Allowing Israel to Destroy the PLO Helps Defend the U.S.
By Andrew Bernstein (Northwest Arkansas Times, November 9, 2001)
It is time that the United States recognize the true nature of Yasser Arafat and his regime. The PLO has been engaged in a terror campaign against Israel for decades, and today supports fanatical suicide bombers, who deliberately target and murder innocent civilians. The recent murder of the Israeli minister of tourism, Rehavam Zeevi, was made possible by Arafat's refusal to end the terror campaign. Now, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine--Zeevi's murderers--vows to destroy "the entire Zionist political echelon." Arafat, while protesting that he wants an end to violence, refuses to take any meaningful action against them.
Nor have Arafat's terrorist activities been directed exclusively against Israel. He has for many years showed his hatred of America, as when he had George Curtis Moore and Cleo Allen Noel--two U.S. diplomats in Sudan--murdered on March 3, 1973. Despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. foreign aid, the PLO supplied weapons to the Shiite terrorists who murdered 241 American Marines in Beirut in 1983. Additionally, they harbored terrorists who collaborated with bin Laden's 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. And have we forgotten the PLO's 1985 murder of Leon Klinghoffer, the wheelchair-bound American passenger aboard the Italian cruise ship, the Achille Lauro?
And Arafat uses brutal force against his own subjects as well. Under the PLO, no one--Muslim or otherwise--possesses any rights. Not only is the PLO a relentless oppressor of the Palestinian Christian minority, but also of their fellow Muslims. A recent case in point is that of Zuhir Hamdan, a Palestinian mayor of a village in Jerusalem's suburbs, who openly stated that the people of his village preferred to live under the Israelis not Arafat. The PLO shot and gravely injured Hamdan for his views.
The United States has learned a horribly painful lesson about terrorism: appeasement only invites more and worse attacks. The atrocities of September 11 were merely the latest and most egregious attacks against us by Islamic terrorists. They have murdered U.S. servicemen in Saudi Arabia, bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, attacked the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen--and we have done nothing to defend ourselves. For the same reason that we are now reversing our policy of appeasement and defending ourselves with force, we should allow and encourage Israel to defend itself with force.
For years, the U.S. government has pressured Israel into suicidal negotiations with the PLO. Israel had Arafat and his organization surrounded south of Beirut in 1982, and was ready to eradicate the terrorists, but was restrained by President Reagan, who pressured the Israelis to allow Arafat and his organization safe passage to Tunisia. Despite the price paid in blood by innocent Israelis and Americans, the Bush administration continues to urge Israel to withdraw its troops from the West Bank and to exercise "restraint." But Arafat's organization supports bin Laden's quest to destroy America, and it is consequently as much in our interest for the Israelis to eliminate the PLO as it is for us to wipe out the Taliban and al-Qaida.
For several compelling reasons the United States must desist from restraining Israel. The destruction of the PLO will weaken terrorists who hate the United States. It will strengthen Israel, our sole ally in the area, who will no longer have to live under the daily threat of terrorism. And the PLO's demise will prevent the creation of a Palestinian state, which given Arafat's hostility to the West, would only add another sovereign nation to those already supporting terrorism.
An Israel free to defend itself is both an ally the United States can trust and a military outpost from which we can strike back at those who attack us. Given that the Saudis and other Arab nations have shown themselves to be at best unreliable allies in the war against terrorism and at worst part of the problem, this is an important consideration.
There are also deeper moral reasons for setting Israel free to defend itself. The United States government needs to understand that more than Israel and America are under attack by terrorist organizations and regimes: Western Civilization is. Our murderous and tyrannical enemies are strongly committed to their anti-Western ideology. At its deepest level, this is a struggle between two philosophies and two civilizations. Western Civilization is vastly superior to Islamic culture in its ability to promote man's life on earth. But the terrorists are morally committed to their philosophy. Are we committed to ours? The U.S. government must fight this war in the name of the right and supremacy of Western Civilization.
Israel is the lone country in the Middle East that stands for freedom, individual rights, secularism, reason, science and prosperity. Every Arab government is a dictatorship--be it a monarchy, theocracy or military state. Only in Israel is there freedom of speech and of the press, freedom of religion and the right to private property. The honest, non-violent Arab living in Israel enjoys far greater freedom than he would under any Arab regime, including the PLO. Israel, as the sole Western nation in that region, must be encouraged to apply its military superiority to achieve victory over the terrorists.
Permitting the Israelis to defeat the PLO and to fight terrorists is good for the United States, both militarily and morally. We will then have an effective, trustworthy ally fighting by our side. More important, it will show the world that we are committed to the values of Western Civilization, that we will defend them to our last breath, and that we will not yield. Such uncompromising commitment to freedom and to Western values is a weapon far more powerful than any in our nuclear arsenal.
Andrew Bernstein, author of The Capitalist Manifesto, is a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand--author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.
For more articles by Andrew Bernstein, and his bio, click here.
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