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What They Are Saying: The Bucks Keep Flowing; Who's Accounting for Them?

September 29, 2005 By:
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Diana West

Columnist Diana West writes on www.JewishWorldReview.com on Sept. 16 about the payback for America's handouts to the Palestinians:

"Maybe it was that last $50 million that George W. Bush forked over to the Palestinian Authority in May that made the Gaza transfer between Israel and the Palestinian Authority this week so … what was Condoleezza Rice's word for the Palestinian stampede of looting and desecration that erupted after the Israeli withdrawal? 'Successful.'

"That is, something must have sweetened the deal to make Israeli-Palestinian coordination on this territorial handover so … how did Ms. Rice describe the dynamic that led to the flags of jihad terrorism being hoisted into a sky darkened by burning synagogues? 'Effective.'

"Successful and effective? Not everyone's first reaction, but maybe it all depends on what Ms. Rice was hoping for. The fact that burning synagogues failed even to singe the secretary of state's assessment of diplomatic success and effective statecraft is nothing less than chilling. But maybe it reflects our arrival at a cold, new reality that calls into question administration attitudes toward longstanding American motives and goals in the Middle East.

"Since the Oslo 'peace process' began in 1993, Palestinians have received more than $1.5 billion from the United States - more aid, as the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out in August, than from any other single country. Not that other countries, mainly European ones, haven't been generous. The Atlantic Monthly's David Samuels tallied up post-Oslo aid at $7 billion, estimating that as much as half of that money was siphoned off by Yasser Arafat and his cronies.

"Still, the bucks flow. This year alone, the United States will double last year's $275 million P.A. aid package, paying out $550 million. In July, even as jihadis struck the London Underground, the Group of Eight countries couldn't pile up money for the P.A. fast enough, agreeing by 2008 to present its government - which by then could very well include landslide-elected terrorists from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda, whatever - with $9 billion.

"They say you get what you pay for. But what exactly have we paid for? As recently as Sept. 2, according to Palestinian Media Watch, the P.A.'s 'Voice of Palestine' was sermonizing against 'heretical' America, exhorting the Muslim faithful to attack Americans in Iraq - just the latest instance of anti-U.S. propaganda carried on P.A.-run radio. A few weeks ago, the P.A.'s so-called Ministry of Culture released its 'Book of the Month,' a collection of poetry honoring murder-bomber Hanadi Jaradat. This 'Rose of Palestine' killed 29 Israeli Jews and Arabs at a crowded Haifa eatery in October 2003, back when such carnage was still shocking. Palestinian Media Watch also noted a P.A. government newspaper report about female Hamas terrorists - photographed holding American-made automatic rifles.

"All of which should make us wonder: Have we paid for a 'peace process' or have we financed holy war? Have we supported a 'peace partner' or have we just helped create a terrorist state?

"Time, maybe a very short time, will tell what already seems clear - except to our secretary of state. Or so I wish. That is, I wish it were myopia alone that had brought us to this not-so-pretty pass. It could be, however, that with the rise of Condoleezza Rice, the current Bush administration now reflects the re-ascendance of the old Bush-Baker-Scowcroft school of foreign policy Arabism."

'Justice, Justice, Justice, Shall You Pursue'!

Historian Daniel Jonah Goldhagen writes in the Los Angeles Times (www.latimes.com) Sept. 22 that Simon Wiesenthal represented our will to repair the world:

"While the Nuremberg trials were capturing the world's attention and creating a body of international law to hold mass murderers accountable, Simon Wiesenthal in 1946 was creating a parallel institution, the Jewish Documentation Center in Austria, with a skeletal staff to help ensure that once the trials were over, someone would continue to bring the murderers to justice by finding them and shaming governments to do their legal and moral duty.

"Wiesenthal, who died Sept. 20, cheated the Nazis for 64 years after they plunged him in 1941 into their genocidal inferno. For most of those years, he hunted Nazis down, most famously Adolf Eichmann, the logistical organizer of much of the Holocaust whom the Israelis then kidnapped, put on trial and hanged in 1962. Wiesenthal is credited with ferreting out 1,100 war criminals. It is undoubtedly the case that, as an individual, he helped bring the murderers of more people to justice than any other private person in history.

"Yet 'Nazi hunter,' the prefix attached to his name, was always the wrong image. Wiesenthal's was not an act of ferocity or retribution - and certainly not of the kill - but of repair, in the Jewish tradition of tikkun olam: 'repairing the world.' After crimes, especially those that assault an entire people, a man calling the criminals to legal account for their actions is not a hunter but a righteous man of justice, punishing perpetrators others would let go free, bringing resolution to abandoned survivors and keeping the focus on individual responsibility that others routinely deny.

"Wiesenthal certainly did not work alone. And at times, he got credit as a lone hero for work that often depended on many others. Yet whatever the controversies that surrounded him, including doubts that his claims to being instrumental in the Eichmann capture were true, he became a symbol of righteousness for doing indispensable work not just for Jews, but for humanity. What he embodied, beyond the swashbuckling language of Nazi-hunting, were three important, if not always articulated, principles.

"Governments of countries whose people committed mass murder cannot be relied on to bring criminals to justice. They must be pressured by people (and other governments) to ferret out the murderers, prosecute them with vigor and sentence them appropriately.

"Criminals must not be allowed to find refuge, cloaked in hidden identities, in other nations. Wiesenthal made sure that wherever they fled, they would be in jeopardy.

"Time should not bury the crimes or pardon the criminals. Justice has many functions; a neglected one, as victims and their relatives repeatedly say, is bringing the truth to light. They also want the murderers to be punished. For that they need champions to do their work.

"Wiesenthal also understood what is often omitted from discussions of whether to put mass murderers on trial - rather than letting society move on - and from discussions about the International Criminal Court created in 1998. Establishing and acting upon principles of just punishment, especially if they are institutionalized internationally, is critical for deterring future perpetrators. The value, he declared in 1994, 'of nearly five decades of my work is a warning to the murderers of tomorrow, that they will never rest.'

"Most of the perpetrators of the Holocaust and other genocides - from leaders to field commanders to the foot soldiers who did the actual killing - have never been brought to justice. Still, Wiesenthal ensured that, in addition to those he helped apprehend, thousands more spent their lives cowering, looking over their shoulders. This is hardly full justice, but it is not nothing."

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