The Lesson Never Learned
Partisans may attempt to yoke each successive American administration with part of the blame, but it’s achingly frustrating to note the repetitive nature of events and rhetoric in the Middle East. Jeff Jacoby enunciates the lesson that the West never wants to learn about terrorism:
The hard truth is that no matter how much Israelis crave peace, they cannot achieve it through concessions and compromises and “road maps” – not when their enemies view such overtures and agreements as signs of weakness, and as proof that terrorism works. For 60 years, Israel has had to contend with the hostility of its neighbors and the heavy costs of war; its yearning for peace is understandable. But there will be no peace without victory, and no victory without fighting for it.
For a long time now, Israel’s leaders have resisted this fact – “We are tired of fighting,” Ehud Olmert infamously declared in 2005. For 15 years, beginning with the sham of the Oslo peace process in 1993, Jerusalem has tried to appease its way to tranquility. It allowed Yasser Arafat and his PLO killers to take control of the West Bank and Gaza. It embraced the goal of Palestinian statehood. It responded to terrorism with ever-deeper concessions. It abandoned Lebanon and Gaza. It reiterated, over and over, the false mantra that “you make peace with your enemies.” And from the ongoing captivity of Gilad Shalit to the rockets slamming into Israeli cities to the dysfunction and radicalization of Palestinian society, the results have been disastrous.
Change a key figure here. Choose a slightly different front-group there. And Western diplomats will leap again and again for the golden ring of painless resolution. Time and again, though, they find, when they pause for breath, Islamists stoking hatred and cutting throats.