I bring you back about a year and a half to a Washington Post editorial "Palestinian Realities." The Post asserted then:
As Israeli troops laid siege to the headquarters of the Preventive Security Service -- until now a principal point of contact for Palestinian security cooperation with both Israel and the CIA -- Mr. Sharon's vague references to "uprooting terrorist infrastructure" began to come into focus. Evidently, the Israeli leader would like to forcibly remove much of the leadership of the Palestinian Authority as well as its principal security services -- the very institutions that until now have been Israel's only interlocutors in peace negotiations, and the only available instruments for stopping Palestinian terrorism.After eight and a half years of Palestinian perfidy the Washington Post was still pretending that the PA's security services were "...instruments for stopping Palestinian terrorism" and that the leadership of the PA were "...Israel's only interlocutors in peace negotiations." The illogic of those assertions is astounding. Even the editorial writers for the Washington Post had to know by then that the PA encouraged terror with word and deed. And it had to know that the only fight the PA made against terror was done with the utmost cynicism and ended in temporary imprisonment at most.
Why am I mentioning the Post's sins now? Because the lack of cynicism the Post's editors displayed toward the PA is in marked contrast to the cynicism with which it treated the Israeli government today. Even now, Mohammed Dahlan - long an aider and abettor of terrorists like Mohammed Dief - is belatedly acknowledging that the armed struggle has backfired. In essence, the now unemployed Dahlan (don't cry for him, I'm sure he's socked plenty of his graft away) is acknowledging that PM Sharon's resistance to the PA's violence have been successful at exacting a high price from the Palestinians. (It unfortunately has been at a high cost to Israel too.) But the Washington Post is acting as if the last three years - not to mention the last ten -never happened.
Today the Post writes in an editorial, "Negotiating Israel's Fence:"
The problem is not the fence itself but its route. Though under a previous government the planned fence largely followed the dividing line between Israel and the West Bank, Mr. Sharon's cabinet has pushed it eastward, so that it enfolds West Bank Jewish settlements, key water wells and rich farmland belonging to Palestinians. Some Israeli officials describe this as a pragmatic effort to put as many Israelis behind the fence as possible; others frankly call it a means of punishing the Palestinians for failing to stop violence. The Israeli cabinet is now set to consider plans for extending the fence another 250 miles. Portions of the new route, as planned, could extend as much as 17 miles inside the West Bank to include a large Jewish settlement and would partition or surround several Palestinian areas near Jerusalem while connecting nearby Jewish settlements to the city.First of all after ten years of Palestinian betrayals, for the Post to condemn Israel for including more land inside the fence is absurd. The late Eugene Rostow insisted that Israel was never required to withdraw from all of Judea and Samaria by Resolution 242; he should have known, he helped negotiate it. To credit the Palestinian claim that they deserve all of the land captured by Israel in 1967 was wrong ten years ago. It is even worse to work from that assumption today. It's not just that the PA supported terror in contravention to its commitment in 1993; it's that the terror was supported by every strata of Palestinian society. So no, there's nothing wrong with punishing the Palestinians and giving them less land than they claim. There should be a price - a steep price - for perfidy.
The editorial concludes:
Mr. Sharon should not be allowed to use a justifiable security project to advance unacceptable territorial ambitions.All of those years Arafat talked peace to the West and war to his own people. To my knowledge the Post never called him for using a justifiable cause to excuse unjustifiable terror. The Post's concern here seems seriously misplaced. We wouldn't have reached the point we have if publications like the Post had pointed out that Arafat wasn't looking to create his own state but to destroy an existing one. Instead the Post cravenly chose to excuse the violence of Arafat and his henchman by defining it as part of a legitmate struggle for rights.
If the Post really wants peace it should be encouraging the Bush administration to stand firmly behind Israel and show the Palestinians and the Arab world in general that terrorism is not acceptable in this post 9/11 world.
For too long Palestinian terror has been accepted as an unacceptable part of a legitimate claim. In fact the terror was so much a part of Palestinian nationalism it should have always been viewed as a disqualifying factor. The Post's failure to understand this makes its position indefensible. It will more easily excuse the murders of innocents than the loss of land to a tyranny.
More successful in understanding the Middle East than his unnamed editors is columnist Jim Hoagland. In "Sharon's Balancing Act," he writes:
The once gruff and impetuous general has skillfully deployed a string of maybes and ifs and we-will-sees to checkmate Yasser Arafat and, more crucially, to bind the Bush administration firmly to Sharon's bid to bury a generation of failed Palestinian leadership in the rubble of the West Bank and Gaza.I don't think that he has everything right; but at least he appears to try to understand Sharon and Israel. His editors did not.
Crossposted on IsraPundit and Soccer Dad.