This week marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of the Middle East peace process by a hard-lined disciple of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As the violence escalates in Israel and occupied Palestine, it's easy to trace it back to Netanyahu's rise as Israel's extremist, violent and pro-conflict leader.
But Netanyahu is not alone. Jordan's King Abdullah II has proven to be a cowardly failure when it comes to leadership, a king who cowers under threats that don't even have to be said from Israel and from his financier, the United States. Without the spineless leadership of King Abdullah, Netanyahu could not exist.
On Nov. 4, 1995, a future of peace and coexistence was violently destroyed by Yigal Amir, an extremist disciple of Netanyahu and a member of his political movement.
Amir, an Israeli Jew, assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, a brutal Israeli military general who set aside his extremist policies of land expansion and racism against non-Jews to reach across the blood-filled divide that his nation was partially responsible for creating, and shook the hand of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, the only Arab leader to genuinely offer Israel peace in exchange for a final statehood for the Palestinians.
Netanyahu fueled Amir's terrorism with hate-filled speeches at rallies where "coffins for Rabin" were carried and Rabin was compared to a "Nazi ruler" by Netanyahu's supporters. He did nothing to stop the incendiary rhetoric and within months succeeded the murdered peacemaker.
Arafat's contemporaries and successors have agreed to peace, but not as a means of ending the conflict, but to appease their benefactors. For Arab dictatorships like Egypt and Jordan, the motivation to end their formal conflict with Israel was billions in financial support from the United States, Israel's protector.
On its face, you can call that a government bribe. The peace accords between Israel and the two cowardly Arab nations, Egypt and Jordan, did nothing to bring peace to the region. It only solidified Israel's extremist goals and set the region on a course of continued violence.
Rabin was the only one who agreed to recognize the historic sacrifices of the Palestinian people, Christians and Muslims who lost their lands and homes when Israel was formed. No Egyptians or Jordanians lost lands and homes, only Palestinians.
Rabin's rise redefined the Egyptian and Jordanian concessions into agreements that would support regional peace. But when Rabin was murdered, instigated by Netanyahu's inciting rhetoric of hatred, conflict and racism, the peace accords between Israel and Egypt and Jordan were reduced to farcical submissions of Arab justice to Israel arrogance and racial superiority.
Israel is a "Jewish state" that applies a double standard of citizenship distinguishing between Jews and non-Jews. It was one Arafat would have accepted had Israel fulfilled its promises made in the Oslo Peace accords and the Camp David Accords.
Netanyahu's first act was to reverse the promises made in the Declaration of Principles of Peace signed by Rabin and Arafat to begin the process of achieving peace and Palestinian independence by 1999.
Today, Netanyahu reigns over a government of violent evil. His policies are emboldened by the cowardly tyrants in Cairo and Amman, dictators who use secret police to brutalize, detain, jail and even kill political dissidents who challenge their authoritarian rule.
Jordan is the embodiment of the Big Brother state envisioned by George Orwell, but it is a Big Brother who wears a Western smile along with his Western attire and Western policies.
Right across the Jordan River, Netanyahu and his administration are planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the Holiest Sites in Islam. Although Netanyahu denies any such plans, his denial is the modus operandi of his government deceit.
The truth was spilled by his handpicked deputy, Tzipi Hotovely, who this week said, "It is my dream to see the Israeli flag flying there" over the al-Aqsa Mosque.
The statement quickly was hushed up by Netanyahu who feared not the truth, but rather undermining his minions in Jordan and Egypt and the rest of the Arab world, which is ravaged by an incendiary religious fanaticism that grew out of Western terrorism over the past century.
ISIS may be the vehicle of radial Islamic terrorists, but it is the child of Western policies.
We know Hotovely is telling the truth when she speaks of one day cleansing the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Haram al Ash Sharif of Muslims (and Christian Arabs, by the way) because her statement is in line with Netanyahu's policies to talk "peace" but to implement occupation.
Under Netanyahu's reign and the reign of his allies, including the hated terrorist Ariel Sharon, Israel doubled the size of the settlements in the lands designated under the Rabin-Arafat peace accords for freedom.
How do you claim to support peace from one side of your mouth while declaring from the other that the land needed for peace will be denied to Christians and Muslims and used only for the expansion of the illegal Jewish-only settlements, settlements that harbor armed terrorists who teach their children to hate non-Jews in their schools?
Twenty years after his assassination, we look back on the beauty of what could have been, and instead see the ugly hateful face of escalating violent conflict and rising extremist hate driven by Netanyahu.
Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian American columnist managing editor of The Arab Daily News at www.TheArabDailyNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @RayHanania. To find out more about Ray Hanania and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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