JERUSALEM, July 27 (UPI) -- Imagine if Hamas and Islamic Jihad issued a unified official news release about the past year of suicide attacks on Jewish neighborhoods stating, "We of course have no interest in striking civilians and are always sorry over civilians who were struck."
And, if the unified Hamas and Islamic Jihad release continued, "But this operation ... is one of the great successes and, of course, demands that we will all be on full alert."
And if it concluded, "We cannot reach any compromise with the Israeli occupation, the Israeli occupation must be fought."
Of course, no such statements were made by Hamas or Islamic Jihad, but if these organizations were disciples of Ariel Sharon, such declarations would have been issued long ago.
The first two of these statements were actually made verbatim by Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, on Tuesday following what Israel called the targeted killing of a Hamas military leader using Israel's largely American-made air force. It happened in an occupied apartment building, killing nine Palestinian children and at least five others, along with the military leader.
The third statement, with a little change, paraphrases Sharon's words of that same day: "We cannot reach any compromise with terror, terror must be fought."
George Orwell must be turning over in his grave, and just about every honest and thinking person on earth who heard the news is shaking his head in disbelief.
Since his September 2000 violation of the third holiest site to Muslims by hundreds of Israeli soldiers, Ariel Sharon has done everything he could to decimate the Oslo peace processes that so many of us worked so hard to nurture.
My own contribution to peace came after I graduated from college, and started an organization that sent delegations of lawyers, students and everyday people to the Middle East to interview Israelis and Palestinians, and to share the experience with Americans on their return; invariably advocating for a two-state solution that eventually formed the basis of the Olso accords.
It should now be clear to all that Sharon knew what he was doing all along. He clearly outmaneuvered Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres, Yasser Arafat and a whole range or others who were at least on the path to peace, albeit a bumpy one.
I am not and never have advocated violence, but viewed from the other side's perspective, Sharon's bellicose logic provides for a rationale that would extend the cycle of violence. Sharon's extra-judicial executions are illegal by international law in the first place.
And if a few dozen innocent Israeli children die in the process, terrible as it would seem, the logic would go, so be it. If this is the reality that the international community accepts that we now live in, then I'm moving to a sleepy corner of Vermont to become a goat farmer.
The last time I was personally involved in violence was in grade-school when some kid nastily pushed me around, stepped on my metal lunch box and I punched him in the nose. I have learned since then, that words carry more weight than punches.
But I have news for Sharon, and I have news for every Israeli: a very large proportion of the more than 150 million children and youth in the Arab World now have televisions, and they will never, never forget what the Israeli people, the Israeli military and Israeli democracy have done to Palestinian children. And there will be thousands who will seek to avenge these brutal murders of innocents, instead of wanting to move to Vermont like me in disgust and horror.
It frightens me to say this, but I also have news for my fellow Americans. Our weapons, our tax dollars and our blessings have enabled Sharon to perpetuate these brutal attacks against civilians. We too shouldn't be shocked when our military assistance to Israel and our security council vetoes that keep on protecting Israel come back to haunt us. That's just the way a large part of the Arab World sees it.
I have always visibly and strongly condemned those who kill Israeli civilians in Israel and I will continue to do so. Sadly, I do not have higher expectations of Sharon. But disgrace upon those who defend him, be they Nobel Peace Prize winner Peres, U.S. President George W. Bush, who on Dec. 1, 1999, called Sharon "a great warrior and a hero of freedom and democracy" and has since said similarly kind things, or anyone else.
(Hady Amr was formerly the national director of ethnic American outreach for Al Gore's presidential campaign. He currently manages the Amr Group and can be reached at email@example.com.)