Last week she was in Prague and also visited the Theresienstadt concentration camp. This week she is center stage in Jerusalem. Surely not even the masters of classical Greek drama could have dreamt up a more powerful theatrical scenario as Madeleine Albright flew into the Holy Land.
Appearing before an Israeli audience, still traumatized following a period of terrorist-inflicted death and injury, the US secretary of state will reflect on how her Jewish grandparents perished in the Holocaust. Nor will there be need to remind her how her mother and father fled their native land and converted in the hope of ensuring that their daughter did not suffer from being branded "Jewess." This Second World War upheaval owes much to a weak-livered English prime minister who agreed a "peace in our time" deal with Adolf Hitler.
Madeleine Albright knows that the US State Department, abetted by local self-styled intellectuals, urges her to adopt traditional policies to pressure Israel to make yet more concessions to Yasser Arafat as a key element in its gospel of trading "land for peace." Or in plain language: Neville Chamberlain-style groveling appeasement.
This misbegotten, ill-fated Oslo peace accord, spawned four years ago, led directly to the suicide-bomb slaughter of Israelis, young and old. At the time, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin astonished President Clinton by announcing that they had made a secret pact with their "partner" Yasser Arafat.
The world applauded and dished out Nobel peace prizes. Not so the GSS, the Mossad, the country's military leaders, nor IDF intelligence who were all horrified. As a senior intelligence officer told us: "Trusting Arafat was a disastrous mistake." He and other professionals warned Rabin repeatedly, indeed almost in despair, that he was presenting Arafat with a golden opportunity to use terrorism ruthlessly in his dream of driving the Jews into the sea and setting himself up as dictator of a Jewish-free Palestine.
Then followed Rabin's grievous blunder of ordering the highly efficient GSS to dismantle its long-nurtured Arab informant network which had kept terrorism in reasonable check until then. "Arafat will control the terrorists and be your informants. He will keep a lid on Hamas and Islamic Jihad fanatics. Trust him," was his message.
How bitter then the sight of Arafat warmly embracing fanatic fundamentalist leaders recently and whispering in their ears the message: "Carry on chaps. Unleash your suicide killers." Installed in Gaza, Arafat, as well as Hamas, imported massive quantities of weaponry and explosives via tunnels from Egypt. In Tel Aviv, in Jerusalem and other sites around the country, suicide bombers killed over 250 Israelis and wounded some 1,500 others.
Without a presence on the West Bank, the GSS could no longer protect Israeli civilians. The areas handed over so gratuitously to Arafat have become safe refuges for killers and thieves to this very day.
Arafat's policy of demanding more concessions, accelerated under Binyamin Netanyahu's administration. And Netanyahu surrendered, as did Peres and Rabin, over Hebron. When the process slowed, Arafat prodded his extremist buddies into action. Netanyahu's vaunted promise of security for Israelis went up in smoke and the blast of bombs.
The Tel Aviv Apropo cafe blast, followed by mayhem in the heart of Jerusalem - Mahaneh Yehuda and Ben-Yehuda - demonstrated this with horrendous results. Netanyahu's appeasement was no different from that of Rabin and Peres and Chamberlain. Small wonder we heard Israelis at the scene of the bombing cry out in despair: "We can't go on like this. Where are our leaders? We are like sheep waiting to be slaughtered. Our leaders fail us again and again. They do nothing. None of them."
Our intelligence source warns: "Arafat is convinced he's winning. He sees Jews as weak and tired, like in the ghettos. He's a great admirer of the Algerian form of terrorism that butchers civilians to bring fundamentalist Iranian-style bosses to power. We now can expect more suicide bombers.
"There was no terrorism on this scale before the curse of Oslo. It needs scores of support teams to launch suicide attacks. These are Arabs who live in Arafatland, in Israel and almost certainly in eastern Jerusalem. We are self-destructing. We have lost control of the situation."
Madeleine Albright, permit us to point out that the Prague you saw last week became the symbol of Nazi terror given a free hand. You saw the consequences of such license at Theresienstadt. Yasser Arafat is of the same mold. He proves it daily. You saw the victims yesterday in our hospital. The message is stark: Appeasement breeds death and destruction.
(c) Jerusalem Post 1997
Uri Dan and Dennis Eisenberg are authors of The Mossad: Secrets of the Israel Secret
Service and other books on the Middle East.