In an interview last week, the questioner asked me, “What do you do about the hardliners on both sides who don’t want peace?” Perhaps without realizing it, the person—who was by no means an apologist for Palestinian terrorists—equated the terrorists who intentionally murder civilians and the Israelis who do not wish to unilaterally lay down their arms while those terrorists continue to slaughter innocents.
The coverage of the “violence” that followed the President’s Mideast trip has largely read like the equivalent of a chess match. Hamas refuses to halt suicide bombs. Israel targets a top Hamas leader. Suicide bombing in Jerusalem kills 16. Israel “retaliates” with a strike in Gaza. What’s at work is probably not anti-Semitism, but a misguided attempt at objectivity. But reporting “facts” in a moral vacuum is not objectivity; it is, in fact, just the opposite. Absent proper context, the situation can seem as if it is two equally justifiable sides making moves and countermoves, nothing more.
Though Mahmoud Abbas, the figurehead leader of the Palestinian Authority, called Israel’s attempted killing of Hamas terrorist mastermind Abdel Aziz Rantisi a “terrorist” attack, Israel’s actions can in no way be likened to those committed by people whose raison d’etre is the killing of innocent Jews. It can be argued that Israel has not always made the smartest political moves and that it even uses too much force on occasion, but its goal is not the destruction of the Palestinian people. Yet they face an enemy who will not stop until the Jews are driven into the sea.
The cause of Palestinian statehood is merely fig leaf cover for Islamic fundamentalist terrorists with an unquenchable thirst for Jewish blood. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon understands this, which is why he has lined up behind the fundamentally flawed “roadmap”—the Palestinian terrorist organizations will torpedo the peace plan regardless of what Israel does. And at least so far, Palestinian figurehead Mahmoud Abbas is content to let them do so, though the real reason may be that with the security forces still under Arafat’s thumb, Abbas has no ability to forcibly combat the likes of Hamas and the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. But since Sharon does not want to allow the continued murder of innocent Israelis, his military forces are at least attempting to do what Abbas will not—or cannot—do.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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