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Where Are The So-Called Moderate Arab Leaders?

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We often hear about moderate Arab leaders. Do they exist? Let’s examine the record.

PA president and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is one of those touted as a moderate. Yet Abbas co-founded the terrorist Fatah with Yasir Arafat, served as Arafat’s deputy for 40 years and wrote a Ph.D. thesis and book denying the Holocaust. He has refused to implement Palestinian commitments under signed agreements with Israel and also the 2003 road-map peace plan to fight and arrest terrorists, confiscate their weaponry and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feeds it.

In June 2006, Abbas endorsed the so-called Prisoners’ Plan, which supports terrorism, does not accept Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state and insists on the so-called right of return of Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants to Israel and thus Israel’s dissolution. In December 2005, he approved legislation mandating financial benefits to be paid to families of Palestinian shahids (dead terrorists).

Abbas stated last year on PA TV, “It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel” which he also calls the “Zionist enemy.” Three months ago he declared before 200,000 followers in a rally in Ramallah that “We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation….Our rifles, all our rifles are aimed at the occupation,” also, that “The sons of Israel are corrupting humanity on earth.” He has described wanted Palestinian terrorists as “heroes.”

Now Abbas and Fatah have joined with Hamas in a PA national unity government under the Mecca Agreement. This agreement has not changed the PA/Hamas position supporting terrorism and Israel’s destruction. The former chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Yuval Steinitz, has said that “Abbas should be punished by Israel, he is certainly not a better partner than Arafat.” Some ally, some moderate.

Saudi Arabia is another major Arab power long touted as moderate. Yet it is the extremist Wahhabi Islam, the state religion of Saudi Arabia, that inspires Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Saudi Arabia has funded the spread of the poisonous Wahhabi doctrines into mosques in America and throughout the world.

Saudi Arabia’s ban on the practice of other religions and its mistreatment of women and minorities is notorious. Saudi educational materials found in U.S. mosques rail against all non-Muslims, with the faithful told to regard them as eternal enemies. The Saudi “peace plan” demands Israel’s withdrawal to the indefensible pre-1967 lines and the “right of return.” Some ally, some moderate.

Egypt is often described as a moderate friend and ally, yet the Egyptian government has done nothing to promote democracy or peace. Last year, hundreds of Egyptians were arrested for denouncing the rigging of parliamentary elections. Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority is subject to violence, murder and discrimination. Egypt’s leading human rights activist and presidential challenger, Ayman Nour, rots in jail.

Egypt has facilitated and allowed the infiltration of weaponry and terrorists into Gaza from Sinai. In 2006 alone, Israel captured over 100 Palestinian terrorists who tried to sneak into Israel from Sinai, despite the presence of Egyptian forces there supposedly preventing terrorist infiltration. Steinitz has said that “It has been proven that we cannot trust the … the Egyptians, who are conducting a campaign of intentionally ignoring the arms smuggling into Gaza. Egypt has decided to enable the arming of … all the terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, against the State of Israel.”

Egypt’s media may be the most viciously anti-Jewish and anti-Israel in the Arab world. A few years ago, Egyptian TV broadcast a 40-part series dramatizing the anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, complete with scenes of Jews murdering an Arab child for his blood to use in the making of matzoh for Passover. Some ally, some moderate.

Jordan’s King Abdullah is also called moderate, yet when he addressed the U.S. Congress this month, he said, “The wellspring of regional division, the source of resentment and frustration far beyond, is the denial of justice and peace in Palestine … This is the core issue.” In other words, he essentially blamed Israel for all the ills of the Middle East, despite massive Israeli concessions – all of Gaza, half of Judea and Samaria and offering the Palestinian Arab statehood in 2000 with a capital in eastern Jerusalem.

Yet he failed to mention why an Arab-Israeli conflict exists: because the Arabs in general and Palestinian Arabs in particular reject Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. Abdullah also said nothing about Palestinian Arab extremism, hate education and terrorism. Some ally, some moderate.

It is time the U.S. acknowledge that these states and leaders who repeat all the rhetoric and propaganda that inflame Arab and Muslim opinion against Israel and the West work actively against peace while pocketing U.S. aid. It is also time to understand that nothing comes of appeasing these regimes and ignoring their extremist actions. They will certainly not moderate and behave like allies unless they are held publicly accountable. It is high time for this tragic farce to stop.

Gary Bauer and Morton A. Klein

About the Author: Gary Bauer is president of American Values, formerly served as deputy secretary of education in the Reagan administration and sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2000. Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America.

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