Israel's response to the ongoing and increasing American pressure for further Israeli
withdrawals does not need to be a blunt "no". It would be far more effective if Israel took the initiative by asking pertinent questions, publicly, putting the US on the defensive.
Why is the United States not more forceful in publicly demanding from Yasser Arafat and
the Palestinian Authority compliance with all the commitments they made under Oslo? The PA
has undertaken, inter alia, torevise the PLO Covenant, extradite suspected terrorists, and stop
all verbal incitement by PA leaders to terror and jihad. None of these commitments have been
kept. Where is the American insistence that they must be?
Why does the US not make it clear that unless there is first this Palestinian
compliance--to agreements which the Palestinians put their signatures to--America will not
expect or demand any further Israeli withdrawals?
What guarantee does Israel have now that US promises in relation to Israel's security needs
will be kept, especially given the dismal record of previous US administrations' broken promises
to Israel? Among these:
The 1956 US guarantee that terrorists would not return to Gaza after Israel withdrew;
The 1956 US guarantee of Israeli ships' safe passage through the Straits of Tiran;
The 1970 US guarantee that Egyptian SAM missiles would not be deployed along the Suez Canal; and,
The 1975 US promised not to supply F-15 aircraft to any country but Israel, not to negotiate with the PLO without
Israel's agreement; not to sell AWAC planes to Saudi Arabia.
With the increasing risk to Israel posed by the proliferation of mass-destruction
weapons in Iraq and Iran, and given Arafat's close ties to both regimes, what is the US doing now
to ensure that a PLO state on Israel's doorstep will not end up a tool wherewith these two
powers can fulfil their wish to destroy Israel?
As Palestinian Arabs repeatedly burn Israeli and American flags while their mullahs
repeatedly call on Saddam Hussein to destroy Israel, why won't the US publicly condemn this
blatant form of aggression by people who were supposed to have made peace with Israel--a
peace for which their leader received the Nobel Prize?
Will the US administration call on Arafat publicly to distance himself from the ferocious
assault on Israel and the US during the recently held Islamic Conference in Tehran, where in
front of the leaders of around 40 states, spiritual leader Ali Khamanei launched a blistering attack
on the Oslo process, while Arafat looked on, silently acquiescent?
Will the US furthermore publicly remind Arafat and the other PA officials scrupulously to
hold to the words he wrote to the late Yitzhak Rabin on Oslo:
"The PLO considers that the signing of the Declaration of Principles constitutes a historic event, inaugurating a
new epoch of peaceful co-existence, free from violence and all other acts which endanger peace and stability. Accordingly, 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 and his PA have broken these promises blatantly and repeatedly, without censure. It seems they are masters
at manipulating the US, knowing that the louder they protest US bias towards Israel, the more reluctant the American
administration is to call them to account for their broken promises.
Somehow the White House and State
Department are blind to the fact that, for fear of
upsetting the whole process, they are permitting
Arafat to violate agreements with impunity, so
making a mockery of everything Clinton insists
he is trying to do.
Confronting US officials with questions like
these, and insisting they be answered directly,
could help reveal the often cowardly motives
behind the persistent pressuring of Israel, and
the unwillingness to turn the screws on the non-democratic, human-rights abusing, PLO.