- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 1, 2002

President Bush's critics from the interventionist center accuse him of failing the peace process. His critics on the non-interventionist right and left say we should just get out of the Middle East to avoid the threat of terrorist attack. But it seems more likely that it is those policies that are the greater threat to American security.

Peace process advocates dubiously assume there is a peace agreement to be found. Apparently, American and Israeli diplomacy simply has failed since 1967 to ferret out that gettable agreement. Every American president from Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton missed his chance as did every Israeli premier from Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir to Ehud Barak.

But in fact, Israel twice proffered magnanimous peace agreements. One week after their victory in the 1967 war (in which Israel gained the West Bank, Golan Heights and Sinai) the Israeli cabinet voted to give back all the conquered land (except East Jerusalem) in exchange for navigation rights through the Gulf of Aqaba and the Suez Canal, riparian rights to their part of the Jordan River, and a demilitarized Golan and Sinai.

The proposal was delivered through U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk and was promptly rejected by Egypt and Syria. A few months later the front line Arab states, meeting in Khartoum, announced their formal policy, known as the three Nos: no recognition, no negotiation and no peace with Israel. Again in 2000, after seven years of the Oslo peace process, Israel offered generous peace terms once again rejected, this time by Yasser Arafat.

Dennis Ross, chief American negotiator with Mr. Arafat for both former Presidents Clinton and George H.W. Bush, has stated that he does not believe Mr. Arafat will accept any peace agreement.

While there are surely individual Arabs who yearn for a fair peace, one must be blind to the psychological state of the Arab masses (and many of their leaders) to believe that anything resembling peace is on their mind for both Israel and the United States.

After 500 years of humiliation at the hands of the Christian West, the once proud Muslim Middle East, finally sees hope for an end to their disgrace. The suicide bomber whether by airplane or 16-year-old girl has suddenly proven to be their secret weapon. Not only do they see success, but they have been taught to believe that all justice is on their side. Why in the world would they stop now?

Charles Krauthammer recently offered the shrewd insight that the cause of terrorism is not despair but hope. And today, from the Muslim suburbs of Paris to the salons of Cairo to the grubby streets of the West Bank the Arab Muslims live in hope. Peace cannot be negotiated with them until their hope has been turned to despair, and their despair to reason. So long as the Arab masses live in hope of triumphant Islam, the West will live in fear of terror.

The peace process not only will fail, but it turns us against ourselves and weakens our resolve for the inevitable struggle against terrorism. It forces Israel to give up more, which only encourages Mr. Arafat and the other Arabs to kill more. And the more Israel gives up, the closer she is forced to her final vouchsafe of security, her nuclear arsenal futile though its use would be in the constricted spaces of her environs. The peace process advocates, instead of dreaming on a star in a starless night, should face the harsh daylight reality of Arab hope, hatred and bellicosity.

But the advocates of withdrawal who would say good riddance to Arab oil and Israeli security falsely assume that if we step out of the line of Muslim fire, we will stop being their target. Perhaps this strategy might have worked 10 or 20 years ago. But, even without our support, even if we say the Palestinian cause is just, Israel will fight on against Arab terror, thus keeping the Middle East aflame. And we will still be blamed not only for failing to rein-in Israel, but for putting in motion the forces that the Arabs so hate and hope to destroy.

Those who think we can slip the bullet should read the poetry of Saudi Shaikh Saad Al-Buraik, who is so close to power in "moderate" Saudi Arabia, that he was one of the precious few on Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's delegation to Crawford, Texas, last week: "I am against America until this life ends, until the Day of Judgment; I am against America even if the stone liquefies; my hatred of America, if part of it was contained in the universe, it would collapse. She is the root of all evils, and wickedness on earth. Who else implanted the tyrants in our land, who else nurtured oppression?"

There is instability in the Mideast. There will be more. There is killing. There will be more. The Islamist dream of triumph by terror cannot be wished away. It must be crushed. Israeli guns may come in handy.

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