by Sarah N. Stern
Over the last 20 years, since the signing of the Oslo Accords, we have witnessed in the United States a constant and steady war of attrition against Israel's moral right to exist. An atmosphere of moral relativism has been widely adopted, so much so that many Americans cannot distinguish the difference between an openly and unabashedly Islamist terrorist organization and a free democratic state with Western values of liberalism and democracy and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
The most recent and flagrant example of this is the Obama administration's willingness to work with a Fatah-Hamas unity government. In fact, before the ink was even dry, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced that the U.S. was willing to work with the new Palestinian government. Using the familiar tactic of the State Department linguistic shuffle, she called the merger between Fatah and the virulently anti-Semitic organization of Hamas merely a "technocratic government." She then added that the U.S. was still going ahead with plans to give the Palestinians another $500 million in U.S. taxpayers' money.
This is a clear violation of U.S. law. Both the 2006 Anti-Terrorism Act and the 2012 Appropriations Act clearly prohibit funding "to Hamas or any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member."
However, President Barack Obama and his apparatchiks in the State Department have become spin doctors and apologists for what we all know is an openly terrorist organization, hell-bent on the destruction of Israel.
It saddens me to see the U.S. government engage in all sorts of linguistic contortions in efforts to obfuscate and cover up what most of us know, and what we can assume they too know, deep down: that Hamas is little more than a radical Islamist organization whose aim is clearly to destroy the Jewish state and Jews throughout the world.
This erosion of morality has been a gradual process that had its beginning 20 years ago when then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and then-PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat shook hands on the White House Lawn. Today, the U.S. is simply borrowing a page from an old playbook.
Prior to Sept. 13, 1993, Arafat was known as the grand-daddy of international terrorism. He and his Fatah organization had invented airplane hijackings, bombings, kidnappings, and other types of attacks, including the 1972 murders of 11 of Israel's Olympic athletes in Munich, the 1973 murder of U.S. Ambassador to Sudan Cleo Noel, the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship (resulting in the murder of wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer), and the 1974 massacre of 26 people (21 of them schoolchildren) in Maalot.
The Palestinian National Covenant, which, contrary to popular opinion, has never been annulled, calls for the complete eradication of Israel. On April 24, 1996, the Palestinian National Council voted to set up a committee to consider revoking the covenant. As a result of this hollow vote, the international community, which has always been eager to whitewash the Palestinian Authority, telegraphed to the world that the charter had been annulled. In reality, the committee was never appointed and never convened a single meeting.
Immediately after that vote, Arafat's spokesman Marwan Karnafani left the room and said, "It is not an amendment. It is not an amendment. It is a license to set up a new resolution; to start a new charter."
In fact Article 8 of the charter says: "The conflicts among the Palestinian national forces are secondary, and should be ended for the sake of the basic conflict that exists between the forces of Zionism and of imperialism on the one hand, and the Palestinian Arab people on the other."
The Palestinian Authority is therefore merely following its own credo when it unites with Hamas or any other Palestinian resistance group.
Nearly every day, there is some clear and transparent indication of the Palestinian Authority's true intentions, meticulously documented by Palestinian Media Watch. Not a day goes by without the Palestinian Authority's television station inciting its people to hate and kill Jews, naming squares and sports games after suicide bombers, or calling to replace all the land that we recognize as Israel with "Palestine."
To the outside world, however, the Palestinian Authority at least donned some sort of camouflage to disguise their lethal goals, flimsy as it was. They became masters in the art of double speak, talking to Western diplomats in the gentle, seductive language of peace, even as these diplomats sat within the PA's official headquarters in Ramallah, directly under the map of Israel, re-designated as "Palestine." Hamas, on the other hand, does not even bother making that feeble attempt to cover up its deadly objectives.
For a while, the international community was determined to make the PA into the "good cop" in contrast with Hamas' "bad cop." Now, with their unity, this is no longer relevant, but the State Department and the European Union are determined to continue on with the charade.
Perhaps this willful blindness is the result of the constant and steady erosion of our moral integrity and intellectual courage that began the day that Arafat and Rabin shook hands on the White House lawn. I am afraid it also signifies something deeper. It signifies the profound failure of imagination of many in leadership roles around the world, as well as the fact that the peace process for many has become like a religion, and has ossified in many people's minds. For some, it is to be preserved at all costs, irrespective of the nefarious behavior and maximalist and deadly intentions of one of the parties.
Sarah Stern is the founder and president of EMET, the Endowment for Middle East Truth, a pro-Israel and pro-American think tank and policy shop in Washington.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.