By Ryan Jones - Jerusalem NewsWire - April 20, 2006
Israel is at war with those who call themselves "Palestinians," and to attempt to sidestep that fact by pretending most Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza desire peaceful coexistence with the Jewish state is a dangerous illusion that will continue to keep victory out of Israel's reach.
So said Likud lawmaker Yuval Steinitz in response to remarks made by Israeli President Moshe Katsav and Interim Knesset Speaker Shimon Peres during Monday's inauguration of the 17th Knesset.
Addressing the newly-elected plenum, Peres said:
"The Palestinian nation [sic] is not an enemy. It is a long-suffering people, most of which understands that they must live with us in peace."
The elder statesman and architect of the now-defunct "Oslo Accords" reiterated his belief that terrorism is the enemy "of both peoples; not only our enemy, but also of the Palestinians."
Kastav displayed a similar grasp of reality:
"We want to believe that the political approach of the Hamas government is not the way of the Palestinians. I believe that most of the Palestinians support peace with Israel."
Both men were clinging to liberal Israel's desired perception of the "Palestinians," a view has never been backed by anything more than the empty words of PLO officials seeking international legitimacy and funds. The actions of the general public, and now of their elected Hamas representatives, paint a different picture of Israel's "peace" partners.
A poll conducted last month by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that 52.4 percent of Palestinian Arabs continue to back "armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel," and a full two-thirds recognize terrorism "has helped achieve Palestinian national and political rights in ways that negotiations could not."
Similar surveys conducted every few months for the past several years have yielded nearly identical results.
Said Steinitz in an interview with Arutz 7:
"The fact that our leaders do not recognize our enemies as such is dangerous. Their statements are a continuation of the game of false illusions."
Stressing that he was not implying every single Arab wants war with Israel, and noting the presence of many who truly desire peace, Steinitz continued:
"The Palestinian people are our enemy, as we have seen in their terrorism of the past years and all the more so in their election of Hamas, which does not recognize our existence and wants to destroy us. They have chosen the path of war."