- The Washington Times - Friday, March 8, 2002

Now here's a mystery: The Israeli secret services, the Mossad and the Shin Bet, have a tremendous reputation of knowing everything about Israel's enemies and stopping their conspiracies pre-emptively. On occasion they miss. They missed the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, for instance, but they knew all about Iraq's Osirak reactor which the Israeli air force took out in 1981 and thus made possible the Gulf War victory. How many other successful Mossad-Shin Bet pre-emptive strikes there have been over the half-century of Israel's existence we cannot know, but there have been plenty.

So the mystery is this: How come Mossad and Shin Bet and any other existing Israeli security agencies have been unable to prevent the continuing slaughter of Israeli men, women and children by Arab suicide bombers? There are about 1 million Israeli Arabs living legally in Israel but so far as I know no Israeli Arabs have been victims of suicide bombers.

The latest suicide bombing was planned as a piece of psychological warfare. It occurred in Jerusalem's Beit Yisroel section of Meah Shearim, where live Israel's most orthodox of the orthodox Jews. They were celebrating the "Havdala," the end of the Sabbath, as they had earlier celebrated the "seudah shlishit," a special Sabbath prayer ceremony before dusk falls. It is a moment when orthodox Jews wish each other a "Shavua Tov," a good week, and children can play without violating the Sabbath.

This Sabbath eve a bomb went off, killing, wounding, maiming 10 believers, their families, their children. Jehovah was not around to protect those who scrupulously obeyed His laws to the letter. Perhaps, next time.

So, the Israeli secret services can't spot suicide bombers, the Israeli army can only act after the slaughter has taken place, and God can't protect his Chosen People. And as the topper, Israel is now under pressure to accept a peace plan dreamed up by a Saudi prince, whose anti-Semitism would gladden the heart of Adolf Hitler, a peace plan delivered to the world by a Jewish columnist for the New York Times, Thomas Friedman. The Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud wants Israel to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders. And peace at last. Yes?

No. What Mr. Friedman and the New York Times and Prince Abdullah are offering is the diplomatic equivalent of Enron stock. Nobody believes Yasser Arafat anymore. So the latest peace plan is made by presumably a more credible Arab statesman, a royal, the Saudi crown prince, whose country supplied 15 of the 19 September 11 terrorists commanded by another Saudi, Osama bin Laden. Were Mr. Arafat to offer the Enron bargain, Israel would turn it down instantly. But a royal, a prince of princes makes the offer and it's backed by the New York Times. Salaam Aleikum! Peace unto you, Sharon and company.

The Arab nations, not a single one of which has even the semblance of democracy, let alone observes human rights, are going to meet March 27. While the major theme of the conclave will concern the low price of oil (a phenomenon which helped soften the effects of the recession) and how to raise that price, the private backroom discussion will concern driving Israel into the sea, not to its pre-1967 borders, but to its pre-1945 borders. In other words, the meeting will be an Arafat rescue operation.

What everybody, Jew and Arab, in the Middle East knows because it is written in blood is that Muslims will never (or is that too strong a word?) accept Israel, let alone an Israeli-controlled Jerusalem, as a country whose existence is as legitimate as its neighbors. For Arabdom, the war against the "Zionist entity," as it is called by the Arab world, never ended 1948-49, 1956, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1982 and the latest intifada. There will be pauses in the conflict but the conflict will not end. It is the story of the immovable object vs. the irresistible force.

Richard C. Hottelet, the CBS correspondent, once asked Maxim Litvinov, Stalin's erstwhile Soviet foreign minister: "Suppose the West were suddenly to give in and grant all Moscow's demands? Would that lead to good will and easing of the present tension?" Litvinov answered: "It would lead to the West's being faced after a more or less short time with the next series of demands."

What applied to Stalin applies in even greater measure to Mr. Arafat, Prince Abdullah, Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, the whole kit and kaboodle. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat tried to make peace. His reward? Assassination, Oct. 6, 1981, at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists.

In the meantime, we can let Mr. Friedman play Scheherazade. Only 1,000 more nights to go.

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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