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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 24, 2017 By Ben Cohen JNS .org The prospect of all-out conflict between the U.S. and the North Korean regime has loomed large over the last fortnight, as a con- sequence of the latest round of provocations from Pyongyang. It's always a competition between the world's rogue states as to which one of them can pose the greatest threat to global peace and order at any given moment. Since 2011, the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, backed by Russian and Iranian military power in the air and on the ground, has wreaked havoc in the Middle East, annihilating around 500,000 people and transforming millions more into an endless column of refugees streaming across the coun- try's borders. Iran, Assad's lifeline, is itself a persistent and urgent threat, temporarily held in check by the flimsy nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration, which at its most generous interpretation allows the conditions for Tehran to weaponize its nuclear program within a decade. But it is outside the Middle East, on the Ko- rean peninsula, that the most present threat to the U.S. and its regional allies manifests. How we deal now with an angry, nuclear-enabled North Korean regime, and whether we can avoid a perilous confrontation with it, will be decisive when it comes to facing similar flashes of belligerence from Tehran or Damascus. It was the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the exiled half-brother of North Korean dic- tator Kim Jong Un, at Kuala Lumpur Airport Feb. 13 that set off this new series of tensions with North Korea. The manner of Kim's death--sprayed with a VX nerve agent by two women who appear to have been unwittingly recruited by North Korean agents--was an act of pure terrorism, and one more piece of evidence that North Korea's current dictator, like his father and grandfather before him, has only contempt for the sovereignty of foreign countries. Nothing has changed on that score: The North Korea that carried out kidnappings in Japan in the 1970s is the same North Korea carrying out assassinations in Malaysia decades later. The grisly murder in Kuala Lumpur was quickly followed by the launch of four ballistic missiles, three of which landed in Japan's exclu- sive economic area 200 miles from its coastline. Fifty-four thousand American troops remain stationed in Japan--one of several reasons why Kim is aggressively baiting his neighbor across the sea. As the crisis has escalated, China, which sup- where the officials of the ruling party are quar- tered, and which is spared, relatively speaking, from the famine and electricity shortages that prevail in the rest of the country. To look upon that image is to be reminded that North Korea isn't a normal country so much as it is a concentration camp with a seat at the U.N. Indeed, large tracts of the country to the north of Pyongyang are given over to North Korea's very own gulag system--penal colonies where up to 150,000 people are incarcerated, "North Korea's rulers are first of all an abomination, both in the manner in which they treat their own people, and in the mortal danger they pose to outsiders." posedly wields the greatest outside influence on the North Koreans, has been powerless to rein in Kim Jong Un. Beijing's proposal that North Korea end its missile tests in exchange for the cancelation of joint American-South Korean military exercises fell flat, with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley subsequently announcing that "all options are on the table"--a phrase that is familiar from the Iranian context--in dealing with "the unbelievable, irresponsible arrogance" of the Kim family dynasty's current figurehead. At times like these, we should be under no illusions about the character of the enemy. North Korea's rulers are first of all an abomina- tion, both in the manner in which they treat their own people, and in the mortal danger they pose to outsiders. We are duty-bound to do everything in our power to bring down the Kim dynasty, and we should apologize to nobody for declaring this our ambition. The best visual illustration of the nature of Kim's regime can be found in a satellite im- age of the Korean peninsula at night. South Korea sparkles brightly, while North Korea is shrouded in pitch-black darkness--save for a small glimmer around Pyongyang, the capital, and are subjected to forced labor, starvation rations, harsh beatings, rape, torture, exposure to extreme weather, disease and repulsive acts of sadism by guards who could just as easily have served in the death camps of the Nazis. As is always the case with totalitarian states, there is a ruling ideology that glorifies the fusion of war communism and medieval bloodlust that North Korea represents. In Iran, they call it "velayat-e faqih"--the con- cept that only Islamic jurists can legitimately rule on Earth. In North Korea, the total concentration of power in the Kim dynasty is expressed in the doctrines of"juche," mean- ing self-reliance, and "songun," putting the military first in terms of resource allocation and placing the armed forces at the heart of the state. These dogmas celebrate cruelty and ideological fanaticism. By the same token, they scorn those very things--like family ties, friendship and independent thought--that give value to the lives of Westerners. In North Korea, fear dressed as ideology penetrates so deeply that parents cannot trust their own children, while children know that the state can seize them from their parents at any time, for any reason. There are other features that North Korea shares with similarly blood-drenched regimes. For all its talk of socialism, North Korea func- tions like an unopposed hereditary monarchy, much as Iraq did under Saddam Hussein, and as Syria has done under Hafez and Bashar al- Assad. Like those countries, North Korea has pursued weapons of mass destruction on the biological and nuclear fronts--only with the success that eluded Saddam and the Assads, and for which Iran eagerly awaits. The old policy on North Korea, which in- volved alternately dangling tempting rewards in front of the Kims and then hitting the regime with tough sanctions, has failed to slow North Korea's military development. The songun doc- trine suggests that Kim Jong Un's sacred duty now is to accelerate that process even further. As Korea analyst Robert E. McCoy explains, "The ultimate goal remains one Korea ruled by the Kim Dynasty. What remains unknown is how and when Kim Jong Un would attempt to achieve that." The answer may lie in the speed with which Kim develops intercontinental ballistic mis- siles that can carry nuclear warheads toward Hawaii or the U.S. mainland. When and how we prevent him from reaching that point could turn out to be the most fateful foreign policy decision since October 1962, when U.S. aerial photographs revealed the deployment of Soviet missiles in Cuba. And nobody will be cheering on the North Koreans more than Iran. Ben Cohen, senior editor of TheTower. org and The Tower Magazine, writes a weekly column for JNS.org on Jewish affairs and Middle Eastern politics. His writings have been published in Commentary, the New York Post, Haaretz, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications. There has never been a sovereign Arab State" P lestine By Eli E. Hertz granted all Palestinian refugees on its terri- tory full citizenship rights while protecting The artificiality of a Palestinian identity is and upholding their political rights as Pales- reflected in the attitudes and actions of neigh- tinians (Right of Return or compensation)." boring Arab nations who never established a The Arabs never established a Palestinian Palestinian state themselves, state when the UN in 1947 recommended to The rhetoric by Arab leaders on behalf partition Palestine, andtoestablish"anArab of the Palestinians rings hollow. Arabs in and a Jewish state" (not a Palestinian state, it neighboring states, who control 99.9 percent should be noted). Nor did the Arabs recognize of the Middle East land, have never recog- or establish a Palestinian state during the two nized a Palestinian entity. They have always decades prior to the Six-Day War when the considered Palestine and its inhabitant's West Bankwas under Jordanian controland part of the great "Arab nation," historically the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian control; and politically as an integral part of Greater nor did the Palestinian Arabs clamor for au- Syria - Suriyya al-Kubra - a designation that tonomy or independence during those years extended to both sides of the Jordan River. In under Jordanian and Egyptian rule. the 1950s, Jordan simply annexed the West And as for Jerusalem: Only twice in the Bank since the population there was viewed city's history has it served as a national as the brethren of the Jordanians. Jordan's capital. First as the capital of the two Jewish official narrative of"Jordanian state-building" Commonwealths during the First and Second attests to this fact: Temple periods, as described in the Bible, "Jordanian identity underlies the signifi- reinforced by archaeological evidence and cant and fundamental common denominator numerous ancient documents. And again, in that makesitinclusiveofPalestinianidentity, modern times as the capital of the State of particularly in view of the shared historic Israel. It has never served as an Arab capital socialandpoliticaldevelopmentofthepeople for the simple reason that there has never on both sides of the Jordan... The Jordan been a PalestinianArab state. government, in view of the historical and Eli E. Hertz is the founder of Myths and political relationship with the West Bank... Facts, www.mythsandfacts.org. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 45 Press Awards HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (1SN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc., 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 email: news@orlandoheritage.com Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor News Editor Gene Starn Kim Fischer Christine DeSouza Society Editor Office Manager Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Kim Fischer Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bornstein Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman * Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore By Stephen M. Flatow JNS.org For the past 15 years, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has been promoting the so-called "Saudi Initiative," a plan he says proves that Saudi Arabia sin- cerely wants peace with Israel. But this week, a senior Palestinian leader revealed that at the very moment the Saudis were launching that plan, they were financing a major wave of terrorism against Israel. It's time for Friedman to publicly admit he was wrong and apologize for the harm he caused to Israel. It all started Feb. 6, 2002, when Fried- man devoted his New York Times column to a memo that he wanted President George W. Bush to send to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and other Arab leaders. The memo would urge the Arabs to recognize Israel in exchange for an Israeli retreat to the pre- 1967 armistice lines (including re-dividing Jerusalem). Friedman then flew to Saudi Arabia, where he was granted a rare interview with Crown Prince Abdullah. And lo and behold, Abdullah proceeded to unveil a"Saudi peace plan" identical to what Friedman had been pushing. Friedman's Feb. 17, 2002 column then became the vehicle for announcing the Saudi plan. Quite an unusual channel for an international diplomatic announcement! The New York Times proceeded to pump up the Saudi proposal in its news columns. MSNBC noted, "What newspaper's manage- ment can resist following up on a plan for Middle East peace that appeared to grow directly out of its own pages?" The plan was based on the premise that the Saudis had given-up their decades-old hatred of Israel and denial of Israel's to exist, and nowwere sincerely interested in living in peace with Israel. That's what Friedman tried to get the U.S. government, and American Jews, to believe. Friedman had become, in effect, Riyadh's most important Western spokesperson. And the timing could not have been better--the Saudis' image in the U.S. had been profoundly tarred by the prominence of Saudi nationals (16 of the 19 hijackers) in the 9/11 attacks. So pretending to want peace with Israel could help distract from that, Friedman's efforts on behalf of the Saudis, however, were undermined by a Palestinian terrorist attack took place just as his PR effort was kicking into high gear. A suicide bomber struck at a Passover seder in the Park Hotel in Netanya. Twenty-seven people were murdered and 140 were wounded. It was the most notorious attack of the second Palestin- ian intifada, which lasted from 2000-2003. And now it turns out that the second intifada terrorism was financed by the "mod- erate," "peace-seeking," "anti-terrorist" government of Saudi Arabia. Nabil Shaath, the former foreign minis- ter and longtime chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, made this stunning revelation in an interview last month with ON TV. Shaath described how, in the autumn of 2000, Crown Prince Abdullah summoned him to Riyadh, sending a private jet to Jordan to pick him up. "So I went to his palace," Shaath recalled. Abdullah said, "You are in the midst of an intifada. It may last two or three years. They will freeze all your assets. How will you con- tinue this intifada? It takes money." Shaath continued, "So I named the largest figure I could think of: $1 billion. I said that $1 billion could keep us going for two or three years. 'It's on me; he said...'I will pay half and will collect the other half'...That's what he did. That was the money that enabled us to survive in the three years of the intifada." (Translation courtesy of the Middle East Media Research Institute.) Thanks for your honesty, Mr. Shaath. Now we know that while Thomas Friedman and the New York Times were promoting the Saudi peace plan, the Saudis were financing second intifada attacks such as the Passover massacre: They were never interested in peace. Their checkbooks expressed their true feelings about Jews and Israel. An apology from their PR agent, Friedman, is long overdue. Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father ofAlisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.