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It is because the Middle East’s history—even most recent history—is continually ignored does Western policy tend to go in a cycle, the same mistakes are repeated, and disasters occur predictably.
Consider, for example, the Palestinian Authority’s Iran connection and lust for war rather than peace.
Fuad Shubaki, one of Arafat’s closest aides, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison by an Israeli military court for weapons’ smuggling. This is not a new issue and the details are what’s interesting. Shubaki, whose office was practically next to that of the PLO, Fatah and Palestinian Authority (PA) leader, financed the shipment of arms on the Karine-A cargo ship—including 50 tons of Katyusha rockets, ammunition, and explosives–which Israeli forces seized in 2002. Shubaki testified he was only carryout out (Arafat’s) orders.
Lessons of the Shubaki case:
–Arafat had forged close relations with the Islamist regime in Iran which was to supply the weapons, showing the cooperation between the Palestinian movement and the Iranians.
–The middle man in the deal was Hizballah special operations’ chief Imad Mugniyah, since assassinated. So Hizballah was brokering Iran-PA relations and the PA was working closely with a terrorist responsible for attacks on Americans and the deaths of U.S. soldiers.
–The large amount of weapons would have greatly escalated the Second Intifada fighting, resulting in thousands of Israeli and Palestinian casualties. It is a wonderful example of how the Palestinian side tries to foment bloody wars even though it will lose, infrastructure destroyed, and casualties suffered (which can then be blamed on Israel).
–The incident persuaded the Bush administration that Arafat was not a partner for peace and played a key role in setting U.S. government policy. If the Bush administration is criticized for not doing more on Arab-Israeli negotiations during its term, that was because the White House was convinced that the Palestinians wanted war not peace.
–The PA, Fatah, and the PLO is currently run by Arafat’s lieutenants, the same people who were in power in 2002.
–In recent weeks, several leading Fatah officials have spoken about the idea of turning toward an alliance with Iran against, among others, the United States.
–Fatah is now moving into a more radical phase, with its designated next leader being more radical than Arafat.
–If a Palestinian state were to be established, it might well invite in Hizballah and Iranian forces, import large amounts of arms, and renew the war with Israel.