Somewhere on A1A...

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Arafat/Mazen: Partner for Peace?

The Arabs may not have been successful on the battlefields over the last 55 years, but they've been wondrously successful in the arena of public opinion. By broadcasting outlandish lies and repeating them over and over, they have effectively changed history and completely altered the debate. Continued Israeli military victories in defensive wars have been morphed into Israeli aggression.

Playing to western morality and western liberalism’s sense of justice, the Arabs have succeeded in making themselves look like victims even while they continue to wage the war of 1948. By purporting western moral values on the Arabs, leaders in the west, and in Israel have continually been hoodwinked into believing that peace is possible.

Meanwhile the Arabs have spoken about peace in English and French and German, but continue to teach and talk hatred in Arabic. He Arab schools teach a version of history with little resemblance of truth, their Mosques preach hatred of Jews, their newspapers spread ancient lies as well as new. Nowhere are Arabs taught that Israel is a legitimate country. Everywhere Arabs hear of the promise of return of their lands and of the evil Jews and their American supporters. Yet we don’t listen to what they are saying.

We don’t listen to their clergy, we ignore textbooks, we disregard their newspapers and television broadcasts. We don’t judge their actions, we excuse them, solely because of a strong desire for peace. We are almost incapable of honest dialogue with the Arabs and continue to give them legitimacy and benefit of the doubt that no other rival could ever hope to receive.

Uri Dan in yesterday’s Jerusalem Post gives us one perspective that’s worthwhile

LEADERS SUCH as former US president Bill Clinton and prime minister Ehud Barak failed to understand what they were facing, even after bin Laden blew up the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998. In July 2000 they attempted to appease and flatter his terror twin, Arafat, at Camp David.
As long as Barak and Clinton gave in to his demands and tried to persuade him that they were his best friends, Arafat made no waves.
Clinton and Barak failed to understand that Arafat had always regarded them as his enemies not personally but as a matter of basic philosophy shared by the members of the axis of evil.
Arafat showed his real face, beginning a war of terror that caused Barak's ignominious fall, just as he accompanied the end of Clinton's presidency with his terrorist attacks on Israel after extorting unprecedented concessions from the two.
And it’s not just Clinton and Barak who failed to understand what they are facing. Virtually every leader faced with the issue have made the same misjudgment. Although they have all had the best intentions, they have erred in their assumptions that their Arab partners have the same peaceful intention. George W. Bush would do well to study the history and to consider that maybe Uri Dan is right:
Those who do not surrender, who do not give in to this terror will always be the enemy of the local, regional, and international terrorist camp.
President George W. Bush was thus right when he warned, after the Muslim massacre in the US on September 11, 2001, that the US faced a threat from the "axis of evil," which has replaced the "empire of evil," as President Ronald Reagan referred to the USSR until it collapsed with a tremendous shock.
In one respect the Muslim axis of evil is more dangerous, elusive, and sophisticated than the former Soviet empire. Saddam Hussein was an honored member, together with Osama bin Laden, the leaders of Iran, Bashar Assad of Syria, the heads of Hizbullah, and, of course, Libyan despot Mu'ammar Gaddafi.
These rule the empire of terror, and among them a special place is reserved for Yasser Arafat.
One should bear in mind that despite all the casualties suffered by Israel, the worst attacks up till now have not taken place here but in the US itself, in Indonesia, in Riyadh, and in Casablanca. It doesn't matter who the Israeli prime minister or US president is; the axis of evil will act against anyone who dares to stand up to it on the battlefront, against any leader of a democracy who proclaims the message of freedom.
A new version of the Trust but Verify doctrine needs to be applied to any peace process with the Arabs. Their vision of peace is profoundly different from ours. That must be recognized. Their vision of the history is different too and that must be addressed. We cannot take their words as truth. We must scrutinize their actions and be quick and forceful in pointing out when the actions don’t match their rhetoric. Most of all we should deal from a position of strength. Appeasement does not work.


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