Results of Operation Defensive Shield
Israel decided to send troops into areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority after Palestinians had pushed the Israeli population over the brink by their homicide bombings. The United States waged an all out war against an enemy 6,000 miles away after two attacks on one single day. When you consider that, proportionally, the murder of 20 Israelis is equivalent to about 1,000 Americans, Israel endured a September 11 virtually every week for months before acting against an enemy on its doorstep.
One of the consequences of the war has been to expose the hypocrisy of individuals and organizations around the world. State Department officials try to make artificial distinctions between the U.S. war on terror and that of Israel. Fortunately, Ariel Sharon had the courage to press ahead with his mission to uproot terrorists, as the U.S. continues to do in Afghanistan months after we were attacked.
While the focus has been placed on calls for Israel to withdraw (which has been substantially done and will be completed when the terrorists in Ramallah and Bethlehem surrender), the President’s demand that the Arab states condemn and act against terror has been completely ignored. On the contrary, the Arab states have more openly and actively incited their populations and promoted terror. Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was just welcomed for a visit with the President after his country conducted a terror telethon. Most of the September 11 terrorists were Saudis and Saudi Arabia remains one of the most radical and anti-Semitic nations on earth, which through brilliant public relations has managed to acquire the underserved moniker, “moderate.”
Egypt continues to be a disappointment with its president railing against the Israelis and continuing to allow anti-Semitic incitement in his country. Nevertheless, the fact that Egypt still keeps the peace with Israel is the most important political act in the region.
For all the public rhetoric supporting the Palestinian cause, it has not been lost on the Palestinians that not a single one of their brother nations has lifted a finger to help them. As they have been throughout history, the Palestinians are pawns in the grander Arab/Islamic plan and no nation cares enough about them to risk a war with Israel.
While the Arab reaction was expected, the European behavior has been nothing short of outrageous. Long ago the Europeans sold their souls for Arab oil and business opportunities. They have no values whatsoever and will do business with everyone from Saddam Hussein to the most radical mullahs. The moral bankruptcy of their Middle East policy has rendered them irrelevant, which is why their initiatives are routinely ignored by everyone. This is not new. What is new, or at least a disturbing return of what we thought was old, is the virulent anti-Semitism that has been unleashed across the continent and the timid response of government officials and the general population.
The UN? What can you say. It is incorrigible. I don’t believe that it has adopted a resolution favorable to Israel since it voted to admit Israel as a member of the organization. It is the definition of chutzpah for the UN to send a team to investigate the fictional events invented by the Palestinians about Jenin. The UN has never condemned or investigated the unquestioned massacres of Jews by Palestinian terrorists.
Though few people had any doubt, the Israeli operation also unearthed plenty of documentation showing Yasser Arafat’s direct role in terrorism. The world’s most preeminent Middle East scholar, Bernard Lewis, had the best line when he said that expecting Arafat to give up terrorism was like expecting Tiger Woods to give up golf.
The IDF demonstrated that it can easily reconquer the West Bank and sent a message that even when the Palestinians achieve independence, as they one day will, their state will always be vulnerable if they choose to threaten Israel rather than live in peace. No one expects this operation to put a complete stop to terror, but it has significantly reduced the number of attacks already and Israel succeeded in capturing or killing virtually all of the masterminds.
While the terrorists believed they were demoralizing Israel, they miscalculated and united Jews in Israel and around the world as they have not been for years. They have misinterpreted the Hizballah model in which the Arabs believe the Lebanese terrorists forced Israel to withdraw unilaterally from Lebanon and a similar campaign of terror can force the Jews out of the West Bank and, ultimately, the Middle East.
Now, in fact, Israel can unilaterally withdraw behind a hermetically sealed fence if it chooses, because it will be doing so from a position of strength rather than in retreat from terror. For those who still prefer a negotiated peace agreement, the only hope is that the United States will not resuscitate Arafat yet again. So long as Arafat is given any legitimacy and allowed to prevent pragmatic Palestinians from coming forward to lead their people to independence, negotiations will be pointless. The Palestinians must decide for themselves that Arafat has brought them nothing but ruin and it is time for a change. No one else can decide their leadership for them. Unfortunately, the Palestinians continue to send a message that anyone interested in peace is a traitor, and they are strung up in the streets now on an almost daily basis. Until the Palestinians’ treatment of terrorists and those interested in coexistence is reversed, no peace is possible.
In the meantime, the rest of us should have absorbed a vital lesson. Between America’s wavering commitment and the outright hostility of the rest of the world, Jews have been again taught that we are on our own and that our survival is entwined with that of Israel.