Londoners got a taste of the reward of the deluded last week, as a series of coordinated bombings ripped through the public transit system at rush hour. While the Brits are stoic, and Mr. Bush is trying to make some international political hay, believing the fairy tale becomes more dangerous by the day.
George Bush continues to spout the by-words that have kept him in power—terrorism, Al Quaeda, War on Terror, etc.—while remaining absolutely blind to the fact that the terrorists are using the only tool they have that gets international attention. There is a quick way to solve the problem of Islamic terrorism, and one so simple that even Mr. Bush could grasp it if he tried. The solution lies in allowing the U.N. to issue an ultimatum to Israel: either create an equitable situation for the Palestinians or suffer the consequences. The United States has a part to play in the solution as well: minding its own business, which means doing nothing. Allowing the aggrieved parties to engage in whatever means necessary to resolve their conflict is not some privilege we can grant. It is the right of the peoples involved.
Because our government has tipped the balance of power for so long, Israel would likely face military conflict with many of its Arab neighbors. Not surprising, when one considers that the typical Palestinian/Israeli confrontation finds rocks and bottles pitted against automatic weapons.
Westerners have become the targets of terrorism because their governments have supported Israel unconditionally, without regard to the problems of the Palestinians. The fact that during the creation of Israel, half the population of Palestine was evicted from lands it had inhabited for generations never seems to appear on Westerners’ radar screens.
What other possible motivations could the terrorists have? They admit publicly that they carry out these attacks in solidarity and sympathy with the Palestinians. Why would they lie about their aims?
Karl Rove calls this point of view “offer[ing] therapy and understanding [to] our attackers.” Rove may be a king-maker, but he cannot have thought very deeply on the motivations of the conflict, or he would have to admit that the United States has thrown its lot in with the wrong side this time. Turning around and asking for directions are not within the repertoire of men like Rove and Bush. Being wrong is not an option, so admitting the fact is less of an option.
While Westerners can deplore their methods, honesty dictates admitting the just cause of the perpetrators. The things Islamic terrorists are demanding are only their just due. Talk about nation building and alleviating poverty rings hollow when an entire ethnic group is denied the right of self-determination with our cooperation and aid. Worse than empty, it becomes hypocritical.
Westerners have been so racked with guilt since the holocaust that they have been unwilling to see the parallels between the actions of the Nazis and those of the Israelis. While the Israelis stopped short of the despicable genocide of the Nazis, their practices have been discriminatory and unjust. Not a fitting posture for a people who were rescued from total destruction themselves only 60 years ago.
It is not the right of the United States to decide which nations may exist and which may not. The U.S. government has taken to throwing its weight around with such abandon that one wonders why we have not been the target of more terrorism. Until Israel is stripped of its sacred cow status in U.S. foreign policy, little will change, except that eventually, countries that are less afraid of the truth will cease supporting us, and we will find ourselves alone with Israel facing a hostile world. Such a prospect bodes ill for our own right of self-determination.
Ann Weaver Hart
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