- The Washington Times - Monday, July 11, 2005

Suddenly, the world is seized with the danger of ignoring the Islamofascists in our midst. Lengthy Page One articles in Sunday’s New York Times and The Washington Post describe how British authorities allowed this virulent ideology-masquerading-as-a-religion to get established and metastasize into a veritable “Londonistan” in the years preceding last week’s murderous attacks on the host community.

The complacency shattered by the four bombs in London has been replaced with hard questions about the threat posed to other West societies. The French, Dutch, Germans and Italians are suddenly seized with the prospect their own Londonistans are festering Islamist breeding grounds, sores that can at any time subject transportation and other soft targets in these democracies to the sort of bloodletting seen over the last 15 months in Spain and Britain.

Here in America, political correctness still compels the conversation to focus mostly on the vulnerabilities of our infrastructure and what is or is not being done to mitigate them. But there is a growing appreciation post-London that we can no longer ignore the fact Islamofascists are working hard here too, seeking to dominate their co-religionists as the prerequisite for forcing the rest of us to submit to a new, global Caliphate under the unforgiving religious law of Shari’a.

The one place we apparently are indifferent to the rising power of the Islamists is in the would-be state of “Palestine.” There, establishment of an Islamofascist Gazastan is not just being tolerated by the West. It is enabled by the Israeli government, the G-8 major industrial nations and the Bush administration.

To be sure, the government of Ariel Sharon (determined to unburden itself next month of Palestinian populations in Gaza and parts of the West Bank), the leaders of eight industrial nations (who last week pledged $3 billion for Palestine) and President Bush (who has been a steadfast supporter of Israel and opponent of terror) have something different in mind. They envision a democratic Palestinian state co-existing peaceably side-by-side with Israel.

Unfortunately, this prospect is no likelier at the moment than was that of an Islamofascist Londonistan living side-by-side in peace with its non-Islamist neighbors. If anything, it is less likely since the West’s behavior can only be seen as a reward for Palestinian terror. Alan Dershowitz put it well in a July 8 posting on FrontPageMagazine.com’s Web site:

“The Palestinian Authority, and its leaders, are the godfathers of international terrorism. They developed airplane hijacking into a high art. They invented the high-profile murder of athletes and other prominent public figures. Were it not for their employment of terrorism, the Palestinian cause would today be regarded as the fifth-rate human rights issue that it rightfully is. But because the Palestinian leadership has always used terrorism (from the 1920s on) as the tactic of first resort, their cause has received worldwide recognition.”

Now, that recognition will be extended to a Palestinian terrorist state. Such will be its character whether Islamofascist ally Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority’s recently elected president, somehow manages to hold onto power or, as seems likelier, his ruling clique is soon replaced by the Islamists of Hamas. (Mr. Abbas celebrated the London bombings in Damascus, where he was the guest Thursday night at a festive meal hosted by Syrian dictator Bashir Assad, along with Hamas’ Khaled Mashal, Islamic Jihad’s Ramadan Abdullah Shallah and Ahmed Jibril, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, all designated as terrorist organizations by Britain and the United States.)

Emergence of a new Arab state-sponsor of terror flush with Western cash and enjoying the protection of the international community will, of course, be a mortal threat to Israel. Having enhanced the stature of terrorists determined to destroy the Jewish State, Israelis will find the Islamists making a redoubled effort to do just that from their new safe havens.

The existential threat to Israel is made all the greater by the deep domestic divisions now evident over Mr. Sharon’s so-called “disengagement” plan. There is serious talk civil war may ensue over that initiative, now opposed by a majority of Israelis. Such a conflict is fueled partly by secular Jews who seek to destroy their religious countrymen’s political power.

Should anything approaching a civil war break out, Israel’s Arab enemies must be expected to exploit what their best chance ever to realize their unrequited ambition to “drive all the Jews into the sea”especially if, as now proposed, Israel were to allow Egyptian and Jordanian/Palestinian armies to return to Gaza and the West Bank, respectively.

Gazastan will be a terrible menace for the United States, too. Such an Islamofascist state will not only threaten the very existence of Israel, our closest, democratic ally in the Middle East. Given Palestinians’ past treachery toward other Arabs, the new state should be expected to undermine the Bush strategy of bringing to power moderates elsewhere in the region.

Creation of a new Palestinian safe haven for terrorist recruitment, training and planning also will endanger Americans and their interests in Iraq, Europe, Asia and here at home. The fact such terrorists will benefit from the counterterrorist training, funding and arms we are giving the Palestinian Authority will only exacerbate this threat.

For states as for individuals, the rule should be friends don’t let friends commit suicide. It’s not too late for the U.S. to discourage Israel from doing just that by abandoning Gaza and parts of the West Bank under present circumstances. And the lessons of Londonistan make it clear we must.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and a columnist for The Washington Times.

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