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Friday, May 16, 2008

Bush: 'No negotiating with killers, except Fatah;' McCain wanted to negotiate with Hamas

There have been some strong reactions to President Bush's Knesset speech yesterday from representatives of terror victim organizations. They (and I) wonder in light of President Bush's strong rhetoric against negotiating with terrorists and killers, how he can continue to insist that Israel 'negotiate' with Fatah and the 'Palestinian Authority.'
In response to the speech by President Bush, Dr. Arieh Bachrach suggested that the US President take over his position as the spokesman for Almagor, an organization for victims of terrorism.

In a letter to the American leader, Bachrach wrote: "In your forceful declarations against being 'tolerant of terrorism' and 'not to allow its perpetrators diplomatic achievements' you were giving us a voice. With one mistake - that you did not count among the terrorist groups Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, which were and are terrorist organizations that just recently gave assistance and protection to their members to murder Israelis in various circumstances."

Along similar lines, the National President of the Zionist Organization of America, Morton Klein, wrote of Fatah head and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that he is behind the "continuing promotion of terrorism, refusal to arrest terrorists, and incitement to hatred and violence within the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps."

"Here is a clear, straightforward litmus test: Does Mahmoud Abbas support preventing terrorism and jailing terrorists? Is he opposed to terrorism? Does he regard terrorism as the enemy of the peace, to which he tells Western audiences he is dedicated? If so, he should be applauding and honoring Imad Sa'ad for doing his duty in fighting terror and assisting the Israelis in doing so, as per the PA's signed obligations under Oslo and the Roadmap. At the very least, he should be immediately releasing Imad Sa'ad from prison. In reality, he has done the opposite...." Only the intervention of Israeli groups prevented Sa'ad from being executed by the PA.

Klein concludes, "There is no sense or morality in having peace negotiations with someone who arrests or executes those who help fight terrorists."

As for the Fatah's being "killers pledged to [Israel's] destruction," thus placing them outside the realm of negotiations according to the Bush vision he articulated on Thursday, it is worthwhile recalling some earlier statements by PLO and Fatah officials.

"The Palestinian people accepted the Oslo agreements as a first step and not as a permanent arrangement, based on the premise that the war and struggle on the ground [i.e., locally against Israeli territory] is more efficient than a struggle from a distant land... for the Palestinian people will continue the revolution until they achieve the goals of the '65 revolution..." (Palestinian Authority Minister of Supply Abd El-Aziz Shahian quoted in Al-Ayaam newspaper, May 30, 2000.) [Note: The "'65 Revolution" marks the first attack by the PLO, a year after its founding and prior to Israel's conquest of Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 1967, and the publication of the Palestinian Covenant that calls for the destruction of Israel via armed struggle. - ed.]

"When we picked up the gun in '65 and the modern Palestinian Revolution began, it had a goal. This goal has not changed and it is the liberation of Palestine." (Salim Alwadia, Abu Salem, Supervisor of Political Affairs, quoted in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, January 20, 2000.)

The official website of the Fatah terrorist organization bluntly stated, "a legitimate Palestinian entity forms the most important weapon that Arabs have against Israel, the outpost of the imperialist powers." The statement was part of a January 1, 2002 manifesto marking the 37th anniversary of the founding of Fatah.

Pointedly emphasizing that the Fatah was founded in the late 1950s and carried out its first terrorist attack on Israel in 1965, the celebratory article states, "Fateh believes that the Zionist movement constitutes the biggest threat against not only the Palestinian national security but also against the security of the Arab world." Fatah recommends eliminating the threat through a combination of "the popular armed revolution" and other forms of the "revolution" at the "organizational, military, political, and diplomatic levels. The complementary nature of the different forms of revolution guarantees the continuity of the struggle until victory is achieved."
But the video below of a Sky News interview with John McCain in 2006 is even more disturbing, because Bush is leaving office in eight months and McCain is the most pro-Israel of the candidates still standing for election right now. The interview was apparently just after Hamas won the 'Palestinian elections' in January 2006. Let's go to the videotape and then I will have a transcript and a discussion.



And here's the transcript:
RUBIN: "Do you think that American diplomats should be operating the way they have in the past, working with the Palestinian government if Hamas is now in charge?"

McCAIN: "They're the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it's a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that."
Does John McCain still believe that we have to accept the 'new reality' and negotiate with Hamas? When Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman endorsed McCain last December, I did a lengthy post in which I traced the evolution of McCain's views on the Middle East. This interview fits right in with that post which showed that McCain's evolution took place during the second half of 2006.

While I would not consider voting for Obama (who is surrounded by a virulently anti-Israel crowd) or Clinton (who is nearly as bad) I had - and still have - misgivings about McCain as well. I don't believe in staying home rather than voting, so I do intend to vote for McCain. But none of us in the pro-Israel (or, for that matter, in the American conservative community) should fool ourselves that the next four years are going to be a neo-con Paradise with Dick Cheney's ideological younger cousin in charge. We're not headed for that. We need to be vigilant and strong.

UPDATE 5:18 PM

The interviewer - James Rubin - has written a column about this interview in today's Washington Post.

UPDATE 6:01 PM

Make sure to read my updated account of the McCain - Rubin interview here.

6 Comments:

At 8:00 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8:01 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel needs leaders who will put the country first rather than themselves or world opinion. No one is going to defend Israel. Let's have that sink in. If the Holocaust has taught the Jewish people anything, they're the only friend they've got. Seriously and that will determine whether Israel gets to commemorate her 70th birthday in a decade's time.

 
At 8:07 AM, Blogger realwest said...

Carl - I read that "transcript" over at LGF and then watched the video; At no point does McCain say he'd be willing to meet with Hamas, period.

 
At 8:25 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

Carl:

RUBIN: "Do you think that American diplomats should be operating the way they have in the past, working with the Palestinian government if Hamas is now in charge?"

McCAIN: "They're the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it's a new reality in the Middle East.
I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that."

That's more than enough for me. Like you, I will vote for McCain, but with reservations. And the matters of his health (melanoma) and age and flip flopping concern me a lot. I hope that he picks a strong VP, and not one gust for political reasons.

 
At 12:36 PM, Blogger Culture for All said...

Good find... I give up on the US election.

How is Israel looking with regards to prospective leaders?

 
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