Name one concession Israel has made in recent years that has been reciprocated by its sworn enemies. This is not a trick question. There are none.
That's why next month's announced 'Middle East Summit' in Annapolis, Md., should be viewed as one more installment payment in the sellout of Israel and of American interests in the Middle East. While the United States continues to struggle to shore up democracy in Iraq, the Bush administration - like administrations before it - proceeds in undermining the likelihood that the region's first democracy will endure.
At every negotiating session, Israel is pressured into making concessions for 'peace' and receives more war in response. Mostly, this is because of the wishful thinking in the West that has replaced sound policy. Why should the Palestinians make concessions when they are drawing closer to their objective of eradicating Israel by throwing stones and bombs and stonewalling negotiations?
In an address to the Israeli Knesset, President Shimon Peres reaffirmed the flaw in Western thinking: '... even if there are some who express doubt at the ability of the Palestinians to achieve peace, the impression must not be created that Israel has doubts regarding the need and the willingness to achieve full peace.' So it's not about hard bargaining resulting in the preservation of Israel with defensible borders and the cessation of terrorist attacks, it's about 'impressions?" No wonder Israel's enemies are emboldened as never before.
While details of a 'joint declaration' by Israel and the Palestinians on a final status agreement remain secret, some information has leaked. One report has Prime Minister Ehud Olmert preparing to divide Jerusalem by allowing Arab East Jerusalem to come under Palestinian control. The holy sites, now administered by Israel and open to all (which was not the case when Jordan controlled East Jerusalem prior to 1967), would be internationalized. For 40 years, Israel has provided security for the holy places. It is doubtful an international force would do as good a job protecting these sites from terrorists (think the Taliban and the destruction of ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan and regular attacks on Christians, their churches and schools in heavily Muslim nations).
According to one report, 'the drafters are planning to call for a withdrawal by Israel to the 1967 lines,' thus making Israel more vulnerable than ever to heavily armed Arab states and Palestinian enemies and leaving it completely exposed to infiltration from the East. Does anyone doubt such infiltration would not occur? Would the United States come to the aid of Israel should it again be invaded? Probably not since that might hurt our 'image' in the Arab world.
Infidel Israelis, Americans and Europeans will not dissuade those sworn to destroy Israel. President Bush had promised former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon he could expect U.S. support to maintain defensible borders. In the plan now being discussed, Israel's borders would be indefensible.
In all of this, the United States is trying to prop up Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. But Abbas is a figurehead, manipulated by the terrorist organization Hamas, which virtually controls the Palestinian territories thanks to democratic elections. Caroline Glick writes in the Jerusalem Post: 'Over the past week, Abbas announced his adherence to maximal Palestinian demands from Israel. These include the full transfer of sovereignty over the Temple Mount to the Palestinians; the complete surrender of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinians; and an Israeli acceptance of the so-called 'right-of-return' that would force Israel to accept millions of foreign Arabs as immigrants within its truncated borders.'
Why should anyone expect anything else when the real intensions of Israel's enemies can be summed up in the 'phased plan' for the destruction of Israel expressed in 2000 by Palestinian Minister of Supply Abd El Aziz Shahian? 'The Palestinian people accepted the Oslo agreements as a first step and not as a permanent arrangement, based on the premise that the war and struggle on the ground is more efficient than a struggle from a distant land ... for the Palestinian people will continue the revolution until they achieve the goals of the '65 revolution.'
The '65 Revolution refers to the founding of the PLO and the publication of the Palestinian Charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel through armed struggle.
So, why is the United States hosting this sellout in Annapolis?
E-mail nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.