Post-Arafat: Now What?

The international press cannot be trusted. It is bad enough that there is an innate hatred for the Jews and Israel among a great many of the foreign press outlets, but "they are not reporting the truth because it's not 'in' to report the facts," Abu Toameh said.

Arlene Peck

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Being an American journalist living in Los Angeles, I have always wondered what those in Israel are reading when it comes to the region that they are living in. Recently, thanks to the organization - which consistently finds people of incredible insight to bring for lectures - we on this side of the globe got a view of what is really happening in the media.

Yesterday, I was privileged to be invited to a brunch at the home of the organization's executive director, Roz Rothstein, and listen to an amazing, award-winning Palestinian journalist, Khaled Abu Toameh, who for the past thirty years has been based in Jerusalem.

He told us much of what I have been writing for the past several years. The international press cannot be trusted. It is bad enough that there is an innate hatred for the Jews and Israel among a great many of the foreign press outlets, but "they are not reporting the truth because it's not 'in' to report the facts," Abu Toameh said.

Unfortunately, the Israeli and international public make it easy for them to get away with it. Most of the public in Israel seems to be going along with the "big lie" that Yasser Arafat crafted over the past fifty years. I do not know how many times I, and journalists like Khaled Abu Toameh, must repeat; there is no window of opportunity or avenue of hope now that the evil king is dead. Everyone seems to be walking around in a state of delusional euphoria. We are so tired of the same old stories coming out of the terrorists' camp that we want to believe Arafat's death is going to make the difference.

However, until there is a new era of political change with new faces, things are going to remain the same. Why are they thinking that the old faces are going to make the new changes? Now, nobody seems to be telling these Arabs and Islamic fundamentalists that their savage, barbaric behavior is not acceptable. Their leaders should not be legitimized by being invited to diplomatic conferences or promised anything, much less an independent state.

In the same vein, the Arab countries shouldn't even be allowed into the United Nations unless they allow their own citizens democracy and the right to vote; those living in Gaza shouldn't be encouraged to do more violence by legitimizing these irresponsible Arab leaders. Lord, even Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti is running for president of the Palestinian Authority from inside an Israeli jail, where he is serving five consecutive life sentences for killing Israeli civilians in his many terrorist acts.

As a journalist, I know how easy it is to write 'double-talk' The Palestinians are masters of doing it. While they are saying, "We will follow in Arafat's footsteps," they talk to the press about "new beginnings." So, while they are spouting hate-filled speeches to their population, the so-called leaders of Israel, the foreign press and our State Department are repeating the same Oslo mistakes. Mistakes that can only result in a demand for Israel to commit suicide for peace.

As a journalist, I am probably privy to information, films and scenes that you who are reading this don't see. That is why I find it chilling how the Arabs have managed to turn so much of the world into a cauldron of pre-Nazi hate against the Jews. These people don't want negotiation, peace or even sections of Israel. They want the entire country gone. The mistake that the Left makes is thinking that if the Judea, Samaria and Gaza Arabs get their 'state', the problems will go away. Repeat the mantra. But they had and have a plan; we don't.

Gawd, doesn't anyone remember how Arafat diverted Arab anger to the Jews with pressure to give more, more, more? We, in the United States, gave, the United Nations gave, the European Union gave, even Israel gave - and it was never enough. So, while Arafat was diverting the anger of the masses towards the Jews, along with pressure we placed on Israel, billions in untold wealth ended up in the shopping sprees of Suha Arafat and the foreign mansions of the old guard.

I have little doubt that had those misplaced billions gone into the right hands there would have been no intifada, but Arafat and company could not allow that to happen. So, no hospitals were built, no schools, no factories (except those for making bombs). I always wondered why the Palestinian Authority needed a complex that was almost the size of the Pentagon while the population still lived in hovels and nobody seemed to complain. Books, however, were printed - and they carefully taught a whole generation of Palestinians to hate the Jews and Israel.

Then, I wrote, how could Israelis be so dumb? How could they allow Shimon Peres to build an army and even give the Palestinian Authority the guns to shoot them? And, even with all that, there are still those who say Peres is a great man. For G-d's sake - why? I remember he once said that he did not care what the Arab press said about Arafat, only about what Arafat said to him. Well, he should have worried about that press, because in it Arafat was telling the Arab audience to kill Jews and grab Jerusalem as the capital of their homeland.

Before running off into the sunset believing there is "new hope", the leaders of Israel ought to be remembering that Arafat is still alive. The old guard is still running things. They may not be afraid to speak out as they were when Arafat was living, but in the end, it is the same old, tired ruling party that is calling the shots. They are using new code words however. Their president may be dead; however, the "presidency still lives." And, therefore, the same old guard stays in power. They must have a regime change, not the same people in new positions, or, as Khalad Abu Toameh called them, "old wine in new bottles."

The same old show continues as the 'security forces' are being run by militias and being controlled by "warlords". Has it ever occurred to anyone that a partial solution might be to really mean democracy when the word is used?

If Israel is serious about the hope for the future now that Arafat is dead, then it is time to insist, and not give vague demands, that democracy is really going to be implemented before more money is sent. Except the word "democracy" is so alien to their way of life, culture and thinking that it isn't about to happen. In fact, somebody ought to start questioning where the billions are hidden and start using them to pay the electric and water bills. Better yet, Israel should cut off the water and turn the lights off.

Unfortunately, the elections are going to be pretty much what they have always been. The Palestinians see themselves as foot soldiers for revolution. That is why leaving Gaza is something that they are looking upon as a foothold towards getting the Jews out of Israel. It is sad to say, but I think Gaza is a hell hole. Somehow, the residents do not notice or acknowledge that it is because their leader stole their money, which had been earmarked to change their lives.

I have traveled there a few times as a journalist and it is a disgusting place. Nobody really wants it. Yet, Israel leaving is going to give the Arabs the chance to set up a terror state in the middle of Israel.

I find it ironic that there is no talk among the Arabs of peaceful coexistence, cooperation, tolerance, acceptance and negotiated compromise. They are looking upon Israel as fools that can be manipulated. The Arabs accept the removal of Israelis from Gaza as something they have achieved by killing Jews. To their twisted minds, they figure that they were able to kill Israelis in Lebanon and they were forced to leave. Now, they have killed over a thousand Jews since the intifada, so they are leaving Gaza. Next, maybe if they kill two thousand, they will give up and leave the West Bank. Finally, who knows? Maybe if they are able to kill ten thousand, they'll end up with Israel. Wow! What a prize.