A MATTER OF COURAGE

By Prof. Paul Eidelberg

While the Arabs who call themselves "Palestinians" volunteer to fight alongside their Iraqi kinsmen and Saddam Hussein, President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair repeatedly proclaim their commitment—even their "personal" commitment—to a Palestinian state.

Apparently, it matters not to Bush and Blair that these "Palestinians" are fighting against American and British soldiers. More important than the lives of these soldiers, or so it seems, is the dogma of a Palestinian state. Even if the Palestinians kill American and British soldiers, these Sunni Muslim allies of Saddam Hussein deserve a sovereign and independent state!

In the meantime, the Sharon Government says nothing and does nothing while the PLO-Palestinian Authority sends Fatah terrorists to Iraq to kill American and British soldiers. This mindless coalition government, which includes Avigdor Lieberman's ersatz National Union Party and Effi Eitam's insipid National Religious Party, refrains from exposing the absurdity of a Palestinian state when Palestinians not only cheer Saddam vis-a-vis the Anglo-American forces, but also urge him to bomb Tel Aviv!

What is more, this inane and feckless government persists in negotiating with the Palestinians as if they were reconstructed democrats. Notice how the Sharon Government has sanctified or sanitized Abu Mazen, the PLO's number two terrorist leader, as a "moderate." What makes this Holocaust denier a "moderate" is that he would kill only Jews living beyond the "Green Lines," whereas Yasser Arafat would kill Jews anywhere and everywhere. In any event, this moderate terrorist, having been appointed the Palestinian Authority's prime minister, is to be prime minister Sharon's traveling companion along the road to a Palestinian state.

Of course, with the war going on in Iraq, Mr. Sharon does not want to cause any waves by pointing to the absurdity of Bush and Blair calling for a Palestinian state while Palestinians terrorists are killing American and British soldiers. But is it not more than absurd for the Sharon Government to negotiate with the declared enemies of the United States and Great Britain?

On the other hand, having appeased the PLO-Palestinian Authority, and having minimized the horror of Palestinian terrorism against Israel, it is poetic justice that the U.S. and the U.K. should now be the victims of such terrorism in Iraq. Notice that while the Bush administration has warned Syria not to send volunteers to help Saddam, it has not issued a similar warning to the Palestinian Authority. Perhaps President Bush does not want to lend credence to the preposterous idea that the United States is waging war against Saddam Hussein for the sake of Israel. But surely Israel's prime minister could safely denounce the Palestinian Arabs for fighting alongside Saddam's forces. If Mr. Sharon did so, surely it would further solidify American support for Israel on the one hand, while turning more Americans against the Palestinians and a Palestinian state on the other.

Even if it were not politically discreet for Sharon to denounce the Palestinians for fighting against American and British soldiers, could he not prompt the leaders of his coalition partners—Avigdor Lieberman and Effi Eitam—to utter such denunciation?

Lacking in this government is not only wisdom. We should never forget that one of the wisest of men, Socrates, held that courage is a precondition of wisdom. This is what is most lacking in the Government of Israel.



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