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By Alan Caruba
December 23, 2002

It is an irony of Christmas that there is no peace in the Holy Land. Hardly a day goes by without word the Israelis have disarmed a bomb factory, stopped another suicide bomber or suffered another killing of a soldier or civilian. This has not been for lack of effort by Israelis to extend peace to the Arabs in their midst.

How many times have the Palestinians been offered peace by the Israelis and pulled back from it? Two years ago, Yassir Arafat, the winner of the most discredited international award, Nobel Peace Prize, unleashed more terror on Israel.

Arafat, the father of modern terrorism, junked the Camp David agreement and the promise of the Oslo Accords, sanctioned suicide bombing of women, children, teenagers, and other non-combatants. He used a weapon the entire civilized world condemns, suicide-bombers.

The Intifada has yielded the exact opposite of its purpose. Simply put, the Israelis have won the Intifada, just as they won the five previous Arab wars waged against them.

All that the bombings and the murders have achieved has been to stiffen the resolve of the Israelis. Today, their army is in the West Bank cities of Ramallah, Nablus, and Bethlehem on a daily basis, rooting out the killers.

The land the Israelis, through the Oslo Accords, gave to the Palestinians has, for all intents and purposes, been reclaimed by Israel to protect its citizens. The Palestinian economy is in ruins and they are bereft of any real leadership. Except to complain that Osama bin Laden is hijacking the Palestinian struggle, Yassir Arafat has not been heard from since he was trapped in his Ramallah headquarters while parts of the building were literally being torn down from the outside.

In late November, Mahmoud Abbas, regarded as a possible successor to the 73-year-old Arafat, confirmed that comments he made at a closed-door meeting with officials of Fatah in October were true. What he said was this: "What happened in these two years, as we see it now, is a complete destruction of everything we built."

Abbas noted they resulted in "the complete destruction of everything we built (under Oslo), and of what was built before. We are living below the poverty line in Gaza and the West Bank; our people are in a situation of loss, starvation, and suffering."

This is the unfortunate for the so-called "Palestinians", a people who, factually, do not have a nation of their own, nor ever did. They are not a separate Arab population from others in the Middle East, but they are the oldest refugee population on earth, propped up since the late 1940s with massive United Nations funding and recipients of funding from European Union nations and Islamic nations who have used them as the lightning rod of hatred for Israel.

Can Palestinians, i.e. Muslims, live in peace with the Israelis? It seems doubtful to all but the most optimistic. Until Arafat declared "Palestinians" to be a distinct group within the Arabs of the Middle East that concept did not even exist. It is a fiction like everything else Arafat has said.

Abbas asked Fatah, the Palestinian terrorist organization founded by Arafat, to end its reliance on guns and mortars. With an irony that could only exist in the Middle East, Abbas is supported by the views of Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon.

Speaking of a deal for peace and an end to the violence, Sharon told an Israeli newspaper, "I don't believe there is a statesman who would oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state." There are two conditions, however. It would have to be completely demilitarized and Israel would retain control over borders. Sharon is joined in this by President Bush who has called upon the Palestinians to "dismantle the terrorist infrastructure", "end the incitement", and "elect new leaders not compromised by terror."

The dilemma faced by Mahmoud Abbas and the self-proclaimed Palestinians is that the concept of making peace with the Israelis---Jews---is virtually inconceivable to Arabs. Only the Egyptian and Jordanian governments have abandoned formal hostilities and both have benefited from the decision, but Egypt remains a hotbed of anti-Semitic propaganda.

The dilemma is further aggravated by the fact that the Islam of the Middle East is not about peace. Fundamentalist Islam is about the endless holy war that must be waged until the entire world yields to it. Islam is about the bottomless, mindless hatred Muslims harbor toward Jews. Without the Jews to blame, Arabs will have only themselves as the cause of their miseries.

Arafat has known no other goal than the extinction of all Jewish life in Israel. Mahmoud Abbas has shown both courage and wisdom in trying to reason with Fatah, the Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, Hezbollah, and all the other endless Islamic organizations for whom the Intifada has been their only reason to exist.

Reason, however, remains in short supply among the "Palestinians" and their Arab brothers. It died, in part, when the first "martyr" agreed to kill himself in order to kill Jews. Desperation is no substitute for reason, tolerance, and forgiveness.

2002 Alan Caruba - All Rights Reserved

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center ( and widely excerpted on the Net. A collection of his columns will be published in February by Merril Press.








"Arafat has known no other goal than the extinction of all Jewish life in Israel."

Can Palestinians, i.e. Muslims, live in peace with the Israelis? It seems doubtful to all but the most optimistic."