By any standard, the moment of truth for the “road map” has arrived. The coordinated attack by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades against an Israeli army base on June 8th, only days after the Aqaba “summit,” – and concededly as a challenge to what happened there – squarely presents President Bush with the choice of whether the “road map” process will even be arguably a serious effort at achieving peace and part of a worldwide battle against terrorism, or just another exercise in diplomatic futility.
If the Palestinian Authority is not now required to move seriously against and disarm Hamas and the other armed terrorist groups, the “road map” process will be exposed as the sham we and others always knew it to be. Abu Mazen will never be the authoritative decision-maker for the Palestinians – since the attack, he has already backtracked from even his meager commitments at Aqaba. The message to the Palestinians will be that they really do not have to meet any of their commitments, including the abandonment of violence. Democratization of the Palestinian Authority will be impossible. The threat of renewed terror will always be looming if Hamas and the others are dissatisfied about what goes on at the negotiating sessions. And despite the global hunt for terrorists, a virulent, cancerous terrorist infra-substructure will be allowed to remain intact, servicing the needs of its comrades around the world, perversely under the protection of the “road map.”
Nor should we be taken in by the grand ceasefire gesture made by the terrorist groups that is surely coming. They, and perhaps Mazen as well, are counting on a bludgeoned and conditioned Israel, and United States sighing in relative relief and welcoming even a palpably cynical respite from the carnage.
There should be no mistake made about it. Terror is being used as a negotiating tool. To paraphrase an old adage, someone has spit in our face, and we should not pass it off as eyewash.
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