Name one concession Israel has made in recent years that has been reciprocated by its sworn enemies. This is not a trick question. There are none.
That’s why next month’s announced “Middle East Summit” in Annapolis, Md., should be viewed as one more installment payment in the sellout of Israel and of American interests in the Middle East. While the United States continues to struggle to shore up democracy in Iraq, the Bush administration — like administrations before it — proceeds in undermining the likelihood that the region’s first democracy will endure.
At every negotiating session, Israel is pressured into making concessions for “peace” and receives more war in response. Mostly this is because of the wishful thinking in the West that has replaced sound policy. Why should the Palestinians make concessions when they are drawing closer to their objective of eradicating Israel by throwing stones and bombs and stonewalling negotiations?
In an address to the Israeli Knesset, President Shimon Peres reaffirmed the flaw in Western thinking: “…even if there are some who express doubt at the ability of the Palestinians to achieve peace, the impression must not be created that Israel has doubts regarding the need and the willingness to achieve full peace.” So it’s not about hard bargaining resulting in the preservation of Israel with defensible borders and the cessation of terrorist attacks, it’s about “impressions”? No wonder Israel’s enemies are emboldened as never before.
While details of a “joint declaration” by Israel and the Palestinians on a final status agreement remain secret, some information has leaked. One report has Prime Minister Ehud Olmert preparing to divide Jerusalem by allowing Arab East Jerusalem to come under Palestinian control. The holy sites, now administered by Israel and open to all (which was not the case when Jordan controlled East Jerusalem prior to 1967), would be internationalized. For 40 years, Israel has provided security for the holy places. It is doubtful an international force would do as good a job protecting these sites from terrorists (think the Taliban and the destruction of ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan and regular attacks on Christians, their churches and schools in heavily Muslim nations).
According to one report, “the drafters are planning to call for a withdrawal by Israel to the 1967 lines,” thus making Israel more vulnerable than ever to heavily armed Arab states and Palestinian enemies and leaving it completely exposed to infiltration from the East. Does anyone doubt such infiltration would not occur? Would the United States come to the aid of Israel should it again be invaded? Probably not since that might hurt our “image” in the Arab world.
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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