Evelyn Gordon, writing in The Jerusalem Post yesterday:
Virtually not a day has passed recently without some famous person declaring that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the key to solving all the problems of the Muslim world -- from Kofi Annan ("As long as the Palestinians live under occupation… so long will passions everywhere be inflamed") through Henry Kissinger ("a restarted Palestinian peace process should play a significant role" in resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis) to Tony Blair (an Israeli-Palestinian settlement is "the core" of any effort to resolve other Middle East problems and defeat "global extremism.")
It is astonishing that so many intelligent people could seriously espouse such an obvious falsehood. Do they really believe that Sunni Muslims and Shi'ite Muslims -- whose views on Israel are identical -- are slaughtering each other in Iraq because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Or that anti-Syrian politicians in Lebanon -- who are no less anti-Israel than the pro-Syrian sort -- are being assassinated by Syria and threatened with a coup by Hizbullah because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
That Arab Muslims are committing genocide against black Muslims in Sudan because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
That Taliban Muslims are murdering non-Taliban Muslims in Afghanistan because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
That Chechen Muslims took Russian schoolchildren hostage in Beslan because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
That Muslims and Hindus are killing each other in Kashmir because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
That Muslims worldwide rioted over Danish cartoons because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
The list could go on for pages. . . .
But, in fact, history teaches the opposite: Just as Hitler, far from being appeased by the West's handover of Czechoslovakia, instead concluded that he could also grab Poland with impunity, thereby igniting World War II, so has every concession to Muslim terror simply encouraged Muslims to think that violence pays.
Israel's pullout from Gaza, which 84 percent of Palestinians attributed to terror, was a major factor in both their election of Hamas, the leading Palestinian terrorist organization, and their ongoing majority support for terrorism. Spain's pullout from Iraq following the Madrid bombing encouraged al-Qaida to plan similar bombings in other countries. And Muslims worldwide credit Iraqi terror with America's expected pullout from Iraq.
If the West really wants to solve its Muslim problem, it must adopt the opposite approach -- making it clear that violence, far from being rewarded, will be penalized. By instead seeking to appease the Muslim world in Israeli coin, it merely proves that violence pays.
And it will thereby reap more of the same.
Victor Davis Hanson, writing at The Corner on National Review Online:
If Hamas is seriously talking of a truce, was that slight change in attitude because we "engaged" them and continued material aid, or because we cut funds, they are near broke, and isolated from their erstwhile international supporters?
And did Syria leave Lebanon because American diplomats went to Damascus, as in the past, with more talking points?
And did Iran finally become the focus of the Security Council because America dialogued with Teheran?
And why did all those years of engaging Khadafi suddenly come to fruition circa 2003?
I don't think shuttles back and forth, special envoys, and one-on-one summits -- for all the American weariness with Iraq and the desire for calm -- will do much to change the behavior of either Syria or Iran, when their present posture surely furthers their own national interests and agendas.
Here’s how the Iraq Study Group should approach its task (and if it doesn't, how GWB should proceed): What Would Winston Churchill Do?