A Palestinian state without proof that Palestinian intentions have changed would assure an unprecedented base for terrorism that currently does not exist. It would be a threat not only to the entire Middle East and U.S. objectives to democratize the region, but to the United States itself. Such a nation-state would serve as a breeding ground and launching pad for terrorism worldwide. As a sovereign nation, a Palestinian state would be difficult for the United States and the toothless United Nations to control as it exports terror throughout the world. The Palestinian Authority (PA) already is the largest anti-American terrorist entity and enjoys diplomatic protection from much of the world. Imagine what it would be like as a full-fledged state, absent a change in purpose and direction. These people are playing for keeps because they claim a mandate from their "god." "Infidel" diplomats are not likely to deter such fanatics from their divinely ordained rounds.
President Bush is right in his assertion that the United States is fighting a war with worldwide terrorism. The Palestinian Authority is part of that war. The PA's allies have included Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein (whom Yasser Arafat praised for sending Scud missiles into Israel during the Persian Gulf War), the late Ayatollah Khomeini and other rogue nations in the region and beyond. Ideological mentors of the PA allied themselves with the Nazis and their goal of exterminating Jews (a goal that remains unchanged if one considers sermons, Palestinian TV and textbooks that are training a new generation of haters and terrorists). Arafat was trained by the Soviet Union's KGB.
Any progress toward peace and stability in the Middle East begins with abandoning the fantasy that what America and Israel do or don't do affects the actions and goals of Arafat and company. Anti-democratic forces understand only two things - power and resolve. A memo recently seized in a coalition raid in Iraq proves the point. It indicates growing frustration by Al Qaeda operatives in Iraq at America's resolve to remain in Baghdad until the stated objectives of free elections and a stable society are achieved.
Such resolve - and not unilateral measures by Israel and the West, or "confidence-building acts" - is more likely to protect American and Israeli interests and create conditions under which Palestinians and Israelis can have better lives - together.
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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