What makes the worst lies in the Middle East acceptable?
by Bruce S. Thornton
Remember Big Daddy in the movie Cat on Hot Tin Roof? He kept walking around complaining about the “stink of mendacity” emanating from his dysfunctional family. I know how he feels, for every day the bad odor of lies, hypocrisy, and deluded appeasement wafts from the daily news.
As always, the conflict between Israel and the Arab states is the prime source of malodorous mendacity. The latest noisome news concerns the agreement hammered out in Mecca between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. These two terrorist gangs have been killing each other for the past several weeks, but now supposedly they are going to form a “unity” government — which means they can get back to killing Israelis and pursuing their goal of cleansing the land of Jews “from the river to the sea.”
What’s really the issue here is not creating a functioning government, but rather restarting the billions in welfare that the West for years has been foolishly sending to the corrupt gangs that control the lives of Palestinian Arabs, and that was cut off in the wake of Hamas’ electoral victory. Over the decades we have bought into the lie that Palestinian “nationalist aspirations” and “frustration” with the “illegal occupation” are the engines of terrorist murder. So we have been sending money to “leaders” who speak the soothing words of “agreements,” the “two-state solution,” “frameworks,” and “road-maps,” all the while that the real aim — the destruction of Israel — continues to be pursued.
The only honest group has been Hamas, which tells us plainly that it wants to destroy Israel. But if we watch what they do rather than listen to what they say, so do a critical mass of Palestinian Arabs, including the so-called moderate Mahmoud Abbas. His disagreement with Hamas is not over whether the existence of Israel will be accepted, but over tactics and timing: Hamas thinks Israel can be destroyed sooner with more terrorist violence, Abbas thinks later with dishonest “agreements” and demography. Just listen to the so-called “condemnations” of terrorism that issue from Abbas. After last month’s murder of three Israelis by a terrorist bomber in Eilat, Abbas condemned the attack as “not in the interests of the Palestinian people” — which implies that such murder is acceptable as long as it is in the interests of the Palestinian Arabs.
The Mecca agreement, then, has nothing to do with creating a legitimate government that will honestly pursue peace with Israel. Hamas did not promise to honor the preconditions set by the “quartet” (the U.S., the U.N., the E.U., and Russia) for resumption of aid — stop murdering Israelis, accept previous agreements such as the 1993 Oslo accords, and acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.
Rather, the Hamas spokesman said quite plainly, “We will never recognize Israel. There is nothing called Israel, neither in reality nor in the imagination.” Worse still, Hamas’ 4000-man terrorist militia will become part of the Palestinian Security Forces, meaning their salaries potentially will be paid in part by U.S. tax dollars. This agreement, then, is a piece of diplomatic sleight of hand designed to give the quartet a pretext to resume sending the billions that will keep a dysfunctional government afloat and finance the continuing murder of our Israeli allies.
That’s the “big lie” coming out of the Middle East, one that has been repeated so often that even people who know better continue to believe it, including apparently the current administration. Why else even think about sending Condi Rice to talk with the duplicitous Abbas, particularly now that he has been weakened by this agreement? As The New York Times points out, Hamas has given away nothing, while Abbas has lost his threat of holding new elections.
Instead, Abbas has himself been co-opted into the Hamas government, which has gained new legitimacy by appearing in Mecca as a co-equal of the Saudi rulers and the Palestinian Authority. As people used to say about Arafat, either he’s too weak to stop terrorism, or he really doesn’t want to. So too with Abbas — either way, he’s useless for anyone seeking true peace.
But other lies swirl around this news. Consider the role of the Saudis in brokering this agreement. Presumably, they were concerned about the “humiliation” inflicted on the Muslim people by the fighting between Hamas and Palestinian Authority factions like Fatah. That’s a jaw-dropper, considering the complete silence about the much worse fratricidal bloodshed going on in Iraq. There Sunni and Shia are slaughtering each other with abandon, with nary a peep from these same Arab regimes supposedly so anguished over Muslim killing Muslim.
Instead they blame the Americans, who are spending blood and treasure to give Muslims a chance to be free. The great shame of the Middle Eastern regimes, what should cause them humiliation, is their failure to support the U.S. in liberating millions of fellow Muslims from a psychopath. The truth is, damaging the infidel “Zionists and Crusaders” — America and Israel — in the service of apocalyptic jihadist delusions is more important than creating societies that give their citizens a life of freedom, stability, and prosperity.
The more you parse the news from the Middle East, the more lies foul the air. Take the recent Arab rock-throwing protests in Jerusalem over the repair of a walkway leading to the Temple Mount. Forget the lunatic conspiracy theories circulating in the Middle East about Zionist plots to destroy the two mosques and rebuild the temple. At the heart of this incident is a monstrous lie — the airbrushing of Jews from the history of Jerusalem, an Orwellian rewriting of history started by the Arabs and abetted by some politicized Western scholars.
Abundant historical and archaeological evidence documents the continuous presence of the Jews in Jerusalem starting around 1200 B.C. But the Arab presence didn’t begin until 638 A.D., after their conquest and occupation (to use the word correctly) of the ancient Jewish homeland. The Hebrew Bible mentions Jerusalem almost 700 times. The Koran doesn’t explicitly mention it at all, and indirectly mentions it once.
Yet despite these simple facts of history, somehow Israel’s possession of its ancestral capital — which happened only because Israel was defending itself in a war it did not want — is deemed an “illegal occupation” and an unjust displacement of the true owners. This lie is given traction by the incessant propaganda denying the Jews’ 3000-year connection to Jerusalem.
The worst consequence of accepting these lies, however, is that they justify the double standards I wrote about last time. Consider the treatment of the Old City of Jerusalem, site of the Temple Mount, now under Arab control. When Jordan’s Arab Legion seized East Jerusalem in 1948, the Jewish population was evicted, the Jewish Quarter burned, homes looted, and dozens of synagogues destroyed or vandalized. Jewish tombstones were used for making latrines, and Jews could not pray even at the pitiful remnant of the Temple, the Western Wall.
Yet as Dore Gold writes in his must-read new book, The Fight for Jerusalem, the Israelis took a much different approach after recovering East Jerusalem in the Six Day War. The Arabs have been allowed to control the Temple Mount, from which Jews are pretty much barred, and free access to the two mosques on the Mount has been granted to Muslims, despite the fact that worshipers frequently throw rocks at the Jews below them praying at the Wailing Wall.
Moreover, the Arabs have used their control of the Temple Mount to try to erase the archaeological evidence of Jewish possession. In 2000, the Palestinian Arabs controlling the Temple Mount removed 13,000 tons of rubble from the First and Second Temple periods, dumping it in waste sites. An Israeli archaeologist later sifted the rubble and found the evidence the Arabs wanted to destroy, such as a clay seal with the name in Hebrew of a priest from the time of the First Temple.
But what was the response of the West to this blatant attempt to erase a people’s history in order to justify destroying them? The same indifference that greeted other Muslim desecrations of “infidel” holy sites, such as Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus, the Shalom al Yisrael synagogue in Jericho, or the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Having accepted the lie that the Jews are neo-colonialist interlopers, “progressive” Westerners must ignore the evidence that establishes the Jews’ right to their ancestral lands — lands the Arabs occupy by conquest.
“Temple Denial,” as Dore calls it, is just one more lie that greases the wheels of appeasement for those Westerners who have lost their faith, their beliefs, and so their nerve. Beneath the “stink of mendacity” lurks something much worse — the stench of spiritual, cultural, and moral corruption.
©2007 Bruce Thornton