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From the President's Desk...

A Look at President Bush's Conflicting Policy Toward Israel and the PLO

President George W. Bush should be scolded for his speech to the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly where he told his audience that the United States (U.S.) supports the formation of a Palestinian state.Tragically, Israel is being exploited by the Bush Administration to bolster Arab and Muslim support for the U.S.-led war against terrorism.According to certain reports, U.S. officials stated that the Presidentís original draft of his speech to the United Nations General Assembly was to have dealt exclusively with the U.S.-led war against terrorism.However, he revised his speech to include Washingtonís support of a Palestinian state as a solution to the Arab-Jewish conflict after being pressured to do so by Saudi Arabia.Such actions put Israelís security at risk, an act that could eventually lead to the destabilization of the region.  

When Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat addressed the U.N. General Assembly on November 11, 2001, he continued to spin old lies that the current violence is Israelís fault.Arafatís actions were diametrically opposed to the perceived basis of the Oslo Accord which showed mutual recognition of Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).This meant that there would be a legitimate right of existence by the National Palestinian Movement and the recognition of Israel as the Jewish state.

This conflict of words between Israel and the PLO was not new.At a U.S.-sponsored summit in the summer of 2000, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat a state built on about 95 percent of the West Bank and a portion of Jerusalem including Judaismís most sacred site part of the Temple Mount.The negotiations broke down when Arafat refused the offer.And, despite far-reaching concessions offered by Barak, Yasser Arafat caused the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada and opted for low-intensity warfare to pressure Israel into more concessions.

Sadly, Oslo has brought the nation of Israel to the brink of war rather than peace and has severely worsened its security, politics and international position. In comparison to the entire decade prior to the agreement,though tragic is the fact that the Oslo Accord was to bring peace to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the agreement has caused more Israelis to be murdered by Palestinian terrorists since the September 1993 signing.

If one reflects on the past prior to 1993, suicide bombings were not even imaged.Regular armed Palestinian forces were not at a walking distance from Israelís towns and military bases.And, Yasser Arafat was an international outcast, boycotted in the Arab world for supporting Suddam Hussein in the Gulf War.

Though Arafat says he wants peace, he continues to embrace terrorist groups like the Hezbollah (Party of God) and Hamas.Furthermore, on the weekend of October 27-28, 2001, Arafat declared to the Palestine General Confederation of Trade Unions in Gazathat Palestinian men, women, and children would fight until Judgment Day when the Palestinians take over Jerusalem as their capitol.

Palestinians and other Arabs were emboldened by further Israeli concessions as a result of Barakís appeasement policy.Israeli restraint was interpreted as weakness when Barakís unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000 was perceived as a victory for the strategy of violence employed by the radical Lebanese Hezbollah.

The Bush Administration tends to treat both Israel, a long-time ally to the U.S. and only democracy in the region, and Arafatís Palestinian forces, that have been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks against Israelís citizens in its obsession to advance the peace process, as equal.There is a moral issue that is overlooked in that Yasser Arafat is a terrorist just like Osama Bin Laden and should be treated as such.Would President Bush like it if Israel forced the U.S. into a peace process, with Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban that support and give refuge to the al-Qaeda terrorist network that attacked U.S. interests towards this nation?How would the U.S. have responded if Israel had asked the U.S. to show restraint after September 11, 2001?By supporting Arafatís Palestinian state, the U.S. is helping hold hostage millions of Israelis to the tyranny and oppression of the militant Palestinian terrorists.

The primary obstacle to peace is not Israel but the continued Palestinian terrorism.Israel should remain reluctant to rush into a new agreement that will entail considerable Israeli concessions of land in return for unreliable Palestinian promises of security cooperation given the long failed record of Palestinian violations of past agreements.

Palestinian terrorism, not Israelís understandable reluctance to surrender more territory that could be used to launch terrorist attacks is the chief obstacle to the stabilization of Arab-Israeli peace.Only if the Palestinian Authority complies fully with its past agreement can a final settlement of the Arab-Palestinian conflict be reached.Every time the two sides reach a negotiating impasse, the Bush Administration should resist the temptation to leap into diplomatic action.As the parties become increasingly dependent on American intervention, this ultimately retards the negotiating process.The U.S. cannot impose a solution between these two groups but must assist them to reach a durable agreement.

This change in American policy will be viewed as a success for terrorism by Islamic fundamentalism and will set a dangerous precedent and could lead to unintended consequences that are hard to reverse and result in shifting policies in a combustible region of the world.

It makes no sense for the Bush Administration to add a new terrorist state to the Middle East when the U.S. is already fighting a worldwide battle against terrorism.It appears at this time that the formation of a Palestinian state is not in the best interest of the U.S. .For example, if one looks at the PLOís past, it suggests that the Palestinian state would have bolstered Saddam Hussein, aligned itself with Iran, threatened Kuwait and other Persian Gulf Sheikhdoms, become a prime training area for international terrorists, provided another Middle East platform for Russia and China, been the most corrupt and oppressive regime in the region, and used its initial territory as a spring board to establish a neo-terrorist state from Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel is responsible for the safety of its citizens, just like the U.S., and must act accordingly to protect its people.The Bush Administration should regard Israel as a strategic partner and should rethink its position toward them.Washington cannot force nor ask Israel to accept a plan that would make possible and legitimize the creation of a new terrorist-sponsoring regime, all in the vast hope that in doing so it will somehow help the U.S. fight international terrorism.The U.S. cannot formulate effective Middle East policy until it realizes that the Arab world seeks the eventual destruction of Israel.

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