In "Pro-Israel, but Pro-Peace?" [op-ed, Oct. 26], Richard Cohen writes that "from the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993 until September 2000, when the Camp David summit came to naught, about 256 Israelis -- civilians and soldiers alike -- were killed by Palestinian violence . . . . Between Sept. 29, 2000, and September 2004 -- four, not eight, years -- 1,026 Israelis were killed by Palestinians." He then argues that "those low fatality figures for the Clinton years were not entirely a coincidence. They were the product of hard [U.S. diplomatic] work." President Bush, Cohen says, has not been effective "in reducing the violence and bring[ing] about a peaceful solution."
In fact, the number of Israelis and foreigners murdered by Palestinian terrorists in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip between 1993 and 2000 was not historically low but high. In the 15 years preceding Oslo, 216 Israeli civilians, security personnel and foreign visitors were murdered by Palestinian terrorists. Post-Oslo, the rate of deadly terrorism more than doubled.
The primary factor then as now was not who occupied the White House but rather the Palestinian violation of commitments to the peace process. After 1993, the Palestinian Authority trashed its pledges to end anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic incitement in schools, mosques, Palestinian Authority radio, television and newspapers; refused to eradicate the terrorist infrastructure; and would not educate its population for peaceful coexistence.
After 2000 and the Palestinian rejection of a West Bank and Gaza Strip state in exchange for peace with Israel, the death toll surged again. The problem is not finding American leaders committed to mediating Arab-Israeli peace but finding Palestinian leaders willing and able to make it.
-- Eric Rozenman
The writer is Washington director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.