Friday, October 29, 2004

Column: Something to Remember

Here is something to think about as the election draws near.

On October 4, 2003, twenty-one people were killed, including three children and a baby girl, and 60 wounded in a suicide bombing carried out by a female terrorist in the Maxim restaurant in Haifa.

Al Jezeera glorified the murder two days later in an article titled "From Trainee Lawyer to Haifa Bomber." This is some of the text:

"There was little unusual about the way Hanadi Jarahat left home Saturday morning.
Apart from the fact she left slightly earlier than normal, nothing in her behavior suggested that she did not intend to come back.
Evading the closures Israel had imposed since the beginning of the al-Aqsa Intifada, and tightened for this week's Yom Kippur holiday, the 27-year-old apprentice lawyer slipped into Israel with one mission in mind. Revenge.
Once in Haifa, she identified her target as the bustling seaside Maxim restaurant. Shooting a guard to get inside, Hanadi then detonated a load of explosives.
The blast blew out windows and charred much of the restaurant. Television images from the scene showed light fixtures and electrical wires dangling from the shredded ceiling.
Beneath a fog of smoke, blood and bits of broken crockery dotted the floor alongside the severed head of a woman, presumably Hanadi's. Her black hair was tied in a ponytail.
On the steps outside the security guard lay face down, his shaved head and white T-shirt streaked with blood."

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack and Israel responded by bombing an Islamic Jihad and Hamas training base deep in Syria.
In language that echoed President Bush's strategy in the WOT. The Israeli government spokesman Avi Pazner said. "And it is our policy, after what happened [on Saturday], to go after Islamic Jihad wherever they are."
Syria immediately urged the UN Security Council to condemn the strike.
Pakistan's Ambassador Munir Akram and Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, UN ambassador from France, called Israel's attack a violation of international law.
"We urge the council to speedily adopt the decision to condemn this military aggression and to uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic," Akram said.
Many diplomats also called on all sides to return to negotiations led by the so-called Quartet -- the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations -- and stick to the US --drafted "road map" peace plan.
"We need to break the vicious cycle of violence and counter violence," said Germany's Ambassador Gunter Pleuger. "There is no alternative to the road map."
U.N. Secretary-general Kofi Annan condemned the Israeli air strike and declared that he was concerned that the "escalation of an already tense and difficult situation has the potential to broaden the scope of current conflicts in the Middle East."

President Bush made what some might describe as a unilateralist statement:
" I made it very clear to the prime minister (Sharon), like I have consistently done, that Israel's got a right to defend herself, that Israel must not feel constrained in terms of defending the homeland."

What would Kerry's response have been? What would he have done? What would he do if faced with Israel's need to defend itself on the one hand and multilateral alliances on the other? The answers seem pretty clear.

Martin Pertetz, Charles Krauthammer and William Kristol have all written columns within the last week or so about Kerry's obsession with the UN.

Martin Peretz:
"... I've searched to find one time when Kerry — even candidate Kerry — criticized a U.N. action or statement against Israel. I've come up empty. Nor has he defended Israel against the European Union's continuous hectoring."

Charles Krauthammer:
"He really does want to end America's isolation... Think about it: What do the Europeans and the Arab states endlessly rail about in the Middle East? ... In what currency, therefore, would we pay the rest of the world in exchange for their support in places such as Iraq? The answer is obvious: giving in to them on Israel."

William Kristol:
"He'd put more pressure on Israel." Holbrooke, perhaps Kerry's top foreign policy spokesman, confirms (here) Krauthammer's prediction. So there is a real difference between Bush and Kerry on Israel. Isn't there, Sen. Kerry?"

When the time comes -- and it surely will -- when Israel needs to defend itself again, who do we want in the White House? Whether the issue is responding to terrorist attacks or facing the now imminent threat from Iran, it is clear that Israel will either be standing with a good friend against the UN and the EU or will be hoping for a flip flop on the one thing that Kerry has never flip flopped on -- his devotion to the UN and Old Europe.


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