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

June 03, 2003

From the JPOST Editorial

If Bush wants to get anywhere with this, he must stop avoiding and accommodating Arab intransigence and deploy the moral clarity that has been his hallmark. He must call the Arab world to end the conflict it began, not in 1967, but in 1947, when it rejected the United Nation's partition of this land into "Arab" and "Jewish" states. Today, the issue is not Israelis who cannot utter the words "Palestinian state," but Arab leaders Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Mubarak who cannot utter the words "Jewish state." Like the defunct Cold War, the Arab-Israeli conflict is not symmetrical, but a matter of aggression and expansionism by one side and self-defense by the other. No non-Muslim nation has ever supported the Arab insistence that Israel is illegitimate, yet the West has continued to tiptoe around Arab aggression, rather than reject it head on.

Let us not delude ourselves. Peace will be produced not by diplomacy, but by an Arab decision to accept not only Israel's de facto existence, but its legitimacy as a Jewish state. Diplomacy that allows the Arab world to dodge this fundamental issue not only invites failure, but could actually set back the cause of peace.

At stake now is not only Arab-Israeli peace, but America's entire war against the terrorist network. Either the war in Iraq was a worthy but isolated purging of tyranny or, as Bush declared on the USS Abraham Lincoln, "a crucial advance in the campaign against terror."

What we see now is a US government that seems to have put Palestinian statehood at the top of its post-Iraq agenda. We are not against a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state, but if this cause is to be integrated into the war against terrorism, its focus must be changed.

The old myth was that the lack of a Palestinian state was what was preventing peace. The new realization should be that Arab acceptance of Israel's legitimacy is peace, and that statehood will be a byproduct of ending the attempt to drive Israel into the sea.