In “The Nation” today:
The Sharon-Bush Axis of Occupation: “Sharon will give Bush’s declining popularity a boost when he helps the US President reframe our current war against the people of Iraq as a struggle against terrorism. For thirty-seven years Israeli governments have used that approach to justify their own occupation of the West Bank and Gaza–and it has worked politically to convince many Israelis to ignore the evidence that it is the occupation that causes the terror and not vice versa.
President Bush may hope that Americans can be convinced that the United States should follow Israel’s example and respond to both terror and legitimate resistance with heightened repression. Israel has just assassinated the leading sheik associated with Hamas terrorism, and the Sharon government has refined a technique of collective punishment so that over the years it has punished millions of Palestinians for the acts of a handful of terrorists. While Sharon’s policies have actually generated an increase in the number of Israelis hurt by terror, the impression of ‘standing tough’ has worked to retain his popularity among many Israelis who have become convinced that Israel has every right to hold on to the West Bank. If the strategy works for Sharon, it might work for Bush’s adventure in Iraq as well–if Bush can find a way to convince Americans that the Israeli strategy America seems to be following in Iraq is precisely the way to stand strong against terror.”