Thursday, September 16, 2004

Holding Us Hostage

The settlers vowed to kill any politician who would let a non-Jew own one inch of the Holy Land. They meant business -- they are armed, and have used their weapons freely. They cherish the memory of one of them, who murdered more than 30 Arabs at prayer. Another fanatic killed Itzhak Shamir for agreeing to leave some enclaves for Palestinians.

Ariel Sharon joked about the threat last weekend. He said he wouldn’t change his plan to clear the Gaza Strip and demolish new wildcat settlements. But before nightfall his troops killed 15 unarmed Palestinians who were allegedly trying to sneak into Israel to look for jobs. His hit squads and his bulldozers coninued their work, in vain retaliation for suicide bombings by Palestinian women. After all, Sharon has been engaged in that ethnic warfare for all his life.

Note that ten times as many Israelis had just demonstrated for peace -- but they get very little encouragement here. Ai-pac, the American lobby for Israel, has always been close to the far right there, and to the right of most Jews in this country. The conflict in Palestine is obviously damaging to U.S. foreign relations, but especially with elections coming up, the Bush administration has no intention of putting any real pressure on Sharon. This can only stir the embers of anti-Semitism -- you could hear that issue raised in discussions of Pat Buchanan’s new book. In the end, we are all playing hostage to fanatic minorities. We are the majority, let’s not be a