Palestinians ignor the lessons of Iraq

Caroline Glick:

Something remarkable is happening in Iraq. There is a civil war going on and the terrorists are losing. US Marine commanders in Fallujah reported Wednesday that they seized enough weapons in the city "for the insurgency to take over the whole country."

Iraq is currently undergoing a post-Saddam revolution. Last April, when the Marines first attempted to take over Fallujah from the Sunni terrorists, they were joined by an Iraqi army brigade led by a general from the former regime. His troops quickly went AWOL and joined the ranks of the terrorists in fighting American forces. Under pressure from the UN, the Coalition Provisional Authority, led by then-viceroy L. Paul Bremer, lost its nerve to continue fighting. The Marines fell back to the city's outskirts and enabled the likes of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Palestinian-Jordanian arch terrorist, to take over Fallujah.

This month's combined US-Iraqi offensive into Fallujah was different. It was marked by tight cooperation between the Iraqi and American forces on the ground, and ordered by Iraq's Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who didn't back down even when three of his relatives were kidnapped by the terrorists. The new Iraqi army that is now being trained is the first instance of an Arab army to be developed to fight Arab and Islamic terrorists. This is an extraordinary accomplishment. Iraqi soldiers are now fighting and dying to purge their country of Arab terrorists, many of whom are also Iraqis.

In addition to the new Iraqi government's determination to fight on the side of the US on the battlefields, it is also fighting the intellectual war against terror. This week, in an interview with the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Aswat, Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan branded Al-Jazeera television station a "channel of terrorism." Shaalan went on to threaten Al-Jazeera, saying, "Let God curse all those who terrorize Iraqi citizens and the children of Iraq, be they journalists or others. The day will come when we will take measures against Al-Jazeera other than by words."

As PLO chieftains and the likes of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak defend their regime-controlled media's dissemination of constant calls for jihad against Israel and the US as an exercise of free speech, Iraq's leaders are admitting openly that these media operations are part and parcel of the terror arsenal. And so, in Iraq today, we have a situation in which it is the Iraqi government itself – rather than the US or Israel or any other country targeted by jihad – which is taking the lead to punish organs of incitement.

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The Arabs, like the UN and France, are worried. If the Iraqis pull off the elections and a democratic representative government is established early next year, then their entire policy rationale is done for. Their calls for maintaining the status quo of terror-supporting autocracies in the Arab world that refuse to accept Israel but control the world's largest oil reserves will be rendered obsolete.

In a call of desperation on Wednesday, Zarqawi sent out a whiny-voiced tape recording on the Internet in which he slammed Muslim leaders for not joining his fight against the Americans. In his words, "Men have lost their virility; maybe it's time for women to pick up the fight."

Unfortunately, even as US President George W. Bush gives full-throated support for the establishment of a terror-fighting Palestinian democracy, the lessons of the Iraqi experience seem lost on one and all as they approach the question of who should now lead the Palestinians in the wake of Arafat's death.

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Finally, at the Palestinian Legislative Council's memorial ceremony for Arafat on Tuesday, Abbas, Qurei and Rouhi Fatouh, Arafat's official place warmer, together pledged to be loyal to "Arafat's legacy." Could they have been any clearer?

And so, those who would wish for a true and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians gaze longingly at Iraq. If the experience there has shown anything, it has shown that it is possible to topple terrorist regimes and it is possible to build the organs of a democracy in the Arab world. Why are Iraq's lessons lost on the Palestinians?

The difference between Iraq and the Palestinians is that Palestinians have an emotional attachment to the destruction of Israel that cannot be addressed by rational discussion. While it is probably not in their DNA, hatred of Israel and the Jews is learned at an early age and is reinforced daily in the Palestinian culture. Dressing toddlers as human bombs suggest a society that hates Israel more than it loves its children. These people need to be defeated. They need to be shown that there is no hope of destroying Israel. Until the fantasy of destroying israel is destroyed the Palestinians have no chance of reaching an agreement with Israel. Until that fantasy is destroyed the Palestinians have nothing to offer Israel in a negotiation.

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