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

May 21, 2003

The solution is a no brainer

But the world refuses to acknowledge it.

Rachel Neuwirth is a Los Angeles based analyst on the board of directors of the West Coast Region of the American Jewish Congress and the chairperson of its Middle East committee. She writes
President Bush, in his speech of June 24, 2002, said: "There is simply no way to achieve peace until all parties fight terror." Obviously, we can't even contemplate the next step until terrorism is destroyed. In addition, the creation of a 23rd Arab state as the resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict ignores the potential that it will be a terrorist state; therefore, every means must be employed to insure that it is a democratic society, as president Bush enunciated. If not, Israel and the West will not be able to achieve victory over terrorism.

A "road map" that will create a Second Palestinian Arab State (the first is Jordan) can only be considered once the entire Arab world ends the culture of hatred and incitement that permeates their educational, religious and political spheres. Unfortunately, the "road map" just released does not detail the steps necessary to achieve peace in the Middle East. A new democratic state can never be created unless a people that is trustworthy and adhere to the rule of law and democratic principles are created first. Furthermore, sadly, the landscape of the potential Arab Palestinian State is infested with terrorist organizations, which state loud and clear that their ultimate goal is to destroy Israel.

The fact is that most Arab Palestinians still believe that terrorism and violence are the ways to achieve their goals. Under the newly appointed Palestinian Prime Minster, Abu Mazen, children continue to be taught hatred for Israel and the West, as well as that their ultimate goal is to become a shaeed (martyr). On official Palestinian Authority television, on May 4, 2003, the director of the PA Children's Aid Association, Mrs. Firial Hillis, was interviewed about the PA's education policies. The interviewer began with a reporter, Samir Shahin, describing the attitude of children at a PA school: "The children only wanted to leave [school] and throw stones at the Israeli soldiers, and to reach shahada, 'dying for Allah'. They aspired to shahada as a first priority."

The Palestinian-run Jerusalem Media & Communication Center's recent poll reported that only 15.2% of all Palestinian Arabs believe that a violence-free approach best serves Palestinian interests. The overwhelming majority of Arab Palestinians (65.3%) support continuing the violence against Israel; 60.5% support "military operations" inside Israel; and 68% endorse suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. An earlier poll recorded that 51% of Palestinians said the goal of the 20-month-old uprising should extend to "liberating all of historic Palestine," the territory that includes present-day Israel. Only 43% said they would be satisfied with the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, a.k.a. the West Bank. Furthermore, 79% expressed support for the revolt in some way.

Just 1.8% said they trusted Abu Mazen. The false premise on which the "road map" is based is reliance on the ability of Abu Mazen to enforce democratic reform and eliminate the terrorist infrastructure. Yet, it is crystal clear that if Abu Mazen tries to eliminate Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Brigades - Arab Palestinian terrorist organizations according to the United States - he may not survive.

President Bush, in his speech of June 24, 2002, also said: "I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror." Is it not true that the 'newly' appointed PA prime minister is compromised by terror? It was recently revealed that Abu Mazen financed the murder of 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics. In fact, Abu Mazen has been Yasser Arafat's Number Two since the PLO's founding in 1964 and, therefore, responsible for all of the suicide bombings and every terrorist incident that has occurred since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, and more. And terrorism continues; Abu Mazen has not been able to make the slightest impact towards stopping it.

It is tragic that President Bush's clear call to end terrorism first is being emasculated by the concept of the "Quartet," including Secretary Colin Powell's State Department, which rewards terrorism and has the potential to lay the blueprint for the destruction of Israel. If the goal is to end terrorism, then why did Secretary Powell go to Syria to meet with President Bashar Assad, whose regime is the chief supporter of terrorism now that the Taliban and Saddam Hussein have been ousted?

Any attempt by the Quartet or the State Department to enforce the "road map" only rewards those who perpetrate terrorism and is the ultimate act of appeasement. After showing such valiant leadership in the aftermath of 9/11, President Bush should insist on the precise implementation of the steps he outlined in his June 24th speech.

To do any less is to reverse all of the progress made so far.