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Jewish World Review / Oct. 27, 1998 /7 Mar-Cheshvan, 5759

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas Clinton to Netanyahu: 'You're despicable'

NEWS REPORTS TELL OF PRESIDENT CLINTON, seeing a "possible peace agreement'' and its political dividends slipping away, saying to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "You're despicable.'' There is no record of Clinton or anyone else in this administration saying anything remotely offensive to Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat. That's because this administration continues to promote the fiction that only Israel is an impediment to "peace'' in the region.

Some Israeli leaders are consoled because the agreement seems to be front-loaded with compliance requirements in order for Arafat's Palestinian Authority to receive an additional 13 percent of land. But, like so much in the Middle East, the agreement's language is sometimes imprecise and may not necessarily lead to the conclusions claimed by the signatories.

For example, under "further redeployments,'' a committee is to be formed to discuss more pullbacks by Israeli soldiers. But Israel won't know in advance what the Palestinian security plan looks like because it will be developed by the Palestinian side and shared with the United States, after which immediate implementation is supposed to begin. Two terrorist groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have already promised to have no part of the agreement. Each says the "holy war'' against Israel will proceed.

The United States, not Israel, will monitor implementation of the Palestinian plan, and there is no indication in the agreement that any penalties will be assessed against the PA for failing to honor its promises.

Under Section II, the all-important (to Israel) statements about security, a U.S.-Palestinian committee will meet bi-weekly to review the steps being taken to eliminate terrorist cells and the support structure that plans, finances and abets terrorism. The PA is supposed to tell the United States all it is doing to outlaw any organizations that pose a terrorist threat to Israel.

As for illegal weapons held by the PA, the Palestinian side promises only to "insure an effective framework is in place to criminalize ... any importation, manufacturing or unlicensed sale or possession of firearms, ammunition or weapons in areas under Palestinian jurisdiction.'' What happens to weapons already held illegally in the region? It is also unclear what will be done if the PA seizes illegal weapons. All we get is diplomatic gibberish about establishing a "systematic program for the collection and appropriate handling of all such illegal items ....''

Recommendations are made concerning incitements to violence, but there is no indication whether they are binding, It is also not clear whether Israel will be allowed to exercise its right under the Oslo agreement to veto recruitment of specific Palestinians to the already too large police force (also in violation of Oslo), or if there will be a reduction of that force.

The signatories claim the agreement requires the PA to revoke the Palestine Liberation Organization Charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel. But language in the agreement is not that specific. Palestinian organizations, committees, "speakers'' and other entities -- that sound to have been democratically elected but have only been appointed -- will be convened. President Clinton will address them. Arafat pledges to "reaffirm (his) letter of 22 January 1998 to President Clinton concerning the nullification of the Palestinian National Charter provisions that are inconsistent with the letters exchanged between the PLO and the government of Israel on 9/10 September 1993.''

In those letters, Arafat promised to repeal sections of the charter calling for Israel's destruction, but no formal action was taken.

Writing in last Sunday's Jerusalem Post, former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens noted that the spirit of Camp David continues to haunt Israel. Arens said that by agreeing to the concept of "land for peace,'' Menachem Begin did something not done before in history: "the idea that the aggressor (Egypt) should recover whatever territory he lost as a result of his aggression.''

This piecemeal approach is not in the best interest of Israel. Perhaps Netanyahu should boldly propose an endgame that would include the final, non-negotiable borders for which he would settle. If the PA protests, this will confirm its unchanging objective for the complete destruction of the Jewish state. In that case, the world will know the identity of the real despicable party.


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8/27/98: Combating the terrorists among us
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8/14/98:Untruths, half-truths and anything but the truth
8/12/98: Lying under oath: past and present impeachable offenses
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4/19/98: Analyzing the birth of a possible new nation
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4/8/98: Judge Wright's wrong reasoning on sexual harassment
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3/31/98:Revenge of the children
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3/26/98: Moralist Gary Hart
3/23/98: CNN's century of (liberal) women
3/17/98: Dandy Dan
3/15/98: An imposed 'settlement' settles nothing
3/13/98: David Brock's Turnabout

©1998, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Inc.