Suzanne Fields

Those latest suicide bombers in Israel no doubt expect to get an extra virgin or two in Islamist paradise. They not only killed Jews, but accomplished their murderous deed draped in white prayer shawls and skullcaps, impersonating orthodox Jews.

No greater hate hath he who dresses in the sacred clothes of his enemy.

The latest terrorism provoked Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to cancel his trip to Washington. He had planned to discuss with George W. Bush his reservations about the famous "road map," which can more accurately be described as a guide to a dead end. It might have worked when an ass was the dominant mode of travel in the Middle East, but not today, when a suicide bomber boards a bus to take him (with a transfer) to paradise.

The road map creates a moral equivalency between Israelis and Palestinians, requiring simultaneous concessions. Israel can't afford to make concessions until the Palestinians quit killing Jews. You don't have to be Jewish to see the rocks, ditches and detours that slow the trip to peace. Christian conservatives and Jews in this country have had an uneven relationship, historically, but they're together on this one.

Gary Bauer, the chairman of the advocacy group American Values, sent a letter the other day to the president signed by more than 20 fellow Christians arguing that the road map in its present form leads to disaster and urged the Bush administration to return to the drawing board. The letter is particularly significant because it reflects the convictions of the president's large Christian conservative constituency, who aren't afraid to put their clout behind those convictions.

The road map does not take into account the lies fed to Palestinians, beginning with the children, that sound much like Nazi propaganda in Germany in the 1930s. Such lies invariably nurture the perverse mentality of a suicide bomber. Nor does it do anything to diminish the myth that Palestinians must get the "right of return" to the land that is now Israel.

Anyone who can count knows that if the millions of Palestinian refugees were to return to Israel proper, Israel would no longer be a Jewish state. Although many of the houses the refugees left behind in 1948 no longer exist, older residents in the camps brandish their door keys as totems and tell their children that they will live - or die - trying to unlock the doors. It's a vain hope, but a powerful one, feeding anger and hatred in the young.

The Palestinian problem is used by Arab countries as a dagger (and a bomb) aimed at Israel's heart, which the road map ignores. By refusing to admit Israel's right to exist, Arab nations treat Israel as a pariah nation, with a lot of help from their friends at the United Nations.

Suzanne Fields

Suzanne Fields is currently working on a book that will revisit John Milton's 'Paradise Lost.'

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