Real Obstacles to Middle East peace

Joel Mowbray

7/24/2003 12:00:00 AM - Joel Mowbray

As Israel moves to meet the requirements laid out for it under the so-called “roadmap” to peace, it does so alone.  Other key players, namely the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations, are up to their old tricks.

  Two recent events clearly illustrate the real obstacles to peace: a just-released report on the new textbooks used in Palestinian schools and the latest shenanigans of the UN Human Rights Commission under the leadership of a Libyan “judge.”  In each instance, Israel is demonized just as it was before the much-publicized efforts for “peace.”

  Palestinian schoolchildren are still learning that Israelis are brutal oppressors responsible for Palestinian suffering, according to a new study authored by the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP).  Because the Palestinian Authority (PA) has replaced roughly half of its textbooks since 2000, CMIP examined the new materials to determine how much change has actually occurred.  The answer: very little.

  The Jordanian and Egyptian texts that were replaced were infamous for their extreme anti-Semitism and glorification of violence.  The new textbooks, though, follow in their predecessors’ footsteps.  There continues to be no recognition of Israel’s legitimacy or right to exist.  The Oslo peace accords are still ignored.  And the current intifada--whose primary purpose has been the murder of innocent Israelis--is portrayed as the struggle for Palestinian “liberation.”

  Lest anyone dismiss CMIP’s findings as those produced by an organization with an axe to grind, the group has in past reports gone to great lengths to highlight positive changes in Palestinian educational materials.  After reporting encouraging patterns in 2001, CMIP wrote the following in its subsequent study that year about Palestinian textbooks: “The positive trends noted in the earlier report have, if anything, been strengthened.”

  Despite proclamations by new PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas that his side is making strides for peace, the textbooks clearly show otherwise.  The new materials were introduced in November 2002 and February 2003, months after President Bush’s June 24, 2002 speech that supposedly served as the basis of the “roadmap.”  If the leaders of the PA had any real intention of peacefully living side-by-side with a Jewish state of Israel, the indoctrination of Palestinian children would stop.  Immediately.  But it hasn’t.

  To this day, jihad and martyrdom are exalted.  Palestinian schoolchildren are taught not just to hate Jews, but to kill them.  Grooming young children to become human bombs is a means to an end--the end of Israel.

  The Palestinian textbooks make no bones about the real goal of the intifada.  Of all the maps in the materials examined by CMIP, not one had a country labeled “Israel”--the entire region is called “Palestine.” 

  Which gets to the core of the problem: the current PA leadership will never accept Israel.  And the Arab and European nations that have been funding Yasser Arafat and his long-running jihad are equally complicit.

  For further proof, look at the UN Human Rights Commission.  The Jewish state is facing the body this week over its alleged human rights abuses, a favorite topic of the international organization.  One-third of all UN human rights resolutions condemn Israel, the lone democracy in the region.

  Israel, it must be noted, is not perfect.  It does sometimes use heavy-handed tactics in the Palestinian territories--but they are in no way morally equivalent to the intentional murder of innocents by Palestinian terrorists.  Actually, the UN doesn’t see Palestinian terrorism as morally equal: it turns a blind eye to the slaughter of Jews.

  On the human rights panel sits Cuba, whose tyrannical dictator has terrorized his population for more than four decades.  And chairing the hearing is a representative of Moammar Gadhafi, the man behind the bombing of Pan Am flight 103.  And just as before, the European members will mostly side with the terrorists, not the democracy whose citizens--even its Arab ones--breathe freedom.

  Regardless of Israel’s improvements, the UN--which is one of the overseers of the “roadmap”--has maintained the same stance over the years.  The real problem, though, is not Israel’s actions, but Israel’s existence. 

  The UN will not stop condemning Israel until there is no Israel, or at least not a Jewish state of Israel.  And it will continue condoning Palestinian terrorism until that happens.