Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak regrets that he has only one country to give for his political life. President Bill Clinton, still searching for a legacy that would be his if he had done something worthy of one, has so dishonored his own country he has no shame in dishonoring another one in this case Israel by helping Barak help Israel's enemies destroy the Jewish state.
Just what part of annihilation do these two not understand?
The latest round of "peace" talks were as big a sham as the talks between the Nixon Administration and the North Vietnamese 25 years ago. North Vietnam used the agreement to allow the U.S. to save some short-term face but it got all the land it wanted. Peace wasn't "at hand" then and it isn't now in the Middle East.
The latest to join the Israel-as-oppressor chorus are leaders of most of the Christian faiths in Israel, including Greek and Armenian Orthodox, Roman and Greek Catholics, Copts and Syriacs, Lutherans and Anglicans. In a joint statement, the various patriarchs suggested that the "Palestinians" are oppressed and that Israel is the oppressor. Do these people think their religious freedom will be preserved if Jerusalem is run by Yassir Arafat? It wasn't when Jordan occupied the land. Because many Christian denominations refused to come to the aid of Jews during the Holocaust, and some still oppose any Jewish presence in the land, they are overdrawn at the bank where they once kept their moral capital and should not be taken seriously.
Arafat will settle for nothing less than total domination. One cannot name a single agreement he has honored. He gets land and Israel gets no peace, only more grief. Arafat gets American ad European money but spends hardly any helping his people. Instead, he uses it to shore up his power base and create significant wealth for himself and his cronies.
Arafat takes our importunings about peace and spits in our face. He hates Israel and he hates America. He and his friends will never make peace with the Jews. How many more wars, terrorist acts and pledges never to settle for less than all the land will it take before the West and liberal politicians in Israel wake up from their self-deluded peace nap?
Much is being made of the few days remaining before the Jan. 20 Inauguration of a new American president and the Feb. 6 election for a new Israeli prime minister. Arafat is using these two events to pry more concessions from Clinton and Barak. He has no intention of reciprocating them. He hasn't done so before and he has acknowledged the possibility of assassination should he fail to satisfy the various factions who want everything.
The crux of the agreement being brokered by the Clinton Administration is that Arafat will relinquish any more claims of land from the Israelis if he gets what Barak is willing to give up. Arafat might conceivably sign such a document (though I doubt it) but neither he nor his colleagues will honor it. The so-called "right of return" for Palestinians living abroad that is part of the negotiations is simply an invitation for more of Israel's enemies to come in and finish killing off the Jewish state.
The Palestinian media report what their side believes but diplomats ignore them. High-ranking members of Arafat's Fatah organization and the Palestinian Authority have participated in events at which speakers have denounced the latest round of negotiations in Washington. Ahmad Hilles, secretary-general of the Fatah faction in Gaza, said on Dec. 23 at an Islamic Jihad rally, "(the) Intifada will go on and will continue hurting Israelis, and causing their bloodshed everywhere..." (as reported by the Palestinian Authority newspaper, Alhayat Aljadida). That's not the kind of language one associates with a people preparing for peace.
Neither is the action by Iraq's President Saddam Hussein. According to the Dec. 24 London Times, Hussein has ordered his scientists to resume work on a nuclear bomb program. The Times quotes a defector from Hussein's nuclear program, Salman Yassin, Zweir, as saying that Hussein "will never give up the dream of being the first Arab leader to have a nuclear bomb." Ask yourself which nation would be Hussein's most likely target?
Fortunately, the Israeli Knesset would have to approve any agreement with Arafat. It is unlikely that they would, but who can say for sure? Jews have a habit of being their own worst enemies, worse sometimes than their declared enemies.
Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.