In a telephone interview, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told me, "Abbas doesn't have what it takes by himself" to stabilize the West Bank and that Jordan, along with Egypt, must serve as part of an "external scaffolding" in partnership with Israel to counter Hamas in the West Bank. Netanyahu opposes Olmert's prisoner release idea, saying, "This is a wrong, harmful message that will not strengthen the Palestinian Authority. It will only weaken it." In Washington meetings with Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Netanyahu said a division of the Jordanian military should be deployed in the West Bank in order to bring law and order to the area. Netanyahu described Palestinian society to me as "dysfunctional" and said something must be done to "control the mobs."
Israel has made man goodwill gestures, and after each one Israel has become more vulnerable. How about a goodwill gesture from the Palestinian side, such as foreswearing violence and living up to their promises?
What is wrong with Israel's leadership, and much of the leadership in the West, that it believes peace is only a matter of finding the right formula to satisfy the Palestinian side and the Arab states that seek Israel's destruction? Israel's enemies (who are mostly America's enemies, too) care nothing about goodwill, reciprocity, equality or a two-state solution to the turmoil. They want a one-state solution, which is the replacement of Israel with a Palestinian state.
Can anyone credibly argue otherwise? Is there any substance to such an argument, beyond wishful thinking?
Outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently appeared before the Parliament Liaison Committee. Though he was speaking of Iraq, his remarks could apply to the threat to Israel. Blair argued that the West needs to free itself of the habit of mind that believes the violence we see in Iraq and elsewhere is created by the United States, Great Britain, and Coalition forces. He said, "We think we are creating this problem; we are not creating it, it is being created for us."
Perhaps Blair should move to Israel and run for prime minister there. He gets it; Olmert doesn't.
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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