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A Blast of Fresh Air - How to Build on It?

Reader comment on item: Two Palestines, Anyone?

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Jun 19, 2007 at 13:45

Aside from a caveat (below), this is one of the very best columns Dan Pipes has written.

What a blast of fresh air after the almost universal and disheartening hand-wringing that can't conceive of anything but returning to a non-existent "peace process" despite being faced with total rejection by Hamas and hidden, dissimulating rejection by Fatah.

The delusional thinking in the US, Europe, and Israel that there IS a peace process remains, in my view, the worst obstacle to any long-term prospect of peace in the Israeli-Palestinian situation, and indeed between the West and the Moslem World in general.

Unfortunately this delusional thinking, which extends to so-called realists like Kissinger, Brezhinski, and Scowcroft - who all stood by the 'peace process' last Friday on the Charlie Rose Show - is the most important strategic ally of Hamas and all the violence-addicted Islamic extremists around the world.

I would argue that far more than the broad approval of indiscriminate Jihadist violence among the substantially impotent Moslem masses, this delusional thinking is the "sea" in which the fish of murderous violence swim (to borrow Mao's metaphor)

Although the elements of the Left who support the anti-Israeli "peace process" are permanently incapable of seeing this, wouldn't it be surprising if those on the Right who support the non-existent peace process suddenly understood how different the results of their activity are from what they intend. That it is their appeasement - and it deserves no better name - which is one of the strongest sustaining forces of Islamic extremism and anti-Westernism.

A new ally of Hamas is apt to be the humanitarian funds set to pour into the west Bank and perhaps Gaza too. If not limited strictly to in-kind food and medical supplies handled by apolitical third parties (if any such exist), all this aid will do is provide just enough sustenance to keep the population manageable and further radicalizable by Hamas and Fatah with their different tactics but same agenda.

I therefore, sadly, see little likelihood that "the idiot-savant 'peace processors' will note the trail of disasters their handiwork has achieved". It seems more likely that they will continue to ignore one of the simplest of diplomatic and political maxims - 'it takes two (or more) to make peace, while it takes only one to wage war and ongoing violence." For at least 40 yrs, since the immediate aftermath of the Six-day War, a huge chunk of Western opinion, on both the Left and Right, in Europe especially, but also in the United States and Israel, has refused to apply that maxim to Arab and Moslem attitudes and policies to Israel.

If that were not true, to take one powerful example, there would be a continuous demand from the West that all Moslem countries, especially those in any way regarded as "allies" of the West, immediately recognize and formally establish diplomatic relations with Israel. Since the absence of such recognition is a perfect incentive to terrorism, this would prove they are sincere in whatever opposition to terrorism they give mere words to.

Caveat - I think it was to just this rationalizing mindset, which unfortunately seems to hold the balance of power between Islamic supremacism and Western willingness to fight it ideologically as well as militarily, that Ariel Sharon felt he had to respond when he reluctantly decided to evacuate Gaza. By doing so, he achieved two goals - a strong uptick of goodwill for Israel, and a boost, which he may or may not have foreseen, of power to Hamas, i.e. in place of 40 years Arafatian dissimulation and pulling-the-wool-over-Western-eyes.

As Pipes says, the withdrawal of the Israeli army removed Gaza's one stabilizing element, which opened a window of opportunity for Hamas, due to the incompetence and corruption of Fatah and to the death of Arafat. (Maybe Arafat was "transcendentally evil", but I see him more as the wily and cynical manipulator of the "peace process" mindset in the West - that he lasted for 40 yrs was chiefly due to his mastery of that almost infinitely gullible mindset. His success was thus a feat for which the West should feel a great shame and embarrassment. Even with his 2000 rejection of the Camp David 'peace process', there is still no widespread recognition that there never was the slightest hope that he would lead his people to a genuine peace).

I therefore applaud Sharon for trying to put the onus of responsibility onto the Palestinian whirlpool of "leaders", where it has belonged at least since 1967, or 1947, or 1937, or 1920. It remains to be seen whether the dreadful "peace process" mindset will defeat what he partially accomplished.

Certainy this piece by Pipes has many powerful and common sense arguments against that mindset (minus the criticism of Sharon).

Ron Thompson

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