President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair - both stalwarts in urging the United Nations to live up to its numerous resolutions on Iraq - changed the subject for a moment last week by announcing their support for a "road map" they say can bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
The announcement was timed to help Blair's falling political support, but the "road map" won't bring peace because it has been created with the wrong political coordinates - that what Israel does or does not do affects the behavior of Palestinian terrorists.
Both Bush and Blair praised the naming of a Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Maazen), by Yasser Arafat. Abbas, whom some have labeled a "moderate," is a Holocaust denier who has called for the murder of Israelis. In a 1983 book, Abbas claimed fewer than 1 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis (not 6 million, the figure generally accepted) and that Zionist leaders conspired with the Nazis in order to gain international sympathy for Zionism. Only the worst anti-Semite would believe such a fantasy.
In a June 24, 2002, speech about the Middle East, President Bush said that Palestinian Arabs must "elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror." Using the president's definition, Mahmoud Abbas is not such a leader. In a March 3 interview with the Arab newspaper Alsharq Al-Amat, Abbas characterized recent discussions he had with several Palestinian terrorist groups: "We didn't talk about a break in the armed struggle .. It is our right to resist." Abbas suggested that all territory on the West Bank belongs to Palestinians and should be defended with armed force.
Even more dangerous to Jews, to Israel and to U.S. interests in the Middle East is the suggestion by Bush and Blair that the "road map" can be implemented "as progress is made toward peace." This is a troubling phrase, because the language suggests that Israel might be forced to make new and dangerous concessions in response to token or insincere moves by Arafat. Since Palestinian and Hamas terrorists have conducted homicide bombings against Israeli civilians, why shouldn't they be required to stop and renounce terror before Israel lowers its guard?