Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made a fateful decision last week when he embraced the so-called "road map" developed by four entities with long histories of hostility to his country: the United Nations, the European Union, Russian and the U.S. State Department (a.k.a. "the Quartet"). If, as seems likely, this latest diplomatic fandango winds up like all of its predecessors -- producing Israeli territorial and other concessions that jeopardize the security of the Jewish State in exchange for little more than empty promises of Arab non-aggression against it -- most of the terrible costs will be borne by the people of Israel.
Yet, Americans should be under no illusion: What might more accurately be called the "road trap" will probably have dire consequences for this country's vital interests, as well. Specifically, if a new, sovereign safe-haven for terrorism called "Palestine" emerges, the road map will prove to be at cross-purposes with practically everything the Bush Administration has been trying to do since September 11, 2001 to destroy terrorist organizations and the rogue- state regimes that sponsor them.
Such a Palestinian state would have at least three adverse repercussions for us in the United States:
1) It would be the most tangible refutation to date of the Bush Administration's claim to have terrorists on the run around the world. In fact, Yasser Arafat and his chief lieutenant and hand- picked Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, would be rewarded for the intifada they unleashed against Israel after abandoning the last phase of what is euphemistically called the Israeli- Palestinian "peace process." The message would be clear: Terrorism pays.
One of the Administration's most knowledgeable Mideast hands, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, has observed that -- contrary to conventional wisdom -- terrorism is not born of despair, but of hope; hope that murder, mayhem and "martyrdom" will produce desired political and strategic results. While the Palestinian terrorists seek, first and foremost, the destruction of the State of Israel, make no mistake: They and their comrades-in- terror around the globe will be emboldened by even piecemeal progress toward that end and encouraged to seek to take on (if not take down) others who share Israel's civilization, democratic form of government and values. That would inevitably include us.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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