Bush's Big Blunder

History has shown that no matter how small Israel will be, due to its being a proponent of American ideals, it will not be permitted to live in peace by its neighbors. That is an awful truth that both Jews and Christians have to accept, and the sooner the better -- for Israel, the US and the world.

Harry W. Weber,

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The defining moment in George W. Bush's presidency was clearly the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001. Within days, the president realized the full significance of that atrocity as the Pearl Harbor of a new global war -- a terrorist war on Western democracies in general, and on the United States, in particular.

Unlike the US' European allies, who, with the exception of Great Britain, are still unable to fathom the full extent of the Islamic war on their continent, the US, under President Bush's leadership, has declared war and is actively pursing all terrorist groups around the globe.

Europe -- enervated by a shrinking Christian population, by a lack of national spirit, by a now sixty-year old war-phobia brought on by the horrors of World War II -- has, in effect, thrown in the towel. It is slowly being conquered by Islam; so far, with barely a shot being fired in its defense. Europe's completely porous borders reflect its Swiss cheese-like immigration policies that have permitted its Arab population since the sixties to grow geometrically, so that today, one out of every ten Europeans is Muslim.

Ten percent. That is the critical demographic Muslim mass, and whenever that fraction has been attained by Muslim residents of any state on the planet, it marked the onset of civil unrest, violence, political instability, religious intolerance and secessionist demands. The Philippines, Kashmir, Chechnya, Israel and now Europe are the most obvious examples of that phenomenon.

In addition to Mr. Bush's commitment to militarily root out Islamic terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, the president realizes that the long term victory of the West over radical Islam will only come when, in the places it sprouts and gets it sustenance, a counter-culture will be actively encouraged -- a culture of freedom, democracy and hope for a better life. The fact that the president has been able to all but defeat the terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, and to bring about free elections in both states, bodes well for the prospects of freedom and democracy throughout the Muslim World; that is, if the president will not relent, and will pursue his dream evenly across the Middle East board without sentiment and favoritism to former "friends".

So, where have the president's policies gone wrong? Only in a sliver of land, a tiny place, but a place with great moral, political and religious importance to Christians, Muslims and Jews alike. That place is called Israel, the Holy Land.

Islam's general antipathy for the West, for Christians, for democracy, for modernity has been distilled and focused into radical anti-Americanism relatively recently. On the other hand, ever since 1948, Islam has seen Israel as America's proxy in the Middle East, and used war against the Jewish state as a more "legitimate" and more "politically correct" outlet for its anti-Americanism. Thus, what happened to the US on 9/11/01 has been happening to Israel since its birth in 1948. Just in that year alone, one percent of the newly born state's population was killed by Arabs. To put that number in perspective, it is comparable to the killing of 2.8 million Americans in a war, God forbid.

Over the years, an additional 14,000 Israeli Jews were murdered by terrorist attacks or killed in wars instigated by Israel's Arab neighbors. No matter how one analyzes it, the bottom line is that Israel is seen by its neighbors as Western, democratic, Christian-like, foreign -- and, therefore, intolerable. Islam refers to both Christians and Jews derogatorily as dimmi -- second-class citizens who must always be on a lower socioeconomic rung, in keeping with their lower theological status. Thus, the Arabs tried to destroy Israel while in its birth pangs, when it was even tinier than today, and seemingly helpless. They tried again in 1956, in 1967 and in 1973 in conventional military and economic acts of aggression. Since 1996, they are engaged in a terrorist war that has lasted eight years and counting. History has shown that no matter how small Israel will be, due to its being a proponent of American ideals, it will not be permitted to live in peace by its neighbors. That is an awful truth that both Jews and Christians have to accept, and the sooner the better -- for Israel, the US and the world.

So, why has Mr. Bush, who is so actively opposing Islamic terrorism in every corner of the world, and is pushing Arab states to move toward democracy, so blind when it comes to the first and primary object of Arab anti-Western, anti-democratic hatred -- Israel?

Apparently, despite President Bush's initial surprise at Ariel Sharon's "disengagement" plan, he has come to accept it and now even incorporates it into his "Road Map". But how can he do this? Surely he must know that by retreating from Gaza, Israel will create a military vacuum there, transforming it into a terrorist mini-state controlled by Hamas and Islamic Jihad -- two organizations whose "terrorist" credentials are beyond dispute. That is not only the opinion of this writer, but the firm position of Israel's current Chief of Staff and the recent head of the General Security Services, both of whom were forced out of office for not towing Sharon's defeatist defense dogma.

To expect, or even hope, that Mahmoud Abbas can or even wants to rein in these groups is to place a huge and dangerous bet on the security of Europe and the US. It is important to remember that Hamas is a fanatic religious organization, and as such, if it takes control of Gaza, it's a sure bet to become the next Afghanistan -- a haven for terrorists with global ambitions. That is the position of Ya'acov Amidror, former head of intelligence for the Israel Defense Forces.

As soon as Israel leaves Gaza, it will morph, under Hamas' leadership, into Al-Qaeda's base in the Mediterranean, the underbelly of Europe. The US' war against terror will take a huge step backwards. Some say that Hamas can be encouraged to change, to become a purely political party. To expect Hamas -- a fanatic religious organization -- to be integrated into the Palestinian Authority, and to abandon its basic religious goals, is the height of naivete and wishful thinking -- and a bet that the US can't afford to take.

If Mr. Bush is sincere and consistent in his drive to change the Middle East into a region moving toward democracy and freedom, he must face the facts that the autocratic kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Jordan are the first to go, for they are the worst enemies of democracy and the best havens for frustrated radical extremists and their adherents. Pressure must be put on Saudi Arabia and Jordan to begin the long process of democratization. King Abdullah of Jordan will eventually have to abdicate, or at best remain a figurehead. There is no other way for democracy in Jordan to take off.

The Jordanian people - 70% of whom are Palestinians -- will then create a Palestinian state east of the Jordan River, and that will obviate the need for a second Palestinian state west of the Jordan. A Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza will be a state whose existence will be a daily threat to the existence of Israel. It will be a terrorist state that will destabilize the region, will export terrorism to Europe, to America, to the world at-large, a state that will receive military and financial aid not only from Hamas, but also from Hizbullah, Al-Qaeda and every other anti-Western gang in the world.

Israel is a tiny country (about the size of New Jersey), whose population density is one of the world's highest -- ten times that of the US. Over time, the pressure for land and water will inevitably lead to strife with the Arabs in Judea and Samaria, even if the Arab population there can be miraculously brainwashed of Islam's fourteen-hundred-year-old indoctrination of Jew-hating. On the other hand, Jordan already occupies three-quarters of Palestine, it is largely barren and under-populated. It quacks like Palestine, walks like Palestine and looks like Palestine.

But the best reason for declaring Jordan as Palestine and giving Israel sovereignty over the so-called West Bank, as Mr. Bush knows very well, is that God granted it to the Jewish people as part of their homeland -- not a hundred years ago, not a thousand years ago, but 3,717 years ago. Mr. Bush, read your Bible. Judea, Samaria and Gaza belong to Israel as its "Divine Destiny", and that is the best reason for the president to oppose all efforts to resist God's written mandate for the Jewish people.

Mr. Bush should do two things. First, it's time to tell Mr. Sharon to stop his self-serving personal machinations to stay in power at the expense of the welfare of Israel, the US and the world. Second, he should fully understand the traditional anti-Jewish/anti-Israel position of the Europeans. Nothing better illustrates Europe's moral bankruptcy vis-a-vis Israel than the fact that even as the Germans were transporting, incarcerating and burning millions of Jews all over Europe, Britain was arrogantly holding on to its Mandate in Palestine, refusing to let Jewish survivors of the Holocaust enter their homeland. Even the most pro-Israel pope ever, John Paul II, could not come to fully accept the role of the Church's two-thousand-year-old enmity for Jews as a prime cause and facilitator of the Holocaust.

As the Holocaust's horrific memories dimmed with time, Europe's traditional anti-Jewish sentiments returned, disguised this time as anti-Israelism, fuelled by nefarious Arab claims of victimization. Desirous of finding favor with the Middle East oil barons, and increasingly influenced by a rising Arab population, Europe's anti-Israelism has grown ever more intense, more unabashed, and in some cases, virulent. It would be a great mistake today for President Bush, in his attempt to gain European acceptance for his war in Iraq and for his global war on terror, which will be at most "quarter-hearted", to make Israel the sacrificial lamb of that bargain. Europe's moral bankruptcy should not be America's. This is President Bush's greatest challenge, and so far, his greatest blunder.