One Can Only Make Peace with an Enemy Who Truly Wants Peace

( Jeff Jacoby - An iconic photo shows Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and a grinning PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat shaking hands on the South Lawn of the White House on Sept. 13, 1993. Arafat had good reason to grin. Oslo was his ticket out of exile and oblivion. Twelve years earlier he and the PLO, having been expelled from Lebanon, had decamped to Tunisia, which inhibited his ability to wreak havoc in Israel. But with the Oslo Accords, he was back in the spotlight. The agreement allowed him to pose on the international stage as a peacemaker despite his lifelong career as a terrorist; soon it would enrich him with land, money, weapons, and political power. Four days earlier, Arafat and Rabin had signed letters of "mutual recognition." "The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security," Arafat wrote. "The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process, and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations. The PLO... renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations, and discipline violators." Arafat's pledge was a sham from the outset. He said so explicitly in a message to the Palestinian people, broadcast in Arabic by Jordanian television on the very day of the White House ceremony. "This is the moment of return, the moment of gaining a foothold on the first liberated Palestinian land." Arafat declared that the "Phased Plan" adopted by the PLO in 1974 remained in force. That plan was a strategy to establish political control over any territory it could acquire from Israel, then use that territory as a base of operations to continue the "armed struggle" until all of Israel was conquered. 1,675 Israeli women, men, children, and babies would lose their lives to Palestinian terror in the years following Arafat's renunciation of violence. As the late great Charles Krauthammer wrote in the Washington Post, "Underlying Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is the cliche that one can only make peace with one's enemy. It is equally true, however, that one can only make peace with an enemy who truly wants peace. If the enemy is intent on remaining an enemy, if his objective is not peace but victory, if he believes your very existence is a stain on his honor and his God, peace is not possible. With such an enemy, negotiations are futile." The writer has been a columnist for the Boston Globe since 1994.

2023-09-14 00:00:00

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