Monday, January 14, 2008


Peace In Our Time (Spectator UK)

Rarely has a moral compass been so completely and publicly destroyed by its owner. George W Bush’s presidency has been defined by the moral position he took, under the impetus of 9/11, to repudiate the amoral realpolitik of his predecessors in appeasing and rewarding aggression while ignoring or even punishing its victims. Instead he would hold the aggressor’s feet to the fire and support and promote those who stood for freedom and democracy. Controversial as this doctrine undoubtedly was in the eyes of many in the US and around the world, it was at least consistent — with one niggling exception. On the Israel Arab impasse, Bush veered between making extraordinarily impressive speeches which correctly identified Arab aggression and incitement to hatred of Israel as the core problem to be addressed, and the imposition of the ‘Road Map’ which, by detailing the steps both Israel and the Palestinians had to take, descended into the kind of moral equivalence — and thus negation of the centrality of Arab aggression — which has kept this conflict alive for the past sixty years. At the time, however, it seemed that the Road Map was no more or less than a sop to Tony Blair — who has always failed grievously to grasp that the Palestinians don’t want a state, they want the Jewish state — as a gesture of thanks for his support over Iraq.

With Bush’s visit to the Middle East this week, however, any such residual excuse is blown away along with the last shreds of his claim to moral integrity. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians, he said blithely, was eminently possible this year. But everything he then said was about pushing Israel to make ‘painful concessions’ rather than the Palestinians. Since the sole obstacle to peace in the Middle East is the Arab rejection of the Jews’ right to their own ancestral home — the fact that Mahmoud Abbas not only has consistently refused to halt the continuing violence against Israel by both Hamas and his own Fatah affiliates, not only has refused to halt the incitement to hatred of Israel perpetrated daily by his own education system and PA controlled media, but has also repeatedly and consistently demanded the right of mass Palestinian immigration to Israel, thus showing his ‘aspiration’ for a Palestinian homeland existing peacefully alongside Israel to be totally bogus as was underlined by his chief negotiator’s recent declaration that the Palestinians would never recognised Israel as a Jewish state — Bush’s position is tantamount to pushing Israel to surrender to an enemy still hell-bent upon Israel’s annihilation.

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