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Israeli voters made a tragic mistake this week — the kind of epic, colossal, historic blunder Americans made in 1992 and 1996.

The Jewish state rejected the policies Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in favor of more promises of peace from Ehud Barak, the latest Labor Party leader in the mold of doves such as Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin.

In other words, Israelis bought into the lie that Netanyahu was too tough, too inflexible, too rigid in his dealings with the countless enemies of the Jewish state.

No. 1 on Barak’s agenda, therefore, is peace with the Arabs. That means more land concessions, more treaties, more false hope.

Barak wasted no time getting down to the business of appeasement. He spoke with Yasser Arafat by phone yesterday, agreeing to more peace talks.

As an Arab-American with some first-hand knowledge of Middle East politics, let me offer some free advice to Barak: Arafat and his minions will never accept a final and just peace that doesn’t include carving up Jerusalem, the historic capital of Israel, and strategic lands the Jews need to ensure their own safety and security. More land-for-peace negotiations are a long-term prescription for disaster for Israel.

But I doubt Barak is listening to me or any other sensible observers. He’s more likely listening to James Carville and President Clinton’s other media and political gurus who helped engineer his victory this week. That’s right. Clinton believed it was so critical to his own globalist agenda that he dispatched his top political strategists to the Middle East to counsel Barak.

And what does Bill Clinton want and expect from Barak? Well, let’s think about that. Wasn’t it Hillary Clinton who called for the creation of a Palestinian state? Hasn’t the Clinton administration consistently pressured Jerusalem to compromise its own security needs for the sake of peace? Wasn’t it Bill Clinton who even offered to send U.S. peacekeeping troops to patrol the Golan Heights?

Indeed, the quagmire in the Balkans is little more than a dress rehearsal for the big show in the Middle East. Clinton believes there is no conflict in the world that cannot be resolved by dropping some bombs and by deploying a few peacekeeping troops.

Of course, Barak, a soldier himself, gave little hint of what was to come in his victory speech.

“We will reach peace not from weakness but from strength and a feeling of security — not a peace which comes at the expense of security, but a peace which will bring security.”

He set out four conditions: no negotiations on Jerusalem, whose eastern half the Palestinians want to have as their capital; no return to the borders of Israel before the 1967 Six-Day War; the majority of Jewish settlers on the West Bank and Gaza Strip to remain under Israeli sovereignty; and a ban on the Palestinians having any army in their future state.

Don’t believe any of it. Would Bill Clinton have invested so much politically in Barak if that kind of rhetoric truly reflected his vision?

The truth is that the Arab-Israeli conflict cannot and will not be resolved through redrawing maps any more than the problems in the Balkans will be settled that way.

Remember, prior to 1967, the Arabs controlled half of Jerusalem, and all of the territory they now claim to covet — the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria on the west bank of the Jordan. They could have created a Palestinian state had they so desired. It never came up. Instead, they launched the second of three major Arab-Israeli wars and lost that land and the Sinai and Gaza, which have since been returned to Arab control.

The so-called “Palestinian problem” is little more than a manufactured issue for the Arab states — a problem Arab leaders have little incentive to solve and every incentive to enflame

I wish Barak well. I hope he lives up to his own post-election promises. But if he does, he had better watch out, because Bill Clinton is an undependable friend and an unpredictable enemy.

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