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In Search of a Real Middle East Peace
The peace process between Israelis and Palestinians can take hold if the Palestinian campaign of hate and terror against Israel ends.
The hollow diplomatic dance for Middle East peace may continue in the capitals
of Europe, the Mid-East, and in Jordan. And a very sincere George W. Bush
may be doing his best to bring some stability and good will to the Israel/Palestinian
stand-off. But the perfect storm for more murderous terror and war continues
to build unabated.
That's because the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians can really only take hold if the elemental Palestinian campaign of hate and terror against Israel ends. However, for that to happen, the most fundamental systemic changes must be made in the infrastructure and culture of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The PA's 'WMH' (Weapons of Mass Hate) must be dismantled -- and as soon as possible.
Contrary to the unlearned opinion of the political left, Palestinian suicide bombers simply do not magically sprout from the fertile ground of alleged Israeli-imposed political and economic oppression. A culture of hate and martyrdom must first be sewn by the PA's propaganda infrastructure that includes the education system, government television, radio and print publications, and the words and example of leading Palestinian opinion makers. Not to mention the extensive funds and elaborate terror network needed to recruit, train, arm and transport would-be suicide bombers to their targets.
Yet, despite President George W. Bush's dramatic intervention in the peace process, and the lofty words of reconciliation recently mouthed by the Palestinian Prime Minister in Jordan, continued cues continue to emanate from the Palestinian territories that it's business as usual in the PA's 'WMH' department. Note the latest report from the IMRA (Independent Media Review and Analysis) Web site, "Arafat tells kids to die on Int'l Children's Day."
According to the site, Israel Television Channel Two News has shown video clips of the "meeting" Yasser Arafat recently held in Ramallah with children to mark International Children's Day.
Instead of spouting exhortations for peace and future reconciliation with Israel, Mr. Arafat devoted his remarks to encouraging the children to be "shahid" (die for the cause), noting that one shahid who dies for the sake of a Palestinian-controlled Jerusalem has the power equal to 40 of the enemy dying.
Of course, this phenomenon is not new. Following the much-celebrated Oslo Accords for peace, Palestinian leaders and the state TV apparatus did not begin the arduous task of preparing their people for peace with Israel by preaching understanding, tolerance and reconciliation. Instead, repeated references continued to be made to the hate-filled, Nazi anti-semitic propaganda screed, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and Palestinian Authority newspapers continually published stories about Jewish "plots" and Jewish "fangs."
Along the way, Palestinian leaders, and their propaganda apparatus, accused Israel of injecting Palestinians with the AIDS virus, conducting medical experiments on Palestinian prisoners and selling spoiled food to Palestinians.
And certainly all the endorsements of the latest peace process by the current Palestinian Prime Minister will fall on deaf ears among ordinary Palestinians if typical paragraphs such as the following continue to appear in the official PA newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda:
All signs unequivocally prove that the conflict between the Jews and the Muslims is an eternal and on-going conflict, even if it stops for short intervals... This conflict resembles the conflict between man and Satan... This is the fate of the Muslim nation, and beyond that the fate of all of the nations of the world, to be tormented by this nation [the Jews]. The fate of the Palestinian people is to struggle against the Jews on behalf of the Arab peoples, the Islamic peoples and the peoples of the entire world."Or how about these typically tolerant words of reconciliation from a weekly sermon on PA TV (broadcast on November 4, 2002, but typical of the official religious preachings which continue to this day ): "Allah described them [Jews] in His Book, [as] characterized by conceit, pride, arrogance, rampage, disloyalty and treachery... deceit and cunning... for which Allah transformed them to monkeys and pigs."
Further according to this enlightened sermon, broadcast on PA TV, Jews are guilty of "trickery, plotting and treachery, and ideological terrorism..." and are the "cursed enemies of Allah; curse upon curse up to Judgment Day."
Hmmm. Not exactly a state-sanctioned belief system from which the foundations for "everlasting peace" are fashioned. And so far, there are no indications that such state-sponsored propaganda exercises in hate have or will change.
However, it's not just the official government media that have to change their tune. The very textbooks that are used to indoctrinate, er, educate Palestinian children must change too. As documented in a Southam news report by Matthew Kalman back in the autumn of 2001, "According to 58 new textbooks and two teachers' guides for grades 1, 2, 6, 7 and 11 published in the past two years by the Palestinian Authority, Israel does not exist -- nor does the concept of peace... Children are encouraged from the earliest school age to hate Israelis, glorify 'martyrs' and seek the 'liberation' of all of Palestine, including Israel." And the very latest online translations of current Palestinian educational materials on the Internet indicate that so far nothing has changed in that department in 2003.
The bottom line is that the most amazing national and/or cultural attitudinal changes are possible (witness the dramatic post-World War II change in Japanese attitudes toward the United States and Western culture, despite the lingering wound of Hiroshima). However, fundamental changes have to be made in the formative cultural message imparted to present and future generations for such attitudinal changes to occur. And so long as the Palestinians refuse to dismantle their state-sponsored WMHs, peace between Israel and the Palestinians will remain only a glimmer of wishful thinking on the part of George W. Bush and his naive enablers in the American state department.
Murray Soupcoff is the author of 'Canada 1984' and a former radio and television producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He also was Executive Editor of We Compute Magazine for many years, and is now the Managing Editor of the popular conservative Web site, The Iconoclast.