Dec 30, 2004
There can be no compromise with the Palestinians until they rid themselves of the corruption and oppression represented by the era of Arafat and the “government” he left behind. The Israelis learned this the hard way. Now the rest of the world is being instructed in the demands of militant Islam that has no hesitancy to kill hundreds and thousands of innocent people to achieve its goals.
In his book, “The Case for Democracy”, Natan Sharansky, a leading member of the Israeli government and former prisoner of the Soviet Union, points out that, “The PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) was formed in 1964. This was three years before the Six Day War, during which Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt. Obviously, then, the reason for the establishment of the PLO was not to ‘liberate’ these territories from Israeli rule. Rather, it was to destroy the state of Israel and, as its leader frequently boasted, ‘push all the Jews into the sea.’”
There it is in a nutshell. There were no “Palestinians” when Israel became a nation in 1948. There were Arabs who lived within the borders of the new nation and they were offered citizenship. Instead, they were urged by nations opposed to Israel to flee in expectation of returning after Israel was invaded. Those nations, however, were defeated and those that fled became refugees. They have remained refugees ever since, pawns in the hands of Arab nations that have refused to permit them to become citizens to this day!
Everything that Yasser Arafat did since the founding of the PLO was directed at the destruction of Israel’s Jews. Despite ample evidence of this, the world insisted on treating him as a great statesman. He was even awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. And, following the Oslo Accords, he instituted the “intifada” that wreaked death on Israelis
Several Israeli governments, led by Yitzak Rabin, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Ehud Barak tried to negotiate their way to some form of peace with Arafat, often offering vast tracts of land in exchange for a promise to desist from terrorism. They learned slowly and painfully they could not expect anything but more terrorism.
A petition being circulated by the US Committee for a Free Lebanon is seeking signatures to an “Open Letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon” calling on him not to make the same mistake with Syria. “If Syria is serious about peace, it should start making peace at home first. It should pull out of Lebanon immediately. The Syrian society today is full of hate and anger. Hate against Jews and anger against the United States.” Like Sharansky, the letter says, “Moral clarity dictates that Israel helps free Syrians so that both people can decide what future they want as neighbors. Peace with a dictatorship can only perpetuate the misery of oppression felt by 22 million Syrians and Lebanese.”
For a very long time the Israeli people were sharply divided about how to achieve peace with the people that are now called Palestinians. Half longed for peace on any basis. Half saw the threat for what it was. The Israelis suffered from a moral muddle. The PLO was not about the welfare of the Palestinians. The PLO was not about building schools, hospitals, tending to the infrastructure, encouraging businesses, and most certainly not about freedom for those in its control.
As Sharansky points out, “For the PLO, however, terrorism was a calling card. They murdered Olympic athletes, executed kindergarten schoolchildren, hijacked airliners, set off bombs in public places, and committed a host of other acts of terror.” Thus, moral clarity demands that one recognize that “There is no moral equivalence between Palestinian terror attacks and Israeli counter-terror operations.”
It is this lack of moral clarity that has clouded much of the US government’s effort to mediate in order to secure peace from the Palestinians. It is only the fence the Israelis ultimately decided to build that has dramatically thwarted the killings inflicted on their people. Do Palestinians suffer as a result? Yes. Do they need to reject the authority of those who have brought about this suffering? Yes. Can they, given the opportunity, embrace peace? Democracy? Yes.
Arafat and the PLO have had plenty of time to indoctrinate the Palestinians with a cult of hatred for the Jews of Israel. It is a hatred that is widespread throughout the Middle East and it is a hatred shared by many in the West. Simply stated, the demand that Israel cease to exist is anti-Semitism. The demand that they not respond, i.e., protect themselves against those seeking to kill them is anti-Semitism. To suggest that the three thousand year old history of Jews in Israel has no merit in their right to a nation of their own is anti-Semitism.
It is US policy as articulated by President Bush that Palestinians must “elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror.” Perhaps he was prompted to this from the image of Palestinians dancing in the streets, celebrating 9-11? His demand is for a Palestine based on an “entirely new political and economic institutions based on democracy, market economics and action against terrorism” and a constitution that establishes a “system of reliable justice to punish those who prey on the innocent.”
Now the question is whether the new Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, will pursue this goal. Neither Israel, nor the US can negotiate peace until the Palestinian leadership demonstrates they can adopt democracy and protect the universal rights of their citizens. Signing agreements or treaties with terrorists is a total waste of time.
Alan Caruba is the author of “Warning Signs” and his weekly commentaries are posted on www.anxietycenter.com, the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.
© Alan Caruba 2004
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