|MAY 2004 - Issue #167||PUBLISHED BY AMERICANS FOR A SAFE ISRAEL|
As the United States has sought to regain control over Iraq, it has experienced what have become to Israel the familiar Arab "tricks of the trade." There are the multitude of lies -- asked about the stream of portrayals of "atrocities" by American troops on Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, the American military spokesman said bluntly "Change the channel." There is the deliberate use of women and children as human shields, the use of mosques as weapons depots and platforms for attacks, exploitation of ambulances to move weapons, the constant cries of "collective punishment," forcing American spokesmen in Iraq to spend most of their time denying false charges.
When Israel has endured such manipulation, the U.S. all too often has been ready to believe the lies. To take only one famous example, in 1980 then Secretary of State Shultz referred to a photograph of an Arab child without limbs as the "symbol" of Israel's war in Lebanon. By the time it was proven that the child was a victim of disease, not war, the damage had been done.
There are other parallels-in-the-making between the U.S. and Israel. There is the danger that the U.S. will fall into the trap into which Israel fell -- treating the Iraqi insurgency as a "limited conflict" requiring political solutions. Any "compromise" that leaves armed militias in place means defeat-to-come.
Israel and the U.S. are engaged in a war against the same enemy and yet both are equally reluctant to speak its name, which is not simply terror, but Islam. Repeating, as President Bush does, that Islam is a religion of peace or that "none of these acts is the work of a religion" does not make it so. Proclaiming that it is "racist" or arrogant of us to think that Arabs want democracy any less than we do may put the administration on the moral high ground, but nothing we see in the Arab world bears out that belief. As student of Islam Mordechai Nisan points out in the Jerusalem Post (On-line, April 12) "Islam's conceptual lexicon and emotional code are radically different from that conventionally understood and practiced in the West."
Most serious of all, both Israel and the United States cling to failed policies. While it is hard to blame President Bush for Sharon's uprooting Gaza's Jewish communities in the face of terror, Sharon made it easier for President Bush, who clearly means well by Israel, to avoid confronting the reality that his "vision" of a peaceful democratic Arab state of Palestine has as much chance of realization as a "vision" of a Taliban state devoted to separation of religion and state and equality of men and women.
Nonetheless, the President and his advisors have been foolish to ignore the obvious perils of Sharon's course. Israeli retreat from Gaza will leave that territory in the hands of whichever terror group or terror alliance -- Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad -- emerges triumphant. Policy analyst Rand Fishbein points out President Bush's cooperation in this plan puts him at odds with the very anti-terrorism statutes he is sworn to uphold. All three terror outfits, notes Fishbein, "are included on the U.S. State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations. This means that no U.S. citizen, business or agency of government may engage in any activity which directly or indirectly supports or sustains a relationship with these organizations." In supporting Sharon, the President "becomes the necessary and essential catalyst that allows terrorist forces to seize control of Gaza." As Fishbein notes, how does the President explain "why it was important to destroy the terrorist infrastructure in Afghanistan and Iraq while at the same time he is permitting it to flourish in Gaza."
Both Israel and the United States should be fighting to win, not pursuing Sharon's strategy of preemptive defeat.
Herbert Zweibon is chairman of Americans For a Safe Israel.
IN THIS ISSUE:
The Mirror of Fallujah
by Victor Davis Hanson ..3 20 Reasons Why Sharon's Plan is a Disaster
by Steven Plaut ...5
The Mirror of Fallujah by Victor Davis Hanson ..3
20 Reasons Why Sharon's Plan is a Disaster by Steven Plaut ...5
May 2004 - 1 - Outpost