Politics & Policy


Burying the Bush Doctrine in Annapolis.

The thug Assad regime of Syria will apparently take a couple of days off from murdering Lebanese democrats and enabling the anti-American jihad in Iraq to attend this week’s Annapolis summit … or “conference,” or “meeting.” It’s difficult to say how we should describe Condoleezza Rice’s pie-in-the-sky confab. After all, the main principals — an Israeli prime minister hanging on by a thread and a Palestinian “president” whose only constituency seems to be the U.S. State Department — cannot even agree on what to call it, much less on an agenda.

I’m going with “farce.”

Buried in Annapolis will be the last shards of the Bush Doctrine, the blunt marker the president once put down to signal a do-or-die choice for jihadist nations. Are you with us, he asked, or with the terrorists?

The Assads’ answer has always been plain: They are with the terrorists. Any terrorists. Saddam Hussein, Hamas, Hezbollah and, behind it all, Iran. Shiite or Sunni, national, sub-national, or transnational — it matters not, so long as the terrorizers in question oppose the United States while working toward Israel’s demise.

For our secretary of State, that somehow makes them part of the solution. Syria was beseeched to attend the farce even as it was working to throw into chaos the selection of a new Lebanese president to replace Emile Lahoud, the Syrian plant whose term was due to expire last week. Other candidates issue statements from bunkers because Syrian operatives tend to kill them if they appear in public. It has been nearly three years since Bashar al-Assad’s henchmen murdered Rafik Hariri for protesting against Lahoud’s grip on power. It has been over two years since President Bush and Secretary Rice made a show of demanding action on the U.N. investigation that has implicated top Syrian officials, including Assad’s brother and brother-in-law. The result … is nothing. Meanwhile, Hezbollah, with Syrian backing, continues to threaten a renewal of the war it started against Israel in the summer of 2006.

Of course, the portrayal of Syria as a legitimate participant in a peace initiative is no more absurd than the participation of the Palestinians themselves.

Seduced by the fantasy of peace-loving Palestinians, the president and his top diplomats have made creation of a sovereign state for these blood-soaked jihadists the bedrock of our Middle East policy — thus undercutting any credibility the Bush Doctrine may have had. Remarkably, the State Department tells the New York Times that its game-plan for the farce is to commit both Israel and the Palestinians “to carry out long-postponed obligations included in the first stage of the 2003 peace plan known as the road map.” On the Palestinian side, the primary obligation was to end terrorism. That’s precisely the same promise the terror master and Palestinian founder Yasser Arafat gave to President Clinton after the first and before the second Intifada.

The promise is never meant and never kept because it cannot be. At the existential core of Palestinian identity is the belief that Israel — the “Zionist entity” — is an illegitimate interloper which must be purged from Muslim land. So ingrained is this conceit that, in reality, the Palestinians are not even attending the farce. The terrorist organization they knowingly and willfully elected to represent them, Hamas, is boycotting Annapolis as a waste of time, a diversion from the jihad.

Instead, Palestinians are nominally represented in the proceedings by Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat’s successor as leader of the Fatah party and the State Department’s favorite “moderate.” So the delusion that the Palestinian people want peaceful cohabitation in Israel is layered over by the delusion that Fatah is a credible peace partner. The cherry on top is that Abbas is both inclined and able to deliver on the obligations of peace.

It is madness. Palestinians are reared from birth to abhor Israelis. A dehumanizing hatred pervades their media, education system, and society at large. Their national monuments glorify suicide bombers. That, indeed, is why recent polling shows that 75 percent of Palestinians, including a whopping 93-percent of young Palestinian adults (aged 18 to 25), deny Israel’s right to exist. It is also why they chose Hamas when given the chance.

The alternative, Fatah, could be thought “moderate” only in the sense that Hitler would be a moderate if you compared him, say, to Satan. By its constitution, Fatah calls for the “eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence[,]” through an “armed revolution” which is to be the “decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence” — a revolution that “will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.” To effectuate the armed revolution, Fatah maintains its own terrorist wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which works closely with Iran, Syria, and other jihadist organizations.

And then there is Abbas, the Arafat protégé who, as Powerline’s Scott Johnson has observed, was Fatah’s paymaster when Palestinian forces murdered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics … and when Arafat ordered the brutal murders of two American diplomats in Khartoum in 1973. Murders in which, Caroline Glick recounts, Arafat’s complicity was known to, and obfuscated by, the State Department for over 30 years (which is to say, well into the current Bush administration) — the better to preserve the “peace process” masquerade.

By day, Abbas talks a good game, to the accompanying ca-ching of Western coffers, the sound of our desperate hope that something other than a genocide campaign is being underwritten. But when he thinks we’re not paying much attention — a reliable bet with the Western media — he rewards the families of suicide bombers and urges Palestinians “to direct our guns against Israeli occupation” instead of against each other.

Abbas’s problem is that Hamas is quite content to direct its guns in both directions. While relentlessly pursuing the Israeli jihad, it has routed Fatah from Gaza (in the process seizing caches of U.S. weapons the administration had bequeathed despite Fatah’s corruption, incompetence and intransigence). The birth of Hamastan is Israel’s reward for unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza — the pattern of the “peace process” being that Israelis make concessions and Palestinians take concessions … while continuing to kill Israelis. Were Israel to make the next logical concession, withdrawal from the West Bank, Abbas would be out of a job. Hamas would duplicate the Gaza feat or Fatah would turn him out — as part of either a rapprochement with Hamas (the two sides are already talking) or its own harder line with Israel. That, after all, is what the Palestinian people want.

Simply stated, the farce is crushing for Bush supporters. This administration is hellbent on granting statehood to savages who worship “martyrdom,” who have bombed their way to the table, and whose non-negotiable demand — a “right of return” to Israel for millions of migrant Palestinians — would sound the death-knell for a civilized democracy that is our only true friend in the region. So desperate is the administration to show “progress” and “engagement” that it is placing its chips on an unreconstructed terrorist organization, Fatah, that fails the most basic tests of sovereignty — able neither to control its own territory nor to acknowledge the right of a neighboring sovereign to exist. And in executing the strategy, the administration is betraying the principle that state sponsors of terror like Syria must be eradicated or reformed, but never embraced — the only roadmap to real peace.

I wonder what we’d be saying if the president behind this farce were named Clinton.

Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.


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