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The Saudi Peace Sham

The Saudi Peace Sham

This phony plan designed to get Arafat off the hook is guaranteed to make things worse.


March 6, 2002 -- In 35 years of studying the Middle East, I have rarely seen anything to rival the Saudi "peace plan" for cynicism (of those pushing the plan) and gullibility (of those buying it). If it were not so tragic it would be comic. Israeli civilians are being blown up almost daily in restaurants, at bus stops, at prayer. Retaliatory attacks are launched by the hour. A new "peace plan" is then floated whose essence is this: When peace is achieved between the two parties killing each other on the ground, the Saudis will give it their blessing and make peace too. Forgive me, but this is entirely beside the point. The point is not what the Arab states will do after peace dawns -- And what would they do? Keep the war going after the Palestinians make peace? -- but to find a way to stop the violence today.

The plan is a transparent attempt to take world attention away from the source of the violence.

Apart from the fact that the plan is an obvious Saudi ploy to blunt American anger at the shockingly deep Saudi role in Sept. 11 by posing as peacemakers, apart from the fact that it gives make-work to U.N., EU and other underemployed diplomats with not an idea in their heads how to stop the violence, the plan has a very specific objective: misdirection. The plan -- a repetition of maximal Arab demands from which they have not budged in two decades -- is a transparent attempt to take world attention away from the source of the violence.

Ever since the devastating suicide bombings of Dec. 1 and 2 in Jerusalem and Haifa that murdered 25 Israelis, world attention has been on Yasser Arafat. Shortly before Dec. 1, the Bush administration had bent to Arab demands and became seriously reinvolved in brokering peace, explicitly advocating a Palestinian state and sending a special envoy, Gen. Anthony Zinni, to lead the negotiations. Zinni arrived in Jerusalem and was greeted by an orgy of Palestinian violence.

A furious and embarrassed U.S. administration then insisted that Arafat re-arrest the terrorists he had deliberately released from jail at the beginning of the intifada and crack down on the terrorist infrastructure that he had made common cause with under the umbrella of the "National and Islamic Forces.'' Even the European Union, normally a wholly owned subsidiary of the Arab League, agreed.

It is three months later and Arafat has done nothing. On the contrary. The suicide bombings are coming with increasing frequency and with ever-increasing adulation in Arafat's media and propaganda. More ambushes, more bombings, more missiles, more bloodshed.

Everyone knows that if Arafat would call a stop, Israel would reciprocate.

Everyone knows that if Arafat would call a stop, Israel would reciprocate. But for 17 months, he has refused. Why? Because he is winning. Israel is bleeding, demoralized, leaderless, economically devastated. Arafat knows that he may yet get what he wants -- unilateral withdrawal. For Arafat, such an Israeli capitulation, mirroring its capitulation in Lebanon, would be the sweetest of victories: land without peace.

He has a serious obstacle, however. American pressure. How to relieve it? Change the subject. Make the issue not the Palestinian campaign of terror but newfound Saudi peacefulness.

What is the key symbol of the U.S. pressure on Arafat? Its support of Israel's confinement of Arafat to his headquarters in Ramallah until he shuts down the terror. What then do you imagine is the newest key demand of the Saudi plan? You guessed it. On Monday, Palestinian Planning Minister Nabil Shaath, who had just met with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, revealed that the Saudis would refuse to present the plan to the Arab League meeting in Beirut on March 27-28 -- unless Arafat is allowed to attend.

The clouds part. The fog lifts. The peace plan turns out to be a transparent device for springing Arafat from his confinement -- without having acceded to American demands to shut down the terror. His resumption of globetrotting would publicly demonstrate his successful defiance of the American effort to stop the violence.

It would be a spectacular diplomatic victory -- a triumphal return to Beirut to a thunderous reception from his fellow Arabs -- and dramatic vindication of his policy of the last two years: rejecting Israel's Camp David 2000 peace offer, tearing up the Oslo accords, then waging terror and guerrilla war. Such success for his war policy will only increase the violence.

The audacity of this maneuver is breathtaking. But why not? It is working. The New York Times bought the Saudi peace plan (last Sunday alone, lavishing two feature stories and nearly a dozen photographs over five pages). The Europeans bought it. The diplomatic-media complex bought it. All that stands in the way of pulling this off is for the Bush administration to buy it.

Thus far and to its credit, the administration has not. It has kept its focus on stopping the killing. And for good reason. This phony plan designed to get Arafat off the hook is guaranteed to make things worse.


March 10, 2002

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Visitor Comments: 18

(18) Anonymous, March 19, 2002 12:00 AM


It is obvious that the world is demonstrating its hatred and contempt for the Jews and the Israelis to such an extent that it mirrors the pre-WWII sentiments propagandized by none other than Adolph Hitler. The Palestinians and other Arabs (as well as many members of the E.U.) are trying to blame the Jews and Israelis for "victimizing" the "poor Palestinians," still in
"refugee camps" (supposedly administered by the U.N.) after 35 years. They have also tried to blame the Israelis for the Sept. 11 massacre. They are now disseminating widely their new anti-semitic lies involving Jews killing Christians to use their blood in making matzah. This is exactly the kind of spiraling hatred that gave Hitler his ultimate power and the support of his fellow Germans. I believe we will see another attempt at Genocide and very soon.....

(17) , March 17, 2002 12:00 AM

Why I believe there is no peace with Israel.

When all is said and done, people seem to forget that Hamas, Hizbollah and the Fatah movement (created before 1968, so their hatred and terrorist activities can not be attributed to settlements and occupation), all want the total destruction of Israel. In their mind, the Israeli "settlement" and "occupation" is on EVERYTHING west of the Jordan River.

Therefore, if the Palestinians truly want peace, they have to show it be clamping down on these movements. The PA refuses to do this for more than a minute period.

If Arafat and the PA do indeed refuse to use their position of authority to stop Palestinian terrorism against Israel then someone has to appropriately take action.

Israel realizing its responsibility to protect its citizens is acting. They are attempting to limit the civilian casualties as much as possible with focused assassinations against hardened terrorists or punishing the PA by destroying their empty buildings for their refusal to crack down on the militants.

When terror continues, Israel must close off the West Bank and Gaza Strip and prevent terrorists from entering Israel. This seems to make sense, despite its unfortunate harmful effect on nonmilitant Palestinians. It appears, Israel is not part of a simple "tit for tat" approach.
It seems, Israel is attempting to minimize casualties on both sides.

One would think that the Palestinians would finally "get it" and realize that it is the terrorists which are the obstruction to peace. And, this is exactly what the terrorists want to be- obstructors of peace! They are against a peaceful solution with Israel in every form and place. They just want the Jews out!
I hope this is clear to everyone.

One major problem is that Palestinians are taught from birth to hate Jews and Israel. It is taught in their Quranic teachings/ Mosques, in their schools, in their press.
Very importantly, in addition, is the killing/silencing of so-called "collaborators". This title includes all people who want peace with Israel, are willing to sell land to Jews, want to see terrorists punished etcetera and etcetera.

With moderate arabs being "silenced", extremists rule with an iron fist.

Personally, I work hard not to hate, and I do not hate Arabs or Muslims. I also see countless Jews working hard not to group all Arabs and Muslims into the collective title of "terrorists".
However, I am exquisitely afraid of Arab/Muslim hatred of Jews, in particular. I very rarely see condemnation of Arab terror by Arabs or Muslims. I frequently see explanation and excuses. Does anyone know of a leader of these communities saying nice words about Jews?

Unfortunately for Israel, the nonmilitant Palestinians and Peace itself- Hamas, Hizbollah, and Fatah have no intention of easing up their assaults on Israel. And, Arafat has no intention to stop them.
Why should he? They hurt his enemies. They pressure Israel to act. They further international observation and awareness of the crisis and condemnation when Israel "retaliates". In addition, Arafat would have to battle hard to crack down on the hardened Hamas movement et. al., most likely being forced to kill many of his own people. This would even lower his dismal approval ratings among Palestinians.

To the nonreligious, nonzionist and/or uninformed the only real answer to the crisis is to dismantle Israel. This would bring instant peace to the region. Without Israel, at least for a moment, the mideast would celebrate, uniting a multitude. Not too many would cry for the loss of Israel. And after the mourning period, perhaps there could be a United Nations sponsored holiday or various national moments of silence commemorating the State of Israel.
G-d forbid this.

Fortunately, this route is not an option for those who believe that Israel has a right to exist and should defend herself. Israel has proven that she can make peace and/or give up territory as she did with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey etcetera.

One can NOT make peace unless both sides want it badly enough. When one side wants land more than peace, peace is impossible. I do not believe that Arafat wants peace, we all know he wants land.

The concept of "Land for Peace" is frightening.
The phrase implies that the Palestinians/Arabs/Muslims do not seem to be asking for peace from Israel. They just want land. The more land they want, the less peace there will be.
Like a marriage, if one wants out, you can't MAKE it work.
I believe only when the discussion is "Peace for Peace" can land be on the bargaining table.
If this never happens then we will have to wait until the Messiah comes, may he no longer tarry.
In the meantime, if Arafat and the PA will not crack down on the terrorists, Israel must do so for the sake of its citizens and for the sake of a future peace. Israel must be able to defend herself.

Whatever happens, Israel should not have to wait ad infinitum for the Palestinians to wake up. Israel should annex parts of the West Bank as deemed appropriate.
Israel must secure her borders. This includes dismantling those settlements that can not be well protected, according to those with the expertise to determine.

Israel has a moral responsibility to act justly and mercifully when dealing with her own citizens and others. But, it must act.

Lastly and firstly, we must realize our own moral responsibility and turn toward G-d and His righteous commandments. If this doesn't happen then we should not expect things to get better any time soon.

(16) Anonymous, March 16, 2002 12:00 AM

never give up jerusalem

israel has been more then tolerant dealing with arafat,who the news media refers to as a diplomat.why doesnt iraq,iran,syria,etc.offer the palestinians land,that is where they originally came from. israel belongs to the jews.the palestinians are just being used as so called martyrs by the rest of the muslim world so they can get the whole world to turn against israel.i hope that israel never gives in,or gives any part of jerusalem to those liars,and especially any more land.

(15) Charlie Johnston, March 15, 2002 12:00 AM

The clearest thinking on this subject I have seen.

I am so happy to be able to log on to and find articles like this that sort out the truth from all of the smokescreens. I am saddened that our American Press has been duped into leaning heavily towards the Palestinian point of view like the rest of the world and ignored the evidence at hand which is so plain to an American like me who refuses "political correctness".
For any of my fellow Americans who want to get a real picture of what is happening in Israel, I encourage them to log in to the Jerusalem Post website
every day for a week. I am sure it will be an eye opening experience.
Thanks for such a clear vision of what all of this means.


Charlie Johnston, Chula Vista, CA

(14) amalraj packiam, March 14, 2002 12:00 AM

we are poor victims of terrorism!

hai, i'm from india.i'm a catholic. but this question is about the terrorism india suffers at the hands of pakistan and israel suffers at the hands of palestine. will there ever be peace? we can choose friends but cannot choose neighbours. will neighbours ever come up with a healthy attitude? is there hope of a change and revival during our time itself? i am deeply worried at all these and pray the Lord for peace. why don't india and israel stand together and voice their views? As fellow victims, i am deeply interested in hearing your views. thanks.amalraj

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