Most of us accept that that the attacks of Sept. 11th were acts of war. But suppose the nation had suffered 130 deadly terrorist attacks in the last nine months. Suppose some attacks targeted groups of children--even singling out groups of mothers with baby carriages. Suppose one out of every 20,000 citizens had been killed by terrorists in the last nine months--five times the rate from the World Trade Center attacks alone. Suppose the police of neighboring governments launched some of the attacks. Suppose several foreign governments announced payouts to encourage more attacks.
The nation would be at war, right?
Now suppose the nation is Israel. Suddenly a different standard holds. For some strange reason, Israel is expected to negotiate with an entity that declares on the World Wide Web that Israel should cease to exist--and uses nail-packed bombs to back up its words.
Israel has suffered all of the above, with 37 deadly attacks in the month of March alone. Saddam Hussein has offered $25,000 a head to Palestinian parents who sacrifice children as suicide bombers against Israelis. The Saudis held a telethon to raise more money. Unbelievably, Palestinians are actually accepting the offer.
Former Israeli prime minister Golda Mier spoke the truth when she said "We will not have peace as long as they hate us more than they love their children."
From Arafat down, many Palestinians have expressed that they do not want compromise. In this environment, the current peace process was doomed long ago.
Arafat and the Palestinian Authority are supporting terrorism more actively than even the Taliban did. Any one who expects Israel to respond to this violence by negotiating is sanctioning these suicide bombings as a legitimate political tool.
The Palestinians have suffered, but this does not exempt them from conventional standards of civilized behavior. It also does not exempt the Arab nations who have forced the Palestinians into poverty and used them as pawns against Israel.
We must grant Israel the dignity to defend its women and children from enemies foreign and domestic, we must reject the notion of attaining peace from negotiations with the current illegitimate leader of Palestine, and we must give up the delusion that the U.S. can fix the problem. Peace will only happen if the Palestinian people recognize that peace is in their best interests.
© 2002, 2003 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 8 March 2003.
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