By Stan Goodenough
October 30, 2006
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice admitted last week that she only thinks she knows how the majority of Palestinian Arabs feel about suicide bombings and living in peace with Israel.
Rice, who is at the forefront of crafting and implementing Washingtonâ€™s two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, revealed her uncertainty an interview with US columnist Cal Thomas.
The secretary was asked what evidence she had that, should the Palestinian Arabs be given a state of their own alongside Israel [in fact inside Israel, for the designated territory is the heartland of the Jewish homeland-Ed] â€œthat they would lay down their arms and not complete the mission of killing the Jews and throwing them out.â€
Rice asserted that â€œany opinion poll in the Palestinian territories [shows that] 70 percent of the people will say they are perfectly ready to live side by side with Israel because they just want to live in peace.â€
The extremists had to be dealt with, she insisted, but â€œBut the great majority of Palestinian people â€¦ just want a better life.
â€œThis is an educated population,â€ Rice said.
â€œI 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.â€
Asked whether she thought or knew that this to be the case, she replied:
â€œWell, I think I know it.â€
The Bush administration has based its whole two-state policy approach â€“ the policy it wants Israel to go along with, despite the fact that it places Israelâ€™s very existence at risk â€“ on this belief.
When her interviewer echoed her statement with an incredulous â€œYou think you know it?â€ Rice responded:
“Look, if human beings don’t want a better future, don’t want their children to grow up in peace and have opportunities, then none of this is going to work anyway.
â€œBut I really believe that the people of the Middle East â€“ not the extremists â€“ want the same things that everyone else wants.â€
Rice conceded that there were Islamic leaders teaching that paradise and rewards awaited those prepared to blow other people up, and that they had â€œplenty of recruits.â€
But she insisted that â€œthat kind of ideology of hatred and hopelessness does not have a chance against an ideology of hope and a better future.â€
For the last 60 years â€œthat ideology of hope and a better future has not been thereâ€
Although she does not explain how, Dr. Rice apparently believes that the seeds of that more positive worldview have somehow now taken root among the majority of Palestinian Arabs.
Or at least, she thinks she believes it.