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Secretary Powell's 'Vision' is a Mirage

Secretary Powell's 'Vision' is a Mirage

Powell made numerous false assumptions in his speech, chief among them that the Palestinians would be satisfied with their own state adjacent to Israel.

by Cal Thomas

November 22, 2001 -- Secretary of State Colin Powell told a University of Louisville audience last Monday that he has a "vision" for peace in the Middle East. It's more like a mirage.

Powell indulged in the familiar wishful thinking about the region and asserted things that are factually not true.

Powell cited "negotiations" at Madrid in 1991 and Oslo in 1993, which he said were examples of opportunities for peace that might again be available. In fact, Israel ceded land in those deals, which it had seized to protect itself from aggressive Arab states and terrorist Palestinian acts. Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat promised to make peace, not war. Instead, he made, and continues to make, war.

"We have a vision of a region where two states - Israel and Palestine - live side by side within secure and recognized borders," said Powell. That's not Arafat's vision. In 1974, Arafat and his henchmen concocted a "Plan of Phases." Phase One is doing whatever is necessary to force Israel to relinquish land, while giving nothing in return. Phase Two is the "liberation" of the rest of the land, including the Jewish state itself. Palestinian schoolbooks carry maps of "Palestine" that do not include Israel.

Powell cannot point to a single Islamic state where tolerance and understanding are extended to non-Muslims.

Powell's "vision" is "of a region where all people worship God in a spirit of tolerance and understanding." He cannot point to a single Islamic state where tolerance and understanding are extended to non-Muslims. What makes him think a Palestinian state would exhibit anything but hostility toward anyone who does not toe its political and theological line?

Powell commendably called on the Palestinian side to cease violence before negotiations with Israel can begin, but Arafat alternately says he can, or can't control the violence. Besides, violence is not an aberration, it is part of the Plan of Phases. Arafat's vision differs from Powell's. Arafat wants it all. If he didn't, he would have accepted the deal offered him in 2000 by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak for 95 percent of the "occupied territories," with Israel compensating Arafat with its own territory for at least part of the remaining five percent. If settlements were an impediment to peace (which amount to just 1.5 percent of the occupied territories), the Barak offer should have been sufficient to produce an agreement.

Powell didn't mention Palestinian communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza, which, according to Israeli government estimates, are being built at 10 times the rate of Jewish "settlements." The Oslo agreement does not prohibit Israel from building on West Bank land, but one might think so to listen to Powell, who called for an end to "settlement" construction.

Some of Israel's detractors are critical of the U.S. aid it receives. But the United States sends $100 million annually to Palestinian Arabs. In his address, Powell spoke of the need to create a vibrant Palestinian economy. Why hasn't that money been used to improve the lot of Palestinians and why is Arafat not held accountable for misspending it?

Why should Arafat negotiate when terror has been so effective?

Powell called for the arrest, prosecution and punishment of "the perpetrators of terrorist acts." That won't happen. On the rare occasions when Arafat orders someone's arrest, the culprit is released within a short period of time.

"Palestinians must accept that they can only achieve their goals through negotiation," Powell said Monday. Every concession wrung from Israel has come from violence and U.S. pressure. Why should Arafat negotiate when terror has been so effective?

Powell spoke of the "innocent Palestinians, including children" who have been killed or wounded in the past 14 months of violence. But most, if not all of these, have been put in the front lines and urged to throw rocks in hopes that they will be wounded or killed to make Israel look bad and force her into new concessions. Powell neglected to mention the innocent Israelis who are regularly (ital) targeted (end ital) for death by Palestinians.

Powell made numerous false assumptions in his speech, chief among them that the Palestinians would be satisfied with their own state adjacent to Israel. Their behavior since 1947, when they were offered just such a deal, proves otherwise.

If Arafat is serious about peace, he'll stop the violence for a 7-day "cooling-off period," as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has demanded. Otherwise, what is there to negotiate?

Published: November 24, 2001


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Visitor Comments: 23

(23) jessica, May 7, 2003 12:00 AM

"I think of what would have happened if when Israel was concieved the palestian were also given a homeland could this problem have been avoided."

The Palestinians were offered a state by the British when Israel was conceived. However, they rejected it then, just as they reject it now.

(22) reg bates, December 7, 2001 12:00 AM

the sec of state has a view of a country with over 200 million to think of it is very difficult to do,we are multi cultural and our policies have to
reflect this. I think of what would have happened if when Israel was concieved the palestian were also given
a homeland could this problem have been
avoided. or if the oil in the middle east was not in demand as it is would
the complexity of this problem be changed.

(21) Steve Roper, November 30, 2001 12:00 AM

Tired of incomplete information/misinformation

The 1.5 percent of occupied settlement lands in the West Bank and Gaza are held, maintained and protected at an enormous price to the Palestinians: Checkpoints, curfews and the transportation problems are among the more objective issues. This article by Cal Thomas ignores these problematic issues completely. There is no question that this kind of media coverage is designed to create the impression that any Isreali presence in the occupied territories is completely justified for security reasons. In itself, this deception and others much like it are symptomatic of political elements which ultimately want to rid the West Bank and Gaze of Palestinians, and to the same thorough degree with which some Palestinians would like to rid former Palestine of Isrealis. Your strategy is not so plain as theirs but your propaganda is plainly despicable nonetheless.

Steve Roper

(20) Anonymous, November 29, 2001 12:00 AM

Regarding Colin Powell

I agree with this kind of answers to Colin's mistaken assumptions, but i would like to hear them at the CNN for example. I live in South America and don't see this kind of answers at the media.

(19) Anonymous, November 29, 2001 12:00 AM

What are you thinking, Colin Powell?

I include myself among others who have had a rude awakening regarding Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Perhaps he and our Administration believe if they say it often enough, it just might come true. The danger with his statements, if repeated often enough, is that it might persuade some people to turn against Israel more than they are now. Perhaps their intention is to create more public support to increase the pressure on Israel to give in to Palestinian demands.

As a Christian who loves Israel, we are taught that he who blesses Israel will be blessed, and, he who curses Israel will be cursed. So I find Colin Powells' statements particularly disturbing because America has been a blessed country due to our support of Israel. (this is what most Christians who claim to love God believe).

It just isn't fair that Israel can't go after terrorists without garnering worldwide criticism. The news always seem to make a big deal about every killing of Palestinian "innocents" (I'm sure there are some, God help them), but no one makes a big deal when so many innocent Israeli citizens are being targeted and killed every day. If this happened in America....well, look what we are doing about that.......

The only one America can rely on in the Middle East is Israel. I can't understand why we keep kissing up to people who hate America. They may appear to "give in" to us for the moment, but they have their own agendas. They will turn on us as soon as they get what they want. Aside from the Christian belief that we should support Israel, it only makes good sense to fully support our only true ally no matter what.

Perhaps our country had to strike a few deals to get world wide support for the war in Afghanistan. At what cost? Selling our friend and ally down the river? I hope not.





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