- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 23, 2006

It takes a tsunami of optimism to think that an armistice, let alone peace, will flow over the Middle East any time soon. There are 21 Arab countries in the area but none can underwrite a guarantee of an end to the war against Israel by Hamas, Hezbollah or any other identifiable Arab terrorist group. As for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, his Fatah TV station encourages suicide attacks against what they call Jewish “monkeys and pigs.”

President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan may sound trumpets of hope. but who’s listening? Except for Jordan, no Arab leader in the Middle East has the power, if he even has the will, to negotiate an end to the war against Israel. In the corridors of the United Nations you can talk about Middle East peace but in the area itself the war goes on and will go on without letup.

Why do I say this? Because I not only read Mr. Bush’s speeches, I also read the reports of what is being told and broadcast to the Palestinian and other Arab peoples about this war against the Middle East’s only constitutional democracy.

Mahmoud Abbas’ state-run television in recent weeks has shown a music program in which the audience is exhorted to become “martyrs” with the ultimate reward — beautiful maidens. Old stuff, you say. But it’s not old stuff in the Arab Middle East. It’s stuff glorifying war, rockets and suicide bombing terror.

Here’s a sample TV program:

A Palestinian woman is shot in the back by Israeli soldiers. The woman soars up into a heavenly paradise where other white-robed maidens are dancing in the water waiting to join and marry a male Palestinian who “martyrs” himself.

In the next scene, a grieving Palestinian man is shot in the back by Israeli troops while he visits the grave of the woman killed at the start of the video. Next scene: The “martyr” ascends to heaven where several beautiful, white-robed maidens, including the original woman he was mourning, await him with open arms.

In another video a Palestinian is shown about to blow himself up among Jewish civilians. He is depicted intoning a prayer in which he hopes his suicide act will bring him straight to paradise:

“Angels of mercy, escort our souls to Heaven after we fulfill this duty of crushing the descendants of monkeys and pigs. Dear father and mother, blessings of honor and respect to you, while you escort me to the maidens of paradise as a martyr.”

And while that oh so moderate spokesman for peace in the Middle East, Mahmoud Abbas, is busy glad-handing and sweet-talking his willing audiences, a sermon by a prominent sheik, Ismail al-Radouan, broadcast on Mr. Abbas’ Palestinian Authority television begins like this: “When the shahid [martyr] meets his maker, all his sins are forgiven from the first gush of blood. He is exempted from the torments of the grave; he sees his place in paradise, he is shielded from the great shock and marries 72 dark-eyed virgins.” Hard to compete with such an offer.

Arnold Beichman, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, is a columnist for The Washington Times. Translation courtesy Ynet news.com.

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