Jewish World Review Dec. 4, 2001 /19 Kislev 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- I DON'T blame Yasser Arafat, Hamas or Islamic Jihad for the latest pogroms, which have left 26 Israelis dead and more than 200 wounded in a 14-hour period. Arafat and his allies are Nazis -- murderous scum whose idea of combat is butchering civilians. Still, they are behaving true to form.
The architects of the tragedy are terrorism's unwitting enablers -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President George W. Bush.
By refusing to go after Arafat, by offering a truce following a few days of quiet, by agreeing to accept a Palestinian state, Sharon has regularly signaled his weakness to an enemy that salivates at the scent of fear.
To advance our war in Afghanistan, Bush decided to reward Arafat's terrorism. He is the first president to openly endorse Palestinian statehood. Secretary of State Colin Powell followed up with a call for a "viable" Palestine.
Now, with orthodox Jews collecting shreds of flesh for burial, everyone is going through the motions.
Arafat has rounded up 110 terrorist leaders, including Sheik Ahmed Yassin, "spiritual leader" of Hamas, and placed them under house arrest. Go to your room, and watch the revolving door on your way out.
Yesterday, Israeli forces bombed buildings and destroyed a few of Arafat's personal helicopters in Gaza, and hit a police station in Jenin. Meanwhile, Arafat's terrorist army, terrorist infrastructure and terrorist self are strictly off-limits.
Bush calls on the Palestinian leader to "do everything in his power to find those who murdered innocent Israelis and bring them to justice." In other words, Arafat must arrest himself.
If the old warlord had strapped dynamite to his body and boarded a bus, he could not be more culpable.
In August, he was negotiating to bring Islamic Jihad and Hamas into his Palestinian Authority. In textbooks and television programs, the PA keeps up a steady stream of anti-Semitic incitement.
After June's suicide bombing of a Tel Aviv disco, which left 21 Israeli teen-agers dead, Arafat wrote to the bomber's family that he was a "martyr" who will be "in Allah's mercy." Still, the administration pretends that the bin Laden of the West Bank is guilty only of timidity and must now get tough on terrorism.
Absolutely the worst mistake a combatant can make is giving the enemy cause to despise him, which spurs aggression. From Oslo to the latest atrocities, Sharon and his predecessors have displayed weakness worthy of contempt.
The Palestinians lynch unarmed soldiers, kidnap and kill Israeli children and assassinate a member of Sharon's cabinet. The response is always measured -- the temporary occupation of a few towns, the destruction of some buildings, the execution of a few of terrorism's middle-level managers.
These are coupled with assurances that Arafat and his regime are sacrosanct, that Israel will never reclaim the territory he now holds and that negotiations on a future terrorist state will resume just as soon as Palestinians refrain from slaughtering Israelis for a few days.
When challenged, the general even retreats from tough talk. After Bush's initial call for a Palestinian state, Sharon warned Washington not to repeat the mistakes of Munich.
The president reportedly was furious with the comparison. "These remarks are unacceptable," scolded White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. The prime minister immediately apologized. Why, he never meant to suggest that Bush was Neville Chamberlain in the current scenario, Sharon pleaded. Arafat must have chuckled over that performance.
Arafat's strategy is obvious -- go through the motions when circumstances require. Then continue the Holocaust until the Israelis are so desperate that when they finally get a moratorium on murder, they will carry Arafat back to the bargaining table on their shoulders and thank him for accepting the next round of concessions.
During the postwar occupation of Japan, a team of Americans interviewed the former Japanese high command, to learn what they were thinking when they attacked Pearl Harbor. The Japanese all said the same thing: Everything we knew about you told us you wouldn't fight back.
And everything Arafat knows about Sharon and Bush tells him that they are the ideal adversaries. Unlike the Japanese, he's probably
JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.