Cavemen prayed to stones and talismans, but Europeans worship paper gods.
Europeans have a bad habit of holding up paper agreements as if they guarantee peace, progress, prosperity.
It used to be the price agreement on farm products-from butter to chocolate. Now it is UN declarations that the warring “Palestinian” tribes-the PLO Hatfields and the Hamas McCoys-now constitute a real, living, breathing national state.
Most European leaders would resent it if someone said they were irrational, superstitious or even religious, but yet they cling devoutly to a cult that bows to Arab bloc leaders holding aloft pieces of paper promising peace.
How else can one look at European countries voting in favor of Palestinian statehood only days after a war sparked by Hamas terrorists who comprise much of the national group collectively called “Palestinians?”
How else can one look at a UN vote which is itself a violation of Israel-PLO agreements to which the European Union is a signed witness? [Yes, the EU is a witness to the pacts that the UN vote violates.]
How else can one see supporting PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas whose Palestinian Authority (PA) constantly breaks its treaties with Israel by honoring terrorists, and by inciting violence via the PA broadcasting media and schools.
Europe’s worship of Arab paper gods is made worse when European countries then chastise Israel for reacting against the PLO-PA-UN violation of treaties to which Europe is a witness. In other words, European leaders are threatening Israel for defending itself and for defending signed agreements to which Europe itself is bound.
This kind of craven, cultish behavior is not unusual in Europe, particularly from the period just before World War II. Then-Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, returned from talks with “Herr Hitler,” brandishing a piece of paper, like it was the staff of Moses, and claimed “peace in our time.”
But the “peace in our time” was a “peace of paper.”
To Chamberlain’s credit, he admitted his mistake after Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Chamberlain handed over power to Winston Churchill, a pugnacious student of history who had faith in his own two eyes and no faith in phony peace.
Europeans should have learned from the experience, but apparently they have not. Israelis and Americans, however, have. Today, most Israelis have not a grain of belief in the phony peace process. Americans too support Israel, not the PLO or Hamas.
Europe and the rest of the world should trust the democratic process in Israel and the good sense of Israelis to navigate their own process of dealing with Arab neighbors without threats from “friends” who are almost as bad as enemies.
European leaders are fooling themselves if they trust PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas who succeeded terrorist chief Yasser Arafat. He has always made it clear that he was continuing Arafat’s policies of never recognizing Israel-in any possible geographic configuration-as a Jewish state.
In January 2005, Abbas made a speech in Gaza calling on Hamas to turn its rifles against Israel. This film was not shown on the BBC or CNN, nor was the transcript published in The New York Times or the Frankfurter Algemeiner Journal.
Since then, Abbas has avoided talking directly to Israel even more than Arafat. Abbas has stepped up the constant legal violations of the Oslo Accords, openly seeking to spur boycotts of Israel, to delegitimize it politically.
In various ways he has tried to impose “Palestine” on Israel rather than negotiate with Israel about the terms of dispute, and that is exactly the motive for Abbas’s move to get UN recognition of “Palestine” as a state.
Yes, reaching peace often means taking risks and dreaming dreams, but not national suicide. There is no reason Israel should take risks for Abbas, whose positions are often worse than those of Arafat but whose popular backing is lower than that of a dog catcher in Ramallah, the town north of Jerusalem.
Israelis have learned from their mistakes. In 1993, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres got Israel into trouble by giving Arafat a territorial base for suicide bombers in the West Bank. Later, in 2005, Ariel Sharon repeated the error with a unilateral pull-out from Gaza that led to the Hamas terror state there.
Israel did not even get a piece of paper, but 5000 rockets replaced 10,000 Israelis.
Israeli leaders, like Britain’s Chamberlain, sacrificed lives and resources for an article of faith.
Israel cannot retrieve the lost lives, but Israel can stop making the blood sacrifices demanded byEurope and the UN.
Dr. Michael Widlanski, an expert on Arab politics and communications, is the author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat published by Threshold/Simon and Schuster. A former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively at The New York Times, Cox Newspapers and TheJerusalem Post, he was Strategic Affairs Advisor in Israel’s Ministry of Public Security and teaches at BarIlan University.