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   JULY-AUGUST 2002 -  Issue #147    



Herbert Zweibon

President Bush has called for corporate accountability on Wall Street. Those who play games with balance sheets to mislead the public and enrich themselves are to give up their gains -- even go to prison. New rules and regulations are to be passed to make the current wave of scandals less likely in the future.

How about some accountability for government bureaucrats and politicians? The President has finally called for accountability on the part of the Palestinian Authority, which sucks up international aid for the benefit of a handful of officials and organizes and finances terror and war while pretending it is engaged in a "peace process." How about our President demanding the same of our State Department?

For decades, the State Department has remained on cruise control, automatically pushing the same failed, tired policy in the Middle East: "solve" the Arab-Israel conflict (and presumably bring peace and harmony to the entire Arab world) by pushing Israel back to the borders of 1949. If this were Enron, the loss in treasure, credibility, and lives would have bankrupted the outfit long ago.

However, when it comes to public policy makers, the same entrenched bureaucrats remain at their desks maintaining the cadavers of failed policies on life support. When the first President Bush was defeated by Bill Clinton, Clinton reappointed the top Middle East policy echelon, including Dennis Ross, Aaron Miller, Daniel Kurtzer, and Martin Indyk as if they were so essential even the new administration of the opposition Democratic Party could not do without them.

Negotiation has become the religious mantra. Even in the face of incontrovertible evidence that terrorists respond only to force, the "Stepford Wives" at State stare into space and insist that negotiations are the only way. Unblushingly, they disseminate the most egregious lies. The recent State Department report on terrorism found 6-8 terror incidents in Israel last year, a whopper so enormous Pinnochio would not have dared utter it. Fearful of "ideological profiling," they continually exonerate the PLO, the Saudis, the Syrians and the entire Arab axis of evil. Are these the folks who will determine whether the Palestinian Arabs are truly reforming? Before they do any more harm, institute a thorough housecleaning and throw the rascals out. A nd hold these and the other Arab regimes accountable for their opposition to American action against Saddam Hussein.

In Israel too, it is past time to establish accountability for the scoundrels who brought the country to the perdition via Oslo. It is a scandal that the Labor government should participate in the governing coalition. It is unconscionable that the Foreign Minister of Israel is Shimon Peres, the architect of Oslo, who even in the Sharon government has played by no rules but his own whims, routinely ignoring cabinet decisions. On June 27th, days after President Bush's speech demanding a post-Arafat Palestinian Authority, Peres declared he was still prepared to do business with Arafat. There should be a thorough investigation -- the kind Enron and Worldcom will be undergoing -- of the secret (possibly illegal) negotiations and underhanded methods through which Oslo was rammed through cabinet and Knesset. In short, the Labor Party, and Peres most especially, should be held accountable for the carnage that has been inflicted on the people of Israel.

For Sharon, the unity government has become an end in itself. But apart from the fact that this government has no real unity of purpose, its Labor ministers "doing their own thing" with impunity, a unity government, at this time in Israel's history, makes a farce of the all-important principle of accountability. The message is that a party, through a mixture of folly and lethal arrogance, can bring the country to the brink of destruction, the public can repudiate that party decisively at the polls -- and nothing happens. The scoundrels continue to run the country as if nothing untoward had happened.

For Israel above all the watchword should be: hold the perpetrators to account!

Herbert Zweibon is chairman of Americans For a Safe Israel.


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July-August 2002               - 1 -               Outpost


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