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President Bush telephoned Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) on Friday, July 4, to thank him for his strong leadership, said the president’s spokesman, Ari Fleisher.

You’ve got to be kidding me! On the Fourth of July, you call a terrorist and thank him for his leadership? Was it Fleisher who said that, or Baghdad Bob?

This was the same day that President Bush said at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, “We will not stand by and wait for another attack, or trust the restraint and good intentions of evil men.”

But is that not exactly what we are doing, trusting the restraint and good intentions of evil men? Abbas was the chief financial officer of a terrorist organization for over two decades.

Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) took office on April 29 with the blessing of the U.S., and a mandate to fight terrorism. The quid pro quo for releasing the roadmap was the appointment of Abbas as prime minister. Is Mazen following through?

If we are willing to do it for the Palestinian Authority, why not do the same for the Baath Party? Maybe they will also help us in Iraq?

The fact that the cease-fire held for eight days only proves one thing: The powers that are restraining terrorism are the same powers that ignited it. That is enough reason to put the whole “Arafatstan” leadership in jail!

Where is the moral high ground in all of this? Do murderers have a legitimate grievance against the targeted society? Once that argument is won, the war on terrorism is lost.

The huda (cease-fire) for 90 days was made with Hamas and Islamic Jihad under the conditions that all the terrorists go free. If this happens we just bought the farm, and terrorists are no longer terrorists – they’re freedom fighters and prisoners of war. By the way, when did the war end?

Maybe Mayor Giuliani had it wrong when he told me there is never a justification for terrorism. I should have asked him why didn’t he lobby for a Taliban prime minister. Who knows, maybe Osama would have agreed to a 90-day cease-fire had we agreed to release all of New York’s murderers from jail.

On June 24, 2002, President Bush set forth the conditions that Abbas must fulfill in order to merit U.S. support for the creation of a Palestinian State. Among the many obligations are that the Palestinians must “dismantle the terrorist infrastructure … end incitement … and elect new leaders who would not be compromised by terrorism.” This has not happened.

Bush is demanding Israel release terrorists as a confidence-building measure? Just whose confidence are we building – the terrorists?

In June, Israel released more than 100 individuals as a good-will gesture to the PA. Among them was Fatah member Ahmed Jbarra who was serving a life sentence for murdering 14 people in Jerusalem. Jbarra went to Ramallah, headquarters of P.A. Chairman Yasser Arafat to receive his blessing and was appointed an adviser.

Also, among the released terrorists was Taisir Khaled, arrested by security forces in Nablus in February. He is a member of the PLO executive committee. He was the head of the terrorist organization Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Samaria that killed scores of Israelis.

And what about the release of Abu Mutlak as a good-will gesture when P.A. Security Affairs Muhammad Dahlan submitted the request? Mutlak was arrested on May 5. He is suspected of planning the November 2000 attack on a Kfar Darom school bus in which Miriam Amitai and Gavriel Biton were killed and nine children wounded. Three siblings, Orit, Yisrael and Tehilla Cohen ages 12, 8 and 7 lost legs.

Israel is pulling down its security fence, releasing prisoners as demanded by the Quartet, getting out of the territories, and destroying illegal outposts. Israel has stopped attacking terrorists and deporting them.

A senior Palestinian Authority representative said Sunday that the P.A. would break off the cease-fire agreement if Israel decides not to release Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners who have blood on their hands.

How is President Bush reshaping the Middle East? Is he running two foreign policies at the same time? One “we have them on the run,” the other “they’re running out of prison.”

Will appeasement send a signal to the terrorist regimes that crime pays, and that they too can be rewarded with concessions? Will this increase terrorism, undermine America’s credibility and put U.S. troops in harm’s way?

The P.A. has signed 10 agreements in the past, only to break them. Why not this one?

Barghouti, who was released, was the man called an “honorable hero” by Mahmoud Abbas when he was confirmed as prime minister. Abbas pledged to secure Barghouti’s freedom. He did! A terrorist who killed 26 Israelis walked free.

How can the war on terrorism be won if terrorist organizations on our U.S. State Department’s list – like Hamas, Al-Aqsa Brigades and Islamic Jihad – are rewarded for their crimes? What kind of signal will that send to the nut cases of the world? That we fear them, and want to appease them!

On June 18, Abu Mazen offered to include Hamas and Islamic Jihad in his new leadership. “In an attempt to persuade Hamas and other radical Palestinian factions to agree to a temporary cease-fire with Israel, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas offered to give the groups political representation in a newly-formed body called the ‘unified national leadership’ [Jerusalem Post June 2003].”

I am a Texan who supports President Bush, but he’s wrong on this one. I don’t want some nutcase showing up in 2004 yelling, “It’s terrorism, Stupid!” because of Islamic crackpots losing their fear of America and exporting the Palestinian H-Bomb (human bomb) to our shores.

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