The US-backed Road Map peace plan had no real chance of success because Israel was the only signatory living up to its side of the agreement, former US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich wrote recently.
“Diplomacy is important and has a vital role to play [in solving the Israeli-Arab conflict], but its function must be different than the Oslo process and the Road Map suggest,” Gingrich argued in the summer edition of Middle East Quarterly.
“The focus on Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy cannot work when one side has a leadership that does not deliver on its word.”
The 2008 presidential hopeful noted that “in order for diplomacy to work, negotiators must be honest brokers willing to keep commitments,” an area in which Gingrich noted the Palestinian Authority leadership was lacking.
“Diplomacy should not be used as political checkmate while one side keeps its word, and the other side willfully disregards its promises to gain political advantage,” he wrote.
Gingrich called the Road Map, which was largely formulated by the Bush Administration, a “product of a period of failure now past,” and urged Washington, “It is time to move on.”
He said the basis for Israeli-Arab peace “should be the destruction of the terrorists,” and that negotiations should cease until the Palestinian Authority fulfilled its decade-old commitment to disarm and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure operating out of areas under its control.
“This inherently is not a diplomatic task. Smoke and mirrors will not work.”
Based on the PA’s failure to honor its word, Gingrich advocated far less restraint in Israeli military responses to attacks on its civilians.
“When a neighborhood shelters terrorists, it should not be surprised at a violent response. When a rocket or mortar is fired from a neighborhood, people should expect retaliatory fire. When someone advocates killing Israelis, they should expect to be killed by those they plan to kill,” he insisted.
Gingrich pointed out the disparity between Israeli toleration for “Palestinian” terror for the sake of an allusive peace and America’s massive military response to Islamic terrorist attacks on its civilians.
If, relative to population size, as many Americans had been murdered by terrorists as Israeli Jews, the reaction of the United States would be anything but restraint, regardless of diplomatic and political considerations, the high-profile Republican suggested.
Ryan Jones is Co-Editor of Jerusalem Newswire.