The May 26th Wall Street Journal commentary “Message to Ariel Sharon,” by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, shouldn’t surprise. For Abbas is master at turning truth on its head.
Yet, it does surprise, for its audacity is breathtaking. He manages to write about all that Israel has “done” to the Palestinian people in recent years without acknowledging Palestinian culpability. As if Israel has undertaken “incursions and assassinations that led to widespread death and destruction,” construction of a security fence, and more simply for the pleasure of making the Palestinians suffer.
In good faith, Israel had pulled out of major population centers as part of Oslo agreements. It is the terrorism that sent Israel back in and has required a variety of defensive measures. No nation on earth would sit still for the sort of obscene violence that has been inflicted on the Israeli people, in particular since September 2000, when the second or Al-Aksa Intifada began. People sitting at a Passover seder, blown to bits. Women and children targeted – on one occasion a bus full of religious families who were returning from prayers at the Western Wall.
Never, ever, has Mr. Abbas disavowed terrorism for all future times. Never, ever, has he labeled it as morally reprehensible. On those rare occasions on which he has criticized terrorism to his own people (as versus criticizing it in English for western consumption), his rationale has been purely pragmatic: it has not served the goals of the people. Should it serve those goals, he would gladly revert to these tactics, and, indeed, like his mentor, Yasser Arafat, he holds fast to the terror option.
The “period of calm” to which Abbas refers is a tahdiyah, a temporary quiet that is intended to give time for rearming and strengthening towards the next bout of attacks. And even that ostensible quiet is no quiet, really: Palestinians carrying bombs for suicide attacks have been caught at checkpoints, and missiles have been lobbed at Jewish towns. Just last week, outgoing head of the Shin Bet (Israeli Secret Service), Avi Dichter, warned that Hamas has built an army of thousands in Gaza, modeled after Hezbollah. The Preventative Security services of the P.A. have taken no action against this. Rather, the way Mr. Abbas has dealt with terrorists is to invite them, first, to join the PLO, and then, the security forces. “The Third Intifada” is predicted after the Gaza pullout.
Mr. Abbas’s insistence that it is time to move to final status negotiations is breathtaking. The Road Map stipulates as a first order of business that terrorist infrastructure must be dismantled and incitement stopped. Until the P.A. complies with these stipulations, they have no grounds morally, legally or otherwise, to push for a state. The world is not in need of another rogue terrorist state, and there has been no solid demonstration that as currently constituted, the Palestinian Authority would be heading anything but. A textbook very recently published by the P.A. actively promotes “Jihad.” Another promulgates the notorious anti-Semitic forgery, Protocols of the Elders of Zion as truth. Just a few weeks ago, P.A. TV broadcast a sermon by one Sheik Ibrahim Mudayris in which he referred to Israel as a cancer and called for the extermination of all Jews.
As to blithe talk of the P.A. as a democracy, it must be said that one quasi-legitimate election does not of itself constitute democracy. Palestinian journalists have vociferously protested the interference and controls of the P.A. Additionally, Mr. Abbas, contravening their basic human rights, has signed death warrants for Palestinians found to be “collaborators” – meaning they helped the IDF locate known terrorists, the self-same terrorists that the P.A. was supposed to have been, but has not been, pursuing.
Israel longs deeply for peace. But a peace that is genuine. It cannot be secured via appeasement and pretense. It must be founded on solid actions; it requires vigilance and endurance. Those prepared to swallow whole Mr. Abbas’s falsehoods and promote a terrorist entity known as a Palestinian state are ill-serving the free-world. Such a state represents a clear danger to the existence of Israel, as well as to the goals of the U.S. in the Mid-East.
American born and bred, Arlene Kushner works in Jerusalem as an investigative journalist. Her work appears in such venues as National Review Online and Frontpagemag.com. Her book, Disclosed: Inside the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, written under the aegis of the Center for Near East Policy Research, has recently been released and can be secured from this site .