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Road Map, Road Kill By: Frank J Gaffney Jr.
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, June 12, 2003

(We are honored to welcome Frank Gaffney's first exclusive submission to Frontpagemag.com)

The purposeful murder and maiming of scores of Israeli citizens in yesterday's Palestinian terrorist attack on a bus in Jerusalem was not an effort by extremists to destroy the "peace process." Rather, it is the latest manifestation of a determined effort - one broadly supported by most Palestinians -- to bring about the destruction of the state of Israel.

As such it is no more a part of a bona fide "cycle of violence" than U.S. steps aimed at intercepting and defeating operatives of al Qaeda, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist cadre are morally equivalent to the latters' attacks on this country, its citizens and interests.

George W. Bush's recognition of the true nature of the source and purpose of "homicide bombings" like this evening's prompted him on June 24, 2002 to describe a "vision" for Mideast peace that had reflected that reality. It was based on several cardinal principles. These included, notably: 1) the Palestinians must select and empower through democratic means a "new leadership"… untainted by terror"; 2) "the United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure"; 3) there has to be an end to Palestinian (and other Arab regimes') "incitement" via such outlets as government-controlled media, propaganda and mosques; and 4) "progress" (read, Israeli concessions) must be a function of (Palestinian) performance, not an artificial timetable.

Remarkably, the President has lately thrown his personal prestige and energies behind a "road map" that reflects none of these principles. First, pursuant to the road map, Yasser Arafat's right-hand man for the past forty-years, Mahmoud Abbas, is being treated as though he were genuinely a "new leader" with no association with terrorism.

Second, under the road map, the new Palestinian prime minister need do nothing more than talk about securing a cease-fire - not even a permanent one, to say nothing of truly dismantling the terrorist infrastructure - to be deemed a partner for peace to whom Israel must make concessions.

Third, there is no requirement that Palestinian or other Arab incitement actually stop. And, fourth, there is a timetable for recognizing a Palestinian state's "provisional borders" (by the end of this year) and then a sovereign, "contiguous" and "viable" Palestinian state by 2005, no matter what.

Such departures from Mr. Bush's principled position of last June carry grave risks. Notably, they signal that terrorism pays -- a point that will be underscored if, pursuant to the road map, Israel is compelled in the aftermath of today's attack in Jerusalem to continue to uproot and withdraw from settlements on the West Bank.

Moral equivalence will replace the moral authority conferred upon a fellow democracy that is fighting, ultimately, for its life and that of its people. We should never forget that our own counter-terrorist operations rely on this same moral authority.

And the United States will wind up weakening a valuable and powerful regional ally in time of war, a moment when such friends are more needed than ever. As the latest bus-bombing underscores, this road map will make Israelis into "road kill," whose self-defense capabilities will become ever more inadequate to contending with the threat posed by terrorists and other allies of the new Palestinian state and whose security will, in due course, increasingly be an unwanted and unsustainable U.S. responsibility.

The carnage in Jerusalem yesterday -- and more sure to come if Israel were actually to make the concessions called for in the road map -- demand that President Bush return to first principles. In the past, he was rightly critical of mistakes of the Clinton-era "peace processors." His 24 June speech offered an approach that would avoid many of those pitfalls.

Of course, the prospect of abandoning the road map so early on may be embarrassing. The attendant political costs of doing so, however, will pale into insignificance compared to those associated with continuing to invest the President's limited capital and prestige in a peace process doomed to fail, given that it is rooted in faulty assumptions and moral equivalence.

It is time to accord our free, democratic Israeli ally the same latitude for countering terrorist threats to its people and society that we insist upon for ourselves. Mr. Bush did precisely that last June, as he clearly and thoughtfully conditioned his support for a Palestinian state. A failure to do so now will bring no just and durable peace to the region. To the contrary, a weakened Israel, perceived to have lost the support of its American security partners and confronting the world's newest terrorist state, is an invitation to the Middle East's next - and potentially most devastating - war to date.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is the President of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C. He formerly held senior positions in the Reagan Defense Department.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is the founder, president, and CEO of The Center for Security Policy. During the Reagan administration, Gaffney was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy, and a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Senator John Tower (R-Texas). He is a columnist for The Washington Times, Jewish World Review, and Townhall.com and has also contributed to The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, and Newsday.

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