An open letter sent to President Bush...
Dear Mr. President,
I stand and cheer your handling of the War on Terror. You are doing a masterful job! Your strategy has been excellent. A key component of that strategy is the fact that you have held terrorists, and the countries that harbor them, accountable. You are putting the full force of the United States behind what you say, defending those principles that have made this country great.
For instance, you have never met with Yasser Arafat, a true terrorist. That is a fine distinction that needed to be made: the President of the United States will neither meet with, nor entertain, terrorists. Again, your handling of the world situation shows keen insight and much needed perspective.
However, I wish to point out to you one issue that is very near and dear to my heart: namely, the security and prosperity of Israel. I am a Christian Zionist. At the invitation of a friend from Baltimore, I recently had the pleasure of attending the day-long conference of the Orthodox Union in D.C. We heard clear, insightful things, spoken by some of the many top-notch people within your administration.
Elliot Abrams spoke frankly and knowledgeably on the Middle East. He repeatedly assured the crowd that the Road Map would not, and could not, be put into place until the Palestinian leadership produces and functions as a true partner.
I simply wish to register my concern that, once the immediate conflict in Iraq is behind us, the world community, as led by the Quartet, of which we're part, will demand that the State of Israel make concession upon concession. I don't want to see that happen. This strong diplomatic tendency must be balanced with a realistic appraisal of the Palestinian leadership, and not with a white washed, optimistic one for political expedience.
For instance, in a recent speech, you asked the Israeli leadership to forego further settlement activity. However, according to the various Israeli-Palestinian agreements, any settlement activity remains directly negotiable between the Israelis and Palestinians. Nothing has been negotiated that would presently limit Israel regarding Israeli settlement. Furthermore, mechanisms have already been established as part of the current peace process to arrive at the practical resolution of this issue. Thus, by overlooking these agreements, the U.S. position initially demands a concession from Israel.
So, what are the Palestinians conceding? No more terrorism? But the use of terror was already supposed to stop as part of the Oslo Accord, which Arafat signed. Are they conceding democratic leadership with free, open elections? But that was already supposed to be implemented as part of the Hebron Protocol, which he also signed.
Did you know that the Palestinians have built 261 settlements in the West Bank since 1967? No one seems to mention these. But, during the same time period, only 144 Jewish settlements have been built in all of the disputed areas, including Gaza and the land surrounding Jerusalem, as well as the West Bank. Look at the difference between those two numbers!
The way I see it, we are demanding further concessions from Israel, while only requiring the Palestinians to abide by previous commitments. Not only does this strike me as being grossly unfair, but tragic as well.
Why are we treating the only democracy in the Middle East, and our very good partner and constant ally, this way?
The Palestinian leadership falls terribly short of being any kind of true negotiating partner. It may take many years before they actually arrive at that place.
Please remember that, between 1948 and 1967, there had been no call for a Palestinian State. Jordan and Egypt controlled the land they had gained during Israel's War for Independence. They did not give the areas they occupied to the Palestinians then, and it didn't seem to be a problem. It wasn't until Israel had won those lands in the Six Day War that Arab voices started crying "occupation" and the PLO, the PFLP, and other groups began their reign of international terror.
To force the Road Map solution on Israel would not only amount to double-dealing, but treachery bordering on political fratricide. These are our brothers and sisters. Then, too, we would be repeating Oslo's tragic mistake: directly rewarding terrorism.
As you well know, the French recently tried to embarrass and hurt us politically. Yet, in the end, they did no damage to us. Why? Because we were right and they were wrong. You had the moral clarity and leadership skill to lead this nation through a political mine field.
On the other hand, however well-intentioned, imposition of the Road Map would irreparably HURT Israel, in a way far worse than anything that arrogant French diplomacy could ever do to us. And I fear it will only backfire and hurt this country in the long run.
I know that you read the same book of Genesis that I do; I appeal to your faith. You know as well as I that God gave the land of Canaan to Israel a long time ago. Who are we to now tell them what parts they can and can't have?
Please think about this.
Again, I think you are doing a wonderful job. I wish you continued health and strength, knowing that the Lord watches us, not from a distance, but holds us in the palm of His hand. May God continue blessing America and your administration.
Also by Beth Kennedy: Changing from a mild-mannered Christian to a raging Zionist
"I am Catholic and my wife is Jewish, so in our house we celebrate both Hanukka and Christmas, which our sons, Tom and Jack, regard as an excellent thing. People sometimes ask me if it is hard to raise children in respect and love for two great faiths that have a slight doctrinal disagreement between them, and I say: Not if you give them presents every day for eight days of Hanukka and for Christmas. The more Gods, the merrier is Tom and Jack's strong belief."
So wrote Washington Post columnist and Atlantic Monthly editor-at-large Michael Kelly, in a column dated December 12, 2001. On Thursday, Kelly filed another another dispatch, this one from Iraq, which ran on the front page of this newspaper.
"Near the crest of the bridge across the Euphrates River that Task Force 3-69 Armor of the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division seized Wednesday afternoon, was a body which lay twisted from its fall.
"He had been an old man, judging from his blood-matted gray hair, and he was poor and not a regular soldier, judging from his clothes. He was lying on his back, not far from one of several burning skeletons of the small trucks that Saddam Hussein's willing and unwilling irregulars employed. The tanks and Bradleys and Humvees and bulldozers and rocket launchers, and all the rest of the massive stuff that makes up the United States Army on the march, rumbled past him, pushing on."
The report ran under the headline, "No surprises, no casualties, no trouble for Task Force 3-69." The next day, Kelly was killed when his Humvee overturned, making him the first American reporter to die in the conflict thus far.
As the passages quoted above show, Kelly combined things not often found together in a journalist: decency, clear-sightedness, good humor, and an immense talent for writing. All were reflected in nearly everything he published, one reason why The Jerusalem Post began running his column earlier this year. Kelly was also rare in another sense: A Democrat in the old-fashioned Irish way, he was also a vocal proponent of this war, and he had no patience for the fashionable postures pacifist, anti-American, anti-Israel of the radical Left.
"I understand why some dislike the idea, and fear the ramifications, of America as a liberator," he wrote from Kuwait on February 26. "But I do not understand why they do not see that anything is better than life with your face under the boot. And that any rescue of a people under the boot (be they Afghan, Kuwaiti or Iraqi) is something to be desired. Even if the rescue is less than perfectly realized. Even if the rescuer is a great, overmuscled, bossy, selfish oaf. Or would you, for yourself, choose the boot?"
Or take a column he wrote about Israel, a month before the September 11 attacks: "Now the other great founding myth of the peace process is also dead. This is the great falsehood of relative morality. For decades, the European Left has maintained that the Palestinians held a morally superior position to the Israelis: They were an illegally subjugated people who were striking back in what may have been violent but were also appropriate ways. The claim of Palestinian moral superiority ended when the world saw Palestinians cheer in the street a young man holding up hands red with the blood of an Israeli soldier beaten to death, or perhaps it was when Palestinians stomped two boys, one a US citizen, to death in a cave, or perhaps it was some other moment of gross and gleeful murder."
Remarkable about these columns is their plainspokenness. Kelly was a writer of enormous gifts; gifts that, in another writer, would be turned to archness, irony, equivocation, and counterpoise. But very much like George Orwell, his style was entirely in the service of his point, and his point was always forceful, clear, and morally informed. Kelly did not traffic in exquisite neutralities. He believed there was such a thing as "the good guys." And he stood by them, against the bad guys, and against those who pretended there wasn't a choice to be made between them.
We wonder what Kelly, the columnist, would have made of his death in this war, a war he advocated from the beginning, a war in which he willingly and bravely took part. A tragedy? Certainly: From what he wrote about his family, his loss to them is too great for words. An irony? Absolutely not. Kelly died in the service of a mighty cause in which he passionately believed. He died not just as a reporter or a pundit, but as a patriot, an American to his core. There is great honor in this. The Jerusalem Post mourns him as a columnist, as a thinker, as a humane and sensible man and as a mighty pen for the right. May his memory be a blessing.
By Micheal Kelly - Mideast Myths Exploded
ADVANCE EDITORIAL from the April 21, 2003 issue: The postwar temptations that President Bush must resist. by Fred Barnes
THE UNITED NATIONS is a temptation that's easy to resist. It won't enforce its own resolutions. Libya, a police state, chairs its human rights commission. It provides an arena where France, with its unearned Security Council veto, has enough leverage to pursue a campaign to restrain the power--and good works--of the United States. So when British prime minister Tony Blair, at the Belfast summit last week, pressed for a major role for the U.N. in administering postwar Iraq, President Bush had no trouble saying no.
But there are other temptations Bush will soon face in the aftermath of the Iraq war that won't be so easy to brush aside. They will be dangled in front of the president by friends and allies, and they will be alluringly presented as steps he should take to win popularity for America, to repair damaged alliances, and to win respect--and perhaps a Nobel Peace Prize--for himself. The following are four among many temptations that Bush must resist.
Leave Iraq. The president will be under enormous pressure from Europeans, Middle East leaders, and top advisers in Washington to withdraw American troops and civilian officials from Iraq within months, not years. He shouldn't. The military occupation of Japan after World War II lasted seven years, and Japan is homogenous, not divided as Iraq is among three often hostile ethnic groups. American forces won't need to stay that long, but it will take at least a year, maybe two or more, to restore order, foster a viable economy, and establish democratic institutions with roots deep enough to survive.
From the moment the war ends, Bush (and Blair, too) will be confronted with a drumbeat to withdraw. The argument will be that America must show it's not bent on erecting a worldwide empire or creating a puppet state. The charge of imperialism is frivolous, as is the claim the United States fought a war for oil. However, the State Department will no doubt treat it seriously and lobby for a quick exit to improve America's image and win friends. Meanwhile, the Pentagon, both military brass and civilians, will have its own reasons for getting out of Iraq: American forces are needed elsewhere in the world, and besides, our soldiers are warriors, not policemen. The Pentagon argument is a strong one, but the answer is to increase the force structure, not to pull out of Iraq precipitously.
Take a breather. The United States has gone to great lengths to free Iraq, and the temptation will be to breathe a sigh of relief and ignore opportunities to use the influence gained from the triumph. No, further countries don't have to be singled out for invasion. It's the psychological leverage that shouldn't go to waste. Bush should declare Iraq merely the beginning of a full-throttle assault on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. If five years from now Iran is a nuclear power, Syria is still harboring terrorists, and Saudi Arabia is exporting violent Wahhabism, the opportunity to have made the Iraq war a world-changing event will have been missed.
Lean on Israel. This may be the hardest temptation for Bush to resist. He'll be inclined to aid Blair, his friend and staunch ally, who wants to assuage the Labour party left by forging ahead with the "road map" for a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. But not only is the road map flawed, the time is not ripe for reaching agreement. Despite the appointment of a Palestinian prime minister, Yasser Arafat retains his hold on power. In fact, he's now blocking the prime minister's naming of a cabinet. With Arafat, there is no chance of peace, which is why Bush last June demanded he step aside. It will be months, if ever, before Arafat is eased out, and attempting to implement the road map immediately could delay that process. Blair has called for "even-handedness" in the Middle East, but we know what that means: pressure Israel. Blair should be rewarded for his brave support for the war, but not this way.
Be magnanimous. The president's postwar impulse will be to act generously toward critics and foes, rather than seek revenge. But magnanimity should have its limits. First, Bush should take whatever political or economic actions are appropriate to reward allies such as Australia, Spain, Italy, Poland, and dozens of others. Then, he must deal with the apostasy of France. Winking at President Jacques Chirac's bid to organize a French-led, international counterweight to American power would be a mistake.
The United States has allowed France to exert influence that far exceeds its economic or military strength. One source of this power, France's U.N. veto, will be curtailed quite naturally as Bush turns away from the U.N. as a vehicle for American foreign policy. But it will take boldness to dash French power in another arena, the G8 summit of industrialized democracies. The G8 is antiquated. Neither France nor Canada has an economy that warrants membership. What's needed is a new organization that includes representatives of the dollar (U.S.), yen (Japan), pound (Great Britain), and euro (Germany), plus Italy and nations with rising economies (India, China, Russia). The president may balk at going this far, and indeed it would look vengeful. But he should at least let the world know that lining up with France against the United States will have adverse consequences.
It's a cliché to say the stakes are high in postwar Iraq, but it's true. The success of the Bush presidency is conditioned, in part, on success in creating a reasonably stable democracy in Iraq and in using leverage gained from military victory to curb WMDs and terrorism. Both before and during the war, Bush showed great courage in resisting temptations to prolong arms inspections, to placate the coalition of the unwilling, to appease world opinion, to delay the war, and on and on. Great courage will be required once again, this time to resist the softer temptations of the postwar world.
--Fred Barnes, for the Editors - Weekly Standard
Jerusalem Newswire - April 10, 2003
As horrendous a toll as the Oslo Process has taken on Israel's people and nationhood, an even greater danger lies ahead should its leaders agree to accept the Quartet's "Road Map for implementation of a permanent solution for two states in the Israel-Palestinian Dispute."
Israel, beware! Instead of charting a path to peace, the Road Map leads to a death trap that will spell the destruction of your state. Just your agreement to the implementation of this "two-state solution" could only lead to a further, unbearable loss of Jewish life.
The Road Map is the perpetuation of the Oslo Process under a different name, and we urge you not to talk about it, not to wrangle over it, but to resist it with all your might.
A decade ago we balked as the international community hailed the signing of an agreement it said would finally bring peace to the Middle East. We knew what terrible danger it held for your people.
And for 10 years we have witnessed the direct outcome of that 'agreement with hell and the grave:' the deaths of over 1,000 Israelis, and the wounding and maiming for life of thousands more.
Oslo critically compromised your state's security, and drove a wedge of division deep into your nation. Its inevitable collapse triggered a terror campaign of Jewish bloodletting unprecedented in the history of your reborn national home.
From the moment we heard about the Declaration of Principles, we sounded our first warnings. But our cries fell on deaf ears; our concerns were dismissed, and we were labeled enemies of peace.
Although we did try, we know we should have done more to persuade you to leave the Oslo road. Maybe, just maybe, we could have saved some lives.
Yes, we witnessed with you the horrifying debacle resulting from the foolish elevation of a known murderer and terrorist to the level of statesman and peacemaker. And now we see you preparing to do it again, this time by elevating to that level PLO leader Abu Mazen - a Holocaust denier and a man who has never expressed contrition for the decades of terrorism he helped to direct, and who, as recently as last month, publicly condoned the murder of Jewish women and children.
Rather than acknowledging what Oslo graphically exposed as the moral and political bankruptcy of "land-for-peace," the international community is gearing up to aggressively resume its pursuit of this path under a plan partially proposed by Saudi Arabia. And Israel, it looks as if you are going to let it happen.
You should be alarmed, Israel. You should be greatly alarmed!
Just as with Oslo, the Road Map legitimizes the fraudulent Arab claim to your land and appeases the belligerent party to the conflict, while exacting from you the surrender of the cradle of your nationhood and the security of your strategic depth, with no guarantees that doing so will bring protection and peace to the indefensible scrap of land that is all that will be left of your Jewish state.
Oslo, which created a temporary, interim Arab self-administration, and which you always had the option to reverse, led to the graves of hundreds of your daughters and sons. How much more painful a price will the Road Map demand, setting in stone as it does the foundations on which an irreversible Arab Islamic state will be erected on your God-ordained lands?
The creation of "Palestine" would fly in the face of God's promises to settle you permanently on the very "mountains of Israel" that are now again to be placed on the table. This historically illegitimate state would suggest that God could not keep His promises or ensure the outworking of His plans.
We have seen how, especially when you sought to pursue the division of your land, terror struck hardest, stopping you literally in your tracks on this road to disaster.
But despite these bloody realities, your Prime Minister is encouraging efforts to push on in this fateful direction. And you remain virtually mute.
You dare not be put to sleep by those who say, "Arik would never do this." He is clearly committed to this path, and if he proceeds, he will be responsible, as were prime minister's Begin and Rabin, for endangering rather than securing your future.
Four times this past year, Mr. Sharon has flouted the message sent to him by his own party and then by the Israeli electorate at large, and worked to ensure that the lawmakers who oppose a Palestinian state are removed from his inner circle. He has told his countrymen he believes this state to be inevitable, and he is calling on you to stand with him in bringing this about.
Perhaps your prime minister feels, like so many of you do, that there is no other way to relieve the continued pressure of the world upon him than to acquiesce to the demand for a Palestinian state.
If so, then we want him and you to know that we, as Christian Zionists, are willing to fight this battle with the chief of the nations, some 71 percent of whose citizens support the war against Arafat's brother in arms, Saddam Hussein.
Israel, you have already paid a horrifying price for not resolutely stating your claim and right to this land, and for entering into agreements with those who are working to usurp that claim.
For those who were deceived by the lie of the Left that there could be no way to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict except through a negotiated settlement, you have just witnessed the United States establish another way.
We believe the time has come for you to acknowledge and declare that, from the River to the Sea, this is your God-given and God-restored land. You owe this to the memory of all Jews who longed for this land but were never able to see it, and you owe it to all the Israelis who have paid with their lives to live in and defend Eretz Yisrael.
Quartet or no Quartet, we encourage you to follow the righteous example set by the United States, which refused to bow to international pressure regarding Iraq and did what was in America's best defense and interest. So too, you should do what is in your nation's best interest, then stand and see the salvation of your God.
We wish also to deliver the following admonition to the United States:
We believe that the Lord of all the earth has destined you to be the leading power in the world today. Millions of your citizens deeply love and worship the God of Israel. Your elected president is a self-professed, Bible-believing Christian who has proven to be a man of integrity and great courage.
“[W]hy do we so mistrust Europe?… In 1967, when Israel was on the verge of being overrun…the French, our main arms provider, imposed an arms embargo, abandoning Israel to its fate.—Editorial (Jerusalem Post, April 8)
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