MISSED THE POINT
On September 20, the House International Relations Committee held hearings on "The Middle East Peace Process." Reading through the testimony, one is struck by the inability of skeptics to call this "peace process" a fraud and a sham. They will question Arafat's compliance, accountability and commitment, but they will not attack the process directly. Using the word "peace" to describe the Arab-Israeli agreements has effectively stifled debate and even any rational discussion of the situation.
There were exceptions. Rand Fishbein, in his testimony on behalf of the Center for Security Policy, referred to the PLO's ultimate goal, the destruction of Israel. Richard Hellman, president of CIPAC, gave excellent testimony and several congressmen showed some nerve, including Dan Burton (R-IN) and Tom DeLay (R-TX), who concluded, "Only the people of Israel have the right to determine the course of their own future. It is our goal to see to it that when the history of this extraordinary period is written we the people of the United States, have not set aside our values, or standards, or our requirements under law to support a myth, not a fact."
Yet not one of those who testified drove a stake through the heart of the "peace process," attacking the false assumptions upon which it is based or describing what the Mideast map will look like at the completion of the negotiations. For at the end of the process, Israel will have abandoned its Biblical heartland, the high ground of Judea and Samaria, will have lost much of its vital water resources, and will have transformed itself into a coastal strip ten miles wide at its narrowest point, dependent on desalinization for its water supplies and facing a newly-created terrorist state perched on mountains overlooking it.
None touched upon the vision driving Israel's leaders to make such far-reaching concessions, the invention of Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, the "architect" of the Oslo accords. In his book, The New Middle
East, he describes his vision, a Middle Eastern Benelux, an economic utopia led by Israel. The Arabs' implacable hatred toward the Jewish State will supposedly vanish with the new prosperity in this Eden of opportunity.
Peres's vision, though imaginary, will have very real and dire consequences for Israel. For the sake of his dream, where borders no longer matter, the Rabin government sacrifices vital territory, shrinking Israel to an enticingly bite-size morsel for the surrounding Arab states that are still bent on its destruction.
It was not wrong of those who testified to discuss PLO compliance, but this should have been done as a symptom, not the root cause of the problem. The PLO's lack of compliance merely demonstrates the one-sided nature of the agreements. It reveals that the Israelis are not negotiating with the Arabs but with themselves, as Peres has himself admitted.
If all the concessions come from the Israelis and nothing from the Arabs, what other result can there be but bloody conflict as Israel becomes progressively weaker? Even the PLO Covenant calling for the destruction of Israel has remained in force. It is sickening that while the PLO Covenant is treated as holy, God's covenant with the Jewish people is disregarded.
Congress should not be a party to this perverse process and it should insist as soon as possible that the American government remove itself from involvement.
Herbert Zweibon is chairman of Americans for A Safe Israel.