Sen. Mack to Albright: More Pressure on Israel Will Not Bring a Real Peace to the Middle East

(Washington, D.C.): As Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
meets today with Israeli Foreign
Minister Ariel Sharon
, it is predictable that the U.S. agenda will focus on how to coerce
the
Netanyahu government into making further territorial concessions to the Palestinians. Such a
step is not only unwarranted in light of the Palestinian Authority’s continuing failure to take the
reciprocal steps required of it by the Wye Accords. It is also increasingly evident that the
surrender of additional land will have the effect of significantly increasing Israel’s vulnerability
and making the prospects of a real and more durable peace with its Arab neighbors even more
problematic.

This insight was powerfully advanced last month by one of the U.S. Senate’s most
knowledgeable
leaders on Middle East matters, Sen. Connie Mack (R-FL). In a speech
delivered on the Senate
floor on 3 March 1999, Sen. Mack correctly described the principal impediment to peace as the
failure of the Palestinian leadership to undergo a “change of heart” — not Israel’s reluctance to
relinquish further territory. Mrs. Albright would be well advised to absorb the following
excerpts 1 of this formidable address and to adjust
accordingly her diplomatic efforts today and
in the future.

———————————–

Israeli and Palestinian Peace
Based Upon Security, Freedom, And A Change of Heart

By Senator Connie Mack (R-FL)

Mr. President, I very recently traveled to Israel. It had been several years since my last visit,
and
I expected this year we would bring some important measures to the Senate floor. The timeline
on the Oslo accords expires in May, and Arafat has threatened to unilaterally declare an
independent state. The supplemental appropriations for the Wye River accords will soon be
before us, and the timetable on the Jerusalem Embassy Act requires that the President report to
the Congress why the United States Embassy has not been set up in Israel’s capital city,
Jerusalem. I learned a great deal during the week and I rise today to share a few simple thoughts
regarding what I saw and what went through my mind as the week in Israel unfolded.

Let me begin with the question that is on my mind today: How is it possible to engage in
peace
negotiations with people who maintain the right to obliterate you, who are filled with hatred
toward you, and who harbor the dream of one day destroying your homeland?

Peace is a matter of the heart. I believe in the depths of every person’s heart is a desire to live
in
peace. But what I saw, which was the outcome of the Palestinian Authority rule,
convinced
me that their hearts and minds are set on other goals. The Palestinian leadership does
not
want peace. They want, first, their own state which they can control with total power. Then
they want to use that state to eliminate the State of Israel.

Let’s be clear. The peace process, to be meaningful, must be about more than rules and laws
and
lines on a map. We can reach a short-term agreement on these points, but if the
Palestinian
leadership fails to abandon incitement of hatred, persecution, and terrorism, then we are
all dreaming, only dreaming, and our President’s behavior must be labeled foolish
appeasement.
There will not be peace until hearts and minds are changed, and we must
focus
our attention on these issues.

Examples of PA Hatemongering

Mr. President, many of my colleagues in the Senate and in the House are aware of the
promotion
of hatred contained in the Palestinian media, and more significantly in the Palestinian
schoolbooks. Let me provide some examples.

This is a picture that was taken off of Palestinian Authority-controlled television. It is a
picture of
a young girl, probably 6 or 7 years old. This is a young girl singing into a microphone. She is on
a television show that would be what we would refer to as kind of a Mickey Mouse Club type of
show that would be shown to children by the Palestinian Authority.

I want to read to you what this little girl is singing. Again, this is a program that was
produced by
the people who are sitting across the table from [the Israelis], supposedly negotiating peace. This
is what the little girl is singing: “When I wander into the entrance of Jerusalem, I’ll turn into a
suicide warrior in battledress, In battledress. In battledress.”

There is no way I can convey to you the emotion of actually seeing that scene on television.
There is no way I can put the emotion into what she was expressing and the emotion that she was
expressing as she sang those words. And after her song, she got an ovation from her classmates
and from her teacher.

This focuses us on the fundamental difference in approach between the Palestinians and the
Israelis. I have a grandson about that age, about the age of that little girl. How would I feel if he
were being taught hatred in school? If he were being taught hatred on television, how would I
feel? How would you feel if your Government was teaching your children to hate? Could you
conclude that they were serious about long-term peace with their neighbors?

* * *

One would expect, rather than focus on hatred, if [the Palestinian leaders] were serious about
peace, they would focus on how the two peoples are working to live side by side. A history book
for 12th graders published only last summer teaches: “The clearest examples of racist belief and
racial discrimination in the world are Nazism and Zionism.” To see this taking place today is
chilling.

* * *

While the Government of Israel makes good-faith efforts to come to a peace agreement, the
Palestinian Authority teaches children hatred. This causes me to ask, How can peace be
obtained when the children are being taught hatred?

* * *

Beware A False Peace

Once again, I began to better understand the way the Palestinian Authority leadership was
approaching peace. How can one find peace with people who do not condemn terrorism? Mr.
President, how is it possible to engage in peace negotiations with people who want to teach their
children to die in a holy war against you? How is it possible to engage in peace negotiations with
people who persecute those of other faiths? How is it possible to engage in peace negotiations
with people who keep terrorists on the loose to wreak havoc and evil against you and praise them
for heroism?

Today, the Israeli people are exhausted by 50 years of violence against their homes and
families,
of sending their sons and daughters into the army, and they dream of a promised peace now. This
is our hope and our dream as well. But we must not get confused. History is replete with
examples of compromises which bring terror and destroy dreams.

In the United States, many people seem to think that if we do not confront these obstacles to
peace and if we look the other way, then we will be able to come to an agreement. The reality,
however, is just the opposite. If we do not acknowledge the attitudes and acts of those at
the
peace table, then the peace process is already over, and we just won’t admit it.

A Warning To The Clinton Administration

In other words, the surest way to kill the peace process is to avoid confrontation, to
fear
upsetting a belligerent force and to avoid addressing incitement, violence, persecution and
terrorism.
The only way to keep the peace process alive is to focus on truth, freedom,
security
and justice.

Israeli efforts, to date, have sought to keep the peace process alive, improve security during
the
negotiating process, and obtain reciprocity as a vital element of implementation.

The process remains alive, but terrorism continues and is exalted by many in the Palestinian
Authority, and reciprocity does not exist. The United States role has been to seek the
middle
ground. Unfortunately, this only rewards those willing to go to new extremes.

The middle ground between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafat is not halfway
between the two. The United States must not engage in moral equivocation. We must
not
shy away from holding Arafat responsible for acts of violence, incitement and
persecution.

The United States must demonstrate principled leadership and end the appeasement
that
perpetuates the cycle of violence.
The peace process can only work when leaders
uphold their
agreements and answer to the people, and the United States remains a vigilant defender of the
principles which bind us to Israel: freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.

Three Recommendations

What should we do? I believe there are three things. First, we should insist upon the
strict
adherence to Oslo and the reciprocity codified at Wye.
The purpose of the Wye accord
was at
long last to force the Palestinians to comply with commitments before further territory
would be
turned over.

So at Wye, Israel agreed only to turn over territory in phases, in which it could verify
Palestinian
compliance at each and every step. In the first phase, Israel completed its redeployment after the
Palestinian Authority completed its tasks. In phase 2, the Palestinians did not meet all their
obligations and, therefore, Israel has not yet turned over the additional land. Reciprocity
makes
no sense unless it is based upon this formulation. Once Israel has ceded territory, it is
unlikely it ever could recover it. The Palestinians, on the other hand, can turn on and off
their promises. In fact, this is exactly what they have done.

Second, we should stop paying Arafat. Any funds provided to the
Palestinian people should
continue to go through private voluntary organizations. We should also monitor
much more
closely the rampant corruption and mismanagement of funds provided currently.

And third, we must aggressively seek the bringing to justice of Palestinian terrorists
who
killed American citizens.
I am told that our Justice Department can do a better job here,
that
they have a great deal of information on the murderers of the Americans who are free in the
Palestinian areas and, indeed, can make some requests for indictments. It is time to do this. Let’s
put the needs of the American families and other victims’ families over the needs of those
engaging in or supporting terrorism.

Mr. President, these are very basic principles. I am not discussing today the intricacies of the
peace process, U.S. funding, embassies, or any other number of issues we will be discussing this
year in the Senate. We need to focus on a more fundamental level first. And I hope that this
message will be heard at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

What I mean when I say this is that I hope the President will hear the message. I say this
from a
standpoint not of arrogance, not of confrontation, and I do not mean it in a political way.
I just
hope that the President will listen and take another look at what he and his foreign policy
team are trying to force the Israeli Government to do.

There cannot be peace until there is a change of heart. I returned from this
trip with a
newfound concern for the future of Israel. I saw examples of incitement. I heard examples of
persecution and hatred being taught throughout Palestinian society by their leaders. When the
people engaged in peace talks return from the negotiating table only to disparage compromise
and incite violence, there can be no progress towards peace.

Israel has come a long way since I first began following the fate of this state and the people
of
Israel. In so many respects, life appears and feels normal. The economy is developing, the
standard of living is growing and improving. But just below the surface of this
normalcy, Mr.
President, Israel still faces a threat to the state’s very existence.
Israel’s survival
remains,
unfortunately, a very real and central concern 50 years after its independence.

Some people believe, however, that by ignoring this threat, that the peace process
can
succeed. Mr. President, it will fail. It is clear to me that many in the Palestinian leadership
today see the peace process toward the goal of eliminating the State of Israel.

Back To Basics

I suggest today that we get back to the basics. Peace is not possible while teaching children
to
hate and kill. Peace is not possible while persecuting those of other faiths. Peace is not possible
while lionizing terrorism. We must stand up for freedom, security, and human dignity. We must
stand up to ensure the security of Israel. We must stand up in the Congress, and we must insist
that our President stand with us.

Today is the day to end American pressure on Israel to force a peace agreement.
Today is
the day to remember it is up to the people of Israel to determine their own fate — their own
security. We should pressure those who fill children with slogans of hatred and holy war; we
should pressure them to change. We should pressure those who torture; we should pressure them
to change. We should pressure those who encourage and support terror and murder, and those
who rejoice in hatred. That is where the pressure should be.

Now is the time, Mr. President, for a return to our principled stand. The only way to truly
attain
peace is to support freedom, democracy and justice, and oppose the cycle of hatred. We must
face tyranny and oppression where it exists, condemn it, and stand up for peace — real peace
based upon security, freedom, and a change of heart.

1 The Security Forum is a new service of the Center for Security
Policy intended to ensure that
important contributions to the security policy debate by members of Center’s Board of Advisors
and other experts receive appropriate attention and thorough consideration.

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