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Jewish World Review Nov. 28, 2001 /13 Kislev 5762

Don Feder

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Powell is diplomacy's Dr. Kevorkian -- SAUDI Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal pronounced himself "very much encouraged" by Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech on Israel and the Palestinians.

It's telling that Powell's prescription has elicited squeals of delight from the medieval monarchy that bankrolled Afghanistan's Taliban and has long labored for Israel's extinction.

Other actions by the administration provided a stark contrast to Powell's muddleheadedness. Declaring, "The front against terrorism is not just in Afghanistan," President George W. Bush pledged $100 million in military aid to help Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo fight Moslem insurgents in Mindanao.

When he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bush acknowledged that the Chechen forces fighting Russian troops included terrorists. "Russia has a strong partner in the fight against terrorism," the president promised.

Still, it would seem that who is a terrorist depends not on any objective criteria but on how much America needs the nation under attack at any point in time.

Are savages who assassinate a cabinet minister, lynch soldiers, murder children and detonate nail-packed bombs in pizzerias terrorists? Not if the administration endorses their national aspirations to placate oil-rich allies.

In his speech at the University of Louisville, Powell shared his "vision" of Israelis and Palestinians both secure in their own states, living side by side in peace. And the carnivores shall lie down with the filet mignon.

But the Palestinian leadership "must make a 100 percent effort to end the violence," Powell cautioned. Compared to what -- the 89 percent, 50 percent or zero percent effort they've made to date?

The secretary said Palestinians must understand that a year of bloodshed has taken a terrible toll on Israelis. Arafat and his henchmen have to live up to their commitments or "be held accountable." And when was the last time Powell proposed any concrete action to hold them accountable?

To show his evenhandedness, Powell called for an end to the Israeli "occupation" and the creation of a "viable Palestinian state." Moreover, there must be a "just solution that is both fair and realistic" to the problem of Palestinian refugees.

How can a nation occupy its own territory? (The West Bank and Gaza have never been formally ceded, and Israel retains the right of hot pursuit under Oslo.) After it creates a "viable" Palestine on its new borders, how many fifth columnists is Israel expected to accept within its borders?

On Sept. 20, Bush told Congress: "We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe havens to terrorists. ... Any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." Except the Palestinians.

Arafat doesn't merely shelter terrorists, he makes Osama bin Laden look like the Tooth Fairy. The Fatah and Tanzim militias, directly under his control, are responsible for at least half of the acts of terrorism against Israel in the past year.

Arafat also operates a Motel 6 (he always leaves a light on) for Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Under Western arm-twisting, he promised to ban the PFLP after its murder of an Israeli cabinet minister. Powell duly praised him for "responding to the challenge."

But it was more disinformation from a master of deceit.

On Nov. 19, Arafat's official website explained, "To avoid any damage to the home front, President Arafat has refused a request by the U.S., Russia, the European Union and the U.N. to outlaw PFLP." If it were anyone else, that would constitute supporting, harboring and providing safe havens.

Like Powell, I too have a vision -- of a Palestinian state that gives Iraqi tanks access to the West Bank, of Israel shorn of its natural defenses, of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in a rump Jewish state ready to rise at Arafat's call. Admittedly, it is a vision from hell. It's also considerably more realistic than Colin Powell's utopian daydream.

Two weeks before the secretary's speech, Attorney General John Ashcroft ordered federal agents to proceed against Oregon physicians who take part in assisted suicides. What's the penalty for assisting in the suicide of an entire people?

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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© 2001, Creators Syndicate