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Terror Still The Palestinian Weapon Of Choice

The brazenness of Abu Mazen is startling. He will not, he is widely reported to have said, do
anything to stop Hamas and the other terrorist groups unless Israel accepts the “road map” – with its requirement of an immediate cessation of Israeli anti-terror activity in the West Bank and Gaza - as is and begins to implement its provisions.

For the benefit of those who still don’t get Yasir Arafat’s hand-selected Palestinian prime minister’s point, we would refer them to the news reports of the homicide bombings of the past few days. How is this really any different from the old Oslo days of asking Israel to make concessions in order to empower Arafat to neutralize those nasty renegades bent on terror? It was always the fiction that the “other guys” were responsible and Arafat would surely smash them if only Israel made it possible for him to do so. Abu Mazen’s reliance on terror is no different: Israel is to be bludgeoned into agreeing to Palestinian demands.

Indeed, a sense of d?ja vu is inescapable: “Acts of terror … should not undermine efforts to
implement the road map,” European foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Sunday. “The
opportunity it brings should be seized in order to end the violence and put the Middle East peace process back on track.” That message still resonates from the old pre-Camp David days.

The ball is now in President Bush’s court. If he does not abandon this slavish obeisance to the
“road map” and revert to the vision he articulated in his speech of last June 24 – in which he spoke uncompromisingly of a new Palestinian leadership unconnected to terror and the prompt elimination of the terrorist infrastructure - then there really is no hope for peace.

The contrast between the road map and what the president called for on June 24 is striking. No one today seriously doubts that Arafat is still calling the shots. And, tragically, no one can deny the Palestinians? continuing reliance on terror and Abu Mazen’s embrace of it. Yet the Bush Administration’s touting (at least in public) of the “road map” signals that the president’s conditions have somehow been met.

The truth is, any sign of a weakening American resolve will only reenforce Palestinian delusions of bludgeoning Israel into submission. Sadly, we are perhaps where we are now in the Middle East because advocacy of the “road map” has fed that very fantasy.

Moreover, this is hardly happening in a vacuum. In addition to this ‘business as usual’ attitude toward Palestinian terror, the Administration seems to be uncertain about what to do with the mountain of evidence linking the Saudi royal family and the governments of Syria and Iran to the worldwide terror movement (including, of course, its Palestinian chapter).

Taken together with our “road map” fixation, the inescapable message to al Qaeda and its
affiliates is that maybe, despite what we’ve done in Afghanistan and Iraq, we don’t have the strength to live up to our convictions.

We were encouraged, however, by Secretary of State Colin Powell’s statement following the
weekend attacks in Israel: 

We call on the Palestinians to begin to take immediate and decisive action to eradicate the infrastructure of terrorism and violence that has wrought such tragic bloodshed for
both Palestinians and Israelis and has undermined Palestinian aspirations.

Perhaps Mr. Powell, who has been the most vocal champion of the “road map,” finally is seeing things as they are, not as he wishes them to be. And if that is the case, we can only hope that he was speaking for a united American government. If it is not, then we fear the lessons of 9/11 have been forgotten, and all of the efforts since then have been for naught.

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