" ... There have been suicide bombings, targeted assassinations, mortar attacks," said PBS's Gwen Ifill about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when she hosted the vice-presidential debate, "all of this continuing at a time when the United States seems absent in the peace-making process..." Absent?
President Bush became the first American president to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. He offered a "roadmap," which depended upon so-called confidence measures -- a euphemism for telling Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat to put a stop to terrorism against the Israelis. But the terrorism continued, and the White House quite properly allowed Ariel Sharon to take the necessary steps to defend his country.
Now, with Arafat's death, the chorus demands that the White House "seize the initiative" and "restart the peace process." Peace process? The resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict depends upon the following premise -- that the Palestinians accept Israel's right to exist.
Arafat -- despite public pronouncements to the contrary -- sought Israel's destruction. Yet former President Jimmy Carter called Arafat "a powerful human symbol and forceful advocate." President Jacques Chirac called him "a man of courage and conviction." A man of courage and conviction?
Former National Security Agency intelligence analyst James Welsh and I recently spoke about the legacy of Yasser Arafat. Welsh found Arafat's fingerprints all over the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. The NSA belatedly decoded a message from PLO terrorist group Abu Jihad to Arafat that the terrorists had left for Munich. Arafat's liaison officer for Romania led the PLO team that seized and killed the Israeli athletes.
"Arafat was not only a terrorist against the Israelis and others," says Welsh, "but against the United States." On March 2, 1973, Black September operatives, under the direct command of Yasser Arafat, assassinated U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel and his deputy, George Curtis Moore, in Khartoum, Sudan. Ion Mihai Pacapa, one of Arafat's Kremlin controllers and head of communist Romania's secret police before his 1978 defection, wrote in a Wall Street Journal article:
James Welsh . . . has told a number of U.S. journalists that the NSA had secretly intercepted the radio communications between Yasser Arafat and Abu Jihad during the PLO operation against the . . . embassy in Khartoum, including Arafat's order to kill Ambassador Noel. . . . In May 1973, during a private dinner with [Romanian dictator] Ceausescu, Arafat excitedly bragged about his Khartoum operation.