The Jerusalem Post, June 24, 2004

Another Tack: THE NAKED TRUTH

by Sarah Honig

In our absurd existence it's perfectly bon ton to gush over the splendid sartorial sophistication of the emperor's birthday suit, but it's a grievous faux pas to tell it like it is.

Thus Shimon Peres, the couturier who designed and stitched the fantastic Oslo finery, was never brought to account for his roguery. Yet the very same Peres now demands an exhaustive official inquiry into the audacious candor of former Military Intelligence Research Division chief Amos Gilad.

Back in the days when everyone in the establishment's inner sanctum sang the new fashion's obligatory praises, Gilad dared suggest that His Royal Highness "has nothing on at all." He anticipated Yasser Arafat's intifada and had the nerve to warn that there's no Palestinian partner for peace. For that he must now pay.

It wasn't the original deception that proved detrimental to the safety of ordinary Israelis and to the cause of genuine peace, but its exposure. And so Peres unhesitatingly brands Gilad's prognostications "stupid exaggerated theories" and claims they undermined further powwows with Arafat. After a four-year search, the Left has finally identified the culprit and knows whom to blame for its fiasco.

Gilad's belatedly revealed transgression was calling it as he saw it, thereby predisposing us to regard Arafat as a hindrance to peace. Arafat apparently possessed no free will to resist the role Gilad arbitrarily imposed on him. If Gilad pronounced him villainous, then Arafat had no choice but to prove Gilad right.

Gilad had the awesome power to determine how Arafat would conduct his affairs. In other words, we could have been luxuriating in blissful peace today if Gilad had only extolled Arafat as Mother Theresa's saintly twin.

But Arafat actually did get every break in the book. Though his hands were indelibly bloodstained, he was imported from Tunis and was trusted irrationally with our security, while we armed his henchmen, paved his way to the White House, and all but conferred the Nobel Peace Prize on this wily and unrepentant proponent of ethnic cleansing and genocide. Nevertheless, none of this motivated him to live up to Peres's peace dreams or give the lie to Gilad's evaluations.

IF ANYTHING, Gilad deserves plaudits for seeing through the sham. The fault isn't in his prescience. The fact that recidivist hoaxers escape censure, refuse to acknowledge reality (even after it was violently stripped of their adornments), persist in hawking illusion, and continue to dominate our political discourse is no less than mind-blowing.

One would expect agonizing remorse after the slaying of 1,000 Israelis in less than four years had laid bare Oslo's folly and deceit, after jihad's monstrous face was unmistakably unmasked, and after widespread sympathy for Islamic barbarism was sanctioned and expressed in Arafatland.

We know that the Saudi butchers - the ones who photographed pro-Arab American engineer Paul Johnson with his decapitated head deposited on the back of his corpse and a knife thrust through a lifeless eye - have numerous kindred cannibals next door to us.

They're the ones who danced when Saddam scudded us, when the Twin Towers collapsed, when they sadistically slaughtered and battered beyond recognition two unfortunate Israeli reservists who took a wrong turn, when they kicked around an Israeli soldier's severed head.

This savagery predates current events and even the pretext of Israeli occupation. The world preferred to turn a blind eye to it, and we preferred not to remember or remind the world. The IDF has for decades refused to release its hoard of 1947-48 photos of Arab atrocities.

Most of these were snapped proudly by the perpetrators themselves as pictorial evidence of their gruesome handiwork, as keepsakes to brag about.

The grisly album includes stills from Majdal (Ashkelon) showing the heads of five Nitzanim defenders, impaled on bayonets, as they're triumphantly paraded through town.

The torturers, mutilators, and their progeny later paraded as angry Gaza refugees and sought terrible vengeance for their defeat in the Holy War they launched.

Their bloodlust runs as deep as our delusion that reasonable fairness can impress, persuade, and reform those who are out to conquer, not compromise.

But the unscrupulous Oslo clothiers don't want us to realize this truth. It's bad for business.

Skepticism about Palestinian goodwill must be delegitimized and the PA rehabilitated and restored to its lost peace-partner status. That's the next item on the Left's agenda, now that Gush Katif's fate seems sealed. That's what the Gilad hullabaloo is all about. It's calculated to reedit our memories and cause us to doubt our perception.

The charlatans won't admit they conned the emperor to strut about in the altogether. Instead, they'll shut up the candid kid, discredit, mock, slander, impeach, implicate, and intimidate him. But none of this can cover up the ugly naked truth.