Although Prime Minister Sharon's “appeasement” analogy was not exactly apt ? President Bush is a proven friend of the Jewish State and is certainly no fainthearted Neville Chamberlain, nor is Israel a defenseless Czechoslovakia ? he did succeed in making an important point. There is no gainsaying that the task before us in seeking to uproot terrorism around the world does not lend itself to a quick solution. Indeed, everyone in the Administration, from Mr. Bush on down, continues to caution that we are in for a long haul.
So it could be well understood that the series of decisions by the Bush Administration to exclude Israel from the scenario ? Palestinian terrorists not targeted by the anti-terror plan; Secretary Powell declaring that Israel would not be part of any anti-terror coalition; and Secretary Rumsfeld's failure to stop in Israel on his current trip to the region to discuss the anti-terror campaign ? could have had ominous connotations for Mr. Sharon. Plainly, a sea change in U.S. policy for some time to come seemed to be in the offing and Israel was not to play a role in it. This was especially problematical in light of the fact that even after Israel agreed to meet with Arafat while the violence continued and Arafat simply reneged on what he had promised, the story of the U.S. planning to announce its acceptance of the creation of a Palestinian state was leaked and appeared as a stunning reward for Palestinian terror.
As late news reports suggest, hopefully, this issue has now been resolved ? not only for Israel's sake, but for the integrity and prospects for success of the anti-terror effort That is, there will, in fact, be no winking at terrorism and there will be no kowtowing to extortionate Arab conditions for their joining the coalition.
We would also suggest that those who would wish to create a breach between Israel and the Bush Administration should not look to the statements of the Israel Policy Forum or Americans for Peace Now. These groups were quick to applaud the prospect of U.S. recognition of a Palestinian state even in the midst of unceasing Palestinian violence. This is the same crowd that supported and provided cover for the disastrous Clinton policies. And, we might add, they and their ilk have precious little following among American Jews.