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What the U.S., after all, has been trying to achieve in Iraq since 2003—peace, democracy, conciliation between parties long at war—resembles what Israel is supposed to achieve with the Palestinians. But if the Iraqi variant of the age-old Sunni-Shiite conflict continues in full fury despite America’s best efforts, why should the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” be at the point of ending? If the two great branches of Islam are still in deadly discord after 1400 years, by what contrivance does Obama think the Arab-Islamic side (or “the Palestinians”) will formally and explicitly accept the blasphemy and humiliation of a Jewish state on what they see as Islamic land?
One would imagine the administration is struck, too, by a headline like yesterday’s “Suicide bomb kills at least 20 in northern Afghanistan”—a country where the U.S. has been trying to achieve such goals even longer than in Iraq and has little to show for it as the situation only deteriorates. And then there was “Islamists kill dozens in Nigeria Christmas bombings”—true, outside of the Middle East and a bit further afield, but, for all that, not at all unrelated.
But if Obama really has any inclination to learn something about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he could see appalling sights just by looking at the conflict itself.
He could have made note of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas’s staged, public meeting last week with Amana Mona—a Palestinian child-murderer. In 2001, using online impersonation, she lured the 16-year-old Israeli boy Ophir Rahum to his death in a hail of terrorists’ bullets near Ramallah.
Last October Amana Mona was released from prison and exiled to Turkey as part of the Gilad Shalit deal. Abbas, in his first diplomatic visit to Turkey since that time, sought her out for a photo-op along with ten other released terrorists.
In so doing, was the polished, “secular,” “moderate” Abbas’s message—that the murder of “enemies” is a noble act meriting special honors—different from that of the bombers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Nigeria? If so, someone needs to explicate the nuances.
To this can be added the increasingly close ties between Abbas’s PLO and certified bad-guy Hamas. But the truth about the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” has always been there for those not too delusional to see it. Yaalon, Netanyahu, and the others in Jerusalem are aware of this truth. If they really have conveyed some of it to the U.S. administration, it would be a spark of hope in a dreary picture. But it remains to be seen.
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