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

June 06, 2003

The unilateral surrender of Israel continues

Charles Krauthammer

Let's be plain about what happened at Sharm el-Sheik. The president of the United States put his prestige on the line for the sake of Arab-Israeli peace and the Arab states gave him nothing. They refused to endorse Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. They spoke of their opposition to ``terrorism,'' even as they repeatedly present their own publics with the most elaborate intellectual and religious justifications of why the killing of Jews in ``Palestine'' is ``resistance'' and not terrorism.

They did not take a single concrete action, not even a gesture, toward Israel. Egypt did not offer to return its ambassador to Israel. The Saudis threatened a boycott if Israel was even invited. And most important, the Arab states refused what Bush most desperately wanted: explicit endorsement of the American view that Yasser Arafat's time had come and passed.

[...] Then on to the second summit at Aqaba. Here, Bush managed to extract enormous concessions from Israel. Ariel Sharon's speech was revolutionary. He explicitly recognized the legitimacy of a Palestinian state. He further recognized that the state would need to be ``contiguous,'' which instantly conceded to the Palestinians the overwhelming majority of the territories in the West Bank and Gaza. And even more painful for Sharon was his statement, largely overlooked, that ``no unilateral actions by any party can prejudge the outcome of our negotiations.'' ``Unilateral actions'' is Middle East-speak for settlements, which means that in drawing the final border between Israel and Palestine, Jewish settlements would be of no account.

This is a serious moving of the goalposts. What did Bush get out of Abbas? Did Abbas recognize Israel as a Jewish state? No. He refused to give up the Palestinian principle of ``return,'' which means eradicating Israel by flooding it with millions of Palestinian refugees (the overwhelming majority of whom, by the way, have never lived in Israel). [...]

What did Abbas offer? An end to terrorism. Fine. But until the lip service is carried out, this is nothing but a restatement of the famous letter from Arafat to Rabin--September 1993--in which he pledged that ``the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence.''

Abbas pledged there will be no more incitement of hatred against Israel-- another repetition of another Oslo pledge. The Palestinians then spent the next decade poisoning their children with the worst anti-Semitic propaganda since the Third Reich. More