Whether feigned of genuine, US President George W. Bush displayed a great deal of naiveté last week with regards to the Palestinian Arabs' affinity for anti-Jewish Islamic terrorists.
Asked during a joint press conference with PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas about his take on Hamas participation in upcoming PA elections, Bush said he didn't believe “Palestinians” would vote for members of the terror group.
“I don't think they're going to get elected, because I think Palestinian moms want their children to grow up in peace just like American moms want their children to grow up in peace,” Bush told reporters at the White House.
The president indicated he had no problem with known terrorists taking part in the election because he believed “the people that campaign for peace will win.”
What Bush seemingly failed to grasp was that Hamas enjoys widespread popularity in Palestinian Arab society precisely because of its success in killing and maiming Jewish men, women and children.
Sure there are those who have grown irritated with the terrorists because of the instability the current violence has imposed upon them, but the wild street celebrations throughout “Palestinian” towns and villages every time a Hamas bomber slaughters more Jews speak volumes about current dispositions.
(Americans should not forget that Bush's peace-loving, terror-rejecting “Palestinians” also erupted in celebration the day Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda killed more than 3,000 people in New York and Washington.)
As for “Palestinian” mothers, they are susceptible to brainwashing and propaganda just like mothers in any other country, and what they are being fed by Abbas's PA is a constant stream of encouragement to sacrifice their children in order to drive the Jews from the land.
It is difficult to believe the president is unaware of the numerous public opinion polls conducted over the past year showing firm “Palestinian” support for terror as a legitimate, if not always tactically wise, means of securing Arab demands.
Palestinian Arabs in general do not object to the terrorist murder of Jews, only the timing.
Bush showed a further lack of understanding for the “Palestinian” mindset when a reporter asked if he was “satisfied that...Abbas is moving aggressively enough, doing everything he can to shut down terror groups.”
The president sidestepped the fact that the PLO chief had publicly and repeatedly refused to honor his commitment to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, and instead talked about how Abbas had run for “president” on a platform of peace.
“He ran on a platform that said, 'Vote for me, I'm for peace...' That's what he told the Palestinian people when he ran. And he won with 62 percent of the vote, I think it was,” Bush explained. “So in other words, he's committed; that's what he said he was going to do and he's now fulfilling it.”
Perhaps the White House was short of Arabic translators during Abbas's election campaign, but the PLO chief's platform, at least in Arabic, was anything but one of peace and rejecting violence.
During the month of December 2004, Abbas never failed to appear in public without reassuring the Palestinian Arabs he would carry on in the footsteps of Yasser Arafat, a man Bush saw as a terrorist and an obstacle to peace.
Abbas made the “right” to demographically destroy the Jewish state by flooding it with millions of so-called “refugees” a cornerstone of his campaign.
Regarding terrorists, Abbas told supporters in Jenin that the killers of Jewish men, women and children were “neither criminals nor murderers. Rather they are fighting for the honorable lives of their Palestinians brothers.”
As the vote for PA “president” drew nearer, Abbas even referred to Israel as “the Zionist enemy,” a term regularly employed by Iran, Syria and Islamic terrorist organizations.
Following the January 9 poll, Abbas dedicated his election victory to “our martyrs” - a locally recognized reference to those “Palestinians” who had given their lives to kill Jews.
Even as recently as March, Abbas publicly referred to members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad as his “brethren,” further legitimizing these groups in the eyes of the Arab population.
It requires an extraordinary amount of purposeful blindness to see in all of that a platform of peaceful coexistence.
Until Washington starts to take seriously the statements made in Arabic by the PA leadership - the statements that most influence the local Palestinian Arab population - it can forget about any chance of brokering a true peace.