In preparing for the Mideast conference in Annapolis, Maryland, this week, Jerusalem Post columnist and deputy managing editor Caroline Glick took some questions from National Review Online editor Kathryn Lopez Monday morning.
Glick, a senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy, is author of the upcoming book (March), The Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad will be released in March. All Glick clicks are available at www.carolineglick.com.
Kathryn Jean Lopez: Is there anything good to come out of Annapolis?
Caroline Glick: It is hard to see any positive outcome from the Annapolis conference. Some have argued that the conference will make clear the distinction between states interested in peace and states uninterested in peace. But it is far from clear why this is the case. Indeed, one of the basic flaws inherent in the Annapolis conference, and indeed in Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent frenetic pursuit of Palestinian statehood is the complete absence of moral distinctions between states committed to the ideals of peace, freedom, and fighting terror and those committed to jihad, tyranny, and hatred.
To take just the most obvious example of Rice’s moral equivalence, she upholds Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Prime Minister Salam Fayad as moderates who seek peaceful coexistence with Israel. Yet the fact is that neither Abbas nor Fayad have taken any steps that could be considered conducive to peace. They joined a unity government with Hamas in March and would have remained Hamas’s junior partner in that Saudi-brokered governing arrangement had Hamas not decided to oust Fatah forces from Gaza in June. Fayad has continued to pay the salaries of the Iranian-trained Hamas army in Gaza since the terror group’s takeover of the area just as he pays the salaries of Fatah terrorists in the West Bank.
In addition to his position as political leader of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas is also the head of the Fatah terror organization. Due to its reputation as a secular terror group, the U.S. State Department upholds Fatah as a credible partner in peace talks with Israel. But this strains credulity. Since the onset of the Palestinian jihad against Israel in September 2000, Fatah has carried out more terror attacks against Israeli targets than either Hamas or Islamic Jihad. Just last week Fatah terrorist murdered 29-year-old Ido Zoldan.
In spite of Fatah’s moderate reputation, the fact is that Fatah terror cells in the West Bank are bankrolled by Iran and its Hezbollah proxy. Its operatives are directed by Tehran no less than Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives are.
But in the interests of bringing about the declaration of a sovereign state of Palestine, Rice and her associates are advancing policies that smack of moral dementia. They insist that Israel make security concessions to Fatah, release Fatah terrorists from prison, and arm Fatah militias. They insist that Israel transfer hundreds of millions of dollars to Abbas’s bank accounts in the interest of promoting peace in spite of the fact that Abbas and Fayad transfer those funds to Hamas and Fatah terror operatives.
And just as the Bush administration is now treating Palestinian terrorists with deference while treating Israel abusively, so too, it is expending American political capital and prestige to woo oppressive, anti-American, pro-jihadist regimes like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Perversely, rather than thank the Americans for taking Israel to task as they have demanded, the Saudis forced the Bush administration to beg and genuflect to them before agreeing to participate in the conference. And that participation too was conditioned on US willingness to embrace the so-called Saudi plan for Middle East peace from 2002. The Saudi demand and the American willingness to accept it tells the entire tale of the moral and strategic failure of the Annapolis conference. The Saudi plan demands an Israeli withdrawal to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, an Israeli acceptance of millions of hostile foreign Arabs as citizens within its truncated borders and an Israeli renunciation of sovereignty over all of Judaism’s sacred sites in Jerusalem. Once Israel implements all of these demands, the Saudi plan states that the Arab world will take steps towards having regular relations with it. That is, the Saudi plan which the U.S. included in the terms of reference for the conference is a plan for Israel’s destruction.
In light of all of this, it is hard to foresee anything good coming from Annapolis.
Lopez: Is there any sense in inviting Syria?
Glick: Apologists for the Annapolis conference claimed that the conference would mobilize the Arab world to the U.S.’s side and so build a coalition of Arab states opposed to Iran and its nuclear ambitions. It is hard to see how the invitation of Syria jibes with this assertion. To the contrary, by inviting Syria, the U.S. strengthens Iran and weakens any possibility that the Arab world would organize against the mullahs.