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May 23, 2003 - Image 29

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-05-23

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Editorials are posted and archived on JN Online:

Dry Bones

Bombing Others ...

pponents of peace in the Mideast could not
have been more clear. By timing their
attacks in Jerusalem and Jewish areas of the
West Bank to coincide with the first face-to-
face talks between the Israeli and the Palestinian
prime ministers, they announced they would never
accede to any settlement between the Jewish state and
a Palestinian one.
The leadership of Hamas and Islamic Jihad has, in
effect, thrown down the gauntlet to any moderate
Palestinian factions, showing it is ready to reject any
government that demands less than pushing Israel
into the sea.
Thus the stage is set for the new Palestinian top
brass — Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas
and his security chief, Mohammed Dahlan
— to step up to their responsibility for dis-
arming and dismantling the terrorist infra-
structure and destroying those who do not abide by
the will of the new Palestinian leadership. It will not
be enough to have Abbas expressing through a
spokesman "sorrow" over the Saturday attack that
killed a Jewish couple in Hebron and expressing
nothing immediately over the bombing that killed
seven Israelis in Jerusalem on Sunday as 31 months
of terror continued.
The terrorists gave Israel's Ariel Sharon a way to
forgo his planned visit to Washington to talk with
President George W Bush about accepting the road
map toward peace developed by the United States,
Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.
And they can hardly expect that Bush would now
press Sharon to take any steps that would improve
conditions for the Palestinians.
As we have said repeatedly, until the Palestinians
begin taking action — arresting terrorist ringleaders,
confiscating weapons, halting the spew of anti-
Semitic propaganda in print and broadcast — Israel


should not lessen its defensive pressure.
Abbas, Dahlan and their supporters must
prove their intentions by deeds or forfeit any
chance of moving their people to their
much-desired statehood.

OM -11AE

... And Bombing Yourself

Nearly two years ago, we pointed out that
the Arab world would eventually regret hav-
ing let the genie of suicide bombing out of
the bottle of cultural enmity because the tac-
tic would certainly be used against their soci-
eties. Last week's bombings in Saudi Arabia
and Morocco sadly prove the
Al Qaida — or whoever it was
that sent its "martyrs" to attack the
targets in Riyadh and Casablanca — hates
the Jews, to be sure. But equally frightening,
it hates all who disagree with its militant
religious fundamentalism, and it is willing to
act on that hatred even when that means
murdering its co-religionists or fellow citi-
zens. If that doesn't appall the Arab world,
what will?
To their credit, the governments of Saudi
Arabia and Morocco moved instantly to
arrest terrorist leaders — although the reluc-
tance of the Saudis to accept U.S. help in
the investigation continues a troubling pat-
tern of ambiguity about its real intent that began
with the bombing of the Khobar Towers complex in
Dhahran; 19 Americans died in the 1996 blast.
Whether the Arab nations will now read the hand-
writing on the wall is an open question. Syrian
President Bashar Assad, for example, promised U.S.
Secretary of State Colin Powell that the Damascus


1 p00A


Soldiers Of Faith

t is easy to identify with the Israeli grand-
mother murdered by a suicide bomber while
riding a bus to work, as happened in
Jerusalem last Sunday. It is unadulterated ter-
rorism. But who stands up for the Israeli soldier
armed and trained by one of the best
armies in the world?
The grandmother and the soldier are
really quite similar. They may be part of
the same family. They are both trying to go about
their lives without being harmed or doing harm.
They are both critical to realizing the dream of a
secure Israel at peace — a Jewish state, where peo-
ple can live normal lives.
But to the anti-Israel crowd, the grandmother is a
racist Zionist, the soldier a racist Zionist war crimi-
nal. The Islamists see them as interloper Jews on
Muslim land. Thus demonized, they are seen not as
partners for reconciliation, but rather targets for

Related coverage: page 24

At/t, R

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is a people's
army. It consists of young men and women from all
social, educational and economic backgrounds and
all political and religious persuasions. Outside of a
concentrated basic training period, most soldiers —
many 18 and 19 — return to their homes each
weekend, which in tiny Israel is usually no more
than a few hours away.
Following three years of required serv-
ice, most men serve a month of reserve
duty each year well into their 50s. Women
serve, too. This integration in Israeli society keeps
the soldiers grounded; they know who and what
they are fighting for.
When Israelis were accused of massacres in the
West Bank's Jenin refugee camp last year, those
familiar with Israel knew that if any atrocities had
occurred, it would be impossible to keep them a
secret. Given the close-knit nature of Israeli society,
families, friends, neighbors and the news media
would soon learn the truth.
And they did. They learned that the soldiers'
morality increased their mortality as actions taken



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ni7 46'

headquarters of Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad would
be shut down —but promptly reneged on the pledge.
Much of the Arab and Muslim world cheered
when the World Trade Center in New York City fell
on Sept. 11, 2001. They may yet come to understand
that they were actually cheering for a malevolent evil
that now is being used against themselves and their
loved ones. ❑

to not harm Palestinian civilians cost soldiers their
Western nations condemn Israel's actions against
terrorism one day and seek Israel's advice, technolo-
gy and intelligence the next. The criticism comes
even as they increasingly realize that Israel is on the
front line of the civilized world's war against terror-
ism; Israel's fight is linked to their own fight to
protect their populations and diplomats.
The Michigan Friends of the IDF work to ease
the burden of Israeli soldiers. That's why it was
heartening to see 600 people May 15 at Detroit
Jewry's IDF rally for Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel
Independence Day — although we should have had
twice that. Still, proceeds topped $50,000. The
money will help improve the economic, emotional
and educational lots of soldiers and their families.
Such support sends a powerful message that
Israeli soldiers — who confront barbarity on the
battlefield and hardship back home — are not
We should support them as we do our own sol-
diers and our own family — because they indeed
are part of us. ❑



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