Jewish World Review March 31, 2003 / 27 Adar II, 5763

Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Empowering a terroristocracy in the name of 'peace'? | In exchange for a withdrawal of US and British troops, Saddam Hussein sends word that he is prepared to share some of his power with a senior member of his Baathist inner circle. Instead of maintaining absolute control over the Iraqi state, Saddam agrees to name Tariq Aziz his official deputy. The job will carry some limited authority, such as the right to appoint cabinet members without Saddam's prior approval. But Aziz will hold office at Saddam's pleasure. He will not be in control of the country's foreign or military affairs, and the Iraqi security forces will continue to take their orders from Saddam.

Sound like a good deal? Like the kind of democratic "regime change" that George W. Bush and Tony Blair would gladly embrace? Of course it doesn't. Any arrangement that left Saddam or his henchmen in control would be an ignominious defeat for the allies and a shameful betrayal of the Iraqi people. Whatever else regime change in Baghdad entails, at a minimum it must sweep the dictator and his accomplices from power.

Why should it do any less in Ramallah?

In a signal address last June, Bush called for a radical transformation of the Palestinian Authority. "Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership," he said, vowing that the United States would not support statehood for the Palestinians until they had "new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror," and had built "a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty." It was a demand for regime change in all but name, and its meaning was crystal-clear: Yasser Arafat and his accomplices had to be swept from power.

Yet when Arafat recently named Mahmoud Abbas -- his longtime confederate in the Fatah and PLO terrorist organizations -- as the new Palestinian prime minister, the Bush administration was all smiles. "We respond favorably to it," beamed Secretary of State Colin Powell. "This, I think, is a positive step forward." National Security Assistant Condoleeza Rice said Abbas would be welcome at the White House. Neither seemed to care that Arafat remained firmly in place atop the Palestinian Authority, that Abbas's new powers would be sharply limited, or that a PA headed by Arafat and Abbas was the furthest thing imaginable from "new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror."

The press was upbeat, too. Abbas, reported Ibrahim Hazboun in a widely reprinted AP story, "is a veteran advocate of peace with Israel and the most outspoken critic of the 29-month-old uprising." A few days later, his colleague Karin Laub identified the new prime minister as a "pragmatist and moderate," describing his appointment as "the first real promise of ending the bloody Israeli-Palestinian deadlock."

But Abbas is no more a "moderate" than Tariq Aziz, and notwithstanding his reputation as an "advocate of peace," he calls openly for violence against Jews.

Stories about Abbas routinely mention that he is known by the nom de guerre "Abu Mazen." Few if any remark on the anomaly of a supposed peacemaker using a nom de guerre. Fewer still have noted that as recently as four weeks ago, Abbas made it clear that he does not support an end to the terror war against Israel.

Discussing the PLO's recent terror summit in Cairo with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Abbas told the Arab daily al-Sharq al-Awsat on March 3, "We didn't talk about a break in the armed struggle.... It is our right to resist. The intifada must continue and it is the right of the Palestinian people to resist and use all possible means." His only caveat was that terrorism should be confined to the disputed territories -- Gaza, the West Bank, and eastern Jerusalem. Such is the nature of Abbas's "moderation."

At Camp David in 2000, Abbas was among those who pressed Arafat to reject Israel's comprehensive peace proposal, notes political scientist Dan Schueftan, a former advisor to Yitzhak Rabin. Palestinians should have no regrets about refusing Israel's offer of 95 percent of the land, Abbas has since said, "because 95 percent is not 100 percent." He insists not only that Israel surrender every inch of land occupied in self-defense in 1967 -- including the Old City of Jerusalem and its Jewish holy sites -- but also that millions of Palestinians be given an unlimited right of immigration into Israel proper. Of course, that would spell the end of the Jewish state -- just what Fatah and the PLO have sought for 40 years.

In the 1980s, Abbas wrote a book suggesting that the Nazi Holocaust had been wildly exaggerated. Zionist propaganda had inflated the number of Jewish murder victims to 6 million, he claimed -- the true figure might well be "only a few hundred thousand." What's more, he wrote, the Nazi slaughter had been carried out with the help of Zionist leaders, who colluded in persecuting Europe's Jews in order to promote Jewish emigration to Palestine. Whether Abbas still believes these grotesqueries is unclear.

But this much is very clear: An inflexible radical who supports terrorism is neither a moderate nor an advocate of peace -- even if he does speak good English and wear well-tailored suits. A lifelong accomplice of Yasser Arafat is not an exemplar of democracy and tolerance. A Palestinian Authority ruled by the same aging terrorists who have ruled it from the start -- albeit with a slight shift of powers and portfolios -- is not a "new and different Palestinian leadership."

As the Afghans deserved better than Mullah Omar and his Taliban thugs, as Iraqis deserve better than Saddam and the Baathist SS, so the Palestinians deserve better than Arafat and Abbas. President Bush was firm on that point last June. This is no time to go wobbly.

Like this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

03/27/03: America the liberator
03/10/03: Changing the definition of marriage
03/07/03: Liberate Iraq -- even with unclean hands
03/03/03: Why talk radio tilts right
02/21/03: A boost for Saddam
02/10/03: On outing Kerry
02/06/03: The neverending voyage
02/03/03: This hasn't been a 'rush to war'
01/31/03: Killing the terror regimes
01/29/03: How not to win the war
01/24/03: The UN's moral irrelevance
01/22/03: Musings, random and otherwise
01/17/03: The Sharpton hypocrisy
01/13/03: The fig leaf of 'diversity'
01/10/03: Israeli restraint makes terrorism more likely
01/02/03: The double standard on political hate speech
12/30/02: Good for the spirit, good for the body
12/23/02: The college president who owes a greater duty to a fugitive serial killer than the public or to the law
12/20/02: The death penalty by the numbers
12/16/02: Yes, Virginia, there is (still) a liberal media bias
12/03/02: On the brink of regime change --- in Iran
11/27/02: Light's victory over darkness
11/25/02: A 'Republican' lesson from a Democratic convention
11/22/02: The slippery senator
11/18/02: The campus 'diversity' fraud
11/01/02: Saddam's shop of horrors
10/24/02: Musings, random and otherwise
10/17/02: Jimma's ignoble prize
10/14/02: New Jersey's bigot laureate
10/11/02: Today it is libs who are most likely to demand the silencing of speech they disapprove of
10/04/02: Learning English from Day 1
09/30/02: The world will follow us to war
09/27/02: The face of antisemitism
09/20/02: Starving time in Zimbabwe
09/14/02: Against moral confusion / 9-12-2002
09/03/02: With 'eternal friends' like these
08/30/02: Enriching survivors was a costly mistake
08/26/02: John Kerry's absent passion
08/23/02: Bonnie, get your gun
08/19/02: A screenwriter's remorse
07/29/02: The real abortion extremists
07/26/02: Another round of Kemp-Roth
07/19/02: Jews among Arabs, Arabs among Jews
07/15/02: Musings, random and otherwise
07/12/02: The new civil rights champions
07/03/02: Riding the rails
07/01/02: The prerequisite to peace
06/24/02: Frisking AlGore
06/17/02: Offense, not defense, is the key to homeland security
06/14/02: Looking at the horror
06/07/02: The cost of a death-penalty moratorium
06/03/02: Executing 'children,' and other death-penalty myths
05/29/02: A real threat?
05/24/02: The message in Arafat's headdress
05/20/02: (Mis)playing the popularity card
05/10/02: Outspoken, Muslim -- and moderate
05/10/02: The heroes in Castro's jails
05/06/02: The disappearing history term paper
05/03/02: Musings, random and otherwise
04/29/02: The canary in Europe's mine
04/15/02: Powell's crazy mission
04/12/02: The slavery reparations hustle
04/08/02: Peace at any price = war
03/26/02: Decency matters most, Caleb
03/22/02: The U.S. embargo and Cuba's future
03/19/02: The keepers of Cuba's conscience
03/15/02: A walk in Havana
02/26/02: Buchanan's lament
02/12/02: What 'peace' means to Arafat
02/05/02: Antismoking: Who pays?
02/01/02: Turn the Saudis
01/25/02: Making MLK cry
01/21/02: Ted to tax cut: Drop dead
01/18/02: Musings random and otherwise
01/14/02: An ultimatum to Saudi Arabia
01/11/02: Friendship, Saudi-style
01/07/02: Shakedown at Harvard
01/04/02: More guns, more safety
01/02/02: Smears and slanders from the Left
12/28/01: Congress gives to others -- and itself
12/24/01: The littlest peacemakers
12/20/01: How to condemn terror
12/18/01: Greenland once was
12/14/01: Parents who never said ''no''
12/11/01: Wit and (economic) wisdom
12/04/01: The war against Israel goes on
11/30/01: Tribunals, motorcycles -- and freedom
11/19/01: Friendship and the House of Saud
11/12/01: The Justice Department's unjust monopoly
11/09/01: Muslim, but not extremist
11/02/01: Too good for Oprah
10/29/01: Journalism and the 'neutrality fetish'
10/26/01: Derail these subsidies
10/22/01: Good and evil in the New York Times
10/15/01: Rush Limbaugh's ear
10/08/01: With allies like these
10/01/01: An unpardonable act
09/25/01: Speaking out against terror
09/21/01: What the terrorists saw
09/17/01: Calling evil by its name
09/13/01: Our enemies mean what they say
09/04/01: The real bigots
08/31/01: Shrugging at genocide
08/28/01: Big Brother's privacy -- or ours?
08/24/01: The mufti's message of hate
08/21/01: Remembering the 'Wall of Shame'
08/16/01: If I were the editor ...
08/14/01: If I were the Transportation Czar ...
08/10/01: Import quotas 'steel' from us all
08/07/01: Is gay "marriage" a threat?
08/03/01: A colorblind nominee
07/27/01: Eminent-domain tortures
07/24/01: On protecting the flag ... and drivers ... and immigrants
07/20/01: Dying for better mileage
07/17/01: Why Americans would rather drive
07/13/01: Do these cabbies look like bigots?
07/10/01: 'Defeated in the bedroom'
07/06/01: Who's white? Who's Hispanic? Who cares?
07/02/01: Big(oted) man on campus
06/29/01: Still appeasing China's dictators
06/21/01: Cuban liberty: A test for Bush
06/19/01: The feeble 'arguments' against capital punishment
06/12/01: What energy crisis?
06/08/01: A jewel in the crown of self-government
05/31/01: The settlement myth
05/25/01: An award JFK would have liked
05/22/01: No Internet taxes? No problem
05/18/01: Heather has five mommies (and a daddy)
05/15/01: An execution, not a lynching
05/11/01: Losing the common tongue
05/08/01: Olympics 2008: Say no to Beijing
05/04/01: Do welfare mothers a kindness: Make them work
05/01/01: Another man's child
04/24/01: Sharon should have said no
04/02/01: The Inhumane Society
03/30/01: To have a friend, Caleb, be a friend
03/27/01: Is Chief Wahoo racist?
03/22/01: Ending the Clinton appeasement
03/20/01: They're coming for you
03/16/01: Kennedy v. Kennedy
03/13/01: We should see McVeigh die
03/09/01: The Taliban's wrecking job
03/07/01: The No. 1 reason to cut taxes
03/02/01: A Harvard candidate's silence on free speech
02/27/01: A lesson from Birmingham jail
02/20/01: How Jimmy Carter got his good name back
02/15/01: Cashing in on the presidency
02/09/01: The debt for slavery -- and for freedom
02/06/01: The reparations calculation
02/01/01: The freedom not to say 'amen'
01/29/01: Chavez's 'hypocrisy': Take a closer look
01/26/01: Good-bye, good riddance
01/23/01: When everything changed (mostly for the better)
01/19/01: The real zealots
01/16/01: Pardon Clinton?
01/11/01: The fanaticism of Linda Chavez
01/09/01: When Jerusalem was divided
12/29/00 Liberal hate speech, 2000
12/15/00Does the Constitution expect poor children be condemned to lousy government schools?
12/08/00 Powell is wrong man to run State Department
12/05/00 The 'MCAS' teens give each other
12/01/00 Turning his back on the Vietnamese -- again
11/23/00 Why were the Pilgrims thankful?
11/21/00 The fruit of this 'peace process' is war
11/13/00 Unleashing the lawyers
11/17/00 Gore's mark on history
40 reasons to say NO to Gore

© 2002, Boston Globe