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

June 07, 2003

The same deception, the same delusion
By Israel Harel

The following is an absolutly amazing analysis by a veteran commentator for Ha'aretz. Wait to reach the end to savor the fact that such a analysis appears in Israel's equivalent of the NYT. The link to this piece appeared in a posting by Ted of post-Akaba comments. It is here posted in full because of the condensed significance of practically each and every one of its words, in the context of the publication in which they are "embedded". (All emphases are added):

"Even someone who hangs his hopes on the road map and the outcome of the Aqaba summit must admit that American President George W. Bush has given us an original and unique set of laws on the eve of our Festival of the Giving of the Torah - our book of laws. All the terrorists in the world can now look and learn how he who has sworn to fight terror is handing Palestinian terror its greatest achievement - a Palestinian state, the prize and reward for murdering many hundreds of Jews.

Furthermore, while Israel is finally attacking and the terrorists are busy mainly fleeing for their lives, the leader of the superpower that declared a merciless war against terror comes along and creates a political and psychological situation that will force Israel to stop its offensive before it is completed and will allow those murderers to reorganize anew.

"We must fight terror until it is destroyed," said Bush a short time ago. "We must not allow even the slightest of achievements." It turns out that there is his kind of terror - terror against the United States, which indeed must not be granted any achievements, and another kind of terror - terror against Jews, to which the Bush doctrine does not apply.

The American president wants a Palestinian state free of terror. But why should the Palestinians want this too? After all, they are forever grateful to the terrorists for their murderousness, which gained them a state. They will conclude that terror must be nurtured, certainly not suppressed, in order to accelerate the process of the establishment of a Palestinian state and a whip against Israel in preparation for further rounds of aggression.

Were it not for the distress of the Israeli leadership, and perhaps of the general public, the Americans would not have succeeded, perhaps would not even have tried, to impose the road map. After all, more than once Israel has repulsed American pressures, and quite successfully at that. But instead of the current Likud government learning from the late Menachem Begin, who rejected the Reagan plan in his time, this government is instead drawing inspiration from the early Oslo days.

Many of the things that are being said now about the "political process" are reminiscent of what was said and written by the architects and journalists of Oslo. It seems that nothing has been learned, including the "gestures." Even after what we have undergone in the past 31 months, the first gesture is the release of convicted prisoners with blood on their hands. As if nothing had happened, the same deception and the same delusion.

There is one significant difference: Oslo, at least initially, came after a period of calm. It was permissible to believe - despite the warnings of Ariel Sharon and a handful of incorrigible pessimists - that the Messiah was approaching. But to return, after close to 1,000 murder victims, to the same pattern of behavior, is pathological.

In any event, the speeches in Sharm and Aqaba will not result in peace. And not only because the warnings about attacks did not slacken and the incitement against Israel and the Jewish people continues, both in the Palestinian Authority and in the Arab countries. There will be no peace because even if Bush succeeds in forcing an agreement, the territory cannot support the two nations. The more residents there are - and the natural increase on the Arab side is greater than anywhere else in the world - the struggle between the Jews and Arabs over the same land will intensify, and not just the ideological dispute as to whom the land belongs. Even Bush's other vision, that there be no more periodic intifadas, will shatter on the rocks of the impossible reality.

Lasting peace, according to the terminology of the road map, will come only when the bull is grabbed by the horns; if a solution can be found to the main, although not the only, cause for the conflict between the Arabs and the Jews: the amount of land under the feet of both nations. The solution of two states for two nations on 26,000 square kilometers (10,400 square miles) - with just 5,500 square kilometers (2,200 square miles) for the Palestinians, if we withdraw to the June 4, 1967 lines - is ridiculous.

Only a generous land grant that would provide for the demographic increase of the Palestinians over time could, perhaps, alleviate the driving force behind a constant war. Such a grant could come only from the Arab states that participated in the Sharm meeting and which are rich in this resource: Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Without such a grant, no political arrangement will last."

(Does leave one breathless, does not it?).