Israel Report

November 2002         

Cairo's Terror Summit

November 12, 2002
On Sunday night, a terrorist walked into a house in Kibbutz Metzer and murdered Revital Ohayon, 34, and her sons Matan, five, and Noam, four. Yitzhak Dori, 44, and Tirza Damari, 42, were also gunned down. The children were apparently killed in their beds. What kind of animal aims a gun at small children and kills them in their beds?

Metzer, founded in 1953, has such close relations with its Arab neighbors that it shares a well and a soccer team with the nearest village. The group that took responsibility for the attack was not Hamas or Islamic Jihad, but an arm of Yasser Arafat's own Fatah.

It so happens that this attack took place inside the Green Line, which triggered an "investigation" by Arafat. This investigation is unnecessary, because the proud members of Fatah tell us why they did it: "This attack was a message to the negotiators in Cairo that the Aksa Martyrs Brigades will not stop its struggle and attacks against Israel," said spokesman Abu Mujahid.

What sort of negotiations are going in Cairo to which a massacre of Israelis is the natural message medium? Only a terrorism summit, whose purpose it is to decide which Israelis it is permissible to kill.

It is certainly understandable, even expected at this point, that the various terror groups would be reassessing their tactics. When even Human Rights Watch has discovered that suicide bombings are war crimes, it would seem to be time for a rethink.

But what is being rethought is not whether the Palestinian struggle should take a page from Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, but - as Sunday's attack vividly demonstrates - whether Israelis should be massacred inside or outside the Green Line.

Certainly there are some Palestinians who have come to the conclusion that all terrorism, if not wrong, is counterproductive for their cause. But if ending all violence and terrorism and returning to negotiations were on the agenda, there would be no point meeting with groups committed to killing as many Israelis as they can, wherever possible.

One might think that such a discussion would obviously be shunned by the civilized world, much as would a discussion within al-Qaida over whether to attack Americans at home or abroad.

But it is not just the substance of these talks that is scandalous, but where they are taking place and under whose auspices. Why is Egypt, a nation at peace with Israel, hosting a conference to parse the proper form of terrorism to use against it? And why does the European Union, which misses no opportunity to cluck at terrorism against Israel, seem to think these negotiations are a great idea?

The EU's first attempt at distinguishing between "good" and "bad" terrorism was in July, when its representative Alistair Crook had supposedly all but cinched a deal. This was the breakthrough that Israel's killing of a major Hamas leader was presumed to have scuttled. Now the EU is at it again, ready to declare that a promise from Hamas to find more politically-correct Israelis to kill amounts to peace in our time.

The EU's participation in this conference, reportedly including direct meetings with Hamas leaders in Beirut, only confirms one of the major problems with the road map now being circulated by the US State Department. Unlike the Bush administration's previous statements, which have always emphasized that the parties themselves must be satisfied by steps taken in any peace process, the road map makes the Quartet - including the EU - the judge of whether each stage has been complied with.

Now, as has been pointed out by Foreign Ministry officials, the EU has shown that it is essentially willing to endorse terrorism against Israelis.
Countries that think that some anti-Israeli terrorism is acceptable are in no position to judge when terrorism has ended, whether the PA has democratized, or anything else that concerns our security.

The general US silence regarding this EU perfidy is disturbing, as is a similarly blatant double standard indulged by Secretary of State Colin Powell himself. Asked by CNN whether the US still opposes Israel's targeted killings of terrorists following the CIA hit against an al-Qaida leader in Yemen last week, Powell responded, "We believe that there are significant differences. This was a case of clearly somebody engaged in a direct conflict with the United States."

If the matter were not so serious, this response would not even pass the laugh test. Since murdering Israelis on their streets and in their homes could not be more direct, this can only be understood to mean that American blood is redder than that of Israelis. The premise of the Bush Doctrine is supposed to be that terrorism is as unacceptable as it is indivisible. The EU, and perhaps even parts of Bush's own administration, seem not to have gotten the message.

©2002 - Jerusalem Post


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