The prime minister's statement angered Israelis and comforted Palestinians.
What caused all the ruckus? According to the Associated Press, Prime Minister Tony Blair, in a radio interview, said the solution to Islamic terrorism turns on solving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. One slight problem. Blair never said it. The AP retracted the story, calling it "erroneously reported."
Here's the con: Murderous Arab extremism either results from, or will be solved by, the failure or success of "resolving" the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. Arab scholars, intellectuals, writers and politicians join with many Americans in reciting this nonsensical mantra. But do Palestinians and Arab Muslims honestly and truly want a two-state solution?
After all, Egypt and Jordan signed peace accords with Israel. And Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries do not abut Israel. Israel, of course, continues its territorial disputes with Syria and Lebanon, but much of the Arab world claims no land from Israel. So why do they care? The customary answer is that Muslims feel a keen solidarity with their Palestinian brothers, who reside in a "Holy Land" with "Holy sites," thus making Palestinian statehood a cause for Muslims everywhere.
Indeed, Judea Pearl, the father of murdered reporter Daniel Pearl, wrote about a mid-May World Economic Forum in Jordan. "According to The Economist," wrote Pearl, "speaker Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League, barked: 'Palestine!' every time Liz Cheney, an assistant secretary in the U.S. State Department, mentioned the vision of an 'Arab democratic spring.'"
When Pearl attended the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Qatar in mid-April, he wrote, "Strikingly, there was hardly a Muslim speaker who did not tie implementation of [Muslim] reforms to progress toward settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
But do they mean it?
At another East-West conference held during April in Malaysia, Pearl wrote, "[T]he Malaysian prime minister reportedly stated that Israel should cease to be 'an exclusively Jewish racist state,' and . . . the overwhelming majority of participants, representing 34 countries, demanded that Israel be dismantled."
Pearl also wrote about a Muslim Student Union meeting at University of California at Irvine titled "A World Without Israel," and quoted an Egyptian newspaper editor: "[T]he Egyptian people will never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli entity."