May 12, 2010
U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference Rashad Hussain gave a particularly disturbing interview to Arab English daily Asharq Alawsat. The interview should be read in full, but here is one choice exchange:Q) Do you think it will be easy to overcome the hostility in the Islamic world towards certain US policies, especially in light of the actions taken under the previous US administration?
A) We are concerned about this but we are determined to move forward, without looking to the past and the negative effects of this, in order to erase the hostile feelings caused by the administration of former President George W. Bush.
There is now a suitable opportunity to overcome the past, and open a new page in relations between the US and the people in the Islamic region.
For a representative of the U.S., Hussain's words are reprehensible. Jennifer Rubin writes:This is not, to say the least, what we expect our envoys to communicate to foreign audiences. And then there is the substance of his remarks. Hostile feelings caused by the Bush administration’s policies, he says? Which were those — the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which Obama has continued? The focus on human rights, which Obama has ignored? And notice the assignment of blame to the country he pretends to represent, not to the bad actors — Syria and Iran, for example — that continue to promote terror and brutalize their people. It appears that Hussain is telling the Muslims that the real source of trouble in the Middle East was George W. Bush.
But it is obsession with the peace process as the key to ending such “hostility” and the conviction that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the source of our woes that are the most jarring — and perhaps revelatory of the administration he represents.
Barry Rubin highlights the fallacies inherent in the administration's worldview.
But let's consider what's going on meanwhile in the real world. Palestinian Media Watch reports that on the PA's own television station this week the program "We Are Returning," shows a map in which all of Israel is erased and covered with a Palestinian flag.
The program explains that Israeli Jews should go to places like the Ukraine and Ethiopia: "Please, I ask of you, return to your original homeland, so that I can return to my original homeland. This is my homeland; go back to your homeland!"
This kind of thing goes on in PA-controlled mosques, classrooms, media, and in speeches by PA or Fatah officials on a daily basis. The U.S. government virtually ignores it. There are no programs, articles, classes, sermons, and speeches in which PA officials and employees urge their people to live peacefully side by side with Israel and accept that country's existence permanently."
The sad truth is that the Palestinians will never settle for just the West Bank and Gaza, even with their own capital in a redivided Jerusalem. They are not fighting to reverse the results of the 67 War, or even the results of the 48 War, but the original partition plan of 1947 and before that the British Mandate for Palestine , both of which contemplated some land reserved for a Jewish majority state. Such a state has always been unacceptable to the Arab world and the Muslim world. It still is.
As Daniel Pipes points out, the only factor that will determine whether peace can be achieved is one the administration never considers: will the Palestinians accept Israel in any form?
And all of us, save the Obama Democrats, know the answer.
Hat tip: Dan from New York.