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Jewish World Review May 10, 2002/ 28 Iyar, 5762

Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder

Jackie & Raul
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Terrorists and Greek choruses -- The Greek chorus in Agamemnon chants in the background, "Good, Prevail, Prevail." Unfortunately, life is not a Greek chorus, particularly if it involves Muslim terrorists.

Recently, President Bush reiterated what he had said in September: " . . . if you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist. If you feed one or hide one, you're just as guilty as those who came and murdered thousands of innocent Americans."

The president absolutely, positively meant what he said - unless you were talking to him about Yasser Arafat. Mr. Arafat is still treated by us as the head of state for 3.3 million Palestinians. Back in the real world, he has been only the ruler of Ramallah. Sitting in the rubble like a fermenting piece of rotten cabbage, he was for months unable to send out for a pizza. However, he was still able to direct, or at least condone, children becoming suicide bombers or ordering up a shipload of arms and explosives.

Searching for terrorists, we have developed a bad case of myopia where Mr. Arafat is concerned. The reason, of course, is Arab oil, and the perception that when we launch our attack against Iraq we will need Arab support. We believe the absolute reverse to be true.

Before sending Secretary of State Colin Powell off on his mission to the Middle East, Mr. Bush said, "This is a conflict that can widen or an opportunity we can seize." He was so right, but he was referring to the wrong thing. We have now a unique opportunity to forever end Arab ability to use their control of oil as a weapon of blackmail against the West.

At the same time, we can also send the Arabs a message that we understand at least part of their thinking. They have no great love for the Palestinians, having kicked them out of Arab countries whenever the opportunity arose. But, since they do not want us to go to war against fellow Arab Saddam Hussein, as long as the cauldron keeps bubbling between the Israelis and the Palestinians, they believe Saddam is safe. So far they have been right.

We have the ability to do what has to be done in Iraq on our own. Mission accomplished, Mr. Arafat will truly be irrelevant. Events can then be viewed in a realistic perspective.

Some facts are clear, and these realities should drive our policies in the region. It was not a group of Scandinavian businessmen on a smorgasbord convention who hijacked four planes and murdered thousands of innocent people. It was 19 terrorists, 15 of whom were born in Saudi Arabia. Terrorist organizations are fueled by Arab money. A recent Arab telethon raised amounts of money staggering enough to drive Jerry Lewis into a long overdue retirement. We don't know how much was really raised, as opposed to the amount that was pledged, since, from dealing with Mr. Arafat, we know in that part of the world, there is a Grand Canyon between what is promised, and that which is actually done.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East that is a democracy. It is the only country that gives Arab or Palestinian citizens full citizenship with all accompanying political rights.

Clearly, looking back, it is not peace that Mr. Arafat wants. In fact, if there is peace in the region, the glue holding together disparate Arab entities - the commonality of hatred of Israel - will become unstuck. It should be remembered that the suicide bombings initially began when the Oslo peace process was undertaken and intensified when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, with then-President Clinton's encouragement, was prepared to give away virtually all of the disputed territories.

Mr. Bush, we believe, understands this, but he is operating under the constrictions of a State Department peopled by Arabists who treat realpolitik as an acceptable excuse to submerge both ethical considerations and those of conscience.

America in the past has had visited upon itself long-range problems when we deviated from making choices on a moral basis in the belief that a more expeditious approach would result in a world more acceptable to us. The end result was, when we made less than moral judgments, we ended up worse-off than when we started.

In the past, we did this in the cases of Chiang Kai-shek, Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein and assorted other scoundrels in Africa and South America. In the Middle East, we continue to make these mistakes; one of which began in the 1930s, by allowing Arab oil to drive Western political agendas.

If good is to prevail in the end, it must at least begin its journey in an honorable way.

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© 2002, Jackie Mason & Raul Felder.