The irony for Israel and her supporters is that Arafat always has provided a clarity that many others around him obfuscate because the others wear business suits and ties rather than kaffiyehs and gun-holsters. They speak more cleverly, in the manner of Hanan Ashrawi and Saeb Erekat, than Arafat ever has. In his absence, extraordinary pressure will mount against Israel, even from her friends, who will insist: “We stood with you for all the Arafat Years and refused to meet with Arafat and turned a blind eye to your military actions in Jenin and throughout Gaza, even your targeted elimination-hits aimed at removing the schemers of terror and the “ticking bombs.” We backed you — overtly or through our silence — as you acted to offset and counter Arafat’s terror. Now, with him gone, we expect you to reciprocate and ‘make overtures’ to the Palestinian Authority and ‘take risks for peace’ so that his successor(s) can bring ‘hope’ that a new day is dawning.”
Israel will be posed with The Global Test.
Thus, Arafat’s departure to better French cuisine — well, they may not be serving mousse where he is going, although he may recognize Napoleon — is going to make it much harder for Israel to explain her cognition that, beneath their suits and ties, Arafat’s successors bring the same agenda to destroy Israel. The children’s textbooks of “Palestine” will continue to teach hate against Jews. Look to see whether they are withdrawn. The children’s television programs of “Palestine” will continue to encourage them to blow themselves up and murder Jews. Look to see whether they are canceled from the Fall TV line-up. The children’s summer camps of “Palestine” will continue training them to murder. Look to see whether the camp offerings are changed to arts and crafts. Well, maybe leave it at arts. The newspapers of “Palestine” will continue running crossword puzzles that define Israel out of existence. Look to see whether they change the clues. Town Squares of “Palestine” will retain their names in honor of suicide bombers. Look to see whether they are re-named for peace advocates.
Nothing will change in “Palestine” during the transition from kaffiyehs and holsters to suits and ties.
Even with British Prime Minister Tony Blair congratulating President George W. Bush by welcoming his reelection, pledging continued support for the War in Iraq — and then reminding President Bush that Blair’s agenda calls for moving full-speed on “Mideast Peace” as soon as the War in Iraq resolves itself. So Israel is in for some profoundly rough riding after the calm. Presumably that is why Israeli prime Minister Ariel Sharon wanted his questionable “Half-the-loaf is-better-than-nothing” solution on the table — securing President Bush’s full blessing for that plan to retreat from Gaza but to hold high-density Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria — while Arafat still is/was around. So Mr. Sharon got his plan on the table to fill the vacuum opened when the Bush “Roadmap” got blown up — just as had the Zinni Plan before it, and all the many, many plans that preceded that one dating back forty years to the Rogers Plan.
Now Arafat is dead in the land of quiche, mousse, croissant, vichysoisse, and Jew-hatred, consulting with Generalissimo Francisco Franco. And it is not a time for Israel or her friends to celebrate.
Those fine folks from Hamas, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Islamic Jihad, Force 17, the Palestine Authority, Tanzim, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Al Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades, and all the other candidates are sharpening their knives and donning their suicide belts — while the Hanan Ashrawis and Saeb Erekats prepare their endorsements — for the new season of primaries, “Palestine-style.” The “Blow Up the Vote” drives in Ramallah and Jenin are coming — not sure who will be doing the concerts, but Michael Moore can’t be far behind.
After they finish with each other, the survivors will turn their attention on Israel. Israel will have to be very, very strong. We know what the Global Test from France, Germany, and Russia will try to impose, and we know what Kofi Annan’s United Nations will demand of Israel. But what will Israel’s friends in Washington demand?
Israel will have to be very, very strong — because help is not on the way.