Jewish World Review April 4, 2003 / 2 Nisan, 5763
Road map, road kill
Israel might pay a heavy price for the Iraq war, but there's a chance it won't
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | The signs of an impending sellout are all too obvious. Statements coming out of Washington confirm the fears of many that the nightmare scenario envisioned by many friends of Israel in this country is about to become reality.
It goes something like this:
After American forces finish off Saddam Hussein's regime and begin their attempt to transform Iraq into the first moderate Arab democracy, the State Department will swing into action to revive the "peace process" between Israel and the Palestinians.
The American need to soothe the wounded pride of the Arab world and repair damage to our relations with Europe and the United Nations will lead to a revived focus on the Middle East "peace process," a phrase that can be loosely translated as the system by which the Jews are made to make concessions that endanger them in exchange for further Arab threats to Israel's existence.
The so-called "road map" put forward by the Diplomatic Quartet of the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia will then be presented to both the Palestinian Authority and to Israel.
The Palestinians will then be asked to increase their rather intangible efforts to halt terrorism and to make progress toward "reform" of their kleptocracy. This will lead to the setting of a date for the declaration of a Palestinian state with full sovereignty.
In the nightmare, the United States will lean heavily on Israel to pull back its forces and prepare to completely surrender strategic lands where hundreds of thousands of Jews live. Diplomatic strong-arm tactics to make the Israelis see that resistance is futile will follow. At the same time, in the same way that the Oslo accords were enforced before they went up in a cloud of Palestinian explosions, the monitoring of Palestinian "progress" will be a lot more lenient.
After that, a truncated Israel will be forced to cope with further Palestinian incursions and terror, not to mention a possible intifada from Arabs in the Galilee. In response to Israeli complaints that the road map has led to disaster, America will tell the Israelis to stop whining and make more concessions ...
Are you frightened yet?
The good news is that none of this has happened yet. The bad news is that given the pressure being exerted on this country by its British ally, it just might.
President Bush's seminal June 24 speech, which set forth a vision of peace based on the transformation of the P.A. and the ouster of Yasser Arafat, seems to be forgotten. Talk from British Prime Minister Tony Blair as well as Secretary of State Colin Powell and his coterie of appeasement-minded diplomats make the nightmare all too real.
NOT EVERYONE IN D.C. IS AN IDIOT
But is postwar catastrophe for Israel certain? The answer, despite the prophets of doom, is no.
Why not? First, don't assume that everybody in the administration is an idiot. Many at the National Security Council and the Department of Defense have been paying attention to the ties that have been clearly demonstrated between the Palestinians and Iraq. Syria's intervention in the war on behalf of the Iraqis and intention to use Hezbollah to destabilize any peace effort elsewhere is also undermining the "peace processors."
This administration is committed to changing the Arab world, not just appeasing it as its predecessors of both parties did. Blair's hopes notwithstanding, Palestinian treachery and terror will win them no friends even in the postwar push for peace.
So far, President Bush has been a man of his word. While he is on record in favor of a Palestinian state, he is also committed to a vision of democracy and real peace. He may actually insist that principles of his June 24 speech be upheld, which will torpedo a process based on Palestinian promises.
Second, don't underestimate the stupidity of the Palestinians. They could have had everything they could have asked for on a silver platter three years ago and rejected it because they wanted even more - all of Israel. Despite the noises about Abu Mazen's "moderation," he and the other killers in Ramallah haven't changed their stripes. It is more likely that they will embarrass any administration that emulates the efforts of Bill Clinton to accommodate them than it is likely that they will go along.
Saying "no" to suicidal concessions without setting off a war of words with Washington is a delicate art but the "bulldozer" may have mastered it. He can afford to keep his powder dry and wait for the Palestinians to mess up another opportunity.
Finally, don't underestimate the support for Israel among the American people. Bush got a taste of that last spring. He and his political guru Karl Rove haven't forgotten the full court press of Christian Evangelicals to lay off Israel at the height of Arafat's terror war. Nor will he willingly antagonize them or an energized American Jewish community that is more open to supporting him in 2004.
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