Left, Right & Center
Jewish World Review / January 5, 1998 / 7 Tevet, 5758
Connecting the dots to create a terrorist state
CONNECT THE DOTS to create a terrorist state. That's what Yasser Arafat hopes to do with the next Israeli redeployment from the West Bank. The Bobbsey twins of foreign-policy disaster, Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, would facilitate this dismal outcome.
The administration is insisting on a credible pull-back plan. Never mind that when Israel surrendered Hebron (Judaism's second holiest site) just a year ago, then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher assured Jerusalem that any future withdrawal would be at its discretion.
Now Clinton is pressuring Israel to give up at least a quarter of Judea and Samaria before final-stage negotiations even start. This would allow Arafat to link major Palestinian population areas already under his control, to give him a de facto nation.
So far, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is standing firm. The Jewish claim to the territories, which constitute Biblical Israel, is at least as good as the Arabs', Netanyahu rightly asserts. His government is in the process of drawing up a security map showing the minimum land it would have to keep to assure the survival of the Jewish state. (This will probably encompass the 144 West Bank settlements.)
The old Richard Widmark Korean War movie, Take The High Ground, comes to mind. Above the coastal plain that was pre-1967 Israel, the hills of Judea form a natural barrier to invasion. If Israel controls them, Arab armies would have to fight their way up 4,000 feet. From here, the Israeli Defense Force could spot and destroy Arab missiles in launch stage.
The invasions of 1948 and 1967 followed this route.
But the next war won't necessarily be a reprise of those conflicts. Arab armies are at least four times larger than they were 20 years ago and have acquired over $50 billion worth of advanced weapons since the end of the Gulf War. Thus, Israel's total withdrawal from the territories would be national suicide.
Albright also seeks a halt in Jewish settlements on the West Bank as a first step toward making the territories Judenrein.
The racism of this proposition aside, it's yet to be explained how the presence of 140,000 Jews among 2 million Palestinians is an obstacle to a settlement, but the 975,000 Arab citizens of Israel are no barrier to peace.
The administration is involved in a sickening charade. To demonstrate our evenhandedness (we're as tough with enemies as allies), Albright is asking Arafat to submit a detailed plan for curbing terrorism.
This maintains the fiction that, if the ex-terrorist chieftain hasn't done enough to stop the killings, it's for political reasons and a little prodding will put him on the proper course.
Arafat should trade his Nobel peace prize for an Oscar for best distorting actor. Behind the chicken-hawk smile lurks a vulture's heart. He has never ceased his propaganda war on Israel. At last month's Muslim summit in Tehran, he broadcast his latest lethal lie -- that Israel is planning to destroy Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque.
In recent months, his aides have accused the Israelis of spreading mad-cow disease in the territories and infecting Palestinian children with AIDS. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is allowed to march through Bethlehem, and the Iraqi flag flies in Hebron.
Arafat remains what he was during the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein's most loyal ally. (After our last confrontation with Baghdad, an editorial in one of Arafat's newspapers called Americans "the murderers of humanity and -- the bloodsuckers of the nations.") A Palestinian state would pose almost as much of a threat to our interests as it would to Israel's survival.
In a Dec. 16 speech to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in New York, Netanyahu cabinet member Limor Livnat noted that not only has Arafat refused to extradite known killers in his midst, but "23 Hamas members who murdered 21 Israelis serve in the Palestinian police force."
Livnat told the group: "Self-rule for the Palestinian Arabs, yes, but full-fledged statehood, no. Why? Because such a state will: redivide Jerusalem; destabilize Jordan; violate human rights and freedoms; uproot Jewish communities; encourage terror; and through all of the above threaten our existence."
It's time for the government of Israel to appeal over the heads of Clinton and Albright directly to Congress and the American people. This administration, with its love-beads foreign policy, must not be allowed to push Israel into the abyss of Palestinian statehood.
1/1/98: The Unacceptables of 1997: Long may they rave