The Bush administration appears ready to make a serious foreign policy mistake at the moment it is trying to stamp out the evil of terrorism as practiced by Osama bin Laden and his followers.
According to numerous press reports, the administration has linked the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians with unrest in the entire region and is now said to be ready to back the creation of a Palestinian state. It apparently believes such a state will diminish unrest and brutality in a neighborhood that has known little else for the 2,000 years Israel did not exist as a nation-state and in the ensuing 53 years that it has.
President Bush also says he wants to move forward with full implementation of recommendations in the "Mitchell Report," the latest in a long series of peace formulas for the Middle East that contain the wrong ingredients and so are doomed to failure at the start.
The central and irreparable flaw in virtually all thinking about the Middle East is that what Israel does or does not do affects what her enemies do and do not do. From the Palestinian Charter, to the Arab press, to pronouncements and actions by the leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, it's plain to everyone who does not live in fantasyland that Israel's enemies mean to wipe her off the map and kill or expel every Jew from the land. (FYI: Israel does not appear on a single of her enemy's maps.) They say so. They've repeatedly tried to do so. Why won't U.S. leaders believe them? Creating a Palestinian state would not change this goal.
It isn't just American leaders who are so gullible. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres disagrees with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's reasonable demand that Arafat first halt all attacks on Israeli territory before peace negotiations can resume. Peres likened Sharon's position to an order by Israel's transportation department to stop all traffic accidents. This analogy fails by definition. An accident is "an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance." Palestinian terrorism is planned, deliberate, coordinated and has an objective.
News reports say Secretary of State Colin Powell, with President Bush's approval, was set to give a speech prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in which he would have held out the prospect of Palestinian statehood. The United States thinks such incentives will solve the problem. It's a childish approach. If Johnny doesn't like stringed beans, take them away and offer him squash. If he complains, give him peas. If he still won't eat, let him have dessert. For the Palestinians and the Arab world, Israel is dessert.
A central demand by Yasser Arafat for "peace" is a so-called "right of return" for "exiled" Palestinians. It's no secret (because Arafat and his band of brothers say so) that the "right of return" is nothing more than a strategy to flood Israel with people whose destiny is to eliminate the nation and exterminate the Jewish people. The Palestinian strategy has been not land for peace, but terror gets you land. With each uprising, Israel is forced to give, but the Palestinians give nothing except empty promises. Now they don't even have to do that. Appeasement is a one-way street.
Creation of a Palestinian state without ironclad guarantees that the Palestinians will make war no more on Israel is folly and madness. Such a plan is guaranteed to further destabilize the region and teach the enemies of Israel and the United States - who are the same - that terrorism works. For all the macho talk about ending evil and getting Osama bin Laden dead or alive, forcing Israel to surrender to those states and terror organizations which hate her will send a more important message than bin Laden's death or capture.
If Israel is forced by her "friend" to give more before she gets anything, the Jewish state and the Jewish people will be the last casualty of the Sept. 11 attack -- but they won't be the last casualty of terrorism. And the blame for that will rest on the United States.