by Caroline B. Glick
It is a fundamental truth that while history always repeats itself, it almost never repeats itself precisely. There is always some measure of newness to events that allows otherwise intelligent people to repeat the mistakes of their forbearers without looking completely ridiculous.
Given this, it is hard to believe that with the advent of the Obama administration, we are seeing history repeat itself with nearly unheard of precision. US President Barack Obama's reported intention of appointing former Senator George Mitchell to serve as his envoy for the so-called Palestinian-Israeli peace process will provide us with a spectacle of an unvarnished repeat of history.
In December 2000, outgoing president Bill Clinton appointed Mitchell to advise him how to reignite the "peace process" after the Palestinians rejected statehood and launched their terror war against
Mitchell asserted that
As for the Palestinians, Mitchell said they had to make a "100 percent effort" to prevent the terror that they themselves were carrying out. This basic demand was nothing new. It formed the basis of the
By insisting that the PLO make a "100 percent effort," to quell the terror it was enabling, the
After getting Arafat off the hook, the
Mitchell's plan, although supported by then secretary of state Colin Powell, was never adopted by Bush because at the time, terrorists were massacring Israelis every day. It would have been politically unwise for Bush to accept a plan that asserted moral equivalence between
But while his eponymous plan was rejected, its substance, which was based on the Clinton Plan, formed the basis of the Tenet Plan, the Roadmap Plan and the Annapolis Plan. And now, Mitchell is about to return to
Mitchell of course, is not the only one repeating the past. His boss, Barack Obama is about to repeat the failures his immediate predecessors. Like Clinton and Bush, Obama is making the establishment of a Palestinian state the centerpiece of his foreign policy agenda.
Obama made this clear his first hour on the job. On Wednesday at 8 a.m., Obama made his first phone call to a foreign leader. He called PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. During their conversation, Obama pledged his commitment to Palestinian statehood.
Fatah wasted no time responding to Obama's extraordinary gesture. Wednesday afternoon Abbas convened the PLO's Executive Committee in Ramallah and the body announced that future negotiations with
And so, now the PLO is uninterested in the agreements it reached with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. For Israel to enjoy the privilege of negotiating with the PLO, it must first announce its willingness to expel all the 500,000 or so Israeli Jews who live in Judea, Samaria and the neighborhoods in east, south and north Jerusalem built since 1967 as well as the Old City and then hand the areas over, lock, stock and barrel to the PLO.
This new PLO "plan" itself is nothing new. It is simply a restatement of the Arab "peace plan" which is just a renamed Saudi "peace plan" which was just a renamed Tom Friedman column in the *New York Times*. And the Friedman plan is one that no Israeli leader in his right mind can accept. So by making this their precondition for negotiations, the PLO is doing what it did in 2000. It is rejecting statehood in favor of continued war with
What is most remarkable about the new administration's embrace of its predecessors' failed policy is how uncontroversial this policy is in
Apparently, no one in positions of power in
In spite of massive political, economic and military support by the
Many are quick to claim that these misbehaviors were simply a consequence of Arafat's personal radicalism. Under Abbas, it is argued, the PLO is much more moderate. But this assertion strains credulity. As the Jerusalem Post's Khaled Abu-Toameh reported on Monday, Fatah forces today boast that their terror cells in
Abbas's supporters in the
From 2000 through June 2007 when Hamas ousted Fatah forces from
The likes of Madeleine Albright, Powell, and Condoleezza Rice claimed that Fatah's collusion with Hamas and Islamic Jihad and its leading role in terror was a consequence of insufficient Israeli support for Arafat and later Abbas. If Israel had kicked out the Jews of Gaza earlier, or if it had removed its roadblocks and expelled Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria, or if had prevented all Jewish building beyond the 1949 armistice lines, then Arafat and later Abbas would have been more popular and able to rein in their own terror forces. (Incidentally, those same forces receive their salaries from the PA which itself is funded by the
The problem with this line of thinking is that ignores two essential facts. First, since 2000
Even if we were to ignore all of the PLO's involvement in terrorism and assume like Obama, Bush and Clinton that the PLO is willing to live at peace with Israel in exchange for Gaza, Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, what Hamas's control of Gaza and its popularity throughout the Palestinian areas shows is that there is no reason to expect that the PLO will remain in control of territory that Israel transfers to its control. So if
Given that there is no chance that Israeli territorial giveaways will lead to a peaceful Palestinian state, the question arises, is there any way to compel American politicians to give up their fantasies of fancy signing ceremonies in the White House Rose Garden that far from bringing peace engender radicalism, instability and death?
As far as Mitchell is concerned the answer is no. In an address at
So much for "change" in
Caroline B. Glick
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