Even as Arab hordes rioted, threw rocks, desecrated shrines, and murdered and maimed innocents, Israel's legislators met and declared that there is no alternative to the continuation of 'negotiations." What mindset insists on attempting anything but a tough and resolute response to rioting by declared, implacable enemies?
And so the usual suspects -- Barak, Clinton and Arafat -- met in Egypt on October 16th, 2000, with Egypt the sullen, hostile host. The choice of Egypt in itself was a craven capitulation, given that nation's virulent anti-Israel rhetoric, and its own history of having violated the Camp David Accords. (The meeting itself was at Sharm el Sheikh, a reminder to Israel of its earlier futile Camp David experiment in "territories for peace.") There has been no normalization, no cultural exchange,
Clinton and Albright continue to call for Israeli "restraint."
What bizarre thinking can expect to reconstitute "negotiations" with Arafat? What is left to discuss? Is it the timetable for withdrawal from Haifa? Is it a newly discovered link between Islam and Tel-Aviv? Is Beersheva to be known as the fourth holiest Moslem city? Is Barak to turn over to Arafat Nazareth and the Galilee? Israel's government reminds one of lifeguards who can't swim but still urge everyone into the water.
President Clinton and Madeline Albright continue to call for Israeli "restraint" and an end to the "cycle of violence." There is no cycle of violence -- there are only brutal attacks on Israel and an (insufficient) response by an Israeli government whose obligation is to protect its citizens.
In early October, Ariel Sharon, alarmed by the scope of the surrender of Jerusalem offered at Camp David, requested and received acquiescence from both Moslem officials and the Israelis for a visit to the Temple Mount. He was not alone in criticizing the craven surrender of Barak. Even Leah Rabin, the obnoxious widow of Israel's late Prime Minister, who called Arafat "family" (!) announced that her husband was turning in his grave at the abandonment of Jerusalem.
The Arabs, emboldened by their clerics and Arafat himself, used Sharon's visit as an excuse to launch a riot, pouring an avalanche of rocks on Jewish worshippers at the Wall. At this point, Israel's response was swift and proper. The army was deployed to halt the rioting, the hurling of rocks and stones, and the attacks on Jewish civilians.
After six days of violence Barak, Arafat and Albright met in Paris to try to defuse the situation and halt the violence. Barak accepted Albright's terms, but Arafat stormed out, prompting our rotund secretary of state to run panting after him in high heeled shoes and to cry "Close the gates" "Close the gates" to embassy guards (a comic visual if ever there was one).
Our State Department's response was perverse and cowardly, first blaming Sharon for a "provocation" (since when is a visit to any part of Israel's capital a provocation?) and then abstaining from, instead of vetoing a Security Council resolution blaming Israel for the violence.
Since then, the words "restraint" and "cycle of violence" continue to circulate among the half-wits who formulate America's Middle East policy. (These and invocations of "the children" -- never mind that said children are having the time of their life shrieking epithets, rioting, throwing stones and showing up on TV screens the world over, all of it a huge improvement over boring schoolbooks.)
Arabs attacked and killed civilians and ransacked and destroyed Joseph's tomb and an ancient synagogue in Jericho, an event that should give pause to the Vatican as it reflexively supports Arab control over Christian shrines. In a frenzied orgy of hatred they lynched two Israeli soldiers. Barak's response was what Steven Plaut, our correspondent in Jerusalem, calls the "limp wrist." After warning the occupants to vacate and making sure they had all lefthe bombed the Arab police station where they were murdered. This feeble responseyou murder our men, we'll take revenge on the buildingelicited more calls for "restraint."
What hypocrisy! Let us recall that in the immediate aftermath of his televised confession of a dalliance with Lewisnky, Clinton returned from Martha's Vineyard to launch a bombing attack on targets in Afghanistan and Sudan, claiming the targets were the hatching grounds for previous attacks on American embassies in Africa. It was disclosed later that the bombings -- carried out with no warnings to local civilians -- were based on questionable intelligence information about their link to embassy attacks.
Senator Biden, often a critic of Israel, was right
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Outpost - 10 - November 2000