When I questioned again what compelled Peres to believe that Arafat, the terrorist, had changed, he delivered a brief, gruff response: "We have no other choice."
Therein lies the tragedy, not only for Israelis for whom riding a bus or eating at a restaurant has become a life-threatening act of faith, but also for the Palestinian people who hoped for an end to the poverty and isolation that are the handmaidens of Arafat's rejectionism, the Palestinian parents who dreamed of better lives for their children, an education and a state they could call their own.
International aid disappeared into Swiss banks and lined the pockets of Arafat henchmen. Palestinian schools became factories of hate and indoctrination centers for the cult of martyrdom. And at the moment of truth, Arafat rejected an offer of peace — with a Palestinian state and its capital in Jerusalem — to pursue his own violent, final solution.
In a report from the Jerusalem Post on the 10th anniversary of the Declaration of Principles and that famous handshake, the horrifying consequence of giving Arafat legitimacy was displayed by the first generation of Palestinians to grow up under his necrotic rule:
"'We want to defend Arafat and kill the Jews wherever they are,' said 10-year-old schoolgirl Aysheh Muhammad as she gripped a poster of Arafat outside his battered office Sunday, chanting slogans in his support along with her classmates. 'Show us your face, with our blood and souls, we will redeem you,' they screamed until they were hoarse."
If Israel were to make concessions of any kind to the Palestinians as part of its move to expel, arrest, or kill Arafat, these concessions would only go to the unrepentant murderers who'd take his place. Surely Ross knows this. Surely Peres does, too. So the question must be asked. What is it that propels these urbane and cultivated men to such conclusions?
The answer was given three weeks ago by no less of an authority than Ian Buruma, in no less a venue than The New York Times. There, in an article titled "How to talk about Israel," Buruma explained, "The Palestinian cause has become the universal litmus test of liberal credentials." And so it is. In the wreckage of Oslo it is important to note who its greatest beneficiaries were. The Israelis? Our lives have become a crapshoot. The Palestinians? Their standard of living was decimated by Arafat's kleptocracy, while their children were brainwashed by its jihadist media.
No. The real beneficiaries of the Oslo process were people on the political Left like Peres and Ross and Annan and Clinton and their peace-activist friends. At Oslo, where Yasser Arafat and his PLO were crowned in glory and legitimacy, these men finally found a way to be pro-PLO and "pro-Israel."
But Oslo is not the only peace proposal that has failed. The Road Map is just as dead. If Oslo was a failure of the Left, then the Road Map is a failure of the Right.
In not defining clear consequences for the Arab failure to comply with the conditions of the Road Map, the plan’s architects doomed it to failure. The pragmatists still did/do not have the courage to be as tough as they need to be. As long as the Left has the influence to soften the Israeli stance, peace is extremely unlikely. The Arabs will take every concession offered as their right and will fight for more.
The fundamental difference between the hard-liners and the peaceniks is the left’s naïve belief that the Arabs really want to live peacefully alongside a Jewish State. They believe that a two-state solution is desired by the Arabs as much as it is accepted by the Israelis. They are wrong.
One need only look at the way the Arabs treat the common palestinian man. What actions in palestinian society offer any hope at all that they are willing to live in peace with a Jewish State? Sadly there are none. Once again I refer to Golda Meir’s wisdom in observing, "We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us." Or, to paraphrase, We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their own people more than they hate us.