by Ken Blackwell
Israeli media watchdog Itamar Marcus makes a career of following the Palestinian press. His website provides timely and accurate translations of the Arabic language broadcasts and publications that are watched and read by the Palestinian public on the West Bank of the Jordan River and in the Gaza Strip. It's well worth our while as Americans to pay more attention to what the so-called Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) is doing. That's because we American taxpayers are footing the bill for much of it. President Obama and Sec. Hillary Clinton have promised $900 million in U.S. funds to the PLO, our supposed "peace partners" in the latest round of Mideast peace talks.
One story is typical of the PLO approach to peace. Late last year, a 45-year-old rabbi, father of seven, was ambushed in his car by four members of the Palestinian Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) located three of the killers and killed them.
Here's what our peace partner, the PLO's Mahmoud Abbas, did then:
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas declared the killers "Shahids" (holy Martyrs) and sent his personal emissary to visit the families:
Secretary General of the President's Office, Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim, conveyed condolences on behalf of President Mahmoud Abbas to the residents of Nablus and to the families of the three Shahids [Martyrs] for the Martyrdom of their sons, who were assassinated by Israeli occupation forces yesterday morning. He conveyed to the fighting families letters of condolences from the President [Abbas] and updated them as to [Abbas's] decision to declare them as Shahids [Martyrs] of the Palestinian revolution..."
Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim: "Without doubt, what the [Israeli] occupation authorities have carried out is a wild and barbaric act and a deliberate, malicious assassination in cold blood.
Our tax dollars at work. Mahmoud Abbas and Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim are part of the notoriously corrupt organization that runs the West Bank. It's called the Palestinian Authority, but it remains to be seen how much authority it actually has. Abbas has declined to hold scheduled elections, fearing that Hamas, which won overwhelmingly in Gaza, would win on the West Bank, too. So, with U.S. financial and diplomatic support, Abbas clings to power.
He's a regular and honored visitor to the Obama White House. This is a man whose entire career was made as faithful lieutenant to Yasser Arafat. Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize for his famed "handshake" with Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in a deal brokered by then-President Bill Clinton. Arafat is the one who invented airline hijacking for terror purposes. Soon after shaking hands with Rabin, Arafat was up to his old tricks.
He instigated yet another of his intifadas -- uprisings -- sparked by Arab teenagers throwing stones, with deadly accuracy, at Israeli soldiers. If the Arab boys are shot and killed by the IDF soldiers defending themselves -- so much the better. Abbas has more "martyrs" to celebrate and the PLO gets some favorable TV coverage in the credulous Western media.
The United States has been pursuing a phantom for more than twenty years. We have bought into the fiction that the Arafat-Abbas clique -- this so-called Palestinian Authority-- is something other than what it is: a murderous and corrupt gang of thugs.
The errors in U.S. foreign policy in this region are bipartisan. It was the first Bush administration that sought to extend an olive branch and an open hand of friendship to the Arafat-Abbas gang in 1989. We were told then that if the PLO would just give up its campaign of terrorism against the Israelis, acknowledge the right of Israel to exist, then the United States would help the impoverished Palestinian people with development funds and sponsor their path to statehood.
The PLO never gave up its plans. To this day, the destruction of Israel remains a goal of the PLO. The PLO "leaders" can readily tell us they renounce terrorism because they don't consider the murder of Israeli citizens -- in pizza parlors, in schools, in hospitals -- to be terrorism. They call it resistance and they call those who are killed on these strikes shahids -- martyrs.
It's time for Americans to take a cold look at what twenty years of takkiya -- the Arabic word for deception -- have gotten us. President Reagan left office in 1989. He spoke about our dealings with the then-Soviet Union. He hoped for peace, and he said, "Trust, but verify." He said one more thing we need to apply to our role in the Mideast: "Don't be afraid to see what you see."
I look at the latest round of bogus peace talks and I see a discredited PLO boss sitting down to make promises to the Israelis he has no intention of keeping. If he actually did keep those promises, he would be murdered by his own cutthroat followers.
I see American honor stained, American power diminished, and American money wasted.
What do you see?
Ken Blackwell is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and a senior fellow at the Family Research Council.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.