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April 11, 2003

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H~ERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 11, 2003 PAGE 23 Amitay Continued from page 4 quoted stating that President Bush "understands that the Whole world is going to be looking to him to do some- thing about the Middle East once Iraq has been dealt with." We all know what Powell tneans by "something." And a Week earlier unnamed State Department officials said that this misguided plan, aptly de- scribed as 'Ssarmed over Oslo" would be presented without any changes to both Israel and the Palestinians. The latter, who have been demonstrating by the tens of thousands in favor of Saddam, and who named their main square in Jenin after a suicide bomber who killed American troops, are treated as equals with Is- rael when it comes to stop- ping "the violence." The road map essentially would give Palestinians state- hood by 2005 with the Quartet being the judge of their com- pliance to vaguelyworded con- ditions. Nowonder Israel, from bitter experience with Pales- tinian promises, has major problems with the map. This means that Israeli's friends have a major job to do here in Washington. While the *Battle for Baghdad has yet to begin, the battle for Israel's future security is already shaping up. It is not too early to start ring- ing the alarm bells. The message we are being sent is no longer "start worry- ing - details to follow" - but start acting before it is too late. Morrie Amitay is a former Director of AIPAC. Editor's note: Morrie Amitay submitted this OP-ED before the Battle of Baghdad began. Continued from page 5 Arab world, not just appeas- ing it as its predecessors of Sure being exerted on this both parties did. Blair's hopes .COuntry by its British ally, it notwithstanding, Palestinian JUst might treachery and terror will win President Bush s seminal them no friends even in the June 24 speech, which set postwar push for peace. The forth a vision of peace based futility of attempting to win n the transformation of the the hearts and minds of P.A. and the ouster of Yasser people who hate Israel and ~,rafat, seems to be forgotten America may be apparent to lately. Talk from British all but academics and diplo- Prime Minister Tony Blair as mats. Well as Secretary of State Colin Powell and his coterie apPeasement-minded dip- Onlats make the nightmare all too real. everyone in D.C. is an idiot foBut is postwar catastrophe r Israel certain? The an- despite the prophets of is no. not? ,don't assume that ev- in the administra- ts an idiot. Many at the Security Council Department of De- been paying at- to the ties that have clearly demonstrated Syria's intervention in behalf of the Ira- intention to use to destabilize any is also )ro- administration is d to changing the So far, President Bush has been a man of his word. While he is on record in favor of a Palestinian state, he is also committed to a vision of de- mocracy and real peace. He may actually insist that prin- ciples of his June 24 speech be upheld, which will tor- pedo a process based on Pal- estinian promises. Second, don't underesti- mate the stupidity of the Pai- estinians. They could have had everything they could have asked for on a silver platter three years ago and rejected it because they wanted even more - all of Israel. Despite the noises about Abu Mazen's"modera- tion," he and the other kill- ers in Ramallah haven't changed their stripes. It is more likely that they will em- barrass any administration that emulates the efforts of Bill Clinton to accommodate them than it is likely that they will go along. Third, don't underesti- mate the will of the Israelis. To the dismay of the Jewish right, Sharon has rightly de- cided to avoid open confron- tations with Washington over theoretical concessions. That astuteness will stand him in good stead in the delicate days ahead. Saying 'no' to suicidal con- cessions without setting off a war of words with Wash- ington is a delicate art but the "bulldozer" may have mastered it. He can afford to keep his powder dry and wait for the Palestinians to mess up another opportunity. Finally, don't underesti- mate the support for Israel among the American people. Bush got a taste of that last spring. He and his political guru Karl Rove haven't for- gotten the full court press of Christian Evangelicals to lay off Israel at the height of Arafat's terror war. Nor will he willingly antagonize them or an energized American Jewish community that is more open to supporting him in 2004. Victory in Iraq is a cer- tainty and it is something that will be go0 for America, Israel and the Arab world. It may also bring peril for Is- rael but those who assume the worst aren't necessarily right. Though it looks like the Quartet juggernaut may Usser i tinued from page 5 have sent hundreds of sui- that an American imbroglio late March, U.S. Secre- of Defense Donald Feld warned the Syr- the United States not tolerate much He called the Syrian lent of night-vision es a "hostile act" for the United States hold Damascus ac- v days later, Secretary Colin Powell indi- Syria would have a "critical choice" side it is on. ue direct st groups lying regime of or it can on a different and hopeful course," told the American Affairs Com- ay night. "Ei- , Syria bears the ility for its choices, le consequences." only proving to t supporter War. also on the State list of terror- and according to sources, the biggest stock- emical weapons of Eastern country. chemical war- Well the Scud deliver them. organiza- hosts claim to tide bombers to Iraq to at- tack American troops. Ramadan Shalah, the Dam- ascus-based commander of Islamic Jihad - which claimed responsibility for Sunday's suicide bombing in Netanya - declared that the bombing was his organization's "gift to the Iraqi people," and that hundreds of his followers were already in Iraq to fight "the murderer Bush." "This excessive self-confidence could not exist without the approval of the Jihad's land- lord, the Syrian regime," as one Israeli analyst noted. By far the biggest and most potent terrorist organization Syria backs is the Iranian- controlled Hezbollah, which has an estimated 10,000 Katyusha rockets trained on targets in Israel, and which has a proven operational ca- pacity all over the world. Some U.S. defense analysts see Hezbollah as the fore- most terrorist organization in the world, more danger- ous even than AI-Qaida. To deal with Syria after the war in Iraq, one idea the Bush administration appar, ently is contemplating is a U.S.-imposed land, sea and air blockade on Syria until it dismantles its weapons of mass destruction, expels ter- rorist organizations from Damascus and disarms Hezbollah. Assad seems to be hoping in Iraq will save his regime, but he also has taken out some insurance against an America that emerges from the war as the undisputed power broker in the Middle Eastern. So far, Syria has helped keep Hezbollah in check dur- ing the war, and has relayed information to American in- telligence on the where- abouts of some AI-Qaida op- eratives. Assad could go further in search of American approval by introducing a degree of democratization. But he seems to fear that step as opening a Pandora's box that he can't control, Israeli ana- lysts say. Assad's Alawite sect, which rules Syria, constitutes only about 13 percent of the country's population. Exposing Syrian society to the winds of change, he fears, might end up sweeping away his regime. Assad's father had similar fears. In his day, Syrian dis- sidents compared Hafez Assad's regime to Romania under Ceaucescu, dubbing him "Assadescu." Between America's wrath and the risk of liberalization in Syria, Bashar Assad seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place. Leslie Susser is the diplo- matic correspondent for the Jerusalem Report. turn the Israelis into road kill, a lot can happen to de- rail that collision before it happens. Jonathan S. Tobin is ex- ecutive editor of the Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia. He can be reached via e-mail at jtobin@jewishexponent. com. From your friends at SIGNATURE GMAC REAL ESTATETM 147 West Lyman Avenue Winter Park, FL 32789 Office: (407) 629-8881, ext. 214 Toll Free: 1-800-462-4906 Fax: (407) 629-8862 Wishing You a Happy Passover! 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