Show Us the Map

During the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, President Ronald Reagan stood in front of the infamous Berlin Wall and issued a challenge. “Mr. Gorbachev,” he said, “Tear down this wall.” History has recorded the symbolic imperative of the president’s statement and subsequent results. The wall came down, and the world changed. The Cold War that had raged for decades was over.

In a world where such dramatic symbolism often means a great deal, it seems appropriate to invoke a variation of the former president’s words relating to the Palestinian/Israeli quagmire: “Mr. Arafat, put Israel on your map of the Middle East.”

This demand may seem rather benign to the incorrigible Palestinian leaders and even to many in the West; but it isn’t. It is well known that no Arab map includes Israel as a part of the Middle East. All Arab maps only, always, show the entire area as “Palestine.”

Of course, we understand what this fact means. Behind all of the rhetoric of peace, negotiations, withdrawal of Israeli forces from so-called Palestinian areas, and the “two-state solution” so rapturously touted by Western leaders, the map tells the real story. It reflects the bottom line of true Arab intentions and echoes the intransigence of the Palestinians in their refusal to amend the Palestinian Charter—or, we might add, to excise those segments of it that repudiate Israel’s right to exist and affirm their determination to wipe Israel off the landscape of the Middle East.

Western politicians have repeatedly asked for visible, good-faith acts that could assure negotiators of the sincerity of Yasser Arafat and his ilk to keep the promises they made since the fairy-tale accords of the Oslo Agreements declared them reformed, respectable, and responsible peacemakers. To the West’s chagrin, Arafat, its “made man,” has at every turn reneged on solemn promises made with innumerable handshakes and inked signatures and chose instead to initiate a “peace movement” through the barrel of a gun.

Still, he has been incomprehensibly maintained as the only viable force for peace among the Palestinian people. Yet, while he smiles for the press from the folds of his kaffiyeh, he presides over the decimation, death, and destruction of the lives of thousands of innocent people. They include, by the way, Jews, Americans, and Arabs.

And if the saying is true that the Arabs “never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” the same can be said for the failed Palestinian chieftain. But he does understand that the political forces that gave him his office and his unwarranted, international credibility will restrain Israeli leaders from decisively thwarting his ter­rorist aggression against Israeli citizens and whoever else happens to be in the vicinity when the bombs explode.

Among the strangest of contemporary phenomena is the idea that somehow terror­ism in Israel is different from terrorism in Afghanistan, the United States, or any other country. From Israelis, who are being killed daily, we are told to expect a degree of toler­ance not asked of any other people on Earth. “Don’t react,” Western leaders tell Israel, “if Saddam Hussein begins to rain Scuds down on you again. Don’t (lest we offend Arab allies) give Arafat and his killer minions the boot until things are cleaned up in Iraq.”

What Arab allies? There are a few, but they are precious few and far between.

Why not begin the sweeping-up process in Israel and give Hussein and other wannabe Arab strongmen a good, long look at the price they will pay if they make the same mistake the Palestinians made when they decided to start killing off Jewish people? And perhaps if the word gets to the streets in Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, and other places like the Sudan, it will put starch in the spines of dissidents who have suffered too long and don’t want to see reenacted the dreadful consequences meted out in Afghanistan because of September 11. That may be too much to expect; but at the very least, the warning flags would be clearly visible.

Eventually Palestinian leadership will change. To show good faith, let the new lead­ers’ first act be to put the State of Israel on their maps!

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