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Pay attention, please

The New York Times is annoyed at Ariel Sharon because he won't buy into their vision of Middle East peace, and because he's putting the interests of Israel ahead of those of President Bush.

It is increasingly clear that the costs to broader Israeli interests far outweigh whatever short-term security benefits this military operation may be yielding. Mr. Sharon's actions may be netting some terrorists and some of the terrible tools they employ, but they are inflaming the fury of thousands more Palestinians and millions of Arabs whose governments are being asked by Mr. Bush to press for more responsible Palestinian leadership. The prestige of the United States is on the line in an effort to help Israel, and the Israeli government is doing nothing to make the job easier.
An effort to help Israel? I don't think so. It's an effort to help the United States line up Arab support to attack Iraq. As for the Times' delusion that all was peaceful and copacetic in the region for Israel before the "invasion," little need be said.
The military operations, Israel's largest in the West Bank since it first occupied the area nearly 35 years ago, came in response to the attack by a suicide bomber on a Passover Seder in Netanya last month. Israel's declared objective is to dismantle the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure, but Mr. Sharon has also targeted leaders and offices of the Palestinian Authority.
What do you mean "but" and "also?" The Palestinian Authority is the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure. Why does the Times persist in acting as if attacks on Israel were the work of "lone gunmen" who had suddenly snapped and attacked Israel? As the documents seized by Israel from Arafat's headquarters show, the attacks were planned and financed by the Palestinian "leadership."

More to the point, why does everyone get collective amnesia whenever they discuss Israel's actions? The wave of terrorist attacks on Israel were the reason for, not the result of, the Israeli "invasion" of the West Bank. Israel's "invasion" is not "inflaming" Palestinians; they were already inflamed. Israel's "invasion" is not "inflaming" the Arab world and preventing Arab states from cooperating in American peace efforts; the Arab world's refusal to condemn even the Netanya Pesach attack predates the Israeli "invasion" of the West Bank. We're not talking about full-fledged peace here, but the minimum standard of human decency and civilized behavior. If you can't condemn a murderous terrorist attack on a seder, you're not a potential ally or partner for peace. And nothing Israel does can change that.


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