The very mention of Indyk, who served two stints as ambassador to Israel, sends shudders down the spine of senior members of the Israel defense and foreign policy establishment. For the past year, Indyk, in his new capacity as the head of the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, has conducted a campaign to dispatch U.S. troops to intervene in the Middle East conflict. Indyk has gone so far as to say that the U.S. should sent troops or create a protectorate over the West Bank and Gaza. Such a step would place the U.S. in a virtual state of war with the Israeli army, which has always viewed some of the West Bank and Gaza as vital to the security concerns of the state of Israel.
And in late November 2000, when Israel issued a “white paper” on intercepted intelligence from Arafat’s headquarters that showed documentary evidence that Arafat and his mainstream PLO gangs were indeed facilitating the campaign of terror, Indyk made a special trip to Jerusalem to demand that the Israeli government withdraw its report. Indyk had just reported to the U.S. Congress that the Palestinian groups organizing the terror campaign were NOT under Arafat’s control.
Eight months later, on May 21, 2001, in an address to Ben Gurion University, Indyk stuck to his guns and continued to position Arafat and company as U.S. colleagues in the War on Terror by telling Israel: “What you do is you get Arafat to act against the perpetrators of the violence, Hamas, Tanzim gangs, the Islamic Jihad and you get the Israeli government to hold back the Israeli army while he does so. But that requires a great deal of energy and commitment on Arafat’s part — in very risky circumstances to take on the very angry Palestinian street — and that requires a great deal of restraint and forbearance on the part of the government of Israel.”
Powerlines notes that Indyk’s views on Israel are consistent with Kerry’s wishful thinking about the war on terrorism generaly:
This is of a piece with Kerry’s whole foreign policy, isn’t it? That is, wishful thinking as foreign policy. Kerry gave a speech today in which he blamed President Bush for the existence of Islamofascist terrorism. We’ve been provoking them, apparently. For a really, really, long time. Just like Israel: surely, if only Israel would stop defending itself, the Palestinians would see the light and behave reasonably. The world would be so much more manageable if our enemies, instead of being murderous, self-motivated fanatics, were merely reacting to our (our Israel’s) foreign policy “mistakes.” Were that the case, we could make the whole problem go away by tweaking our foreign policy a bit. Wishful thinking–it’s always a temptation.
For Yasir Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leadership, the Oslo process has always been a strategic means not to a two-state solution—Israel and a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza—but to the substitution of a Palestinian state for the state of Israel.
The Oslo accords enabled the PLO to achieve in one fell swoop what it had failed to attain through many years of violence and terrorism. Here was Israel, just over a decade after destroying the PLO’s military infrastructure in Lebanon, asking the Palestinian organization, at one of the lowest ebbs in its history, to establish a real political and military presence—not in a neighboring Arab country but right on its doorstep. Israel even was prepared to arm thousands of (hopefully reformed) terrorists who would be incorporated into newly established police and security forces charged with asserting the PLO’s authority throughout the territories.
In September 2000, Arafat launched a war of terror against Israel with precisely the objectives he had set for the Palestinian movement in 1968. Some analysts now argue that the Palestinians have lost that war. But the very fact that Arafat could wage it and plunge Israel into one of its greatest traumas constitutes a triumph of his strategy. Certainly the Palestinians have suffered reversals and losses. But Arafat has achieved his goal: he brought the Palestinian war from Israel’s borders into Israel proper by the politics of stealth. He has every reason to hope that the work he began will be continued by the next generation of Palestinian leaders. That work is nothing short of the dismantlement of Israel.
The only answer to Arafat’s strategy I can think of is the one I proposed before: pay them to leave.