Skip to comments.Heed the words of Arafat, bin Laden
Posted on 10/08/2001 6:59:04 AM PDT by SJackson
(October 8) - It has become very popular these days to say that if only Israel would give the Palestinians a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and eastern Jerusalem, Islamic terrorism would somehow disappear - or at least decline significantly. The Arab states began chanting this mantra immediately after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, and it was quickly adopted by Europe, the international media and even the United States.
There are only two problems with this theory. The first is that Osama bin Laden does not believe it. The second is that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat does not believe it. Though politicians and pundits frequently cite Israel's "occupation of Palestine" as one of the causes of bin Laden's war on America, bin Laden himself does not. In his 1996 declaration of jihad against the US, bin Laden wrote that his target was "Americans occupying the land of the two holy places" - referring to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, and to the 5,000 troops the US has kept in Saudi Arabia since the 1991 Gulf War.
In his second declaration of jihad, issued in 1998, bin Laden again stressed that his main grievance was America's "occupation" of Saudi Arabia. "For more than seven years, the United States is occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of its territories, Arabia, plundering its riches, overwhelming its rulers, humiliating its people, threatening its neighbors, and using its bases in the peninsula as a spearhead to fight against the neighboring Islamic peoples [a reference to Iraq]," he wrote. Shortly afterward, in an interview with ABC News, he declared that his battle would "inevitably move" to "American soil."
The Washington Post's Michael Dobbs summed up bin Laden's position nicely in a detailed analysis of the Saudi's writings and speeches. "In Mr. bin Laden's war," wrote Dobbs on September 21, "the goal of expelling the 'Judeo-Christian enemy' from the Holy Lands of Islam should be met first on the Arabian Peninsula. His next priority is Iraq, which for 500 years was the seat of the most powerful Islamic state, or caliphate. A distant third on this agenda is Palestine."
But it is not only bin Laden who would fail to be appeased by a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem. The same is true of Yasser Arafat - who made this clear at the Washington and Taba talks last January.
According to then foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, the chief negotiator at the talks, Israel - basing itself on Bill Clinton's bridging proposal - offered the Palestinians a state encompassing all of Gaza, 96 percent of the West Bank (with settlements evacuated), territory inside Israel equivalent to another 1 percent of the West Bank, and additional territory inside Israel, of unspecified size, for a "safe passage" between the West Bank and Gaza. In short, Israel offered a state on the equivalent of 98% to 100% of the "occupied territories."
The offer also included sovereignty over the Temple Mount and Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem, including those in the Old City.
Nevertheless, Arafat rejected this offer. Ben-Ami says the talks collapsed over two issues: Arafat's insistence that Israel also consent to absorb 1.5 million Palestinian refugees over the next 10 years (25% of Israel's current population!), and his refusal to agree to the one concession Israel requested in exchange for the Temple Mount - that the final document include a statement acknowledging that this site is also "sacred to the Jews."
In another words, a Palestinian state was not enough for Arafat. What he demanded was no less than the demographic and cultural destruction of the Jewish state, the elimination of its Jewish majority and the public denial by Israel of any affinity for the site to which Jews have prayed three times a day for 3,000 years.
There might be some excuse for the world's confusion over bin Laden's goals: Until September 11, few people paid much heed to this shadowy figure. But the international amnesia regarding Arafat's demands is virtually incomprehensible. The Washington and Taba talks were conducted in a blaze of publicity, with both Israel's offer and Arafat's rejection of it prominently reported worldwide.
Perhaps the West simply finds comfort in the delusion that Islamic terror can be ended so easily, with only one small, unimportant country - Israel - paying the price of a solution. But if there is ever to be any hope of ridding the world of this scourge, the West, and the US above all, must abandon this delusion. Listening to what bin Laden and Arafat have to say for themselves would be a good first step.
NECO EOS OMNES, DEUS SUUS AGNOSCET!
Kill them all, God will know his own.
This is shortsighted of you. Without foreign aid, Israel would be unable to defend itself conventionally. And if I were in charge of Israel and my only supporter pulled his support, I would be tempted to defeat my Arab enemies using unconventional methods. I'm sure you would agree that Israel has the right to defend itself using whatever means possible. Of course, my first targets would be the oil fields. What would yours be?
Seizing oil fields seems a reasonable response to aggression from Saudi Arabia or Iraq. Annex them and the Israelis have a new income to pay for more weapons. Heck, they could even move the Palestinians there and give them a big settlement check or something.