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The Wednesday morning terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of three American diplomatic personnel is an extremely serious sign that asymmetrical terrorism, the poor man’s bomb, may be heading west.
The fact that no one wants to claim responsibility is another bad sign that the terrorists implemented a very carefully thought-out plan, so as not to incur the wrath of the “Great Satan.” It is extremely difficult to retaliate against a ghost.
This atrocity only reaffirms the hatred Islamic fundamentalists have for the West. Terrorists are, indeed, equal opportunity employers.
It also demonstrates that terrorist-harboring and terrorist-supporting dictatorships are not capable of being partners in peace. Only democracies know the benefits of peace.
While in Jerusalem this week, I paid my respects to the family of Yehudit Hausner, the widow of Adolf Eichmann’s prosecutor, Gideon Hausner, who died at the age of 86. She was a devoted volunteer for the Israel Cancer Association and Yad Sarah, a nonprofit organization that provides free medical equipment and services. Her passing has brought to mind one of the outstanding moral attributes of Israel: how this country treats its enemies.
In his June 1961 summation in the trial of the man who directed Hitler’s “Final Solution,” Gideon Hausner had this to say about Eichmann: “He is responsible because of the conspiracy and the plots for all that happened to the Jewish people – from the shores of the Arctic Ocean to the Aegean Sea, from the Pyrenees to the Urals.”
The arch-murderer Eichmann was put to death for his crimes – the only person to be executed by the state of Israel since its founding. While Israel pre-emptively attacks terrorists before they can strike, the hundreds of Palestinian terrorists who have murdered 893 Israelis since September 2000 and who are held in Israeli prisons know that they are safe from such retribution. Except for another Eichmann, Israel’s death penalty will remain an inactive statute.
Why does the Jewish state refrain from carrying out what might be considered such a biblically appropriate punishment? This regular practice is indicative of Israel’s treatment of prisoners and no doubt stems from the biblical injunction to “be kind to the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Such moral sensitivity is mind-boggling when compared to just one part of the United States. When President George W. Bush was governor of Texas, 150 men and two women were executed for their crimes by the state, a record unequalled by any other governor.
No Arab has ever been given the death penalty by Israel, even after the most heinous acts of terrorism. In contrast, at least three Palestinians convicted of collaborating with Israel have been executed by the Palestinian Authority since the beginning of the current violence in September 2000.
Not only does Israel not execute terrorist murderers – it treats them in its hospitals with the same level of care as their victims receive. On a recent visit to Israel, I called on some of the victims of the Cafe Hillel suicide bombing in Jerusalem on Sept. 9. On the same floor at Hadassah Hospital where they were being treated for their wounds, a Palestinian terrorist prisoner was recuperating after being shot by soldiers.
On a fortunately much smaller scale, Gideon Hausner’s epitaph for Eichmann could be applied to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, the man responsible for worldwide terrorism that has killed thousands of innocent people. The Palestinian leader who offered Israel an olive branch while brandishing a pistol at the United Nations in 1975 has instead dispatched over 100 suicide bombers to Israel and is directly responsible for over 1,000 Israeli deaths.
Now rumors abound that Arafat is seriously ill and may have stomach cancer. Egyptian and Jordanian doctors have rushed to Ramallah and reportedly have pronounced him suffering from a stomach infection, the flu, a mild heart attack and overwork, to name just a few of the rumored maladies. Whatever plagues Arafat, this is a golden opportunity for Sharon to demonstrate to the world the meaning of Israel’s humane democracy – even regarding such an incorrigible enemy – by offering to treat Arafat.
I have proposed extending this invitation to Arafat to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. I suggested that Hadassah-University Hospital on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus would be an ideal place: Besides treating Jewish victims of Arab terrorism alongside Palestinian terrorists, its deputy director lost his father in one of the first plane bombings engineered by Arafat in 1968.
Over 25,000 Israelis have lost their lives in the 55 years since Israel’s independence in five major wars and as a result of Palestinian terrorism aimed against Israel’s civilian population. Israelis yearn for peace and the ability to live free from constant danger and from the hostility of the Arab world.
Furthermore, Israel is an object of hatred and of demonization in the Arab world – particularly in Arafat’s Palestinian Authority, whose schools glorify the acts of suicide bombers. What better way for Israel to demonstrate to the anti-Semitic, lunatics, liberals and liars of the region than by offering to treat the Palestinian leader?