Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is behaving like a zealot. In her ever-more-rash pursuit of a Palestinian state, she is exhibiting the syndrome defined by the philosopher George Santana, as one who redoubles her efforts upon losing sight of the objective.
Let’s recall: The objective laid out by President Bush, when he decided in June 2002 to support the creation of a homeland for the Palestinian people, was to provide a stable, secure neighbor for Israel, committed to leaving peaceably with the Jewish State.
Mr. Bush explicitly preconditioned such support on: an end to Palestinian terror; a Palestinian leadership that was not tainted by ties to terrorism; and the elimination of the infrastructure in Palestinian areas that enables such behavior. After the 9/11 attacks, the United States was in the business of eliminating terrorist-sponsoring regimes, not creating them.
Now, however, it is crystal clear that the only outcome from Condi Rice’s idée fixe – namely that she will convene a Middle East peace conference at the U.S. Naval Academy for the purpose of extracting from Israel the territorial concessions needed rapidly to establish a Palestinian state – has nothing to do with the original Bush vision. Under present and foreseeable circumstances, the best that can be hoped for from such a meeting is failure. For success will result in a new safe-haven for terror that is a mortal threat not only for Israel, but for the United States, as well.
Unfortunately, even the failure of Condi’s Folly at Annapolis is likely to be a very bad outcome. To the extent that her actions are raising unwarranted expectations on the part of Palestinians and their Arab friends, past practice suggests it will translate into a pretext for new violence against Israel. That will be especially true if, as is also predictable, the Israelis are blamed for the outcome for not being sufficiently willing – in the face of Palestinian intractability – to make what are euphemistically called “painful” moves for peace. Another way to describe such moves are as reckless concessions that are certain to jeopardize Israel’s security, and quite possibly ours.
After all, it is only reasonable to expect the West Bank to follow the trajectory of the Gaza Strip and, before it, southern Lebanon – both of which Israel abandoned to her foes, only to have those territories become staging grounds for attacks on Israel and secure incubators for terror against us. Among those operating from such areas are Islamofascist terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the newest addition to the State Department’s list of such entities.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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