|JANUARY 1997||PUBLISHED BY AMERICANS FOR A SAFE ISRAEL|
THE U.S.-PLO ALLIANCE
The bedrock of U.S.-Israel friendship over the years has been America's recognition of the strategic significance of Israel as its only reliable ally in the MIddle East. Today, however, a dramatic shift appears to be underway. The traditional pledges about the U.S.-Israel alliance are no longer heard, and in their place the Clinton administration is drawing steadily closer to Yasser Arafat and the PLO.
Media pundits constantly refer to President Clinton as the most pro-Israel president in American history. In fact, Clinton's image is merely the result of the fact that the previous Israeli government was willingly surrendering to all PLO demands. Clinton had nothing to be angry about. His feelings for Israel had never been tested (except when Prime Minister Rabin temporarily deported 400 Hamas leaders; Clinton denounced Rabin's action and pressured him to let the Hamas killers return to Israel earlier than scheduled).
Now that Israel has a new government, one that is not so quick to surrender to Arafat's dictates, Clinton is being tested. And it is becoming painfully clear that on every major point of dispute between Israel and the PLO, the Clinton administration is siding with, or at least leaning towards, the PLO's position rather than Israel's.
Jewish settlements? The Clinton administration, like the PLO, calls them obstacles to peace--in direct contravention of the basic American principle that people of all faiths have a right to live wherever they choose. Even the Oslo accords, which Clinton sponsored, contain no prohibition against Jewish settlement activity.
Hebron? The Clinton administration concurs with the PLO position that the Israeli Army should withdraw from as much of Hebron as possible, and as quickly as possible, regardless of the threat to the lives of the city's Jewish residents.
PLO violations of the Oslo accords? The Clinton administration, like the PLO, refuses to talk about them. When was the last time anybody in this administration mentioned the PLO's failure to disarm terrorists, its refusal to extradite terrorists to Israel, or the fact that the PLO Covenant still has not been changed?
Jerusalem? The Clinton administration has not yet publicly endorsed the PLO position that half of Jerusalem should be made "the capital of Palestine," but at the
same time it has repeatedly rejected, by word and by deed, the Israeli position that Jerusalem should be Israel's capital only. On his last visit to Israel, Clinton refused to have his official welcome in Jerusalem, and refused to visit the Old City section.
PLO statehood? The Clinton administration has not officially endorsed this either--yet. There was a time, before Clinton, when U.S. officials said clearly that the U.S. opposed creation of a PLO state; now they are mum. And when the President says that settlements are "absolutely, absolutely" obstructing peace, he is clearly suggesting that they must be removed so that a PLO state can then rise. As Frank Gaffney, director of the Center for Security Policy, points out, "Israeli settlements make it more difficult for the Jewish State to surrender territory Arafat and his supporters hope to transform into a sovereign Palestinian state." Getting rid of the settlements paves the way for PLO statehood.
Clinton's alliance with the PLO spells disaster for American policy in the Middle East. It undermines and endangers America's only reliable and democratic ally in a sea of unstable Arab dictatorships. It betrays America's moral obligation to stand by countries that respect freedom and to repudiate totalitarian regimes. It strengthens a despot, Arafat, who for 30 years has sided with every enemy of America, from the Soviet Union to Ceaucescu's Romania to Saddam Hussein. And it paves the way for the creation of a radical PLO-Hamas state that will destabilize the Middle East and threaten America's vital interests in the region.
Herbert Zweibon is Chairman of Americans For a Safe Israel.
January 1997 - 1 - Outpost