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October 10, 2003 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-10

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EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK

Say It In Arabic

IV

hat the delegates say in Arabic to their coun-
trymen when they return to the Middle East
will determine the real value of the U.S.-
.
Arab Economic Forum held in Detroit last
week. The forum was billed as a way to improve the image
of the Arab world in the United States by fostering eco-
nomic, educational, political and social reform.
Though Israel wasn't invited to take part in the summit,
it remains to be . seen how many Arab nations now will
entertain the idea of recognizing the Jewish state as a legiti-
mate diplomacy or trade partner. I don't see how a U.S.-
Arab business pipeline could prosper with-
out the participation of Israel, a high-tech
nation and America's strongest Mideast ally.
Against this backdrop, I hope the summit
conversation in the comfort of the
Renaissance Center on the Detroit river-
front leads to a lasting Arab warm-up
toward Israel.
Delegates who tell Westerners that Israel
ROBERT A. is a legitimate player in the future vitality of
SKLAR
the Middle East, but back home don't con-
Editor
demn Palestinian terror against Israelis, are
hypocrites. Despite the terror, Israel, a sov-
ereign state for just 55 years, is far more advanced cultural-
ly, politically and economically than any of its Arab
neighbors.
Without a doubt, the Arab world stands to bene-
fit from an Arab economic partnership with
America that includes ties with Israel. U.S.
Secretary of State Colin Powell got it right at the
summit. A predilection for terror will "continue to
drag Palestinian dreams further down a tragic,
dead-end path," he said.
He said ordinary Palestinians are dependent on "a
true partnership of opportunity" that will derive
only from the U.S. putting support "behind those
in the region who are already working to broaden
economic opportunity and to expand popular participation
and to improve education."

Parting Ways

Palestinian statehood is more distant than ever. Yasser Arafat
reportedly has a stash of money in foreign banks and his
wife lives in Paris; but his people are starving, angry and
desperate. He takes pride in schools and music videos that
teach kids as young as 6 to aspire to become suicide
bombers and kill Jews to please Allah.
Just this week, the Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch
reaffirmed that the Palestinian Authority "gives lip service in
English to condemning terrorism while its official TV
broadcasts promote and glorify violence as the means to
destroy Israel."
The delegates who came to Detroit hold a key to chang-
ing such a barbaric mindset. Young and yearning for a
vibrant region, they're smart enough to realize the spoils
from the summit will be few and far in between until they
speak out in Arabic against terror that targets Israelis.
It's hard to believe the brightest minds in the Arab world
don't see recognizing Israel as their key to a more prosper-
ous Middle East. The key would be within reach if educat-
ed Arabs joined forces in chipping away at the terrorist
infrastructure that blocks any hope for Arab children who
have known only squalor and hate.

Instead of confronting the terrorists, Saudi Arabia Foreign
Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal contends that Israel, while
defending itself, has "deviated from dialogue and negotia-
tion and opted for repression, persecution and political
assassinations."
To equate defensive strikes with suicide bombers is ludi-
crous.
The new U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative is
backed by $100 million in U.S. tax money. But that, too,
stands to run amok until the Arab leaders of tomorrow
stand up to the terrorists who have hijacked their religion
and their future.

A Wasted Mind

Has anyone stopped to ponder that Syria-based Islamic
Jihad, one of several Palestinian purveyors of terror, chose
Shabbat — and the day before Yom Kippur, the holiest
Jewish holiday — to send a suicide bomber to the Maxim,
a popular Haifa restaurant with Jewish-Arab ownership?
The bomber, armed with a belt spiked with nails, shards
and rat poison to assure an especially lethal effect, killed 19
people. The dead ranged from 1 to 71. Jews, Christians,
Arabs. Families. Loyal employees. The blast spared no one;
more than 50 were hurt.
Looking at a photo of the suicide bomber, Hanadi
Tayseer Jaradat, 29, from the United Nations refuge camp
of Jenin in the West Bank, I can't help but imagine
what she might have achieved for the Palestinian
people had she chosen a different course.
With a law degree from Jordanian Jerash
University, she could have fought for an effective
Palestinian judicial system that actually protected
citizens' rights from the corruption of Arafat and
his seat of government, dubbed the Palestinian
A National Authority. She could have advanced
women's rights against an increasingly repressive
Islamic culture. She might have picked the long
path of peace instead of the short route to hatred
and destruction.
Instead, she was brainwashed to believe she could avenge
the June deaths of her brother Fady and cousin Saleh by
becoming the sixth female suicide bomber of this second
intifada. The men died in a fight with Israeli soldiers.
"Why should we cry? It's like her wedding today, the hap-
piest day for her," gloated her 15-year-old brother Thahar
the day of the blast.
No wonder the Palestinian culture is on a one-way road
to ruin.
Whatever good feelings the U.S.-Arab Economic Forum
created, I won't be impressed until I know the message
taken back to the League of Arab States called for normalcy
with Israel.
Until then, Israel's only obligation is to protect its land
and its people, unconditionally, while standing ready to
negotiate with Palestinian leaders who demonstrate reason.
It pains me that decent Palestinians are sometimes
caught in the crossfire. But to yield to Arafat's grand plan to
break the Israeli will, bit by bit and brick by brick, is to
invite doom for the land we so love.
Former Detroiter Moshe Dan of Jerusalem succinctly
captured the essence of what confronts Israel.
"What people don't understand," he said, "is that peace
would destroy the Palestinian revolution; Arafat cannot
afford that. They don't want a state — another one — they
have a revolutionary vision. The real challenge to Zionists
today is to provide a meaningful competition." ❑

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