Are only those who target Americans terrorists?

by Maskil on January 26, 2009

In his latest Weekly Opinion Column, M J Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum ended off the piece with a somewhat off-topic broadside against Muammar Qaddafi and The New York Times (for running Qadaffi’s op-ed on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), saying:

Is the Gray Lady senile? The New York Times this week ran an op-ed on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by Muammar Qadaffi. It was, predictably, thoroughly insane. I understand that Qadaffi has the petrodollars to hire the best lobbyists in town who are well connected at the Times but there have to be limits. Here’s one. How about no op-eds on peace by terrorists who shoot down American airliners with hundreds of American college students on board, heading home for Christmas break? Even if said terrorist is very very rich.

While I agree heartily with the sentiment, I’m not sure why this righteous indignation is reserved for “terrorists who shoot down American airliners with hundreds of American college students on board”.

The column – which dealt with George Mitchell’s appointment as special envoy to the Middle East – doesn’t seem to have much to say about Palestinian terrorism against Israel’s civilian population:

For a time it appeared that Israelis and Palestinians would end their conflict before Irish Catholics and Protestants. It was in 1993 that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasir Arafat signed the Oslo Agreement on the White House lawn.

But then Rabin was assassinated in 1995 by an Israeli terrorist and, just as the killer intended, Oslo died shortly after its Israeli sponsor. After Rabin’s murder, neither Israelis nor Palestinians fully observed the agreement (although it still succeeded in dramatically reducing the violence).

While it mentions “terrorists on both sides”, the only reference to a specific act of terror is the above mention of Rabin’s assassination.

Presumably we are to deduce from this that Arafat was one of the moderates, trying to keep the real terrorists (not the PLO) in check.

While I realise that Israel has in the past (and will in the future) be forced to deal with terrorists, let’s not allow her to do so in a state of self-delusion. Let’s understand clearly that we are dealing with terrorists (including Holocaust deniers), who would much prefer Israel’s destruction; not “moderates” or partners for peace. Israel may have forced some in the region to accept its existence, but it should not fool itself into believing they are happy about it. Shake hands, by all means, but stop kissing cheeks!

For an altogether different perspective on George Mitchell’s appointment, see this excellent article by David Bedein.

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