NEW YORK, January 8, 2013 — So now it turns out that for all the blood, sweat and tears, we have lost Iraq. The terrorists are back. They have recaptured virtually every part of the country that had been won by our valorous men and women. The cost? More than 4,000 Americans dead and more than 30,000 wounded. Plus billions of dollars — and all for what?
When it comes to the Arab world we simply do not know what we are doing and because of that everything we do is wrong.
On TV yesterday one expert said we never should have gone into Iraq. He was right. The other expert said we never should have left Iraq. He was also right.
Because when it comes to the Arab world we are strangers in strange lands and we will always be strangers. There is nothing we can fix unless they fix it themselves.
Will that day ever come? Be advised not to take such a bet, not in this lifetime.
So Secretary of State John Kerry’s panic-stricken efforts to make peace between the Palestinian Arabs and the Jewish State amounts to this: Nonsense.
Nothing can come of this except more wasteful concessions from Israel.
Concessions of the past – Sinai, Hebron, Gaza – have yielded no concessions in return, only more demands and more intransigence.
Kerry’s most recent offering, that Israel accept 80,000 Palestinians into the Jewish homeland, leads to this question – how will these people fragment themselves? Into what rival groups? How many will be Hamas and how many will be Islamic Jihad and when will the fighting begin, this crowd against that crowd?
There are plenty of blueprints for this, as we saw when Yasser Arafat and his gang found refuge in Jordon and then Lebanon and in both places created terrible bloodshed. Even among his own kin there was rape, murder and chaos, until finally he brought his terrorism into Israel itself.
For in that part of the world it is about keeping grudges and settling scores. We Americans, we do not understand this.
It has got nothing to do with us and it has got nothing to do with Israel…and it is never wise to intervene inside domestic disputes.
How can there be peace between Arabs and Jews when there is no peace between Arabs and Arabs? Take the tour. In Syria some 200,000 men, women and children have been slain, all within the family. Figures vary as to the amount of blood, but the same rivalries, the same clashes, brother against brother, are being waged even at this moment within Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Tunisia, and Lebanon.
In some or all of those places we have given our blood and our fortunes, only to find ourselves back to square one.
Yet not a single American soldier has ever been asked to fight and die for Israel, but it is upon Israel that we place demands. We demand peace.
Kerry wants it done today.
Even as the Arab world, within itself, shows no inclination for peace.
But then there are the “shopkeepers.” These are ordinary Palestinian Arabs (perhaps the majority) who have no business with terrorism.
They are neighborly and simply want to earn a living and get along. In Jerusalem you will find them having coffee with the Jewish shopkeeper next door.
Some time ago, in Bethlehem, when Arafat and his thugs were on the run, now tearing it up in Tunis, the Christian Arab mayor of Bethlehem, Elias Freij, implored me to take a message first to Israel and then back to America: let Arafat and his PLO remain cast out. “Please do not give them shelter. They will ruin everything.”
The message was not heeded…and they did ruin everything.
Then they splintered up among themselves and clashed among themselves.
So for all our efforts, we still know nothing about the Arab world, though perhaps this from T. E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) in the movie Lawrence of Arabia: “So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people – greedy, barbarous and cruel.”
New from novelist Jack Engelhard, the revived classic edition of his international bestseller Indecent Proposal
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