Whose Fault?

(Los Angeles Times) Max Abrahms - President Bush's close friendship with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon may be wearing thin. The IDF strike on Hamas leader Rantisi was not only a personal affront, the president declared, it risked derailing the entire peace process. The resulting escalation, by implication, is therefore Israel's fault. This interpretation is dubious. To justify it, you would have to believe that Rantisi did not pose an imminent threat to Israel, and that Hamas was currently a viable partner for peace. Both ideas need a rethink. Rantisi is a senior Hamas leader and, as such, was and remains a legitimate military target. Terrorism apologists commonly draw a distinction between the political and military wings of terrorist groups. This would be akin to saying that Osama bin Laden was not a terrorist because he did not actually fly the planes. The road map does not make targeted strikes illegal, but it does ban Palestinian incitement and the type of terror that scuttled Oslo. Only when this happens will Israelis find security and the Palestinians dignity - as President Bush used to say. Max Abrahms is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2003-06-12 00:00:00

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