The Belief in Impossible Things

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There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen…. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Lewis Carroll, “Alice in Wonderland”

As I write these words, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is about to enter into the oval office and have his first meeting with President Barak Obama. The following impossible premises that are couched behind some assumptions in certain Washington policy circles might make the prospects of survival for our closest democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel, extremely tenuous. These beliefs will only come back to haunt us all when we are later forced to confront an intractable enemy in a battle that none of us in the West would have chosen to engage in, but may be, none-the-less, compelled to.

1. The premise that all international players adhere to the same rule book when it comes to nuclear weaponry. This is tantamount to saying that giving a loaded pistol to a three year old to play with is the same as giving it to highly trained police officer. We will not level the playing field by forcing the United States and Israel, rational actors with Western values about the sanctity of human life, sign a nuclear non-proliferation treaty that would compel them to eliminate their strategic deterrence by destroying their nuclear arsenal against an enemy that teaches the glory of death, martyrdom and suicide to its people. We are talking about vast cultural differences here when it comes to the value placed on a man’s life. We cannot deny the possibility that Iran or Pakistan might sign a nuclear non-proliferation treaty and then liken it to the Habidyah Accords that the Prophet Mohammed had signed with the tribe of Koresh in the Seventh Century, a stronger tribe that they weakened by this accord, and later vanquished. This premise that the ends justify the means, and that it is permissible to lie for the sake of Islam, is a huge cultural difference between the world of Islam and the liberal West that, unfortunately, has its basis in the religious teachings of the Koran.

2. The premise that immediate progress towards the peace process will weaken the Iranian theocracy and its hegemonic ambitions. In a recent poll taken by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and Survey Research, if given a chance for free and open, democratic elections in the West Bank most Palestinians would overwhelmingly choose Hamas, an Iranian puppet, over Fatah. It is only due to the finely honed skills of the Israeli Defense Force that Fatah is alive in the West Bank today. We now have the empirically-proven, abject test case of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in the summer of 2005, when Israel unilaterally elected to make the internally gut wrenching decision to uproot Israelis from their homes and make that territory Judenrein, offering them a highly sophisticated agricultural, economic basis in their greenhouses which the Palestinians in Gaza destroyed in a mayhem of hatred. The following January 2006, Gazans went to the polls and freely and independent elected the Iranian proxy, Hamas.

3. The premise that a two-state solution is just a matter of ironing out a few compromises between the parties and lies, immediately beyond the horizon. Just last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. “A Jewish state?”, Abbas said in a speech in Ramallah, “You can call yourselves anything you like, but I don’t accept it and I say it publicly.” This is like saying I will negotiate with the United States, but I will never accept that this is a state for Americans. Beyond that, this is not just a matter of simple nomenclature. This brings up a critical point in the negotiations. It points to the cherished Palestinian principle of the right of return, which would make the continued existence of Israel as both a Jewish state and a democracy a virtual impossibility.

4. The premise that we, in America, will buy the love of the radical Islamic world, in particular, and of the international community, as a whole, by compelling Israel into a time-line driven deal with the Palestinians. Another lesson that we should have learned from the Gaza withdrawal of 2005 is that democracy and nation building take time and effort, and cannot be won through elections, alone, which are only one characteristic of a democracy but does not constitute its essence. The essence of a democracy entails a free and independent judiciary, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, due process and a separation of powers, and a fundamental appreciation of the philosophy of Western liberalism. It insures the ability to go into the town’s square and to criticize those in power without fear for one’s very life. One election does not a democracy make. Neither does an immediate or premature bestowal of Palestinian statehood before the Palestinians have unequivocally demonstrated an adherence to the conditions that had been laid out in the Roadmap and had been accepted by the Quartet, The United States, Russia, The European Union, and the United Nations. It clearly states in the Roadmap that “A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinians have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty.”

A prematurely born Palestinian state that does not adhere to these principles will only become a Hamas stronghold and will just be perceived in the eyes of the radical Islamist that hate both the Great Satan, the United States, and the Minor Satan, Israel, equally as a victory in its path towards radical Islamist hegemony over the West.

The litmus test for this is a simple one. When the Palestinian Authority no longer tries to enter into agreements with the terror-master, Hamas; When it amends the Palestinian National Covenant that remains in existence today, where 32 of the 33 articles speak about the eventual Palestinian conquest of all of the land of Israel; When it no longer tells its people that all of Israel will one day be theirs, when it stops using its text books, its television programs, its newspapers and its sermons from the mosques as a vehicle to propel Palestinians to believe in the myth that they can one day return to their grandparents vineyards in Haifa; When the deification of martyrdom, of hatred and of death is unequivocally removed from the Palestinian vocabulary; When terrorism is no longer used as a vehicle for negotiation or for blackmail, Then and only then will a two state solution be possible. And then both Palestinian and Israeli children will enjoy the opportunity of living out full rich lives in freedom and democracy, and the chance to actualize their human potential, which all children so

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About the Author

Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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