- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 4, 2002

Readers react to conflict in the Middle East

The Bush administration must end its attempts at appeasement and compromise and allow Israel to destroy Yasser Arafat and all other Palestinian terrorist groups.

President Bush's too-often repeated calls for a ceasefire in response to Palestinian terrorist attacks, such as the recent slaughter of 21 civilians at a Sabbath dinner, are useless against groups who have demonstrated time and again that their only language is empty promises and suicide bombings.

American eagerness for "negotiations" with murderers broadcasts to the world that we are moral cowards. If the enemies of freedom attacking Israel have no reason to believe that the United States has broken with its paper-tiger past, we will be their next target.

Israel is now our front line of defense against terrorism. If we want to stop the next September 11 before it begins, the Bush administration must send a new message to the Arafats, bin Ladens and Husseins of the world by showing uncompromising moral support for Israel's right to freedom and self-defense and by demanding justice for Mr. Arafat. We should not have a double standard. Bin Laden and Mr. Arafat are the same, and justice requires they be treated the same.

America must make war, not peace, in its war against terrorism.


Executive director

Ayn Rand Institute

Marina del Rey, Calif.

President Bush is risking his credibility when he asks Americans to believe that Yasser Arafat is not a terrorist or that the Palestinian Authority not to be confused with the Palestinian people themselves is not a terrorist group.

The Palestinian Authority deserves considerably more punishment than the Israelis are doling out. Undoubtedly, both sides have grievances in the region any student of history can see that. Before those grievances can be addressed, however, the terror must stop. The terrorist organization, which has seized a just cause and is using it to further terrorist aims, must be rooted out.

The solution is to remove Mr. Arafat and his "bodyguards" quickly and by force, if necessary just as we are prepared to remove Saddam Hussein. These men lead terrorist regimes that fuel global hatred and commit mass murder.

We owe no apologies to them or their ilk in the Muslim world. Their brand of Islamic fanaticism, which invokes God in carrying out acts of coldblooded murder against civilian populations, is nothing short of blasphemy against the merciful Allah they obviously have abandoned and little understand.

The president must cut the evasive and harmful diplomatic doublespeak. Americans cheered when he stood in the rubble of the World Trade Center and proclaimed, " And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon" What the rest of the world is hearing, and what we are all hearing, is retreat, equivocation and self-doubt.

I submit that this will not win friends; it will, however, lose a few we can ill afford to lose at this critical juncture in our history.


Dorchester, Mass.

The twin assessments of Middle Eastern politics by Helle Dale and your editorial staff were right on target ("Let the markets rule," April 3; "Just say no to Arafat," April 3). In addition to your point about the 1947 partition plan, however, there are a few other relevant facts that we should remember.

On April 25, 1920, Britain received the mandate for Palestine after the Paris Peace Conference. Its borders included all of modern-day Jordan as well as Israel. In 1921, Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill convened the Cairo Conference, at which he orchestrated the separation of all of Palestine east of the Jordan River. The following year, the purely Arab Emirate of Transjordan was born on 80 percent of the original Palestinian Mandate a gift to Emir Abdullah and Britain's Hashemite allies in World War I. What is being fought over today is, thus, the birth of the Arabs' second state in Palestine, not their first. The other Hashemite Arab prince, Feisal, wound up being given lands promised to the Kurds in Mesopotamia. Arab Iraq was created instead. Indeed, of the 22 states Arabs now call their own, most were conquered and forcibly arabized from non-Arab peoples such as Berbers (whose language and culture remain outlawed), Kurds (still under the threat of genocide), and black Africans (who were killed in the millions on behalf of the Arab nation in the Sudan and elsewhere).

Add to all of this the fact that one-half of Israel's Jews were refugees themselves from Arab and Muslim lands the other side of the refugee coin nobody ever talks about and, suddenly, a completely different perspective becomes apparent.

After occupying such moral "high ground," Arabs now expect a reborn Israel to consent to national suicide so that their 23rd state can be born.

All of these facts must be taken into account when judging the current conflict.


Ormond Beach, Fla.

Since Israel's creation after World War II, the Jewish state has come under fire on numerous occasions, both literally and figuratively. Yet a number of historical facts seem to evade attention, either because the general public is content to be spoon-fed what the media want it to hear or because the public is unaware that there is more to know and understand about the region.

Israel has never started a conflict. To its credit, however, it also has never lost a conflict. One of the most important wars in Israel's history was the 1967 Six Day War, when it was attacked by several of its Arab neighbors. In the fighting that ensued, Israel not only repelled the attackers, but also nearly doubled its land mass.

When the War of 1812 between the United States and England (which had attacked us first) ended, no one ever considered handing back the original 13 Colonies. During the Mexican War, when we defeated Mexico, no one ever considered giving Texas to the Mexicans.

Why, then, does the United States recommend that Israel return lands it won after defeating nations that attacked it first? Why does no one address this double standard?

On September 11, terrorists intent on doing as much damage to the American way of life as they possibly could attacked the United States. For about the past 1½ years, suicide bombers backed by Islamic fundamentalists have been carrying out similar attacks against targets in Israel. However, while American forces obliterate Taliban and al Qaeda forces and dare the international community to tell us to stop, we inform Israel that it should cease its actions against the Palestinians in favor of a more peaceful resolution.

Throughout human history, peace has been accomplished only after one side or the other in a conflict has been defeated in battle. Americans are trying to understand what is going on in the Middle East. However, they must seek to understand better. They must learn the history, read about the players and never underestimate the power religious fundamentalism has in promoting radicalism.


West Warwick, R.I.

Cal Thomas is on the mark in his April 3 Commentary column, "The Middle East fantasyland," when he states:

"Prime Minister [Ariel] Sharon says his goal is the destruction of the terror infrastructure. The only question is whether the Bush administration will allow him to do to the [Palestine Liberation Organization] what the United States is trying to do to terrorists in other parts of the world."

May President Bush continue to show patience and resolve. He must avoid sticking his nose into this intractable feud, which both Mr. Sharon and Yasser Arafat seem incapable of resolving peacefully.

The United States should continue to focus on the path toward peace, while condemning suicide bombings and those who fund and encourage them, such as Mr. Arafat and Saddam Hussein. In the long term, a solution to the conflict will come only when there are leaders who actually want peace for their people.

Peace cannot be forced by a third party upon those who do not want it.

There are many ways we can support our ally Israel. However, we must make it clear that peace with the Palestinians, and a home state for Palestine, must be its goal.


Pasadena, Md.

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