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Jewish World Review April 8, 2002/ 27 Nisan, 5762

Don Feder

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Curious George myopic on Middle East | The innate sense of justice of the American people is confirmed by a new Gallup Poll showing Americans solidly on Israel's side as it fights for its survival.

In the survey, taken a week after the Jewish state launched Operation Protective Wall, only 17 percent says Palestinian holy war tactics are justified, compared to the 62 percent who deplore them.

By a margin of 44 percent to 34 percent, Americans approve of Israel's effort to demolish the terrorist infrastructure and restrain Yasser Arafat. By 52 percent to 25 percent, respondents said it's up to Palestinians to make the first move to end the current fighting.

Regrettably, President George W. Bush has (in the words of Theodore Roosevelt) the backbone of a chocolate eclair. After a brief flirtation with firmness, he's warned Israel to call off its war on suicide bombers by withdrawing from the West Bank. "Enough is enough," the president proclaims.

But that's why Israel finally launched a full-scale assault against its terrorist tormentors. The government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has had enough of Israelis being butchered at Passover seders, shopping malls and cafes.

It had enough of Arafat's sinister calls for jihad, enough of the Palestinian Authority's revolving-door jails, enough of arms smuggling, enough of Arafat's praetorian guard competing with Hamas to see who can produce the most Jewish corpses. In Arafat's compound, the Israelis found a requisition for explosives for suicide bombs.

Still, the administration pursues its pingpong Middle East policy. One day, Bush understands "why the Israeli government takes the actions they take. Their country is under attack." The next, it's: Can't we just give peace a chance?

The White House caved to pressure from Arabs who lack the courage to join us in confronting Saddam Hussein, Europeans who earned their appeasement wings in the 1930s and professional pacifists.

Bush's fellow Texan, House Republican Whip Tom Delay, isn't toeing the party line.

Speaking in Fulton, Mo., (scene of Winston Churchill's 1946 Iron Curtain speech) Delay declared: "Yasser Arafat has proven his total contempt for human life. He is completely untrustworthy. So we should support Israel as they dismantle the Palestinian leadership that foments violence and fosters hate."

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William J. Bennett, author of "Why We Fight:Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism," " reminds us that Israel is a sister democracy that shares our respect for civil liberties and religious freedom. "America's fate and Israel's fate are one and the same," Bennett writes.

Americans agree. After Sept. 11, they can relate to the anguish of Israelis. Like them, we saw innocents annihilated by those who slaughter indiscriminately. It's said the Palestinians have issues. So did Osama bin Laden's boys riding those aerial bombs that killed 3,000 of our countrymen.

The American people don't give a damn about grievances, just or otherwise -- not when innocents are reduced to fragments of flesh and bone, or buried under tons of rubble. What Israel is doing in Ramallah is perfectly analogous to our campaign in Afghanistan, where there were also civilian casualties.

Did we try to negotiate with the Taliban? Did we call on bin Laden to denounce terrorism? Did we offer al Qaeda a sovereign state in the Southwest? Then why should Israel follow the course of national suicide?

Americans have long memories.

They remember that in the Gulf War Arafat supported Saddam (who's just raised the pension he pays to the families of suicide bombers to $25,000). They recall pictures of Palestinians dancing for joy at news of the World Trade Center attack, while Israel lowered its flags.

They recollect the campaign of genocide against Christians in the Sudan, the attacks on Pakistani churches, the persecution of Christians in Saudi Arabia and the bloodshed in Nigeria over attempts to impose Islamic law on non-Moslems. Like Palestinians atrocities, all of these crimes were committed to purge the Islamic world of infidels.

The frontline in the global war on terrorism is no longer outside Kabul or Khandahar. Now it's in Nablus and Bethlehem -- different scum, same struggle. Curious that George can't see it.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.

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© 2002, Creators Syndicate