Published in The Jerusalem Post on March 9, 2003
The Organization of Islamic Conference held a hastily-called conference last week in the plush Ritz Carlton hotel in Doha, Qatar. Sort of a last ditch attempt by the Islamic world to avoid a war against Iraq. According to The New York Times, the following snippet sums up the level and quality of debate:
“Shut up, you monkey! Curse be upon your moustache, you traitor!”, said Izzat Ibrahim to Mohammed Sabah al Salem al Sabah. That’s the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council vice chairman speaking to the Kuwaiti minister of state for foreign affairs. “You hypocrite, you barbarian”, responded al Salem al Sabah. At which point, the Kuwaiti information minister, Sheikh Ahmed Fahd al Ahmed jumped up to defend his country by waving a miniature Kuwaiti flag. Then, pandemonium erupted. Deeply thoughtful debate, indeed.
It seems that the imminent American campaign against Iraq has *everybody* in the West, East and Arab world in wild disagreement, with moustache curses, flag waving and flag burning underway across the continents. On one matter, however, we have global consensus: that after Saddam goes, the next most important, urgent item on the international agenda is the establishment of a Palestinian state.
You would think that after taking down one terrorist state, the world would be less than eager to establish another one. Curiously, the opposite is true: those most anxious to see Saddam smashed – like Bush, Blair or Prime Minister Ariel Sharon — feel the need most to declare their commitment to the cause of Palestinian statehood. As if support for Palestinian statehood somehow provides a *hechsher* to their anti-Saddam stance.
Weighing in with intellectual support for such dangerous linkage in post-Saddam diplomacy is a roundtable of foreign policy has-beens convened last week by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and chaired by our dear friend Henry Siegman.
This is same Siegman who long-ago become a propagandist for Yasser Arafat, and who sits on a five million dollar grant from the EU to study “reform” of the Palestinian Authority. (You’ve done a wonderful job so far, Henry!) Joining him in the CFR Roundtable were our erstwhile pals Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, national security advisors in the Ford, Carter and Bush Sr. presidencies who never have had a good word to say about Israel; Robert Malley, the former Clinton administration NSC staffer who has been selling to the world a revisionist version of the failed Camp David summit (the collapse was Barak’s fault, not Arafat’s); and other frustrated old-school “experts” who once sang the praises of Oslo.
Their learned conclusion: the U.S. “should continue to encourage vigorously the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, yet without conditioning a resumption of the peace process on the replacement of particular individual” (i.e., Arafat).
Now listen to this convoluted reasoning: President Bush should spell out as soon as possible “an explicit description” and a “clearer vision” for this state, say the CFR wonks, because “only the credible promise of a Palestinian state will encourage an end to Palestinian terror”. How sweet. We know that the opposite is true; Arafat turned up the violence the minute Barak offered him a full-fledged state. Rewarding the Palestinians for their violence only guarantees more violence.
“There is no national security reason for the U.S. to delay such a (detailed Palestinian state) proposal”, wrote Brzezinski and Scowcroft in The Wall Street Journal upon publication of the Roundtable recommendations. They callously speak as is we hadn’t already tried Oslo and learned the hard way a lesson or two about Palestinian intentions.
A firm U.S. drive to establish a Palestinian state, Siegman and company add, “would also facilitate cooperation with the U.S. in its war on global terrorism and in its efforts to encourage the spread of democracy throughout the world”. Now that’s a warped twist we haven’t heard before! Countries around the world – meaning Arab and Moslem countries – supposedly will be more disposed towards democracy and fighting terrorism if the U.S. pushes for the establishment of a what will undoubtedly be an anti-democratic and pro-terror Arab state in the West Bank and Gaza. Huh?
Such shameful, detached-from-reality nonsense could be easily dismissed were it not for the fact that the august CFR was its peddler and purveyor. (At least the CFR is consistent: its *Foreign Affairs* journal thirty years ago published George Ball’s infamous essay “How to Save Israel in Spite of Herself”; along with the very first essays flogging Palestinian statehood). Disturbingly, the recommendations represent a broader global trend to disregard the Palestinian barbarity, treachery and malfeasance exposed over the past ten years.
Despite the clear danger to Israel, much of the Western establishment is prepared to foist upon us a “solution” that is both cancerous and wrong, cooked and prettified by people who do not have our best interests at heart – to say the least. Beware the day after Saddam.