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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 20, 2003


The following commentary is provided by the Jerusalem Institute for Western Defense.

Since the so-called "road map" for PLO-Israel peace provides for a Palestinian state, it is by its very nature a reward for PLO, Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorism and will be regarded as such throughout the Arab world. Three anti-Israeli factors are engaged in its formulation. The European Community is motivated partly by the anti-Semitism raging there with an intensity unknown since the 1930s, partly by fear of Arab terrorism, and partly by the desire to score off the United States in the Middle East. Russia is anxious to assure itself the maximum possible share of Iraqi oil after the Saddam Hussein regime is displaced. It has signed very favorable agreements with Iraq in this matter and does not want a successor Government to disown them or the United States to press it to do so. The United Nations and its present Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, have an interest in satisfying the bloc of Moslem and African states dominating the UN General Assembly. It is doubtful whether Mr. Annan will take into consideration that many of the non-Moslem or partly Moslem African states act largely out of fear of Moslem violence and that UN support of Moslem claims will encourage them to continue to do so.

To what extent the United States will be ready to succumb to pressures from its partners in the "Quartet" after a war with Iraq may very well depend on developments during that war, as these will certainly affect the solidity of US superpower status for the better or for the worse. The amount of cooperation from the EU and Russia in the prosecution of the war is another potentially important factor. A quick and overwhelming US victory, especially if the EU (other than Britain) and Russia give only half-hearted support, would improve the chances that the "road map" might be abandoned or amended in Israel's favor. However, this is far from certain. The US State Department has been anti-Israeli since Israel was born (indeed, had President Truman heeded its advice, Israel would not have been born at all). And Moslem oil remains a powerful factor with Republican administrations no less than Democratic ones.