Thursday, May 12, 2005

Stupid is as Stupid Does

The recent Palestinian local elections, where the terrorist organization Hamas picked up about 35 percent of West Bank and Gaza municipalities, have demonstrated that yet again in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, we risk being outwitted by the terrorists. Hamas has never accepted the notion of coexistence with Israel and continues to promise more violence despite dramatic peace overtures offered by the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s new chairman, Mahmoud Abbas.

When are we going to get it? Either the PLO has effective control over these other groups, in which case there is no excuse for continued violence, or they do not have control, in which case negotiations with them are futile. In either case, their overtures may only be regarded as disingenuous, for while we may take comfort in empty words, these hard-bitten terror groups don’t engage in self-delusion. The entire exercise demonstrates our wholesale gullibility and willingness to sacrifice Israel’s security for the sake of false promises.

Fortunately the Israelis suffer no such illusions, and while they must patronize our bottomless stupidity with conciliatory talk, they recognize that an agreement with one Palestinian group is futile unless that group effectively speaks for all. Israel’s Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom, has said in reaction to Hamas electoral gains that Israel’s agreement to withdraw from the Gaza Strip should be put on hold until the outcome of Palestinian parliamentary elections scheduled for July. At that time, if Hamas wins control, he says: “…I personally think we should not do it [pull out of Gaza].” (See: Israeli Official Says Hamas Imperils Pullout Plan, Washington Times, May 11, 2005).

In practical terms, all the Middle Eastern terror groups, whether it be Hamas, the PLO, Hezbollah, or any of the many others, can be seen as one monolithic whole. They are all of one mind in the primary goal of wiping Israel off the face of the map. They are not interested in a Palestinian state and never have been! (See for example Who Was Yasser Arafat). The PLO started it all, but the fighters of all the organizations cross-train and move at will from one to another. Many Hezbollah and Hamas leaders got their start in the PLO. The extent to which one group maintains control over the others may be debated, but their common objectives cannot.

They all play a good cop bad cop routine. The PLO feigns conciliation while the others relentlessly pursue the true goal. When a Hamas suicide bomber detonates in an Israeli market, the PLO offers its condolences to the world but champions the bomber at home. Their Western media sympathizers broadcast the condolences but ignore the cheers.

During Arafat’s tenure, the West inexplicably continued to hold out hope for agreements with his PLO, despite its indisputable link to the murderous actions of the Al Asqa Martyr’s Brigade. When Arafat died last November, the PLO “elected” Mahmoud Abbas (also called Abu Mazen by the Palestinians), who immediately offered sweeping peace proposals. The U.S. took these to heart, even as Hamas launched new attacks and the PLO continued to hail the “martyrs”. The game hasn’t changed, only the names of the participants.

It is a duck and dodge, rope-a-dope game designed to horrify, confuse, demoralize and ultimately tire U.S. policymakers while the Palestinians’ Western sympathizers in government and the media read us the “compromise” mantra over and over. The strategy is to paint Israel into an ever-smaller corner of suicidal concessions from which it cannot escape. And they know this can only happen with pressure from mindless U.S. leaders hypnotized by the fantasy of an ever-elusive “peace.”

It’s high time we shook off the mental fog, stopped basing foreign policy on phony platitudes and start taking the deadly nature of these implacable enemies seriously. As Forrest Gump said: “Stupid is as stupid does.” Let’s get smart.