The myth that the American and Israeli public is constantly fed, not only by the mainstream media, but also by the Olmert government in Israel and the Bush Administration and U.S. State Department, is that there are two Palestinian camps. One is the radical Islamist camp, headed by Hamas, which rejects the legitimacy of Israel's existence, and has the avowed goal of destroying it. The other camp are the "moderates," headed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), who accept the legitimacy of Israel's existence, reject terroism, wholeheartedly support "the peace process," and want a Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel.
Unfortunately, this myth collides repeatedly with reality, usually when a spokesman for the PA or the PLO speaks in Arabic to an Arab audience. For example, before the Annapolis conference, lead PA Negotiator Saeb Erekat stated on Radio Palestine that the Palestinians will never acknowledge the existence of Israel as a Jewish State. Now, as reported by Israel National News, Abbas Zaki, the PA's ambassador to Lebanon, said the following on Lebanese television [translation courtesy of Middle East Media Research Institute]:
"In light of the weakness of the Arab nation and the lack of values, and in light of the American control over the world, the PLO proceeds through phases, without changing its strategy. Let me tell you, when the ideology of Israel collapses, and we take, at least, Jerusalem, the Israeli ideology will collapse in its entirety, and we will begin to progress with our own ideology, Allah willing, and drive them out of all of Palestine."
He futher defended "armed resistance," i.e., terrism, which the PLO supposedly rejected in the Oslo Accords, stating:
"We believe wholeheartedly that the Right of Return [of millions of Arabs and their descendants who left Israel in 1948 and 1967 -ed.] is guaranteed by our will, by our weapons, and by our faith."
Asked if this means he believes "in weapons, not just in negotiations," Zaki said that neither of them is effective by itself: "The use of weapons alone will not bring results, and the use of politics without weapons will not bring results. We act on the basis of our extensive experience. We analyze our situation carefully. We know what climate leads to victory and what climate leads to suicide."
The issue regarding violence, according to Zaki, is simply a question of tactics:
"The important thing is that in any [military] operation, Israel will pay a price. We don't want cases in which you [Arabs] don't kill even a chicken, but Israel kills 20 of you. I salute any operation that makes Israel pay a heavy price."
Zaki, by the way, was one of the masterminds of the PLO attack on the Israeli delegation to the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, in which Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes.
The PA, the PLO and Hamas all have the same stated goal--the destruction of Israel. They differ only in tactics, and in that Hamas brazenly announces its objective in English. When will the Israeli and American governments not only recognize this reality, but tell their citizens the truth?
I am actually grateful to Zaki for bringing home why Israel must never give up Jerusalem in negotiations with the PA. Zaki recognizes, even if Israel's secular leaders do not, that Jerusalem is the ultimate symbol of the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. If the Jews themselves do not believe that the Land of Israel, and its capital, Jerusalem, is our homeland, our only homeland, then, God forbid, the Arabs will indeed achieve their dream of destroying the State of Israel, and Jews will return to living as a remnant scattered among the nations, surviving at their sufferance.