Palestinians Still Play at Democracy Editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report (www. usnews.com) Mortimer B. Zuckerman writes in its Aug. 15 issue that these days, Israel is alone:
“Don’t look now, but the Middle East’s old diplomatic game of make-believe is back. The peace process is hopelessly deadlocked, but the key players pretend otherwise, hoping that wishing will make it so. There’s an old saying in the sands of Araby: ‘If you can’t manage to get control of the camel, at least get control of its saddle.’ Israel has control of neither.
“What everyone knows but doesn’t like to admit is that the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, have, once and for all, given in to the gunmen. Abbas pledged to establish ‘one authority, one law and one gun.’ He has failed on all counts.
When radicals threatened to break the cease-fire several weeks ago, he caved, freeing nine of their jailed gunmen. He caved again when the radicals threatened to kill Fatah supporters unless he released another terrorist who had been firing rockets in Gaza.
“When Israel gave the P.A. the names of militants involved in a February suicide bombing in a Tel Aviv nightclub, he caved again, arresting several, then releasing them. Instead of living up to his promise to keep tabs on a ‘Most Wanted’ list of 495 terrorists, he tried to slip many of them into the security forces, to legitimize and launder their possessions of arms so they could attack again.
“Now you have armed gangs playing pretend democracy. Gunmen of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade run Jenin. In Ramallah, dozens of wanted men, joined by 80 members of the presidential guard, opened fire in the courtyard of P.A. headquarters. In Tulkarm, another gang opened fire on the Palestinian governor’s building. In Gaza, Hamas fires scores of rockets and mortar shells at Israeli homes while Islamic Jihad defies the agreement for a ‘calm.’ “Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has taken a huge gamble with the Gaza withdrawal. But instead of playing weak, Sharon plays strong, determined to complete the disengagement. How sad that there is no comparable leader on the other side, someone with a vision of what a Palestinian state might be, and with the courage to save the P.A. from being a fig leaf for an increasingly anarchic terrorist state.”
Rice Says One Thing, Does Another — She’s Making Everyone ‘Meshuggah’!
Columnist Sidney Zion writes in the New York Daily News (www.nydailynews.com ) on Aug. 4 that pressure from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has Israelis wondering which side she is on:
“The Bush administration is demanding that Israel deliver arms and ammunition to the Palestinian Authority so it can fight the terrorists in its midst. This is meshuggah.
“Why meshuggah? Because the P.A. and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, have not only done nothing to harm, much less destroy, the terrorists; in fact, Abbas has invited them into his government, and hired 350 Hamas members in his police force. Hamas happens to be on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations.
“Why meshuggah? Because the Israeli government tried this before. After the Oslo peace agreement in 1993, the Labor government, under the late Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, armed the Palestinians, then led by Yasser Arafat.
“The result: the second intifada. Which brought the suicide bombings, the armed conflict. This was the first time the Palestinians were able to throw more than rocks at Israel.
“Against this history, comes now President Bush — ‘the best President Israel ever had’ — a view shared by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the American Jewish establishment.
Last week, his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, told Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to deliver major arms to the P.A. ‘Tomorrow afternoon.’
“When Mofaz said he’d need the approval of the Cabinet, she reportedly said, ‘Then I’ll give you two days.’ Mofaz: ‘I’m the minister of defense, I have other things to deal with.’ She said: ‘I’m the secretary of state, and I’m telling you this is important.’
“This exchange — like the rest of this story — did not show up in the U.S. media. It was in the Israeli daily Ma’ariv.
“A few days earlier, the left-wing Israeli paper Ha’aretz told a more chilling story about Rice’s meeting with Sharon at his ranch. There, despite her smiles, Condi ‘ranted and raved … was full of demands on Israel … twisted our arm … said we had to make all kinds of concessions to Abbas … she ticked us all off.’
“When I put these quotes to a close associate of Sharon, he said: ‘We think Condi has been influenced by the Arabists in the State Department.’
“But isn’t it meshuggah to believe she did this without the okay from Dubya? I asked. “He laughed and said, ‘No more meshuggah than the wild Middle East.’ ”
With Us or With the Terrorists? It’s Time for Saudis to Choose Sides
Think-tank scholar Frank J. Gaffney Jr. writes in the Washington Times (www.washingtontimes.com ) Aug. 2 that the Saudis are up to their old tricks:“Within days of the murderous Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, President Bush declared before a joint session of Congress: ‘Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.’
“Unfortunately, under the leadership of King Fahd (actual or nominal), Saudi Arabia demonstrated it was possible to be with us and with the terrorists. Far from being regarded as a hostile regime, the U.S. has described the Saudi government as a valued ‘partner’ in the war on terror, notwithstanding evidence that it continues to harbor and support terror around the world — including inside the U.S.
“Under Fahd, the Saudis perfected their double game: simultaneously being considered in Washington as a friend of America while behaving all over the world as a supporter and financier of America’s enemies.
“Far more important is the litany of things the Saudis have done — and continue doing — that encourage and enable terrorism against those who do not embrace the ideology of the Saudi Islamofascist cult known as Wahhabism.
“It is no small irony the new Saudi ambassador to the United States exemplifies his country’s double game on terrorism: Prince Turki al-Faisal. For roughly 25 years, Turki was in charge of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence operations. He was intimately familiar both with his country’s efforts to promote Wahhabism (including supporting Osama bin Laden’s operations in Afghanistan) and its counterterrorism cooperation with the United States.
“King Fahd’s death, mounting evidence of danger from ongoing Saudi support for terror and the appointment to Washington of one of the kingdom’s most experienced double-gamers should require Saudi Arabia to do what President Bush demanded years ago: The Saudis can no longer be with us and against us. They must be made to choose.”