Sunday, October 29, 2006

Condoleezza Rice: I Think I Know, I Think I Know, I Think I Know

Hat Tip: Powerline

In an interview with Condoleezza Rice, Cal Thomas asked her about her statement as the Keynote Address at the American Task Force on Palestine Inaugural Gala, where she said:
I know that sometimes a Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel must seem like a very distant dream. But I know too, as a student of international history, that there are so many things that once seemed impossible that, after they happened, simply seemed inevitable. I've read over the last summer the biographies of America's Founding Fathers. By all rights, America, the United States of America, should never have come into being. We should never have survived our civil war. I should never have grown up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama to become the Secretary of State of the United States of America.
Thomas asks Rice how--in the light of extremist Islamist rhetoric, propaganda, and indoctrination--she sees a Palestinian state accepting the existence of Israel.
QUESTION: I'd like to know what evidence you have — I read, and I know you do and a lot more than I do, the sermons, the editorials in the Middle East, the right of return idea, which a lot of people think is just basically overwhelming for a Jewish population with millions and millions of Arabs in the so-called Diaspora. What evidence do you have that teaching their schoolchildren at the ages of four and five to be martyrs, to show up in their little uniforms with plastic guns and their headbands, textbooks one grenade plus two grenades equals, you know, three grenades — what evidence do you have out there that if they had an independent state that they would lay down their arms and not complete the mission of killing the Jews and throwing them out?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, you can look at any opinion poll in the Palestinian territories and 70 percent of the people will say they're perfectly ready to live side by side with Israel because they just want to live in peace. And when it comes right down to it, yeah, there are plenty of extremists in the Palestinian territories who are not going to be easily dealt with. They have to be dealt with — Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories — they're terrorists and they have to be dealt with as terrorists.

But the great majority of Palestinian people — this is — I've been with these people. The great majority of people, they just want a better life. This is an educated population. I mean, they have a kind of culture of education and a culture of civil society. I just don't believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers. I think the mothers want their children to grow up to go to university. And if you can create the right conditions, that's what people are going to do.

QUESTION: Do you think this or do you know this?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think I know it.

QUESTION: You think you know it?

SECRETARY RICE: I think I know it.
Just what poll is Rice refering to? She does not say.

Joel Mowbray notes, consistent with Thomas' question to Rice:
Poll after poll has indicated majority Palestinian support for suicide bombings. Even the term used for bombers, "shahids," is one of glorification, the equivalent of calling someone a saint. And whereas children across the world have posters in their room of sports stars or famous artists, Palestinian youths decorate their living space with posters celebrating "shahids."
Could it be that the 70% Rice is referring to is from a Bir Zeit University Poll published on September 20:
12. Peace Process and Negotiations

Palestinians: Yes to negotiation;, no to an immediate recognition of Israel by Hamas

67.0% support an immediate resumption of negotiations with Israel, while 29.7% are in opposition.

In addition, 64.5% support the PNA (led by Hamas) entering into immediate negotiations with Israel to reach a final status agreement.

57.8% support a two-state solution as a final settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; 39.0% oppose such a solution.

52.5% support the idea that Hamas must recognize international resolutions regarding Palestine; 41.0% are in opposition.

52.0% support the idea that Hamas must recognize the agreements signed between the PLO and Israel; 40.8% oppose such a solution.

The majority (62.3%) opposes the idea that Hamas must recognize Israel at this point of time; one-third (33.3%) support Hamas’s immediate recognition of Israel.
But that 67% only supports negotiations--they do not actual accept the existence of an Israeli state.

According to the same poll, 62.3% oppose recognizing Israel, hardly the response of Palestinians ready to live side-by-side with Israel. Also, 65.8% support a unity government led by Hamas: even though 31.6% believe Hamas will not reinforce democracy--this is the same Hamas which has pointedly rejected ceasing terrorism.

If Rice is correct that the vast majority of Palestinians are "perfectly ready to live side by side with Israel because they just want to live in peace"--why does the majority support Hamas.

Condoleezz Rice's presentation of the facts goes further. While Rice may think of herself as "a student of international history," her knowledge of Israel is spotty. Last year, Rice publicly stated:
Two months ago, Israel and the Palestinian Authority took an unprecedented step on the road to peace with the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, returning control of that territory to the Palestinian people...for the first time since 1967, Palestinians will gain control over entry and exit from their territory.
A real student of the relavent history would know that Palestinian Arabs never had control of the Gaza or the West Bank--that prior to the 1967 War, these areas were illegally under the control of Egypt and Jordan; that before that, those areas were under the control of Great Britain by virtue of a mandate of the League of Nations; that before that, those areas were under the control of the Ottoman Empire--even making the jump and assuming that there is a distinctive Palestinian Arab, they never had control over a territory in "Palestine".

Rice can say over and over: I think I know.
But the truth is--she doesn't.

As the editor of the Jewish World Review puts it:

We think the Secretary of State comes off as utopian and rather naive. She needs to go.

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Chris said...

Look, perhaps you should expect that Israel should try winning a war first before lecturing Condi on stating the obvious to the Israeli Government. She held Olmert's hand for three weeks while he screwed around. Now the next time is going to be twice as bad.

She is neither utopian nor naive. She's a disciple of Reagan: over the long run, people get things right. Too bad some conservatives have forgotten that.

Daled Amos said...

I'm not sure I understand your point.

Last year, she clearly--and publicly--mis-spoke (to use a Reagan term)--on an essential point at the heart of the dispute.

Now, in the interview, she clearly sounds out of touch in her description of the Palestinian Arabs.

What does any of this have to do with winning a war--something that the US in Iraq has not exactly been a leading example of?

What connection are you making?