Every time the Palestinians get into a tight spot, they draw Israel into “peace” negotiations by making a new batch of promises. This normally occurs after some industrial-strength arm-twisting by whatever American administration is in power at the time. The Israelis are particularly vulnerable at the end of every eight-year presidential cycle, when a lame duck president is groping around for a “legacy”.
The Palestinians, of course, make promises which they invariably fail to keep. If there is a single condition to which they have solemnly agreed and then adhered to, I am unaware of it. Israel has delivered territory, money, diplomatic accommodation, arms for Palestinian “police forces”, and any number of other concessions. But Yasir Arafat and his successors have reciprocated with… nothing. Nada. Rien. Zilch. Bupkes. Zip. Empty words, unkept promises, inspiring rhetoric. And continued anti-Semitic bellicosity (in Arabic) for a domestic audience.
The PLO has metamorphosed into the Palestinian National Authority, but nothing has changed. Fifteen years have passed, but the PNA is just as committed to the destruction of Israel as the PLO was in 1993.
It took a lawsuit to codify a fact that was obvious to everyone but the most hardened Arabist (or the brain-dead). According to Daniel Pipes:
PLO Acknowledges: Still at War With Israel
Yasir Arafat may have shaken Yitzhak Rabin’s hand in 1993 and signed solemn declarations about ending the war to eliminate Israel, but late last month, in a New York City courtroom, the Palestine Liberation Organization formally confirmed that it still sees terrorism against Israelis as legitimate acts of war.
The lawsuit, Sokolow v The Palestine Liberation Organization [pdf], brought by the intrepid David Strachman, alleges that the PLO carried out two machine-gun and five bombing attacks in the Jerusalem area between January 2001 and February 2004. The plaintiffs allege, in the words of U.S. District Judge George Daniels, that the PLO did so “intending to terrorize, intimidate, and coerce the civilian population of Israel into acquiescing to defendants’ political goals and demands, and to influence the policy of the United States and Israeli governments in favor of accepting defendants’ political goals and demands.” The attacks killed 33 and wounded many more, some of them U.S. citizens; the victims and their families are seeking up to US$3 billion in damages from the PLO.
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To this, the PLO, represented in part by none other than the appalling Ramsey Clark (who in a distant age, 1967-69, was attorney general of the United States), replied that the attacks were acts of war rather than terrorism. As Daniels summarizes the PLO argument: “defendants argue that subject matter jurisdiction is lacking because this action is premised on acts of war, which is barred under the ATA [Antiterrorism Act of 1991], and further is based on conduct which does not meet the statutory definition of ‘international terrorism’.”
This response is noteworthy for two reasons: (1) Fifteen years after Oslo supposedly ended the state of war, four years after Mahmoud Abbas took over and supposedly improved on Arafat’s abysmal record, the PLO publicly maintains it remains at war with Israel. (2) The PLO argues, even in the context of an American law court, that blatant, cruel, inhumane, and atrocious acts of murder constitute legitimate acts of warfare.
Judge Daniels rightly slammed the PLO’s argument: “the Court finds that the attacks, as alleged to have occurred in the amended complaint, do not constitute acts of war nor do they, as a matter of law, fall outside the statutory definition of ‘international terrorism’.” He went on to point out that civilians, not soldiers were the intended victims of these assaults…
See the article at Daniel Pipes’ site for more detail on what happened.
The involvement of Ramsey Clark reminds us that this whole farce would be impossible without the active collaboration of Western leftists. I’m not just talking about useful idiots, like the “human shields” who flock to war zones whenever the conflict turns hot. Committed Marxists, dedicated to the destruction of the capitalist West, pour millions of dollars and innumerable volunteer hours into the anti-Israel cause.
And all the while the mainstream media in the West employ in their usual euphemisms and morally equivalent terminology. “Both sides” need to return to the “peace process” and do the hard bargaining necessary to reach a “two-state solution”.
This knee-jerk symmetry has its limitations of course, because only one side is seriously expected to keep the promises it makes in the name of “peace”.