The road map — path to ruin or best chance for peace Palestinian terrorism, statehood are incomp

The latest Palestinian Arab terrorist bombings prove that while the Palestinian Authority has a new prime minister and a new Cabinet, it still has the same old policy of financing and training terrorists to murder Jews.

When Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) became the Palestinian Authority's prime minister three weeks ago, the Bush administration hailed him as a "moderate" and unveiled a "road map" offering the Palestinian Authority a sovereign state after it arrests and disarms terrorists, shuts down their training camps, halts all anti-Jewish incitement in the Palestinian Authority and embraces democracy.

Three weeks have now passed. That may not be enough time to completely defeat the terrorists, but it certainly is enough time to have made a start of it. Abbas could have ordered the Palestinian Authority's media to stop inciting hatred and glorifying terrorists. He didn't. He could have ordered the police to start arresting terrorists and confiscating their weapons. He didn't. He could have taken simple steps, such as outlawing terrorist groups, changing the names of streets and schools named after terrorists or halting the Palestinian Authority's policy of sending paychecks to terrorists imprisoned in Israel. But he didn't do that, either.

In his first speech as prime minister, Abbas praised the 2-1/2-year Palestinian Arab war against Israel, hailed the "martyrs" (the term the Palestinian Authority uses for, among others, suicide bombers) and demanded that Israel release all imprisoned terrorists. He is also the author of a book claiming there was no Holocaust, that the Jews collaborated with the Nazis to murder several hundred thousand Jews so as to create sympathy for establishing a Jewish state.

Under these circumstances, for President Bush to forge ahead with his "road map" to the creation of Palestinian Arab state would mean creating a new terrorist state that will endanger Israel. A recent McLaughlin poll found that by 71 percent to 13 percent, Americans oppose creating a Palestinian Arab state because they believe it will seek Israel's destruction.

Granting statehood does not guarantee peace. Syria, Iran and Iraq are sovereign states. That hasn't made them peaceful. On the contrary: It has strengthened those regimes' ability to promote hatred and wage war.

The road map is deeply flawed in other ways, as well. It states that "The Quartet will meet regularly at senior levels to evaluate the parties' performance." Thus the job of determining if the Palestinian Arabs are complying will be in the hands of four parties that have been consistently hostile to Israel and sympathetic to the Palestinian Arabs — the European Union, the United Nations, Russia and the State Department. Would the United States ever consider allowing the European Union, the United Nations or Russia to have a say in decisions affecting American national security?

The road map also imposes an un-American policy of ethnic discrimination. It halts Jewish construction in the disputed Judea-Samaria territories, while not limiting the much more widespread Arab construction in those areas — even though Jews reside in less than 2 percent of the land in those areas.

The road map requires that by May 31, Israel must stop dismantling terrorists' homes and deporting terrorists, withdraw its troops to its September 2000 borders and reduce security checkpoints — all of which will undermine Israel's ability to combat terrorists.

Bush responded to the latest wave of bombing against Israel by pledging to continue with the road map. What a powerful message it would send to terrorists and their supporters if, instead, he had announced that the United States is suspending all relations with the Palestinian Authority terrorist regime and withdrawing support for creation of a Palestinian Arab state, until the Palestinian Authority arrests terrorists, confiscates their weapons, outlaws terror groups and ends anti-Jewish incitement.

What a powerful message it would send if he would respond to terrorism against Israel by announcing that the United States will fully support whatever measures Israel must take to defend itself. Instead, the terrorists know that if Israel hits back forcefully, the State Department will criticize Israel for "overreacting" and will continue pushing to give the Palestinian Authority a state.

The road map plan clearly endangers Israel. It would force Israel back to the indefensible 1967 borders, leaving it just nine miles wide at its mid-section — that's about the width of Washington, D.C. A Palestinian Arab state would then be created next door — a mini-Iraq, based on a culture of hatred and violence, which would be within easy striking distance of Israel's major cities and airports. Not only would this endanger Israel, but it would also undermine America's war against terrorism by sending a message to terrorists everywhere that violence will reap political concessions. That's not the kind of message America should be sending at this crucial moment in the international war against terrorism.