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Israel extends an olive branch, Hamas shoots at it

By Frank Salvato
web posted August 22, 2005

"The armed struggle is the only strategy that Hamas possesses…As long as Palestinian lands remain under occupation, Hamas won't lay down its weapons." – Khaled Mashaal, leader of the terrorist organization Hamas.

The world has been witness to an extraordinary, emotional event: the Israeli pull-out from the Gaza Strip. This political gamble by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon marks substantive forward movement on the Road Map for Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The question now is whether the Palestinian militants – and in a more complete sense the entire Arab World – have the wherewithal to understand that this is an opportunity to exist on this planet peacefully with others or whether they want to continue their march toward oblivion.

It is time for the Arab world – and those who identify with it – to start living in the land of reality.

Israel isn't going to cease to exist. No matter how many suicide bombers Hamas, al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, Hezbollah or any of the myriad racist, anti-Semitic terrorist organizations send to kill innocent Israeli women and children, Israel will remain. Israel has survived the invasion of armies sanctioned by the Arab League and gained territory in spite of the waging of war by Arab nations. Israelis have not been persuaded to "disband" their nation even as anti-Semite barbarians spew their hate-speech calling Jews the descendents of pigs, even as their "civilized" brethren decapitate other innocents in the name of religion across the broader Middle East.

Israel has literally won every major conflict it has ever had with the Arab world.

The fact Ariel Sharon has demonstrated that he, even in the face of political suicide, intends to keep his part of the bargain where the Road Map for Peace is concerned, is telling. But more than being just a simple action of sincere resolve it presents an opportunity for the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world to demonstrate they can do the same.

Palestinians and the larger Arab world must match Sharon's move by making sure terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah cease their thirsting for Israeli and Christian blood. They must seek to terminate the apocalyptic rhetoric used by their fanatical religious leaders against Jews and the West. They must embrace a moment in time that would see them leave the barbarism of the past behind in deference for the hope the future affords. It is through actions, not rhetoric, that true peace will be attained.

But, if the Palestinians and the Arab world ignore this opportunity by viewing the sincere and generous gesture of the Israeli pull-out of Gaza as a victory won by acts of terror, who could blame the world community if it chooses to say that it has had enough of them and their methods? Why shouldn't the world community as a whole condemn their intractability and insistence on the status quo?

I don't believe that I am going out on a limb when I say that the peace loving people of the world have grown tired of listening to the Arab street justify terrorism and murder. We have grown tired of their barbarity. We have grown tired of their apathy. It is long past time for the Arab world to condemn terrorism, anti-Semitism and their religion's bloodlust for world domination. If Arab nations want to sit at the world table as equals then it is time for them to embrace the responsibilities of humanity.

It is a crime against humanity to encourage suicide bombers, in the name of religion, to strap on pounds of C-4 in order to murder innocent women and children on buses especially when their justification is retaliation for a war lost 38 years ago.

It is a crime against humanity to kidnap aid workers, in the name of religion, only to torture them by exploiting their terror in front of a video camera in the final moments before their heads are sawed off.

It is a crime against humanity to stone women to death, in the name of tribal honor, because she smiled at a male stranger or went to the market unaccompanied by a male family member or wore clothes that some backward-thinking cave dweller believed scarred his honor.

This situation presented on behalf of the Israeli people – and peace-loving people all over the world – is a chance for the Arab world to save face. It is an opportunity to end the savagery ingrained in their society, end the terrorism and offer their people a future that isn't mired in poverty, ignorance and butchery. It is an opportunity to correct centuries worth of wrongs.

The peace-loving people of the world must hope that the Palestinians and the Arab world recognize this moment and pray that they choose the path to peace. But if they fail to capitalize upon this historic opportunity, instead continuing the psychotic crusade they have waged for centuries, we should be prepared to rectify the problem once and for all.

Frank Salvato is the managing editor for TheRant.us. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, socio-political education project. His pieces are regularly featured in Townhall.com. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor and numerous radio shows. His pieces have been recognized by the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention and are periodically featured in The Washington Times as well as other national and international publications. He can be contacted at oped@therant.us Copyright © 2005 Frank Salvato


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