The Iran-Hamas-Hezbollah axis was fully responsible for initiating the war on Israel, but the Islamists’ aggression was the logical product of U.S.-Israeli policy. The longstanding commitment of Israel and America to “diplomatic engagement” with Palestinians and Islamists–a euphemism for appeasement–is suicidal.
For decades America has urged Israel to placate and surrender to our common enemy. The U.S.-endorsed “Road Map to Peace,” like the “Peace Process” and sundry initia-
tives before it, rationalized Palestinian terrorism as the result of a legitimate grievance. If only the Palestinians’ wish for a civilized, peaceful state were fulfilled–Washington deluded itself into believing terrorism would end. And fulfilling this wish requires not smashing their terrorist infrastructure, but showering them with land and loot.
But the majority of Palestinians actually seek the destruction of Israel, and the slaughter of its people. Because they embrace this vicious goal, hordes of Palestinians idolized arch terrorist Yasser Arafat for waging a terrorist war to wipe out Israel and establish a nationalist dictatorship. They abetted Arafat’s terrorism and celebrated his atrocities. They served as cheerleaders or recruits for terrorist groups–and when they had the chance, they embraced the even more militant religious zealots of Hamas. It is no surprise that, according to a recent poll, 77 percent of Palestinians support their government’s kidnapping of an Israeli soldier and that 60 percent support the continued rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.
But even as Palestinians mounted more attacks, Washington pressed Israel for more concessions–and bolstered the terrorist-sponsoring Palestinian Authority with millions of dollars in aid. The U.S. forbade Israel from laying a finger on Arafat, and extended this tender solicitude to Hamas leaders. Washington actually whitewashed the blood-stained Arafat and his crony Abbas as peace-loving statesmen and invited them to the White House. And while Hezbollah fired rockets at major cities in northern Israel this summer, President Bush demanded that Israel show “restraint” and avoid toppling Lebanon’s government–a government that includes Hezbollah and that allows the Islamist group to initiate war against Israel.
Depressingly, Israel has continually relented to American pressure to appease our common enemy. It has prostrated itself before the Palestinians, with flamboyantly self-sacrificial offers of land-for-peace; it has withdrawn from southern Lebanon, ceding ground necessary to its self-defense; it has withdrawn from Gaza, leaving its southern cities at the mercy of rocket fire from the Hamas-run territory.
Such U.S.-endorsed appeasement by Israel, across decades, has enabled Hezbollah and Hamas to mount their current attacks. Yet America remains undeterred in its commitment to appeasement.
The U.S. is now trying to woo Iran with endless offers of economic “incentives,” if only Iran promises to stop chasing nuclear weapons. Evading Iran’s lust to “wipe Israel off the map,” evading its funding of Hezbollah and Hamas, evading its avowed enmity to America, evading its decades of fomenting and orchestrating a proxy terror war against American civilians–evading all of this, Washington deludes itself into believing that paying Iran off will, somehow, wipe out its hostility.
Inevitably, this encourages Iran to continue its aggressive support for terrorists and its fervent quest for nuclear weapons. Merely by prolonging the negotiations endlessly, Iran gains time to acquire a weapon to wield against its neighbors, to provide to Hamas and Hezbollah or to other proxies to use against the United States. And were Iran eventually to accept some deal, American aid would merely be sustaining Iran’s regime–and, inexorably, a covert nuclear program.
We are teaching the Islamic totalitarians in Gaza, Lebanon and Iran that their goal of destroying us is legitimate; that aggression is practical; that the more aggressive they are, the more we will surrender. U.S.-Israeli policy has demonstrated that we lack the intellectual self-confidence to name, let alone condemn, our enemies–and that we lack the will to deal with threats mercilessly. It vindicates the Islamists’ premise that their religious worldview can bring a scientific, technologically advanced West to its knees.
To protect the lives of our citizens, America and Israel must stop evading the nature of the enemy’s cause: our complete destruction. We must stop appeasing our common enemy–and embrace self-defense as a matter of intransigent principle. To put an end to the unabated threat of Islamic totalitarianism, America should urge Israel to annihilate the annihilators: Hamas and Hezbollah. And to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambition, America must use as much military force as is necessary to dispose of that catastrophic threat and the regime responsible for it.
Elan Journo is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute.