May 8, 2003
Creation of Mini-Iraq Seen in Peace Plan
While the Bush administration has put an end to the Iraqi terrorist state, its "road map" will create a Palestinian Arab terrorist state -- a mini-Iraq. This will endanger Israel and undermine America's war against terrorism.
Granting statehood does not guarantee peace. Syria, Iran and North Korea are sovereign states. That hasn't made them peaceful. Giving the Palestinian Arabs a state won't make them peaceful, either.
The road map will create a "provisional" Palestinian Arab state this year, with permanent borders by 2005. To understand what kind of state it will be, consider the actions of the Palestinian Authority during the nine years since the signing of the Oslo accords.
The Palestinian Authority shelters terrorists (including killers of Americans), names streets and schools after them (including naming a square in Jenin after Ali al-Na'amani, the Iraqi suicide bomber who killed four GIs) and allows terrorists to keep their training camps and tens of thousands of weapons. And since October 2000, the Palestinian Authority itself has been ordering and financing most of the terrorism. That's why the Oslo accords failed -- because the Palestinian Arabs refused to give up terrorism and their goal of destroying Israel. It's inevitable that a Palestinian Arab state will be a terrorist state.
No wonder a recent poll found that by a margin of 71 percent-13 percent, Americans oppose creating a Palestinian Arab state, because they believe it will seek Israel's destruction. The claim that the new PA prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), is a moderate who will fight terrorism is a fantasy. Abbas has been Yasser Arafat's senior deputy since the 1960s, when he helped Arafat found the Fatah terrorist group.
Abbas declared on March 3 that "the intifada must continue, and it is the right of the Palestinian people to resist and use all possible means...." Abbas' statements that he "opposes terrorism" -- just like Arafat's similar statements -- are meaningless, because the Palestinian Arabs regard the murder of Israelis as "legitimate resistance" not terrorism.
In fact, in his first speech as prime minister, Abbas demanded that Israel release all imprisoned Arab terrorists. Abbas also is a Holocaust-denier who wrote a hate-filled book denying that the Nazis murdered 6 million Jews.
Supporters of the road map point out that it requires the Palestinian Authority to "undertake visible efforts on the ground" against terrorism. But "visible efforts" is a vague term that makes it all too likely that once again, the Palestinian Authority will be allowed to get away with revolving-door arrests and other phony gestures that give the appearance of fighting terrorism -- but only when the television cameras are turned on.
The road map does not require the Palestinian Authority to undertake specific, verifiable actions -- with deadlines -- such as outlawing terrorist groups, surrendering terrorists to Israel for prosecution or seizing all of the terrorists' weapons and turning them over to Israel.
The road map states that "the Quartet will meet regularly at senior levels to evaluate the parties' performance." Thus the job of determining if the Palestinian Arabs are complying will be in the hands of four parties that have been consistently hostile to Israel and sympathetic to the Palestinian Arabs: the European Union, the United Nations, Russia and the U.S. State Department. Would the United States ever consider allowing the European Union, the United Nations or Russia have a say in decisions affecting American national security?
Furthermore, the road map also imposes an un-American policy of ethnic discrimination. It halts Jewish construction in the disputed Judea-Samaria territories, while not limiting the much more widespread Arab construction in those areas.
The road map endangers Israel's control of its capital city, Jerusalem. It states that the goal of the plan is to "end the occupation that began in 1967," and the U.S. government has traditionally referred to the Old City section of Jerusalem (where the Western Wall and Temple Mount are located) as "occupied territory." It also requires the convening of an "international conference" that will deal with Jerusalem and other issues. At such a conference, Israel will be outnumbered by governments demanding Israeli surrender of parts of Jerusalem.
To make matters worse, the road map directly undermines Israel's ability to combat terrorists. It requires Israel to "end demolitions of the homes of Palestinian militants." The Israeli army has found that the policy of destroying the homes of Palestinian Arab terrorists -- which is fully sanctioned by Israel's highest court -- is an effective deterrent against terrorism.
The road map clearly endangers Israel. It would force Israel back to the indefensible 1967 borders, leaving it just nine miles wide at its midsection. A Palestinian Arab state would then be created next door -- a mini-Iraq based on a culture of hatred and violence that would be within easy striking distance of Israel's major cities and airports.
This would undermine America's war against terrorism by sending a message to terrorists everywhere that violence will reap political concessions. That's not the kind of message America should be sending at this crucial moment in the international war against terrorism.
Morton A. Klein is the national president of the Zionist Organization of America.