President Bush was quick to praise Yasser Arafat’s pledges of reforms and elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council.

My guess is that the administration didn’t actually read a translation of Arafat’s long-winded speech.

Yes, Arafat took “full responsibility” for any mistakes he has made.

Yes, he called for political reforms by his Palestinian Authority.

Yes, he pledged to hold new elections.

Yes, he even held out the possibility of establishing peace with Israel.

But here’s the rest of the story. Let me explain why all that is meaningless in the context of Arafat’s address.

The “peace” Arafat discussed with his people was only discussed as a “strategic option.” Let me explain what he means about “peace” with Israel and what he has always meant when he uses this term.

Arafat cited as his model for that “peace” – as he has so often throughout his bloody career – the treaty signed by Muhammad with the Quraish tribe in Mecca in the 7th century at Hudaybiyah.

“Let us remember the Hudaybiyah Conciliation Accord out of our concern for the national and pan-international solidarity with your people and your cause,” Arafat told the group May 15.

Perhaps you’ve never heard of Hudaybiyah. But if you don’t understand Arafat’s reference to it, you cannot grasp the Islamic principle he is promoting in his most recent double-talk.

Hudaybiyah is a small oasis between Mecca and Medina where Muhammad fought a battle in the early years of Islam. When he saw he was fighting a losing battle, Muhammad signed a strategic 10-year peace agreement with the Quraish tribe who lived in Mecca. Two years later, when his forces were stronger and the Meccans were living securely and off their guard, Muhammad marched into the city and captured it.

There is a principle in Islam known as Takiya, the right to fake peace when you are weak for the purposes of defeating your enemy when you are stronger.

This is the only principle at work in Arafat’s notions of “peace.” It has always been the only principle at work in his notions of “peace.”

Arafat has cited Hudaybiyah over and over again as the model for his special brand of false peace.

On April 18, 1998, during an interview on Egyptian television, Arafat was asked about his participation in the Oslo Accords – the very basis of all negotiations between Israelis and Arafat since 1993. He cited Hudaybiyah.

Shortly after the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, Arafat gave a speech in English in South Africa. He cited Hudaybiyah. You can hear this speech for yourself in a video documentary sold exclusively through WorldNetDaily’s online store.

This is the sick, twisted Arabic joke that the Western world simply doesn’t get.

Arafat laid it out clearly May 15 for anyone who wanted to bother translating his Arabic: “The Palestinian public opinion and the Arab public opinion have reached the conclusion that these operations (terrorism) do not serve our goals, and only incites numerous large sectors of the international community against the United States. … These operations are causing a controversy. I call on your respected council to talk over this issue, which is now controversial in our Palestinian and Arab arenas.”

And here’s the punch line: “Let us remember the truce of al-Hudaybiyah.”

“What we want is true freedom and full independence in the independent state of Palestine, with holy Jerusalem as its capital, whether they like it or not,” he laughed. “Those who do not like it, they can go and drink from the Dead Sea.”

Some from the council corrected Arafat: “From the Gaza Sea.”

“No, it is more bitter in the Dead Sea,” he joked.

After 40 years of Arafat, you would think the world would catch on to his antics. I’m sorry to say the United States is among those still being hoodwinked by his strategic deception.

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