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It's All Related
by Judy Lash Balint
Jerusalem Post
September 11, 2005

So, here we are, it's 9/11-- memorial ceremonies broadcast live from New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, and no one seems to be paying too much attention to the irony that it's exactly this day that Israel has chosen to officially lower the flag on its presence in the Gaza Strip.

I'm sitting half a world away from my Jerusalem home visiting family and friends in the US Pacific Northwest, desperately seeking any coverage of the drama taking place in Israel that could have bleak implications for the war on terror ignited by the very events commemorated today.

While it's hard to get news here of the Israeli troops retreating from Gaza, a quick survey of news outlets in the Arab world shows that the occasion isn't being missed over there at all. Every terrorist group in the world is getting the message loud and clear: Look what the Palestinians achieved by a concerted campaign of terror. As the Israeli newspaper Hatzofeh put it: "No terrorist organization in the world has won such a sweet, moving and emotional victory as Palestinian terrorism which received the hasty Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as a gift…without having to give anything in exchange, either diplomatically or militarily."

I'm heading to Vancouver BC tomorrow to speak to a church group about what I witnessed covering the Gaza retreat a few short weeks ago. Do I tell these peace-loving Christians that my own government that was once a beacon of strength in standing up to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism is now among the leading appeasers of terror in the world? How about explaining the last minute decision not to have Israeli soldiers demolish 19 remaining synagogues left standing in Gush Katif--should that be viewed as a clever move to expose to the world how the Arabs will deal with Jewish religious sites?

Maybe it'll just be easier to focus on the plight of Christians in the Holy Land--the recent pogrom against Christians in the Galilee village of Taibe; the ongoing decimation and intimidation of Christians in Bethlehem. It's so clear that it's all related--9/11: the Gaza retreat and the plight of Christians in every country where Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise. And in each of these cases it should also be clear that appeasement doesn't work.