At last, an Obama administration official has come out in favor of a fence. He promises it will bring security to people on both sides of the border.
Unfortunately, Philip Gordon, National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf, was not speaking of a border fence between the United States and Mexico, but a fence between the West Bank and the 1967 Israeli border. That fence, he said, would be built after Israel relinquishes the territory in exchange for an empty promise of "peace" with the Palestinians.
Apparently Gordon hasn't noticed that missiles fly over fences. If anyone needs more proof that the land-for-peace formula was stillborn when first proposed, Gaza is the latest example. Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 ensured Hamas would establish a terrorist base from which it now fires missiles indiscriminately at Israeli cities.
Perhaps the most laughable part of Gordon's speech to the Ha'aretz Israel Conference for Peace was this line: "Israel should not take for granted the opportunity to negotiate that peace with (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas, who has shown time and again that he is committed to nonviolence and coexistence with Israel."
Not really. Among the region's great fictions is that Abbas is more moderate than Hamas and other militants. He may occasionally talk that way for Western consumption, but his intentions and words to his own people prove otherwise.
Last week in a Facebook posting, as reported by Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli research institute that studies Palestinian society, Ofir Gendelman the spokesman to the Arab media in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, asked Abbas in Arabic if he saw reconciliation with Hamas as a means to fight Israel. Gendelman's post included a cartoon of Hamas and Fatah fighters smiling, shaking hands and aiming rifles at an Israeli soldier. "To his question about uniting to fight Israel," writes PMW, "Fatah posted its answer" 'Yes, this is what we want.'" This is consistent with many other statements and also with what is being taught in Palestinian schools and carried by Palestinian media, which is controlled by Fatah, including the "joys" of martyrdom.
Palestinian leaders have no intention of agreeing to the Western "two-state" peace plan. A recent poll commissioned by The Washington Institute for Near East Policy found that 60 percent of Palestinian Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza have a "five-year national goal" of "reclaiming all of historic Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea."
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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