Rice’s speech wasn’t one of peace for Israel
October 30, 2006

by Morton A. Klein

I’ve heard and read many speeches on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Those made by well-known, hostile critics of Israel always caused me great pain by their use of hyperbole, absurd analogies and outright falsehoods against Israel.

But I was not prepared for this type of speech by an American secretary of state. Condoleezza Rice, in a keynote address delivered to the American Task Force on Palestine’s gala dinner in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, actually made such a speech.

Rice stated that “there could be no greater legacy for America than to establish a Palestinian state.” Really? What type of legacy would it be to reward the Palestinians, who are among the most pro-terrorist societies in the world, with statehood?

Despite Rice’s claims about “moderate Palestinians,” their own polls show that Palestinians consistently approve of suicide bombings and terrorism (57 percent and 61 percent in two September polls), rocket attacks on Israel (63 percent in September) and the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers (75 percent in September).

An August poll showed that 97 percent of Palestinians supported Hezbollah’s actions.

Rice also drew an analogy of Palestinians’ actions and dreams to the American struggle for independence, which not only implies an odious comparison of Yasser Arafat and Hamas leaders to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, but legitimizes the Palestinian promotion of Israel’s destruction and their hatred and murder of Jews.

The real Palestinian goals are made clear by their incitement in speeches and in the P.A.-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps. P.A. maps, atlases and textbooks display no country called Israel, and they name streets, schools and sports teams after suicide bombers. America’s founding fathers didn’t want to destroy England and murder its civilians, they simply wanted independence.

Under current circumstances, a Palestinian state would simply be another terrorist state. Statehood would give Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups greater power and opportunity to promote their terrorist agenda; it would not moderate them. Iranians, Syrians and North Koreans have their own sovereign states. This has not made them peace-loving societies.

By echoing Palestinian propaganda statements, such as her reference to the “daily humiliation of occupation,” Rice ignored that Judea, Samaria and Gaza are not occupied territory, but disputed territory. Rice didn’t acknowledge that these lands had been illegally occupied by Jordan and Egypt from 1948 to 1967 before coming under Israeli control in the 1967 war of self-defense. She also ignored that Israel ceded half of Judea and Samaria and all of Gaza, lands in which 98 percent of the Palestinian Arab population resides. Therefore, how can it be said that Palestinians are “occupied”?

Palestinians themselves have repeatedly rejected statehood; the issue has never been about land or statehood, only about Israel’s elimination.

Moreover, Israeli security measures such as checkpoints, roadblocks and curfews have been employed only because of Israel’s need to protect itself from Palestinian terrorism against Jews. No Arab terrorism ‹ no Israeli checkpoints.

Throughout her speech, Rice repeatedly pledged her support for P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas, calling him a “moderate leader.” Moderate?

He rebuffed President George W. Bush’s call at the 2005 Aqaba summit to accept Israel publicly as a Jewish state. He declared that neither Fatah nor Hamas need recognize Israel. He approved legislation mandating financial benefits to be paid to families of Palestinian shahids ‹ that is, dead terrorists. He praised Hezbollah and endorsed the so-called Prisoners’ Plan, which supports terrorism, does not accept Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state, abrogates Palestinian obligations under past agreements and insists on the “right of return.”

But Rice delivered the most pro-Palestinian speech in memory by a senior U.S. administration official. This speech is surely at odds with an administration that claims to be “the best friend Israel ever had.” But maybe her speech shouldn’t surprise us. In the recent past, she has demanded that Israel accept the road map peace plan with no changes, and she has pressured Israel to give up control of security routes on the Gaza-Egypt border; ease control at checkpoints; transfer weapons to Palestinian security personnel; and release terrorist Marwan Barghouti from jail.

The president should not remain silent when a member of his administration gives a speech that would have had Hanan Ashrawi, Saeb Erekat and Nabil Sha’ath in the front row cheering.

Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America.

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