With all the attention on Arafat as well as on Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders who have fallen victim to Israel’s recently restarted policy of targeted killings, the Palestinian people have been lost in the mix. Used as political pawns by the rest of the Arab world for the past half-century, Palestinians live in a land dominated by thugs and terrorists and are surrounded by “refugee camps” that could have been replaced with real housing long ago if Arafat had not focused his efforts on diverting billions to his numbered bank accounts.
Much like the cab driver, the majority of Israelis in the shopping centers and cafes are sympathetic to the desire of Palestinians to have their own “normal life.” As one Israeli, who works with many leading government officials, noted, “We need to stop thinking in terms of punishing the Palestinian people and focus instead on punishing the leaders who (commit or allow) terrorism.”
The question of a Palestinian state is a vexing one, even in the best of circumstances. But if fundamental reform does not materialize, it is easy: a Palestinian state would be a terrorist state poised to emulate the Taliban’s Afghanistan.
The post-Oslo generation of Palestinians has been indoctrinated into Arafat’s culture of death—and deprived of marketable business skills normally taught in schools—positioning them for little else than a life of killing innocent Israelis.
It is a fundamental problem, one that the current leadership seems unlikely to solve. The so-called “moderate” Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, does not seem to believe that killing innocent Israelis is wrong. His stated reason for opposing suicide bombings is that they are “counterproductive.” But stopping new attacks is akin to taking two pills of aspirin after breaking your leg.
Under Arafat’s leadership, terrorists are given free reign and new terrorists are churned out faster than Hamas and Islamic Jihad can absorb them. Until the swamp is completely drained—something the “roadmap” does not mandate—Palestinian society will remain a permanent incubator for terrorism.
Israelis and Palestinians no doubt want peace, but the “roadmap” does not lead there.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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