I find Sharon’s intention to conduct “a war on terror,” — implying Arafat to be the moral equivalent of bin Laden — disingenuous, dishonest and despair-inducing. Yes, some Palestinian radicals blew themselves up and took a fair number of Israelis with them. But many of these folks do have legitimate grievances, even if they’re expressing them by illegitimate means. The Israelis literally colonized another people’s homeland, displacing thousands. And they treat their Palestinian citizens as second-rate. Would you take it lightly if you got kicked out of the family home, and then had your remaining unviolated rights treated with arrogant disregard by the people who did it? This is not a story of bad people against good people.
And Arafat just isn’t a terrorist. Well… at least not any more than Sharon, a man pegged by his own government for the massacre of hundreds of Palestinian civilians. Arafat may look the other way at times, as his people don’t have a high-tech military backed by the world’s most powerful nation. Terrorizing attacks are the only way for them to retaliate against Israeli agression and injustice. No doubt some Palestinians have simply turned into fanatical anti-semites, wishing the destuction of Israel more than Palestinian independence and autonomy. But this hatred is stewed in a cauldron fired by so much intermingled agression that it is difficult to segregate the just from the unjust passions. And some Israelis are their mirror image. I really have difficulty avoiding moral equivalence here.