Poisoned by Fanaticism

(Telegraph-UK) - The most immediate effect of Wednesday's terrorist attack on American intelligence personnel in Gaza will be to reinforce the widespread belief in America that Palestinian violence should be treated as an integral part of the war on terrorism. Such a move would pose a challenge for Tony Blair, who has sought to treat Palestinian "armed struggle" as a case apart - as a rational, albeit often excessively violent, response to the conditions of Israeli occupation. Whichever Palestinian faction perpetrated these murders - and it may well be that Hamas or Islamic Jihad employed the flag of convenience of "Popular Resistance Committee" in much the same fashion as the IRA allowed some particularly inopportune atrocities to be claimed by the "Catholic Reaction Force" - there is no doubting the common ideological well-spring from which all these groups drink. Young people in the occupied territories are indoctrinated from an early age into the Wahabbist version of Islam that so inspired bin Laden. Considering the burgeoning anti-Western and anti-Semitic delirium that now afflicts many of these Palestinians, perhaps the only surprise is that such an attack did not happen sooner. The attack in Gaza should prompt a reappraisal of CIA training of Palestinian security personnel. The PA's complex apparatus is so riddled with Islamist infiltrators - some of whom may have tipped off the terrorists on the whereabouts of the American convoy - as to raise serious questions about whether it is a genuine partner for peace. Like the Saudi intelligence services, which are heavily penetrated by bin Laden, the Palestinian security machine is at best a liability in the war on terrorism.

2003-10-16 00:00:00

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