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Jewish World Review June 8, 2000 / 5 Sivan, 5760

Mort Zuckerman

Mort Zuckerman
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Using hate against Israel -- HOPE in the Middle East peace process was a good breakfast but is today a poor supper. The hope in the Oslo agreements was that a new generation of Arabs, seeing dramatic progress, would deal with the Israelis as neighbors instead of throwing rocks. Seven years later, Israel has transferred to Palestinian control virtually all of Gaza and half of the West Bank. Some 99 percent of the Palestinians live under Yasser Arafat's authority. Yet the Arabs are raising a new generation of haters whose hostility is intensified by a fanatic Islamism that has become the staple of official propaganda and popular culture. If anything, the animus toward Israel has grown deeper.

The hope was that a new armed Arab police would maintain order. Instead, they aim their rifles at Israeli soldiers. The hope was that Israel's right to exist, recognized at Oslo, would be enduring. Instead, the Palestinians chose no less than the anniversary date of the founding of the State of Israel for yet another riot. Imagine what would happen if the Israelis, who lost 1 percent of their brethren during the 1948 war of independence (the equivalent of 2 million dead in America) celebrated their day of remembrance by beating up Arabs. The hope was that the peace process, with the prospect of regaining still more land, would constrain terrorism, but it continues to be tolerated, and even encouraged, by Arafat. The hope was that the Oslo accords would engender an atmosphere of trust and compromise. Instead, the Arabs have merely deferred, but never reduced, their demands.

Arab rantings.The Oslo agreements now have an air of falsity and deceit. How else to explain the unending litany of Arab and Palestinian hate, propagated in official newspapers and schools and from every public platform. At the end of the millennium they labeled Jews as "the disease of the century." They refer to them as "the seed of Satan." Pages could be filled with expressions of their demonization of Jews and Israel.

More recently, the Arabs now have indulged in Holocaust denial, claiming that the mass murder of the Jews was a myth. This, very simply, is an attack on the moral foundation of Israel. These rantings intensify Arab antisemitism in the minds of the next generation and give fresh impetus to the next wave of terrorists who seek to destroy Israel. A recent poll , with 1,600 respondents, by an Arab political scientist, found that Arabs, by a margin of more than 4 to 1, denied the Holocaust; rejected the idea of doing business with the Israelis, even after a total peace; rejected learning about Israel; and supported the attacks by Islamic groups against Israel. No wonder the Israelis fear that words of incitement are sure to be followed by acts of belligerence.

The Clinton administration responds to the Arab's incendiary rhetoric and treaty violations with humiliating silence. Instead of condemning the violence, and the threat of more violence, the Clinton administration uses Arab intransigence to put additional pressure on the Israelis to make even more concessions. There is not a single senior adviser to the president who argues against the pro-Arafat impulses in the administration. Ironically, they welcome to the White House and the State Department the very Arab Muslim organizations in America who support the most extreme positions against Israel.

Even when Israel was negotiating in good faith with Syria, and when the Palestinian police turned their guns against the Israelis, the Clinton administration pressured Israel to appease Arafat, instead of providing the political and moral support that Israel needs and deserves.

If there is to be a new peace agreement between the Arabs and the Jews, it must provide closure, not a cheap excuse for another round of maximum demands. It must be binding. The Palestinians must reject the notion that they can undo concessions and compromises once the balance of power changes.

The issues of Jerusalem and the Palestinian refugees cannot remain unresolved. Were all the territorial issues to be resolved, except for Jerusalem, Jerusalem itself would become the focal point for a future conflict–and a Jerusalem-centered conflict will become a religious war between the Jews and the Muslims.

The Israelis must insist on such a full agreement. They must be prepared to stand up to Arafat of necessity, and to the Clinton administration if necessary. The Israelis will have to live with the consequences of an agreement, long after the Clinton team has left the White House.

JWR contributor Mort Zuckerman is editor-in-chief and publisher of U.S. News and World Report. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


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© 2000, Mortimer Zuckerman