|To achieve peace in the Middle East,
as in any region, there is a necessary principle that every party
must learn: the initiation of force is evil. And the indispensable
means of teaching it is to ensure that the initiating side is
defeated and punished. Decisive retaliatory force must be wielded
against the aggressor. So long as one side has reason to think
it will benefit from initiating force against its neighbors,
war must result. Yet this is precisely what America’s immoral
foreign policy gives the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Hezbollah
reason to think.
Israel is a free country, which recognizes the rights of its
citizens, whatever their race or religion, and which prospers
through business and trade. It has no use for war and no interest
in conquest. But for years, Arafat and the Palestinian authorities,
with the aid of Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and other states,
sought not to learn the conditions of freedom, but to annihilate
the only free nation in their midst: Israel. Did the United States
demand that the Palestinian leadership be destroyed?
No. Clinton invited Arafat to dine at the White House and Bush
declared that peace requires Israel to give in to its aggressor’s
insistence on a state.
Worse still, as part of the “two state solution” announced
in 2002, Bush demanded that Israel withdraw to its pre-1967 borders.
In 1967 Israel captured the Golan Heights, West Bank, and Gaza
Strip after yet another attempt by Arab nations to annihilate
it. To give back any of this land—as Israel has done in
the face of international pressure—teaches the Arabs that
they can launch wars against Israel with impunity. If they at
first do not succeed militarily, they need only continue issuing
threats against Israel and arming more suicide bombers—and
eventually the land they lost in a war they initiated will be
returned to them. They can then start the process anew, as they
have since Israel withdrew from Lebanon and Gaza.
In order to move toward his “two-state solution,” Bush
championed elections in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon,
which predictably brought Hamas and Hezbollah into government.
Terrorism, Bush is thus teaching the killers, is the means to
The reason peace eludes the Middle East is therefore not difficult
to discern. The lesson President Bush is conveying to the Arabs
and Islamists—that the initiation of force is practical—is
a continuation of the lesson America’s foreign policy has
been teaching them for decades. The Egyptians seized the Suez
Canal from the French and British in 1956—and we demanded
that the Europeans not retaliate. Israel had the Palestinian
terrorists surrounded in Lebanon in 1982—and we brokered
their release. Many Arabs idolized a terrorist for hijacking
airliners and murdering civilians—and we poured money into
his regime, hailed him for winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994,
and demanded that Israel enter into a protracted “peace
process” that consisted of concession after concession.
What possible conclusion could the Arab world draw but that the
initiation of force is practical? So long as they have grounds
to believe that, war is inescapable.
If we truly seek peace, we must reverse this perverse lesson.
We must proclaim the objective conditions of peace. This means
declaring to Arab nations that Israel, as a free country, has
a moral right to exist, that the Arabs and Palestinians are the
initiators of the conflict and that aggression on their part
is evil and will not be tolerated. And it means encouraging Israel
not to negotiate and compromise with its current assailants,
but to destroy them.
Only when the initiators of force learn that their actions lead
not to world sympathy and political power, but to their own deaths,
will peace be possible in the Middle East.
Dr. Onkar Ghate is a senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute,
which promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand—author of Atlas
Shrugged and The Fountainhead.