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As we and others have opined, the inclusion of Arab states that continue to harbor terrorist cells in the anti-terrorism coalition is seriously undermining the effort by signalling a political business as usual modus operandi. We have been equally critical of signs that the Bush Administration is agreeing to certain demands of Arab states in general in order to keep them in the coalition. Primary among the concessions was the recent public support expressed by President Bush for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Plainly, the Arab states think they are finally onto something in their effort to have the United States cut Israel loose. But the snickering that this has doubtless engendered seems about to turn into outright mockery if it hasn't already done so.
The word circulating around usually well-informed parts of town is that President Bush will be appointing Mayor Giuliani to a very prominent position connected with the war against terrorism. Director of the CIA and Director of Homeland Security are the two posts most often mentioned. Because the Bush Administration is fast losing points in the polls and the confidence of the American public seems to be waning, we don't regard this as mere speculation.
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.
As the days go by, the outlines of President Bush's strategy for dealing with the aftermath of September 11th are becoming more and more clear. As the President intimated in his riveting "This Is War"/"You Are Either With Us Or Against Us" speech to the nation, and as Secretaries Powell, Rumsfeld and Fleischer have since fleshed out, the United States is trying to craft the broadest possible coalition ? including even those who have heretofore harbored or otherwise assisted "terrorists." And the focus of the coalition is to be on terrorism with a "global reach" ? as opposed to "terrorism" in all its forms. The primary goals are to make the overall effort to appear as nothing other than a confrontation with international outlaws and to make as many, particularly in the Arab world, part of the solution with a vested interest in its success rather than having them remain as part of the problem.
In many respects, the Durban Conference on Racism presented Israel with one of its most critical challenges in its 53 year history. Had Arafat and other Arab leaders succeeded in hijacking the conference and having Israel branded internationally as an outlaw state, members of its government, diplomatic corps and military would be subject to arrest and trial around the world as war criminals. Moreover, had Zionism been equated with racism, the very basis of the Jewish state would have been delegitimized and it would have assumed the role of international pariah. So the statements and actions of President Bush and Secretary of State Powell in dramatically disassociating the United States from the parley and thereby blunting its anti-Israel mission, were the latest evidence that President Bush's election last November was providential. Indeed, the contrast with the reaction to events in Durban by the Democratic Party leadership is striking.
Prime Minister Sharon is being roundly criticized in his own Likud Party by those who are disenchanted with his policy of "restraint." Indeed, it would now appear that former Prime Minister Netanyahu would win a vote for leadership of the Likud if it were held today. Plainly, there is much frustration with the continuing violence and the failure of Mr. Sharon to bring an end to it.
During the past presidential election, we endorsed George W. Bush even though the opposing ticket featured a Vice-Presidential candidate who is a Sabbath-observer. Thus, in addition to strong support for Israel, we were confident that Mr. Bush, if elected President, would also demonstrate his support for religious observance and for the needs of the Orthodox Jewish community.