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Israel, U.S. fighting terrorism



Published: Fri, April 12, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Before the tragic events of Sept. 11, 21st-century Americans had encapsulated themselves in the comfort of two natural aquatic borders.

Images of mass fatalities at the hands of radicals rested in the farthest corners of the minds of Americans.

Wrapped around those dormant images was the belief that "it couldn't happen in America. We are safe."

It happened.

For the first time since British soldiers invaded and torched the nation's capital, America was domestically under attack on acknowledged territory.

However, America's past has not been consistently paved with stories of serene territorial treaties.

Middle East: Today, the situation half a world away in the Middle East is a potential global crisis as blood continues to be shed.

Keyword: Potential.

The land, sacred to so many religions, is a powder keg that rekindles itself after only extinguishing. President Bush calls for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestinian West Bank territory. Bush's demand for Israel to withdrawal is hypocritical in light of his declaration of war on terrorism.

Despite cultural differences between Bush and Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the publicized intent of their military campaigns is a response to attacks upon their citizens: Bush's Sept. 11th attacks. Sharon's series of suicide bombings.

Is it reasonable to allow Israelis to continue to be victims of suicide bombings? No more than to allow Palestinian territory to be invaded without a justified cause.

Instead of waging war on terrorism thousands of miles away from the original attack, Israel is declaring war on terrorism in her back yard.

America has enough to worry about instead of inciting further anti-American sentiments and violence against innocent citizens. We shouldn't be in the business of creating domestic peace in a situation in which our assistance hasn't been requested. America should've learned that lesson through the bloodshed in the Vietnam War.

While a return to isolationism is highly unfavorable, America should learn its limitations when extending an iron olive branch to a region that has been in conflict for centuries.

Some truisms: Thousands of years of hatred won't be settled by sending a peace envoy to a divided society in which their common language is inaudible at peace negotiations.

America must continue to be the living ideals of our founders, but must recognize that our culture and principles aren't accepted by all nations.

Until Bush has conclusive evidence to the contrary that Sharon's sole intention is to destroy what Sharon alleges to be Yasser Arafat's terrorist network, White House demands have no place in a domestic offensive by Israel.

If allowing Israel to continue purging terrorist infrastructures from its borders isn't an acceptable diplomatic move for the White House, Bush must reconsider his self-declared "war on terrorism."

It wasn't acceptable for the loss of life as the result of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks. Nor is it acceptable for Israel to fall victim to a series of terrorist attacks.

If it were one or two suicide bombings, it would be a different story, but it wasn't. Six separate significant suicide bombings occurred on Israeli soil. Three coordinated suicide attacks occurred on American soil.

America is actively fighting in Afghanistan and training other countries to fight for them. Why can't Israel take the "war on terrorism baton" from the United States and run with it? Are Israeli lives less important to the priorities of American diplomacy?

Set limits: America can't be expected to police the globe as a playground monitor. This isn't the same thing as genocidal cleansing or the creation of weapons of massive destruction, but a domestic situation for Israel.

America can stand at its podium and scream at the top of her lungs demanding the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces, but the demands carry no weight as long as the American "war on terrorism" continues without an exit strategy.

No wonder diplomatic efforts have fallen on deaf ears.

XJason, 18, is a senior at Cardinal Mooney High School, where he is editor of the student newspaper, The Beakon.




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