by Hal Lindsey,  August 15, 2001
"I regularly get emails from Arab readers and well-meaing Westerners who watch too much CNN "coverage" taking me to task for my position regarding Israel and the Palestinians.  For the most part, the letters reflect a general viewpoint that I don't care about Arabs, or Palestinians, or their plight.  As one Palestinian reader asked me,  "What about the victims of Israeli policy?"  

I'd like to take this opportunity to send an open letter to the Palestinian "man on the street":
Dear Child of Abraham,

It is an ironclad certainty that I grieve for the situation you currently find yourselves in.  I grieve when I read of homes being bull-dozed by the Israeli Defense Forces in retaliation for this attack or that against Israeli targets.   I grieve for those innocents who suffer the consequences of the actions of Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah and other perpetrators of terror.

I grieve for those among you who saw the bright promise of peace that shone so brilliantly on that warm September afternoon in the Rose Garden in 1993.  I grieve for those who saw the hope that was manifested in the simple act of a handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, only to see that promise squandered.

I grieve for those who watched as the hope of peace faded, and as the dogs of war began to nip at your heels. Today, those dogs are at your throat and I grieve for the hopelessness of your situation.

I grieve for your dead, and for the families that remain behind to mourn their loss.  I grieve for the hatred that has replaced the burgeoning friendships that began following the signing of Oslo and the beginning of what appeared to be a process of peace.

But my grief is not for the  "victims of Israeli agression,"  since it would be misplaced.  The victims of the intifada are victims of a Palestinian leadership that has perverted the truth.  Your leadership has had almost a decade in which to indoctrinate your children in hatred and violence and they have used it to their best advantage.

The victims of the intifada are the children who are being bussed to indoctination camps to be taught how to kill without regard for their victims.  A counselor at one such camp called "Paradise Camp" bragged in the July 20 Jerusalem Post,  "We are teaching the children that suicide bombs make (the) Israeli people frightened and we are allowed to do it. ... We teach them that after a person becomes a suicide bomber he reaches the highest level of paradise."

The victims of the intifada are the children, some as young as 12, bussed to rally points and deliberately placed in the front ranks of the stone throwers,  with Palestinian snipers shooting from behind them.  Your leadership  "purchases" the lives of these children as martyrs, paying the families of those killed a paltry $2,000 per life. Wounded children are worth much less, with the value of their injuries assessed by your leadership as being worth only $300.

I grieve for Mohammed al-Dura, the 12 year-old  boy murdered by your own forces during a shoot-out with the IDF.  His death made excellent propaganda for Yasser Arafat, but the price of that propaganda was far too high, despite Arafat's eagerness to pay that price.

I grieve for the families of suicide bombers who have given up their sons as a consequence of a leadership who places no value on the lives of its constituency, placing instead a premium on their deaths relative only to the number of innocent civilians that die with them.

The victims of your leadership are legion; but the most heart-rendering stories of suffering at the hands of Yasser Arafat and his band of thugs come from within your own ranks.

I grieve for the five young men  sentenced to death  by  firing squad  after a ten-minute trial for  "collaborating"  with Israel.  If collaboration with Israel is a crime worthy of death, then your leadership represents the apex of hypocrisy.  Or else Arafat would long ago have put on his own blindfold and smoked his last cigarette.  For making a  peace he never intended to honor at the expense of his own people is collaboration defined.

My heart breaks for your suffering.  But none of that grief changes reality. Your current suffering is the result of your allowing yourself to be deceived by an opportunistic cynic who knew back in 1993 that genuine peace with Israel would mean the end of his power.  Without the conflict to define him, Yasser Arafat's political existence would self-destruct.  Peace is his mortal enemy.

Within six months of signing the Oslo agreement for peace, the first Egged bus exploded into flames on a Tel Aviv street.  Dozens of young Palestinian lives have since dissolved into a similar pink mist of impotent rage, created and fanned by the need of Yasser Arafat and Fatah to justify their continued political existence.

The responsibility for the suffering of your people rightly belongs in the hands of the man who once took the hand of Yitzhak Rabin in an empty gesture of a peace that would never come.  By design, Arafat raised the hopes of both sons of Abraham that, finally, reconcilation of a 4000-year-old conflict might be at hand, knowing full well he intended to bring about the current conflict.

Your leadership always intended to implement the "Phased Plan for the Destruction of Israel" that Arafat promised to renounce as a condition of peace.  As recently as May 2000,  Abd El Aziz Shanhian,  a member of Arafat's cabinet revealed that truth in one of your own newpapers, Al Ayaam.  As he said then,  "The Palestianian people accepted the Oslo Agreement as a first step and not as a permanent arrangement, based on the premise that the war and the struggle on the ground is more efficient that a struggle from a distant land."

I grieve for you, because Arafat bartered your future to preserve his present.  He is a liar.  That isn't a value judgment, but rather an observation of fact.  He signed an agreement to renounce violence, knowing full well in advance that was never his intention, and that if there were consequences of his perfidy to be paid, they would be paid by his own people.

Even now, as  you suffer, he continues to  lie to you;  telling you  your suffering  is the result of Israel  "aggression."  "Retaliation" can never be aggression.  It is, by definition, a response to aggression.

An aggression begun by your own leadership, under the cover of false promises and outright lies, with the full knowledge in advance of the price that aggression would exact from you, while he looted your treasury and installed his Tunisian thugs to help him carry away the booty.   While you suffer in poverty and deprivation, he and his Tunisians live in luxury villas, drive Mercedes and wear Armani suits.

Your leadership has refused to meet the Israelis halfway, perferring instead to use deception and violence to prop up their own regime.  When Israel, recognizing that the halfway mark for Arafat was nowhere near the middle, moved so far toward your side as to offer Arafat 95 percent of what he claimed he wanted back in 1993.  Arafat rejected it out of hand and began the current uprising.  Arafat knew the price of rejecting the offer would be high,  but you would be the ones who had to pay it.  Because the price of peace was too high for Arafat to even consider ponying up himself.  He likes the trappings of power too much.

I grieve for you.  But I don't buy for a second that your pain is a consequence of Israeli "agression."  You could hold in your own hands the keys to peace.  But to claim that key, you will first have to drop the rocks, bottles and guns.  I pray that you do, for your own sake, and for the sake of the peace co-existence with the other son of Abraham you once claimed as your objective.
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