Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 03.30.04


Sayonara Sheik

Recently, in the Brattleboro (Vermont) Reformer editorial "Mideast myopia," the paper blasts the Bush administration for its tepid condemnation of Israel's assassination of Sheik Yassin.

The myopia in the title belongs to the writer of this editorial, I fear.

Israel's policy of killing off the leaders of Hamas is exactly the same as the US is trying like hell to do against the leaders of Al Quaeda.

Should a Hellfire missile target Osama Bin Laden and splatter his murdering corpus all over the cave wall there would be a national day of rejoicing. Including, no doubt, the editorial writing staff at the Reformer.

Would expunging the earth of Bin Laden it be legal? Just as legal as killing Yassin.

Sheik Yassin is Israel's Bin Laden. He is the mastermind behind hundreds of suicide bombings that have slaughtered civilians over the past several years. This savage cretin has organized children to carry bombs into Jerusalem to murder other children.

Do you extend an olive branch to such a creature or squash him like a dung beetle? Will the killing stir up a hornet's nest, as the editorial cartoon in the same Reformer issue implies?

Sure it will, but in words only. Hamas is already doing everything they can to murder Israelis and have been for quite a while. By squashing the head of this snake there should be less bombings, not more.

Target the rest of the Hamas leadership, as well. Without doubt there will be a reduction in suicide bombers.

Washington should be condemning most of Israel's policies toward the Palestinian people. Israel has been behaving like in much the same way as those who have oppressed them for centuries.

They demolish the houses of Palestinians, build a wall to separate them from schools and work, expand into their territory and force them to live in refugee camps in their own country.

It is a disgrace to Jewish heritage and humanity to behave the way Sharon has done toward Palestinians. The world knows that Washington's support of Israel is biased against Palestine.

The Reformer states that the U.S is eroding what little credibility it has by their mealy-mouth reaction to Sharon's extra-judicial death sentence. My question is "What credibility"? We have none whatsoever.

We are already reviled by 99.9 percent of the inhabitants in the Mideast. We could drop a bomb on Mecca and they couldn't hate us any more.

If we want to change the hearts and minds of the Mideast, then we should condemn in the strongest terms Israel's treatment of the Palestinian citizenry.

We must insist on Israel's withdrawal from occupied areas and back up the demands by withholding aid to Israel. That would certainly get their attention.

The United States has been sitting like a turtle on a warm rock watching these people kill each other. Where is the effort to broker a peace?

The Palestinians will come to the table any time. The US could force Sharon to the table in a heartbeat. Just close the aid vault until they do.

When we hate an administration, like many do, Israel's the tendency is to see every thing they do as evil, stupid, or both. No administration is all bad. Blind luck and odds suggest that they have to do some things right.

Now that they have killed Yassim, Israel must leave the Gaza strip and pull out of the occupied territories. They can follow up a show of strength with a willingness to step on a path toward peace.

The United States must facilitate a peace process. So far all this administration has done is topple two Middle Eastern governments by force of arms. Are they capable of arbitrating a peaceful discussion between these antagonists?

Israel's decision to vaporize Yassim may not have been strictly Kosher, according to international law. However, if you had a chance to rid yourself of a man responsible for murder over 300 of your neighbors, who vowed to continue the bloodbath, what would you do?