by Reva Sharon - October 25, 2001
Once again, in his article Dear Ariel and Yasir, in the New York Times on October 23, 2001, Thomas L. Friedman adopts the mantle of even handedness, which ends up translating into danger for Israel. Friedman writes his article as a message from President Bush to Prime Minister Sharon and Chairman Arafat. To Arafat he says, "If your people want to throw stones at Israeli soldiers, that's your business." Israelis have been killed and seriously injured by stones; is that violent action acceptable, and would it be acceptable in America, and doesn't that make it Israel's business as well? Arafat has not disarmed terrorists or stopped incitement, as he pledged to in all the agreements he signed. Why on earth should Israel or anyone else believe his empty promises again? For Israel not to protect Israelis would mean that the country had agreed to forfeit the major purpose of government. Israel must not give up the inalienable right to defend the nation and its citizens, and it must continue to prevent terrorist attacks on its citizens, however it is necessary to do so!
Frankly, it is totally misguided of the U.S. or Friedman to think that pandering to Arab and other Moslem nations that are not true allies of America, but occasional fair-weather friends, will help America win the war on terrorism. What those countries are doing is taking advantage of the situation to push forward their agenda against Israel. Arafat and the Palestinian Authority will not endanger themselves by stopping terrorism and violence -- but if Israel sits by and refrains from the actions needed to be taken in self defense, Israel's life, and the lives of Israeli citizens, will definitely remain at risk. There should be no such sacrifice; the demands being made on Israel would lead to the destruction of Israel as the only Jewish state in the world. It should be remembered that Jews have always been more than followers of a religion; Jews, since the time of King David, have been a nation. And Israel has the right to preserve that nation in its historic and legal homeland.
The safety of America and American citizens does not depend on whether Israel defends itself. America should be guided by sensible, thoughtful, and strong-minded people like Richard Perl of the Advisory Committee to the Pentagon. He has openly defied the propaganda of the Moslem world. On the other hand, the State Department (which has been ready to sell out Israel ever since it tried to sabotage Israel's birth in the UN), under the leadership of Colin Powell, has succumbed to Arab pressure. It does so by trying to appease the Arabs, not only at Israel's expense, but possibly at the expense of America's own interests in pursuing the second and third phases of the war against international terrorism.
Each time America and media experts like Friedman supposedly use an even-handed approach in responding to the conflict between Palestinian terrorism and Israeli self defense, they support terrorism. There is no moral equivalence. If America wants to win the war against international terrorism, it must not sell out Israel or India. Bravo to India for saying publicly that America is not acting in good faith in regard to India's fight against Pakistani terrorists. No such voice has come from Israel to clearly and strongly challenge the current American policy. Yasir Arafat is one of the founding fathers of terrorism. He has not reformed, he has not honored agreements, and Israel must not be pressured to take his word in faith, when he has not been faithful to his commitments.
If Arafat and/or the Palestinian Authority is destroyed, it will be because it has self-destructed. The P.A. is a corrupt, suppressive, dictatorial regime that is willing to sacrifice the lives of its people and has brought them nothing but poverty and despair while the leaders continue to live in luxury and swell their bank accounts. Friedman is wrong: the terror organizations are not the Palestinian Opposition; they are part of an unholy alliance with Arafat and the P.A. And Friedman is wrong to suggest that Israel would undermine America if Arafat and the P.A. falls -- it is America who is undermining Israel. Israel fully supports America in the war against terrorism -- and without reservation. Why on earth is America making Israel the only ally who must endanger its citizens, its rightful self-interests, and the very nature of her future? Just which of the Arab coalition members is willing to see Israel blossom as a Jewish State? Which of the Arab coalition members is willing to concede that Israel and the people of Israel have the same right to determination they claim for themselves? Which Arab or Moslem coalition member has offered unconditional support to America in the battle against terrorism, as Israel has done? Why is memory so short that America has forgotten how those very same countries not only abandoned America at the Durban conference, but also incited against America by using a form of diplomatic terrorism?
How does Thomas L. Friedman dare state that, "For so many years, boys, it's always been about you. Well, now it's about us. I need you both to postpone your war now. If you won't do that for us, we'll assume you're against us." Israel has the same right to self defense as any other nation in the world. Arafat and the Palestinians are not fighting against occupation -- over 90% of the Palestinians live under P.A. control, not Israeli control. Arafat and the Palestinians are taking advantage of the situation to try to realize the aim they have never abandoned: the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. Should Israel comply by committing suicide? No, Thomas L.Friedman is wrong: Israel fighting for its survival does not translate to Israel-is-against-America. America has no better friend in a region of the world where it is the only democracy -- a democracy that is surrounded by suppressive dictatorships and monarchies. America, like Friedman, must face the real underlying causes of terrorism; otherwise, the battle against terrorism cannot be won because the conditions that breed terrorism will continue. And those conditions include: corruption by the leaders of Islamic states; the resultant poverty and oppression of the populations they govern; the unwillingness of Islamic governments and clerics to take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions; and the readiness to place the blame for their own mistakes on others, especially on America and Israel. In addition, Islamic nations have not only provided a fertile climate for terrorists to breed in, but have refused to act against the terrorists within their borders except when the regimes themselves are threatened by terrorists. In fact, those very regimes have exported terrorism. Saudi Arabians and Egyptians are major terrorist players in Al Qaeda, and neither Saudi Arabia nor Egypt, America's so-called friends, have offered unconditional support for America. What is more, they caution America not to pursue the war on terrorism beyond stopping Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, and they warn America not to pursue its war against terrorism in Arab countries.
For years Friedman has pursued his own agenda in reporting on Israel and the Palestinians. It has been at the expense of Israel, and now, when things are so critical not only for Israel but for America and the civilized world, it is time to stop trying to draw moral equations between terrorists and those who defend themselves against terrorism. In this, Israel stands united with America, and it is hoped America will stand united with Israel.
© Reva Sharon
Also by Reva Sharon;