Sharon stands or falls with Bush

By Michael Evans

Editor’s note: Mike Evans’ new book, “The American Prophecies,” topped best-seller charts even before its release, knocking Bill Clinton’s “My Life” off the No. 2 spot on Amazon before ascending to No. 1. In his book, Evans explores current events in the light of ancient Scriptures and America’s place in biblical prophecy.

In November 1998, the future president of the United States was given a helicopter tour of Israel by the future prime minister of the Jewish state. At the time, then Texas governor George W. Bush and then Israeli Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon probably did not imagine they would meet again as the leaders of their countries.

What is important about that now-legendary flight is that it is generally accepted the two men shared a genuine bonding experience – about themselves and the land of Israel. Sharon, the Negev rancher, pointed out the narrow, pre-June 1967 borders to Texas rancher Bush. Sharon was speaking as a native son, describing the security needs of the reborn, biblical state of Israel as one who had fought in all its wars. It is not unlikely that Sharon shared with Bush his faith in Israel’s future, his faith in Zionism – the national liberation movement of the Jewish people – and his faith in those who settled the country.

Bush was said to have been deeply impressed by Israel’s constrained topography. He later told an American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference that, in Texas, some driveways are longer than Israel is wide. Bush was obviously moved by what he saw, describing it in his autobiography as “an incredible experience.”

George W. Bush himself is a man of great faith, who has proudly declared his commitment to Christian values. Sharon’s helicopter tour spoke to his heart about the Holy Land, the birthplace of Christianity, and the site of many Christian shrines. To a man of such faith, the Jewish state is not just another country.

As President Bush observed in an address to the National Commemoration of the Days of Remembrance on April 19, 2001:

Through centuries of struggle, Jews across the world have been witnesses not only against the crimes of men, but for faith in God, and God alone. Theirs is a story of defiance in oppression and patience in tribulation, reaching back to the Exodus and their exile into the Diaspora. That story continued in the founding of the state of Israel. The story continues in the defense of the state of Israel.

The war against terrorism is a good example of how valuable the Bush-Sharon relationship is to Israel. The October 2001 murder of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi by Palestinian terrorists – the first assassination of an Israeli minister by Palestinians – was considered by Sharon to be a parallel of America’s war in Afghanistan. Yasser Arafat was the equivalent of Mullah Omar and the Palestinian Authority was the equivalent of the Taliban regime, supporting terrorists who slaughtered and wounded thousands.

In response, the world heard President Bush proclaim that either you’re with the terrorists or you’re against them – that those who harbor terrorists are as bad as the terrorists themselves.

Bush has also helped Sharon lead the fight against terrorism in a more practical way. After the president’s comment about wanting bin Laden and his accomplices “dead or alive,” the State Department could hardly criticize Israel’s “targeted killings” of key terrorists. Just the opposite: The State Department now righteously demands that Arafat take tougher steps to halt terrorism. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah have all been placed on State’s wanted list of terrorist groups.

Bush supports Sharon’s unilateral decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, hailing the move as “historic and courageous.” Furthermore, in Washington this April, the president said world leaders owed Sharon a “thank you” for his plans for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Bush blasted the Palestinian leadership as having “failed the people, year after year after year” by not preventing terrorism against Israel.

In May 2004, as Israeli troops tore through the Gaza Strip to uncover arms-smuggling tunnels, Bush told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that Israel and the United States are two freedom-loving democracies defending themselves against terrorism. “The world watches for weakness in our resolve,” Bush said. “They will see no weakness. We will answer every challenge … America is on the offensive, and we will stay on the offensive until the terrorists are stopped and our people are safe.”

There is perhaps no better an indication of the bond between President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon than how Chairman Arafat sees it. According to a CNS report of July 26, the head of Israeli Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze’evi, said that Yasser Arafat is waiting out the U.S. presidential election in anticipation that Bush will not be re-elected.

“Arafat is now waiting for the month of November in the hope that President Bush will be defeated in the presidential election and turned out of office,” Ze’evi was quoted as telling the Cabinet on July 25. He added that Arafat also expects Bush’s defeat to bring down the Sharon government.

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