That famous handshake on September 13, 1993. When I close my eyes, I can still see the “reformed” terrorist Arafat, grasping the palm of Prime Minister Rabin. I remember saying the Shehechayanu prayer, thanking God for keeping me alive and letting me see this glorious day. The whole world was full of optimism—Even the usually dour Warren Christopher Secretary of State, stepped up to the microphone to gloat, saying that the impossible was now possible.
Many of us (including me) let ourselves believe that 45 years of attacks against Israel were over; peace was finally within arms reach. Once the agreement with the Palestinians was finalized, there was no excuse remaining; the other Arab nations had to fall into line.
Fourteen years later the promise Oslo is a word invokes makes me ill. Rabin is dead, the peace process has been replaced by homicide bombers and quassam rockets, anti-Semitism is once again in-vogue within “polite”European circles, and the word terrorism is no longer used to describe Jewish children being killed in Israel. For those of us with our eyes open, the optimism of September 13, 1993 is gone, replaced by a foreboding, a sense of isolation, that the whole world is against the Jewish people. And that we are going through it all over again.
Israel is once again making one-sided concessions to a terrorist who doesn’t want peace, being prodded by a US Secretary of State who just doesn’t get it.
“Peace” Train Going Off Track By P. David Hornik FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, October 18, 2007 Condoleezza Rice is here again this week, this time shuttling from Jerusalem to Ramallah to Cairo in her obsessive chase after a chimera of formal peace between a tired democracy whose paramount yearning is that its sons should no longer have to be soldiers, and Muslims who regard this Jewish democracy’s existence as an affront to their deepest values and even to God. The Jerusalem Post, which regularly pronounces itself in favor of a “two-state solution,” noted in an editorial Tuesday that “While Palestinian leaders have repeatedly claimed to recognize Israel’s right to exist, they have never uttered the words ‘Jewish state.’” In other words, since 1992 Israel, heavily urged on by the United States, has been pursuing a purported peace process with leaders—whether the openly brutal Yasser Arafat or the sedate, nicely dressed Mahmoud Abbas—who cannot bring themselves to utter that phrase. A decade and a half ago, the pronouncement of “right to exist” without “Jewish state” was enough for Israel to set up, finance, and arm a Palestinian entity on land impinging on its population centers. Since then that entity has murdered over 1500 Israelis, mostly civilians, in terror attacks while injuring and traumatizing many thousands more—including, at this moment, the ongoing battery and traumatization of the Gaza-bordering town of Sderot with its twenty thousand residents. Some Israelis, though, would still be willing to attribute great significance to the pronouncement of “Jewish state” by an almost-powerless leader without first requiring a transformation of Palestinian society from values of Jew-hatred and Israel-negation to values of peace and pluralism. As the Post puts it: If, however, Abbas is willing to formally recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and to abandon the demand for the demographic influx [of “refugees”] that would negate it, the path to substantive progress would be opened. But even with all this dangling before him, Abbas still doesn’t take the bait. During Rice’s press conference with him in Ramallah on Monday, Rice “urged Israel and the Palestinians to agree on how and when to start formal peace talks.” Abbas, though, “responded by saying Israel would have to make concessions in order to do so.” In other words—first concessions, then peace talks. As for the concessions Abbas demanded—without yet having said “Jewish state”—they reportedly include the withdrawal of Israel Defense Forces to the lines of September 28, 2000, before the second intifada erupted, the evacuation of settlements, the reopening of Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem and the release of all Palestinian prisoners. He added that Israel must allow 13 militants it exiled in 2002 to return to the West Bank. No report anywhere says that Rice finally started to wonder if this man really wants peace or is worth such obsessive supplication by a superpower and leader of the Free World. Those “13 militants,” for example, were among the most senior of the terrorists who holed themselves up for weeks in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002, during which they used the Bible as toilet paper among other desecrations. The 13 incurred the rather light punishment of being deported abroad—but now Abbas wants them back in the Palestinian Authority as a condition for beginning the “peace talks.” Rice, though, instead of having any known misgivings about this whole endeavor, shuttled off to Cairo where Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit gave her more of the same, “warning the summit may be postponed unless a substantive agreement can be reached beforehand.” Gheit also accused Israel—that disliked entity—of “trying to undermine U.S. efforts to achieve a real peace agreement between the two sides” and said in a statement that “Without addressing these attempts, then we have to seriously think of postponing the conference to another appropriate time.” As the conference approaches, the Arab atmosphere of bullying and threats is intensifying. Ahmed Qurei—a former PA prime minister and currently head of the Palestinian negotiating team—didn’t mince words just last Thursday when he said, “If the talks fail, we can expect a third and much more severe intifada.” Out of respect for the horrendous toll in blood brought on by previous Israeli-Palestinian “peace” events at the White House in September 1993 and at Camp David in summer 2000, Rice should take his words seriously and end the Annapolis preparations before another disaster ensues.