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Jewish World Review April 4, 2003 / 2 Nisan, 5763

Jonathan Tobin

Jonathan Tobin
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Road map, road kill

Israel might pay a heavy price for the Iraq war, but there's a chance it won't | 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.


This scheme makes tangible demands for Israel to make concessions on its security, such as loosening the Israel Defense Force's grip on the territories and granting the terror-infested P.A. more power and control. Israel will freeze all building of any kind in Jewish communities there, setting the stage for further withdrawals.

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.

Let your voice be heard! To express your concerns about the administration's plan for the Holy Land, you may contact

President George W. Bush by fax: (202) 456-2461, (Andrew Card, Chief of Staff) or by e-mail.

Dr. Condoleeza Rice, National Security Advisor, FAX (202) 456-2883, PHONE (202) 456-9491

Mr. Elliot Abrams, the Director for Near East and North African Affairs, at FAX (202) 456-9120, and by phone through his secretary Joanna, (202) 456-9121

Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000 or by e-mail form:

Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, 1010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1010 or by e-mail form

Grading the Palestinians on a curve that would be the envy of any failing high school student, the same intelligence assets that will hold the Israelis up to scorn for every carport constructed in Efrat, wholesale Palestinian violations of the peace will be ignored.

Despite Yasser Arafat's continuing control of the terror and crime syndicate that we laughingly call the representative body of the Palestinian people, the ascendancy of Mahmoud Abbas - aka "Abu Mazen the Holocaust denier" - to the position of P.A. prime minister will enable the United States to pretend that democracy, peace and goodness reigns in Ramallah.

The next step will be to force Israel to accept a virtual rerun of the same failed peace proposal that Ehud Barak offered to Arafat in July of 2000: half of Jerusalem, and all of Judea and Samaria in exchange for peace. If the Israeli government refuses, then the United States will employ all of its post-Iraq war victory prestige to force it to its knees. With the willing assistance of left-wing American Jews, Ariel Sharon, who won the last two Israeli elections in landslides, will be forced out in favor of someone who will do Washington's bidding.

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.


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.

Third, don't underestimate the will of the Israelis. To the dismay of the Jewish right, Sharon has rightly decided to avoid open confrontations with Washington over theoretical concessions. That astuteness will stand him in good stead in the delicate days ahead.

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.

Victory in Iraq may bring peril for Israel. But those who assume the worst aren't necessarily right. Though it looks like the Quartet juggernaut may turn the Israelis into road kill, a lot can happen to derail that collision before it happens.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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