Islamists target Israel (WASHINGTON TIMES OP-ED) By Joel Mowbray 11/11/05)
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While President Bush could be making a lasting — and to
conservatives, positive — impression on the Supreme Court, he has
already started reframing the biggest issue of the day, the war on
terror, by calling it what it is: a war on radical Islam.
Not only does he need to continue to do so, but he would be wise to
take the lead on something that should have been done long ago:
linking the Islamic terror that Israel faces with the Islamic
terrorism that has struck elsewhere, from New York to London to Bali.
In a surprisingly little-heralded speech last month, Mr. Bush for the
first time went beyond calling the enemy "terrorists" or "evil-
doers." He said, "Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others,
militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism." Though he gave the
necessary disclaimer that the enemy does not represent Islam, Mr.
Bush then spelled out — in a way he has not before — the enemy´s
ultimate goal. "This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a
violent political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and
subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all
political and religious freedom." The few who noticed Mr. Bush´s
speech hailed its potential significance as a turning point in the
war on terror. Not coincidentally, the address came just a few months
after the silliness where many in the administration wanted to change
the name of the worldwide war to the Global Struggle Against Violent
Extremism, or GSAVE.
Though no doubt some bureaucrats were quite proud of the two-syllable
acronym, GSAVE had the same basic problem as the label we´ve been
using all along: It only hints at what we´re up against. Which is why
Mr. Bush´s Oct. 6 speech was so important.
Without any context, the war on terror seems like little more than a
patchwork of military actions in various, far-flung regions around
the world. But understanding that the ideology of Islam is the link
between al Qaeda, its loosely affiliated offshoots, and other
Islamist terrorist organizations better presents the enormity of what
we are facing. It also makes clear that military action alone will
never be enough.
Yet as brilliant as Mr. Bush´s speech was, just two weeks later he
ignored its central premise when Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
came to town. With Mr. Abbas at his side, Mr. Bush urged Yasser
Arafat´s long-time righthand man to "confront the threat that armed
gangs pose to a genuinely democratic Palestine." And while Mr. Bush
later also called for Mr. Abbas to "dismantle terror infrastructure,"
he never once referred to the root cause of Palestinian terror:
Even many who should know better have long been reluctant to link
Palestinian terror with other Islamic terrorism. Yet to claim that
the two movements are somehow separate and distinct, Hamas and
Hezbollah, among others, would have to be clearly distinguishable
from al Qaeda and al Qaeda affiliates — and they´re not.
Aside from strong evidence that al Qaeda is establishing a presence
in Gaza (which is denied by the Palestinian Authority), Hamas has for
years expressed great sympathies for Osama bin Laden´s network. This
should hardly be surprising, though, since Hamas founder and
former "spiritual" leader Sheikh Ahmed Yasin said repeatedly that the
entire world should become Islamic. Yasin believed that there was no
legitimate government without Sharia law — a position identical to
Hezbollah´s founding charter called for the destruction of the United
States for its role in stopping the spread of Islam, which is
strikingly similar to one of bin Laden´s primary complaints about
But perhaps the greatest propagator of radical Islam to Palestinians
is not Hamas or Hezbollah, but the PA. Schools, television and radio
broadcasts, as well as books and newspapers are all littered with
venomous Islamist indoctrination, albeit in a vein that contains a
much heavier emphasis on violent anti-Semitism.
The prevalence of Islamist indoctrination did not spring up in spite
of Arafat, who started out as a secular Arab nationalist, but rather
because of him. After the decline of Communism and Arab nationalism,
Arafat turned to Islam. In radical Islam, Arafat found the most
powerful of motivators, one that would enable him to make young
adults and even children clamor for the "honor" of strapping a bomb
to their chests.
To put it another way: without Islam, the current intifada probably
never would have happened.
The general unwillingness to identify Palestinian terrorism with the
broader Islamic terrorism means that any intended solution will solve
nothing. Without draining the swamp and dismantling not just the
terrorist infrastructure, but also the indoctrination industry, there
cannot be peace. Quite simply, Israel cannot share a peace with a
neighbor that wants it dead.
President Bush might find resistance, particularly on the left, to
any attempt to link Palestinian terrorists with al Qaeda and others,
but doing so would likely rally the base and possibly strengthen his
foreign-policy coalition. And in changing the paradigm we use for
viewing the Arab-Israeli conflict, Mr. Bush could do the unthinkable:
He could move the Middle East in the direction of actual peace. Joel
Mowbray occasionally writes for The Washington Times. (Copyright 2005
News World Communications, Inc. 11/11/05)
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