- The Washington Times - Friday, August 24, 2001

Let's imagine this scenario 50 years after the end of World War II: Instead of accepting defeat, Germany, Italy and Japan and their old satellites begin to plot a comeback. They never talk about it openly. They live by the motto adopted by the French military after their defeat at the hands of Prussia in 1870, "Pensons toujours, n'en parlons jamais," always think about it, never talk about it.
Instead of welcoming an end to war, the conquered Axis powers, in the name of their sacred ideologies, preach among themselves revenge against the democracies. Instead of welcoming democratization they conspire among themselves for a return to fascism and racism. Despite various peace negotiations in which they supposedly accept treaty obligations, they twist and turn in every way to avoid their implementation.
Finally, suppose the defeated Axis powers introduce into the schoolbooks from kindergarten to college the most vicious propaganda against democracy and "mongrel" races and raise what they call their sacred irridentist claims. They glorify terrorism and introduce a new kind of combatant: boy soldiers. In the name of their sacred ideologies, they now introduce a new kind of warfare against their far more militarily powerful democratic neighbors — suicide bombing followed by public acclamation from the Axis powers of the "martyrs." Those leaders of Axis satellites who would like an armistice are frightened by threats assassination or street rioting.
Is not this scenario recognizable as the present state of the Middle East? How long would the once victorious democratic countries, their populations fearful of terrorism, their economies suffering, how long would they allow such conditions to exist? How many World Trade Center bombings would the democracies accept before they took up arms once more against the revitalized Axis powers? But in the Middle East, it's only Israel that's involved.
Who, besides George Mitchell, really believes that there is going to be peace in the Middle East? The State Department shakers and movers don't seem to realize that the mere existence in the heart of the Middle East of a modern democracy like Israel with one of the highest living standards in the world threatens the existence of every Arab government, whether a super-affluent theocracy like Saudi Arabia or a dictatorship like Syria. Israel, by its very existence, represents a threatening question for Arab governments that nobody from Yasser Arafat up or down dares to discuss: How is it that Israel enjoys a modern economy, a modern standard of living plus a powerful, modern military force and still remains a multicultural democracy?
The Arab countries have accepted a state of neither-war-nor-peace for three decades. They have confirmed Abba Eban's judgment that our era is one that demonstrates the impotence of power and the power of impotence. Unable to win in battle, the Arab countries now are underwriting the Palestinian "civil disobedience" intifada on the Israeli border.
The worst of the present situation is that there is no hope that a future generation in Arab countries might repudiate their revenge-seeking paternal generation. What Arab children are being taught in their classrooms and mosques is that extermination of Israelis is the law of the Koran and the word of Allah. They are being taught that suicide-bombers are sacred. What they will not learn is that suicide-bombers are expendable Palestinians. No suicide-bomber has to this day been a person of wealth, a professional person, a lawyer, doctor, academician, politician, diplomat. The suicide-bombers are selected because they are expendable, members of impoverished families, therefore not to be missed except by their luckless parents, who are encouraged to express their gratitude to Hamas for having robbed them of their sons.
The tragedy of the Middle East is that so long as nations like Syria, Iraq, Egypt (yes, Egypt), Iran and Libya dominate the area, any possibility of modernization, of bettering the lives of their peoples, of ever making peace with Israel is out of the question. The Palestine Liberation Organization will not be allowed to go out of business because its existence is essential to Arabdom and its leaders. So long as there are Palestinians who can be recruited for terrorism, Arab countries will gladly pay their pittance to support Yasser Arafat and to keep the intifada going.
There are no longer any peacemakers in the Arab world, not in Jordan, not in the United Arab Emirates, nowhere. The ancient Latin slogan needs to be amended from "If you want peace, prepare for war" to "If you want peace, start a war."


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