Voice from the Commonwealth Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts
"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams
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I've been ruminating on Bush's speech and new (implied) foreign policy concerning the Israel Palestine conflict. I realized that most pundits have been leaving out Europe (except to point out they won't go along). But, I think there is something more here. Why won't they go along? If Bush hold true to his demands and sees an honest and true election and campaign among the Palestinians, what will happen? Does anyone honestly think that they will elect a moderate peacemaker? No it will be Arafat again or someone from Hamas or Fatah. But this could be precisely the point.
To start recent polls have shown that the majority of Palestinians back suicide bombings and a majority also see terrorism as a means to the destruction of Israel. That isn't going to go away as the result of a free election. Palestinians need to believe that peace is more productive than war. The apologists like to say that suicide bombings are a result of desperation. If they were truly desperate they would be clamoring to end the conflict with Israel and find some resolution. No, suicide bombings are a result of indoctrination and a culture propogated by the terrorists sending out the bombers. We continuously ask Arafat to end the hatred taught in scools and we are constantly rebuffed. Europe makes no demands on the Palestinians and UNRWA says it is not their perogative.
To date Hamas has said that they would not take part in an election, unless it were completely free. If a serious contender within the 'security' apparatus or from Hamas or another terrorist organization could create problems. Hamas is held in high regard and any serious contender from that group along with a handful of others could mount a serious challange to Arafat if it is an open election with a free press. If there is a real campaign Arafat would have to take a very hard line to protect himself from charges of being in the pocket of Westerners. It would lead to a lot of rhetoric that even the EU would be uncomfortablewith. And if it were a close election do you think Arafat or those within his organization would not try to take matters into their own hands? A civil war could be in the offing. And if somehow Arafat lost the election or were not around to win it, the new 'President' would, most likely, be someone from an outright (i.e. not even the EU could argue) terrorist organization who did not have the international lustre of Arafat. This new leader would also probably not bother to couch his true intentions in language that the apologists can cling to.
Europe would blame America and scowl mightily at us for letting Arafat fall but they would know, as we all have know for some time that, while Arafat may come here and say he supports peace, he is at heart a murderous terrorist. The only exchange would be in the facade, the true agenda would be the same Arafat or not. But with an openly murderrous leader constantly calling for the destruction of Israel would leave the EU with no choice but stop supporting the terror. The Palestinians would be isolated and would have to face the fact that if they are not willing to turn to peace the West (including Russia) will not back them. It would be a brutal and murderous time but it would make clear to the Arab world that Israel is there to stay and once that fact is accepted we can move on and try to find a true settlement in the quest for peace.
I think the EU realizes that an election could well end up forcing them to make a decision and that the choice between Israel or an openly murderous terrorist they will have to make a very uncomfortable choice.
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