June 09, 2007

Forty Years Later, Doing Nothing Is the Best Policy

From Forty Years Later, Doing Nothing Is the Best Policy:

In this week's torrent of 40th anniversary recollections about the Six-Day War, one TV image cut straight to the chase: King Faisal of Saudi Arabia staring into a camera to say, "The essential point remains the total elimination of Israel." The king's statement of principles was captured in "Six Days in June," an impressive two-hour documentary that aired Monday on PBS. For all the noise about peace in the 40 years since, the Saudi monarch's silver bullet solution is still the basic Arab mindset.

As do-gooders and militants reflect on what Israel should have done, what Arabs failed to do, what the UN ought to do, I vote for doing nothing. Regardless of the peace treaties with Israel forged by President Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan, the overwhelming majority of Arabs need more time to dismantle their war posture. At this point, Israel's primary antagonists in this conflict, the Palestinian Arabs, are no longer an entity that can be engaged. Having dissolved into a myriad of warring gangs, there is no one to settle with.

And still more time is necessary to contemplate whether what has been achieved can be retained. Egypt's 1979 peace accord will not survive a day if the Muslim Brotherhood succeeds in its decades-old effort to topple President Mubarak's dynastic military reign. The Brotherhood is significantly closer to that goal now. In Jordan, since the peace treaty of 1994, the anti-Semitic discourse has grown thick, leaving little room to imagine that peace with Israel could survive a change in leadership.

It is pointless even to think about structuring new accords with Arab societies that are relentlessly marching toward various stages of radicalism, Islamic or otherwise. It would not help, and it would not hold. As for Israel, going forward with more unilateral evacuations, as in Lebanon and Gaza, has only liberated land for terrorist operations.