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

May 31, 2003

Let's hear talk of peace in Arabic, too

Charles Krauthammer suggests that the arabs must do more than merely talk about peace. Hate in their press must stop; actions should replace rhetoric.
[...]Moreover, the road map for peace, which the Palestinians say they have accepted, explicitly demands of the Palestinian leadership "sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure."

Abbas is talking very differently. His objective, he says, is to persuade the suicide bombing specialists -- Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- to accept a temporary cease-fire. This would be a disaster for any prospect of peace. It means that the terrorists who have been hunted down by Israel ever since it finally decided to strike back after the Passover Massacre of 2002 would receive immediate sanctuary -- time to rebuild, regroup, rearm and prepare for the next, more deadly orgy of violence.

If what Abbas means by peace is that the terrorists just lay low for a while, then it is not a peace of the brave but a peace of the knave. If that is what President Bush accepts as "peace," he not only will have betrayed Israel, he will have doomed American policy because he will have ratified a prescription for continued and much more bloody violence.

The requirements of a successful summit are clear. Abbas has to take real steps to curb terror. Let him begin in just one city. Israel will withdraw, but only if Abbas asserts authority and actually goes after the terrorists in that town. No revolving-door arrests. No temporary cease-fire. Nothing less than "sustained ... operations aimed at ... dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure."

And Abbas has to do something even simpler. Stop official Palestinian media from extolling suicide bombers. Stop official Palestinian media from referring to Israel as occupied territory. Talk about peace -- in Arabic, not just in English -- the way Anwar Sadat did 25 years ago. Israel reciprocated then; it will reciprocate now. Without such elemental steps by Abbas, however, no peace is possible -- and the new Bush peace initiative will amount to nothing more than Oslo redux.[more]