The Message to the Enemy

Rightly rejecting the Vietnam analogy for Iraq, President Bush said, “It is false… It sends the wrong message to the enemy.”

Rightly rejecting the Vietnam analogy for Iraq, President Bush said, “It is false… It sends the wrong message to the enemy.”

It is crucial in this day of instant and constant communication to consider the messages as understood by our enemies. So when Ariel Sharon meets with Mr. Bush today, we hope the president is mindful of the impact of his words on Israel’s enemies. Unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza is interesting largely because for the first time in 15 years there is a serious proposal to act without waiting for a phony Palestinian promise of parallel action. There is no Palestinian “partner,” and instead of waiting for the Palestinians to produce one, Prime Minister Sharon is deciding how Israel can best protect its citizens during the current war.

Love the plan or hate the plan, that is his job.

The implicit threat is that if Israel takes enough unilateral actions, the Palestinians might find themselves with nothing left to discuss later. There is pressure in that.

The President should take a page from Mr. Sharon’s book. Stop harping on the Road Map, with its assumption that Israeli and Palestinian interlocutors will at some future point take up the old discussion of where to put the border between Israel and Palestine. Stop saying Gaza withdrawal shouldn’t influence the determination for a two-state solution. Instead, send a message that time is running out for the Palestinians. Don’t let them think the U.S. is content to wait for Yasser to die and for new leadership to emerge. Don’t insist that the end of the Israeli-Palestinian story will be negotiated instead of written by the stronger party, i.e., Israel. Tell them Israel won’t wait and we won’t try to make them. The U.S. waited long enough to take out Saddam and then waited no longer.

Arafat and the PA are engaged in child sacrifice, blood libel, vicious anti-Semitism, propagandistic lies, use of humanitarian organizations to ferry weapons and terrorists (an American soldier was on the radio yesterday telling the same story about convoys in Iraq), the destruction of their own economy, the exile of most of the Palestinian Christian community – whatever awful price Israel has paid to maintain its civilized society, the Palestinians have paid a higher price in the ruination of theirs.

The President should tell Prime Minister Sharon that the United States agrees with Israel that the time has come for Israel to decide what actions best serve the security interests of the Israeli people. He should tell our ally in the war against terrorists and the swamps that breed them that we will stand with Israel as Israel takes the unilateral steps necessary to defend and protect itself – as we ourselves have done.

That is the message for our friends and their enemies.