08/16/2005: About 13 years ago–in 1992–I got into a knock-down, drag-out argument with a pastor (Steve) and his wife (Kate) over the Palestinian-Israel conflict. Steve was somewhere in the middle, but his wife was rabidly anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. To her, the Israelis were wrong on everything, and nothing they did was justified.
I decided to ask her a question. “Kate…I have a question for you. Try to answer this as best as you can. Let’s say I am the Israeli Prime Minister. Let’s say I go to Yassir Arafat and try to negotiate. Let’s say I approach him with the olive branch: ‘Mr. Arafat…I’m sick and tired of the violence. I don’t want suicide bombers blowing my people up, and I’m sure you don’t want the IDF shooting your folks. Here’s what I propose. I’ll give you the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and most of Jerusalem. I’ll even take it a step farther: I’ll even support Palestinian statehood. And just as a showing of our good faith, I am willing to commit Israeli resources to help you build an economy and get off the ground.’ Now Kate…if the Israelis did that, do you honestly think that the terrorism would stop?” She couldn’t answer me.
As long as Yassir Arafat was running the show, I was right: no negotiated deal would work. Every time the Israelis gave away land, the terrorist attacks would only increase. The ensuing 13 years proved me correct. Israel gave the Palestinians almost everything they demanded, but the terrorism continued. Yassir Arafat–the most frequent foreign visitor of the Clinton White House–would talk peace in the United States, but would proclaim death and destruction of Israel at home.
Now, however, the prospects for peace have slightly increased. Yassir Arafat is either awaiting final judgment, roasting in hell, or copulating with 72 virgins. And Saddam Hussein–who funded the families of homicide bombers at the price of $25,000 per bomber–is out of the terror financing business. As a result, the terrorist attacks against Israelis have declined remarkably, and the new Palestinian government seems (at least on paper) willing to negotiate for peace and crack down on terrorists.
Ergo, the push to get the Israelis to give up Gaza.
Like Benjamin Netanyahu, I don’t like it. I would rather see the Palestinians make better headway in squashing Hamas and Islamic Jihadists before I gave them any land. After all the attacks since the Oslo Accords, it would be fair to expect the Palestinians show good faith before putting any peace deal in motion.
That said, the Israeli pullout will allow for the whole world to see–once and for all–if the Palestinians truly want peace. Now that Arafat is gone, the Palestinians can show the whole world what they really want.
If I had money to bet (I don’t) and if I were a gambler (I’m not), I’d wager that this whole peace deal is going to hit the dunghill at a very high velocity. Since the days of the Grand Mufti, the Palestinians have been taught hate by leaders who were sworn to Israel’s destruction. Their textbooks did not recognize the right of Israel to exist. Their mantra was, “Drive the Jews to the sea!”
Old habits die hard.
I hope this deal works out, however, as this would be good for everyone: Israelis, Arabs, and–yes–Americans.
We shall see.