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

May 10, 2003

Thanks a LOT, Mr. Secretary

By Stan Goodenough

News item: Secretary of State Colin Powell has let it be known that acts of terrorism against Israel will not be able to stop the implementation of the Road Map towards the creation of a Palestinian state.

According to the Secretary's statement, it is the position of the Bush administration that a Palestinian state will be established alongside Israel, even if suicide bombings, drive-by shootings, and other forms of terror continue unabated.

This stated official position of the United States government has effectively denied Israel any and all hope that by pursuing the international community's latest plan, true and lasting peace will come to pass.

It is bitterly ironic that the same words that rob Israel of this hope affirm the ambitions of statehood in the hearts of the Palestinian Arabs, for they now know they will receive a state - for the first time in history, and on lands belonging to another nation - whether they effectively stop terrorism against Israel or not.

The Road Map will therefore simply perpetuate the status quo, where all the PA has to do to end up with a state is continue the performance so tried and tested to date - issue statements condemning "all acts of terrorism" while Israel (sometimes) receives a day or two's grace to mourn its dead before being pushed to continue down this hopeless road.

The PA can issue such statements, even in the most sincere of tones, because it simply does not view as terrorism attacks on Jewish civilians in the context of its struggle for "liberation". At the same time the PA does call Israel's defensive measures acts of state terror.

In other words, as one analyst put it, the State Department has relieved the Palestinian leadership of any need to comply with its one main obligation under the Road Map:

Whether they stop the violence or not, the Palestinians will receive their state.

Ten years ago, the Oslo Accords were signed giving PLO leader Yasser Arafat possession of many of Israel's most precious national and security assets in exchange for his commitment to end all acts of terrorism and violence against the Jewish state.

Oslo also required Arafat - who claimed to be the indisputable leader of the Palestinian Arabs and was supported in his claim by world opinion - to ensure that no other groups in areas under his control could inflict terrorist aggression upon Israel.

The veteran terror chief was ensconced in power in an election that was anything but free and fair, and received tens of thousands of armed personnel with which to police his new domain, plus hundreds of millions of dollars to enable him to run his show as he had pledged to do.

The idea was that he would stabilize the areas under his control, remove the terror threat to Israel and prove that he was truly in command of his people, after which he would be given more land and more authority until eventually he had received a state of his own - a state that could and would live peacefully alongside Israel.

Jewish blood is the ink that has recorded Arafat's absolute failure to even try and keep his side of the deal. After being given control of Gaza and Jericho, he went on to take, one after the other, all the major towns in Judea and Samaria, until upwards of 97 percent of all Palestinian Arabs were no longer under Israeli jurisdiction but under his.

And all the while, Israeli intelligence reports revealed that Arafat was encouraging unceasing violence and terror, promoting Jew-hatred on his television station and in his newspapers, flashing green lights to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad to continue their attacks, and eventually unleashing his own Fatah Tanzim to kill and maim as many thousands of Jews as they could.

This failure to keep his side of the agreement has cost him nothing.

He has inflicted terrible casualties on the Jewish people - assuring himself ongoing strong popular support. The territories placed under his control during the interim phase of Oslo, territories that Israel had the right to take back, are now considered de facto the foundational blocks for his Palestinian state, and it is no longer permitted for Israel to retain them under its control.

In the eyes of his people, Arafat has taken everything from Israel to date, and given nothing in return. So stated Arafat's newly appointed prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), in an interview given just over a year ago when he said:

"There is another thing that we did in Oslo. We took the land without giving anything in return, and the final status issues [borders, refugees, settlements, Jerusalem] remained as they were."

Sharon insists that Israel will not carry out any of the steps required from it under the Road Map until there is a complete cessation in terror attacks by the Palestinians.

For all the notice Secretary of State Powell is taking of that condition, Sharon might as well be talking to the wall.