The New Republic
Post date 10.29.01 | Issue date 11.05.01
by the Editors
Yasir Arafat is the world's senior terrorist. He was skyjacking when Osama bin Laden was still a rich kid in Saudi Arabia. He and his bloodthirsty lieutenants are responsible for literally hundreds of car bombings, kidnappings, suicide bombings, drive-by shootings, sniper fire, knifings, and just plain massacres over the decades. And he has not become a different man in the new millennium, as the yearlong spasm of orchestrated Palestinian violence and terror surely makes clear. But don't tell this to Colin Powell. Virtually every time Israel tries to punish or preempt a terrorist strike against its civilian population, the Department of State insists that Jerusalem is endangering a peace process that, in truth, is already long dead. A few days ago Israeli troops surrounded six Palestinian cities, killing particular and identifiable terrorists while arresting others--seeking, apparently, to arrest several members of the cell that spawned the assassin of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi. Washington complained that Israeli penetration of Palestinian-ruled areas endangered the anti-terrorist coalition of which various Arab governments are said to be an integral part. This is odd logic, given that the Arab governments are not, in any sense, an integral part of the anti-terrorist coalition. During the Gulf war there was, at least, a factotum Saudi commander and a few other uniformed Arabs in the field. This war features no Arab troops. In fact our Arab "coalition partners"--particularly Saudi Arabia--are actively sabotaging our efforts to identify the wider terrorist international, made up in large part, of course, of their citizens. So what, exactly, is the all-important purpose in whose name we are demanding that Israel sit back and allow its citizens to be slaughtered?
One man's terrorist is another mans freedom fighter. It all depends on whos ox is being gored, don't you think?