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Thursday, September 23, 2004

"Humiliating" her saved maybe twenty lives: Questions for President Bush

President George W. Bush:

When an Israeli border policemen, Mamoya Tahio and Menashe Komemi approached Zainab Ali Issa, 18, asking for identification and then demanding that she be searched, is this what you were referring to yesterday at the United Nations as the "daily humiliation" of the Palestinian people?

So what was the poor girl to do? She had come all the way from Jenin with her explosives. She was no doubt carrying her bag as a fashion accessory. How dare those nasty Israeli bullies stop her and ask her what was in the bag?

How dare they stop her from approaching that hitchhiking stop packed with Israeli soldiers! Maybe she wanted a ride?

So she did what any nice Palestinian girl would do under the circumstances. She pressed her detonator, blew herself to hell, and murdered her inquisitors.

The reality is that young women who choose to become suicide bombers is a growing trend among the Palestinians. Zainab Ali Issa was the eighth successful female suicide bomber, all of them sent by Arafat's Fatah. In the last few weeks five would-be female bombers either have been caught or turned themselves in enroute to attacks.

There is a reason for this trend. Their handlers, invariably men, know that women look more innocent, are less likely to be stopped. They take advantage of the hesitance of Israeli soldiers to stop and search them.

When a woman walks by fully covered in the garb of traditional religion, there is a natural tendency to respect their modesty and privacy.

The "disrespect" of two heroic border policeman, their "humiliation" of this ticking bomb, saved the lives of at least a dozen people.

One has to wonder, listening to you scold Israel from the podium of the United Nations: have you no shame? Are you not afraid that the listening delegates will laugh at the sheer hypocrisy of you, the Commander in Chief of armed forces which daily, in the streets of Iraq, and in the homes of Iraqi families, submit the locals to searches and worse, not hesitating to shoot first and ask questions later when a suspicious character approaches a checkpoint or looks askance at a patrol?

Of course you are not afraid, because you know that the listening delegates are part of the same hypocritical double standard. Those who come to blow up Israelis are freedom fighters, not terrorists like the ones who try to blow them up. Israelis who try to reduce contact with suicide bombers who wish to infiltrate into their country are accused of creating an "Apartheid Wall."

Don't misunderstand me, Mr. President: I think the American armed forces are for the most part exemplary, as soldiers and as human beings. They are doing their best in a difficult mission. And if there are others, whether in Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay, show some disrespect for human rights and a taste for intentional humiliation and sexual abuse, they are the exceptions, the rotten apples who don't reflect or spoil the glorious bunch of men and women fighting the good fight, yes, to keep the world free and to fight the evil terrorists.

Why can't you see that it is exactly the same with us?

The heroes are the young border policeman who pay with their lives to save the lives of others. Who guard the checkpoints under terrible conditions. And yes, who live and build in the heartland of the Bible that belongs, and has always belonged to the Jewish people!

How dare you tell us to freeze our growth? How dare you insult us by accusing us of "humiliating" a people when all we are doing, and have always done, is to defend ourselves against murderers.

You seem to fancy that the Palestinians really want peace rather than to end Israel and kill Israelis, even if their leaders and people say so and do so?

Why can't you see, and say, that the villains are a people which glorifies ritual murder, which celebrates on TV and schools suicide bombing as the fashion of choice for young people? When the Palestinians started sending ticking bombs to murder our people, they forced us to impose stringent checks and, ultimately to build a barrier that is as ugly as it is necessary--at least for the moment. You build tall ugly barriers against Mexican seeking employment? Is our desire to keep suicide bombers out so terribly hard to understand?

So, President Bush, this is what we say: if protecting ourselves means "humiliating" others by stopping potential bombers and searching them, then let us humiliate them daily, 24/7.

President Bush: if you really fancy yourself the leader of the global war on terrorism, then please: stop resorting to this embarrassing double standard where you are unwilling to call the master terrorists by name, where you don't demand that the Palestinian fight terrorists in their midst, where you single out for criticism Israel -- the world leader in the fight against terror, historically in terms of counter-terror techniques, and the nation on the front lines and the most risk from terror.

When you say these shameful and foolish things in front of a shameless world, Mr. President, with all due respect, you do not earn the respect of your people, or ours.

I believe you remain basically on our side, and I have no doubt the "other guy" would probably say about the same, or worse. But when all is said and none, that really is no excuse. When you obscure the difference between good and evil, you undermine the moral basis of your just cause.

When you accuse us of "daily humiliations" as we give our lives to save lives, Mr. President, you only humiliate yourself.

Reuven Koret
Publisher, Israel Insider