Priorities: Israel and Iraq
Under the Oslo Accords, the Government of Israel agreed that the Palestinian Authority would be responsible not only for policing its own people, but for ensuring the security of the Israeli people–an abdication of the fundamental responsibility of any government. As a philosophical matter, it was never clear why the Palestinian army was expected to use its newly acquired weapons to kill its brothers on behalf of its enemies. As a practical matter, it didn’t do it.
Under the Oslo Accords, the Government of Israel agreed that the Palestinian Authority would be responsible not only for policing its own people, but for ensuring the security of the Israeli people–an abdication of the fundamental responsibility of any government. As a philosophical matter, it was never clear why the Palestinian army was expected to use its newly acquired weapons to kill its brothers on behalf of its enemies. As a practical matter, it didn’t do it. After the horrific month of March 2002, culminating in the Passover Seder Massacre, Israel re-entered PA areas and took on the job of dismantling the terrorist infrastructure in Jenin, Ramallah and elsewhere. “If the Palestinians won’t do what they are obliged to do, we will do it ourselves,” the government said.
The Road Map restored the Oslo imbalance, demanding again that the PA assume responsibility for “dismantling the terrorist infrastructure” and protecting Israel’s population. Skeptical, Israel agreed that the PA had obligation, but also insisted Israel would continue to hit “ticking bombs” and remove imminent threats. What constituted an “imminent threat” would be determined by Israel and Israel alone.
The problem should be obvious. Every time Israel took an action it determined to be necessary for Israeli security, the Palestinians wailed that Israel was undermining the Road Map and blamed Israel for the “retaliation” that ISRAEL engendered. So terrorism is Israel’s fault because it built a security fence after the deaths of more than 800 Israelis. So the double suicide attacks earlier this week were Israel’s fault because a bomb factory blew up in Jenin. So yesterday’s bus bombing was Israel’s fault because Israel went after the Hamas and Islamic Jihad infrastructure. The U.S. is perpetually caught between denouncing individual terrorist attacks against Israel and demanding that Israel treat the PA as a security partner–as if they would or could be one.
We turn to JINSA Board Member Joyce Press for clarity on both the bus bombing in Israel and the ongoing terrorism in Iraq directed both at the U.S. and at international institutions determined to improve the lot of the people. Ms. Press wrote,
“The question is not how to rebuild Iraq, but how to get rid of the terrorists who will not allow the reconstruction to happen or, if it does begin, to be sustained. Otherwise, we will have the dreaded QUAGMIRE! It is the same in Israel except there it is about ‘peace’ with the Palestinians. The terrorists need to be removed before either is possible. We have been sidetracked by infrastructure in Iraq, but haven’t finished with the terrorist infrastructure in Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. And while we may be getting rid of our double standard with Israel we are going with the wrong standard.”
Say this for Abu Mazen: he told us he wasn’t going to start a Palestinian civil war on Israel’s behalf to get rid of the terrorists in his midst; he hasn’t and he won’t. So it is essential for Israel and the United States to put their priorities in order–not “peace”, not Road Maps, not negotiations, not water pipes, not oil, not jobs. The terrorists have to be put out of business first because they are a threat to everything else. And maybe if the Palestinian and Iraqi people believe that their priorities will be addressed only AFTER that, they will work with us in their own interest.