In accepting for the first time a timetable for the creation of an independent Palestinian state, the Israeli cabinet may have sealed the fate of modern Israel. If Israel dismantles so-called "settlements" while Yasser Arafat and his crony, Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, add to their long list of broken promises the promise to end terrorism, the establishment of a Palestinian state will serve as a launching pad for the final assault on Israel and the elimination of that nation as a Jewish homeland and a beacon of democracy in the region.
Some cabinet members who voted for the plan, including Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, explained that while they had serious reservations about the "road map," they did not want to anger the United States.
The "road map" contains what should be unacceptable concessions by Israel in exchange for meaningless assurances by the Palestinian side. These concessions include Israeli withdrawal from land it captured for its own security in the 1967 war, which was started by Israel's neighbors with the express intention of wiping Israel off any road map (a goal that remains unchanged). These concessions would put Israel in grave peril from her enemies, which now possess more sophisticated and lethal weapons than they used in each of the previous wars.
In the past, Israel has said it would start implementing the "road map" only after Palestinians crack down on the militias. Terror got the Palestinians to the brink of their objective, so why would they give it up now when total victory seems so close? Hamas has said it intends to continue killing Israeli civilians, regardless of any agreements.
Many on the right in Israel and the United States hope the acceptance of the "road map" is merely a feint by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who should know better, given his experience in war and in politics. He has seen and heard the sermons, editorials from the Arab press, television programs, Palestinian textbooks and classroom videos, all of which express hatred of all things Jewish, Christian, Israeli and Western and uphold "martyrdom" as the highest "calling" of any and all Palestinians. Given such a history, why would any reasonable person not believe them?
A dangerous game is being played by the U.S. State Department, extending over several administrations. Ignoring, or downplaying, Palestinians terrorist acts and choosing to pressure Israel into making dangerous concessions (while accepting empty and unfulfilled promises from Israel's mortal enemies), American officials have laid the groundwork for Israel's destruction on the installment plan.
In his memoir, The White House Years, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger reveals how Washington ignores or minimizes evidence of Arab violations of peace agreements: "Israel, with her survival at stake, cannot afford to take chances . The nature of the Israelis' situation is bound to influence their interpretation of ambiguous events. We, on the other hand, have an incentive to minimize such evidence, since the consequences of finding violations are so unpleasant (emphasis mine).Violations force us to choose between doing something about them and thus risk the blowup of our initiative; or doing nothing and thus renege on our promises to Israel, posing the threat of her taking military action. Accordingly, we tend to lean over backwards to avoid the conclusion that the Arabs are violating the cease-fire unless the evidence is unambiguous." (p. 587)
That philosophy continues to be practiced and believed in this State Department.
In his autobiography Warrior, Ariel Sharon writes about peace: "A widely acceptable formula must somehow be found so that Israel can take the initiative in the peace process rather than be relegated to responding to the demands of others. Then, after we had the most nearly bipartisan approach that we could come up with, we should if possible attempt to get American support on substance. At that point, when our house is in order and our allies are with us, then we can approach the Arab nations" (p. 547-48)
Sharon adds that two prerequisites must be in place before progress can be made: "The first is that peace must be equally important to both sides, to Arabs as well as Jews .. The second prerequisite is that the peace process cannot be rushed." Sharon wrote that in 1989. Nothing has changed, except the "peace process" is being rushed and the "road map" has not been widely accepted. Other than that ..
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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