Ransom by any other name

By Joseph Farah

Living in the greater Washington, D.C., area for the last three weeks, I hardly need any reminders about the terror residents have experienced as a result of the sniper attacks.

It was the first thing everyone in the area talked about. It was on the front page of the local newspapers. It was covered wall to wall by the cable news channels. And it was the subject of news and talk radio all day long.

Last week, I had to take a trip to Canada for a few days. Much to my surprise, I couldn’t escape the talk about the D.C. sniper or snipers.

It was front-page news every day in Toronto and Montreal. This was not just a big local story. It was not just a huge national story. It was a huge international story.

There were 13 single-shot attacks on people in Maryland, Washington and Virginia over the last three weeks. Ten of those attacks resulted in deaths.

That’s a lot of death. That’s a lot of fear.

Yet, last Monday, more people died in one suicide bomb attack in Israel than in all of these murderous attacks combined. And Monday’s attack in Israel wasn’t even one of the largest and deadliest of nearly daily suicide terror attacks in the Jewish state over the last year or so.

We now have reason to suspect the sniping attacks on Americans in the Washington, D.C., area were, in part, motivated by the same kind of hate that prompts suicide bombings in Israel.

It’s part of a war against Western civilization.

That’s what motivates the terrorists in Israel. It’s not about creating a Palestinian state. It’s about ending a Jewish state – a Jewish state that represents freedom in a sea of totalitarianism.

Yet Israel is still told by the world – even by many in the United States – to negotiate a settlement, to compromise with the terrorists, to meet the bombers half-way.

Fortunately, I have heard no suggestions that the FBI or Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose cut a deal with the snipers. Nor did I expect law enforcement authorities to pay a ransom demand – whether it was $10 million or $1 million. It was not going to happen.


Wouldn’t it be worth ensuring there were no more sniper attacks to pay $10 million? After all, taxpayers were probably paying more than $10 million a day to catch him. The economy in the Washington area was suffering. Tourism was way down. People were not going out to stores. Some were even cutting down on driving because they fear going to gas stations.

Yes, indeed, it would be worth the price. But it won’t be paid because there is a principle at work. We were not going to negotiate a deal with the sniper because if we cut one, we would be creating a market for more snipers. There would be no end to the violence. We would be rewarding it and other would-be millionaires who can hit a target at 100 yards would be tempted to take his place.

For precisely the same reason, we must stop asking Israel to cut a deal with the suicide bombers.

There is no compromising with killers. Killers kill. They must be caught and punished – preferably with death. Anything less than that encourages other would-be killers. Anything less provides incentive to kill. If we ever needed a laboratory to test this theory, we have one in Israel today.

Talking to the killers – people like Yasser Arafat who have killed hundreds of Israelis and at least 100 Americans since 1968 – empowers them. Why should they stop doing the very thing that provided them with rewards, the very thing that made them famous, the very thing that paralyzed their enemies, the only thing they are good at doing?

Why is it that we are able to see things so clearly in our own back yard, but not in Israel’s?