On the Yahoo map Web site, there is an advisory: "When using any driving directions, or map, it is a good idea to do a reality check and make sure the road still exists .. "
That's good advice for the Bush administration's Middle East "road map " it vainly hopes will bring peace to that troubled region.
As reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and Israeli Radio on Dec. 22, the United States has given the third draft of the road map to the Palestinian Authority and asked for a response.
The document - composed by the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union (three of which have demonstrated their antipathy toward Israel) - contains a detailed plan for the establishment of a Palestinian state with transitional borders by the end of 2003 and final borders by the end of 2005. Implementation of the various stages of the plan depends on the parties' performance.
There is no reason to expect this road map will succeed when previous "peace agreements " requiring the signatories to live up to the documents they signed have failed. The Palestinian side broke every provision of the Oslo accords. They did nothing to stop terror attacks against Israeli civilians. They violated limitations on the number and types of arms, as well as the size of their "police force, " which now resembles a small army. While Israel relinquished territory it had held to bolster its security needs, the giving up of land did not bring Israel any closer to peace. It simply brought Israel's enemies closer to their repeatedly stated objective - to grab all the land and to make it free of Jews.
Why should the Palestinian Authority give up anything when it gets everything it wants by continuing to use terror? If Yasser Arafat does not comply with agreements he signs, the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union simply offer him new deals and apply pressure only on Israel to live up to their provisions.
Under the latest draft version of the road map, the anticipated Palestinian state will not have full sovereignty (a bow to Israel's concern that it would be more difficult to invade a sovereign state to repel terrorists), but "certain attributes of sovereignty. " This is like being partially pregnant. Once a Palestinian state is conceived, it will be nearly impossible to prevent its birth.
The draft calls on the Palestinian side to "dismantle " the terrorist infrastructure and also to "confront " anyone involved in terrorist activity. The Palestinians are also required to collect unauthorized weapons in the first stage of the plan's implementation. And in what may be the biggest howler of all, the latest draft calls on Arab countries to terminate any financial support for the terrorist organizations and for "all other forms of support for terrorism. " Shall we start with Saudi Arabia, which has just given more than $1 million to the PLO?
The fundamental flaw in the road map remains the belief that once the Palestinian side has a state of its own, it will be content to leave the state of Israel alone. The historical evidence and statements by Arafat and others give no reason to place any hope in such an outcome. Arafat has repeatedly pledged to take back Israel in its entirety, either all at once or piece by piece. That is the only pledge he can be relied upon to keep.
Comedian Dennis Miller recently summed things up for those who have difficulty understanding the problem: "Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a pack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, everyone will be pals. Really? But what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din of rabid blood oaths to drive every Jew into the sea? Oh, that? We were just kidding. "
As Yahoo warns, before using any map, it is a good idea to do a reality check and make sure the road still exists. For Israel, this road map leads not to peace but to destruction.