Perspective

- How Saddam Hussein May Win

After all British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has now gone on record as saying Britain will insist in the future that, just like Iraq, Israel needs to be told to comply with UN resolutions.

The cold wind coming from Cook, together with the tense and critical attitude of US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, does not bode well for Israel. Once Iraq has been forced into submission by the international community under the banner of the United Nations, these nations may well turn on Israel and attempt to enforce a settlement that is consistent with, as Mr Cook has defined it, "the expectations of the international community". In this way, in the end, Saddam Hussein would, after all, have been the catalyst to bring tremendous world-wide pressure on Israel.

Muslim and Arab leaders are enforcing this parallel between Iraq and Israel at every opportunity, and in every political forum in the world: Palestinian Authority figures are proclaiming the "injustice" far and wide. Senior PA figure Jibril Rajoub told The Guardian in England on February 17 that the stalled Oslo process was increasing Palestinian anger against Israel, and that an attack on a fellow Arab regime for contravening UN resolutions could ignite fury into open revolt. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told CNN the same thing.

Thus the pressure on Israel to "also" comply with the harsh, often one-sided Security Council resolutions imposed on her is already growing.

The time is now for Israel to prepare a counter-offensive explanation to make it crystal clear that no such parallel exists between the Jewish state and Iraq. Some of the reasons:

When the UN accepted the partition plan that divided the land of Israel between the Jews and the Arabs, it was the Arab nations that rejected the plan. That rejection remains in most Arab and Muslim circles today. And it is to be seen in the ambiguity obscuring Yasser Arafat's decision to amend the PLO Charter, which rejects a sovereign Jewish state on any part of Palestine.

If there must be pressure from the international community for compliance with UN resolutions, this is where it has to begin.

Arafat has promised in front of European and Western leaders to amend this charter. In September 9, 1993 he wrote to Prime Minister Rabin: "The PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant." To truly revise the charter, Arafat knows he must convene the Palestine National Council, only a two-thirds majority of whom can legally make the amendments.

This - along with other commitments - is what Arafat promised to do in Oslo. And this is the promise which Mr Cook, and others, should be telling him to keep.

Israel never promised, neither in Oslo nor at any time afterwards, to stop settling in Judea and Samaria. Arafat, however, repeatedly promise to see that the PLO charter is changed.

Nor should we forget that, for millions of Muslims, the words in the covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) which flouts the will of the United Nations of the world, still constitutes their credo as it relates to Israel:

"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered; it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king nor president, neither all the kings and presidents, neither any organisation, neither all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Muslim generations until Judgement Day."

The same covenant informs us: "The Palestine Liberation Organisation is the closest to the heart of the Islamic Resistance Movement."

Thus the international community needs to insist that the Arab dream of removing the Jewish state from its Muslim midst is totally unacceptable to the world. It is these nations that must be called upon to comply with the UN Charter that promises respect to every member nation, and the right of each to live within secure and recognised borders.

From the time of Amin al-Husseini, until Nasser, and up to today, the over-riding desire of most Muslims, and most Arabs, has been the destruction of a fellow member of the community of nations. It is this fundamental and foundational flaunting of the international will that needs to be addressed in no uncertain terms by Mr Cook and Madame Albright.

Israel did not gas its own Palestinian population as Saddam Hussein did the Kurds. Unlike Saddam, who attacked Iran and Kuwait, and who is still endangering the region with his Hitler-like expansionist desires, Israel desires nothing more than to live in peace with its Arab neighbours.

To prove this Israel has given up all Sinai and its own biblical cities - Jericho, Bethlehem, Shechem, Hebron - even though most of its neighbours will not stand in the way of millions of fanaticised Muslims when they feel ready and powerful enough to do away with Israel for good.

And Mr Cook thinks - with others - that there is a parallel between Iraq and Israel? It is just the opposite: The parallel is with Iraq and the PA.

When will Britain, the US and the other nations apply the same pressure on Arafat to scrupulously comply with his undertakings as they now apply on Hussein? When will they tell Arafat that he can no longer trick world opinion by continuing his policy of peace and terror at the same time?

Britain has been unyielding in its insistence that the IRA cease any and all expressions of violence in order for the Northern Ireland peace process to continue. When will Mr Cook be as firm in the demands he makes on Arafat, who continues to support the terror option and praise the murderers of Jews even as he declares himself committed to making peace in Israel?

It would indeed be nice if the nations would compel Arafat to honour his promise to Prime Minister Rabin:

"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."

Only when Albright and Cook muster the moral strength and courage to treat Arafat with the same fortitude they have shown his friend Saddam Hussein will there be any hope of a breakthrough in the present stalemate in the Middle East.


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