Map" in this edition. (See the next article.)
Call or email your Representative and ask him or her to sign the Hyde/Blunt/Hoyer letter supporting Israel. Click here.
Call or email your Senators and ask them to sign the Boxer/McConnell letter supporting Israel. Click here.
The switch board number for Congress is: 202-224-3121.
Write an email to the President at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call the White House switchboard at 202 456 1111.
The road map is as useful as the 18th resolution against Iraq in the UN. We can do without it.
Let's work for a resolution of the conflict based on reality.
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