Needed: A New Middle East Policy
5/22/2001 12:00:00 AM - Cal Thomas
While the press focuses on the escalation of killing and retaliation in and around Israel, it mostly ignores the fires of hate against Jews that are being stoked to insure that violence continues.
The official Palestinian Authority daily newspaper, on May 16, printed an article which said, "It is proper that the call to hate Israel continue to be worn on the chest of every Arab (and) that it should be regarded as a measurement of patriotism..." The article notes approvingly that the owner of an Egyptian pharmacy had posted a sign which said, "no dogs or Jews," and concludes, "The position of hate is natural..."
Jordan recently hosted a Holocaust revisionist seminar. The May 15 issue of the Jordan Times carried these quotes from speakers: "The new shape of Nazism is Zionism" and (It) "would have been impossible to burn six million people in the gas chambers."
The training of young Palestinian "martyrs" continues. Last week, one of them blew himself up, killing five civilians at a shopping mall north of Tel Aviv. Palestinian textbooks teach children to hate Jews (NBC's Martin Fletcher reported on May 8 about a Palestinian TV commercial which urges children: "Drop your toys. Pick up rocks." Fletcher also reported on a Gaza schoolteacher who leads her class in chanting, "We ask Allah to destroy the Jews."). Racist editorials in the Arab press proliferate. The PLO continues to use terror as an instrument of policy in violation of agreements it has signed. Only someone in serious denial believes that the current "land for peace" model on which American policy (and that of some Israeli prime ministers) has been based is any longer worth pursuing.
These and many other incidents require a new approach by Israel and the United States. Since the Oslo Peace Accords were signed in August, 1993, the United States has sent $900 million in aid to the PLO, hoping to moderate the organization, distance it from its brother terrorist group, Hamas, and entice it to live up to the agreement. That policy has failed and Congress should cut off the money. No aid should resume until PLO leader Yasser Arafat takes specific steps to stop the violence (which I do not believe will ever happen).
Israel should start thinking in terms of a Cold War existence with its sworn enemies. A May 18 Jerusalem Post editorial points to the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Helsinki Group, an organization of dissident Russian Jews who sought to hold the Soviet Union accountable for human rights commitments it made in the 1975 Helsinki Accords.
Natan Sharansky, now Israel's Deputy Prime Minister, was a founding member of the Helsinki Watch Group. He returned to Moscow last week to mark the anniversary. Writing in a Wall Street Journal essay, Sharansky noted, "The Soviet leadership surely believed that they were hoodwinking the West with an empty promise" which exchanged economic benefits and legitimacy and a "sphere of influence" in Eastern Europe for Soviet promises to uphold human rights. "In fact," he writes, "they had signed their own death warrant."
Sharansky's point is that Israel and the West should consider adopting a similar approach toward the Arab states and the PLO. The Jerusalem Post editorial suggests: "the challenge should be regarded as similar to that of the Cold War: making long-term arrangements that reduce the risk of war and yet do not amount to a full peace." As human rights expanded in the Soviet Union, the dictatorship collapsed.
If democratic elections were held in Arab nations that have never known them, which is unlikely, the prospect that Islamic fundamentalists would use a democratic process to install one of their own and make things worse ("one man, one vote, one time") is very real. But at least the creation of a different model might shift the violent dynamic of the last half-century. It could give Israel more breathing room and confound her enemies, which have placed all their hopes on getting land and giving, not peace, but terror. That's because their objective is not a portion of land, but all of it.