When Bush Comes to Shove — What Herb Thinks

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has sure made the singing, four-headed beast mad. I’m talking about the Quartet — that strange alliance of the US, the EU, the UN and Russia that is busy trying to bring peace to the Middle East. How did Sharon make the beast so mad? Not only has he rejected the Quartet’s beloved Road Map peace plan, he has actually called the Quartet irrelevant.

Image that! Here you have the head of a tiny nation, smaller in size than California, calling an alliance of the world’s greatest powers irrelevant.

You would think Sharon had stepped on all 40 of the four-headed beast’s toes. Suddenly the beast stopped singing and started growling. Harsh criticism to Sharon’s remarks were to be expected. But, if you listen carefully, the reaction coming from the beast is going beyond just criticism and is sounding more like a threat.

As I said, I was expecting an angry reaction from the other members of the Quartet — especially Javier Solana and the EU. But I wasn’t expecting what I heard coming from the mouth of the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. He actually suggested that the US would push Israel into accepting the Quartet’s Road Map. Powell said, “the Bush administration intended to push ahead vigorously with a peace plan devised in conjunction with European leaders. Read about it here.

Until now, it’s been commonly accepted in Washington that before there can be peace in that troubled region of the world, there first had to be two willing partners. In other words, the Israelis and the Palestinians would first have to come to the point where they were both willing to sit down and make peace.

However, it seems the four-headed beast is now becoming impatient with waiting for this to happen. And instead of gentle persuasion, the beast has decided to change tactics a little — it’s decided to push. And, as you know, it’s not far from a push to a shove.

Should this be the case, should the Quartet begin shoving Israel and the Palestinians into accepting their Road Map peace plan, I fear what may happen to America for being a part of it.

Here’s why. Prior to the first Gulf War I read a Los Angeles Times editorial titled “Keep Your Eyes on This Man.” The editorial was warning about the danger that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein posed to the region — including Israel.

While reading the editorial, I remember thinking to myself, “How will God protect Israel this time?” Soon my question was answered. Saddam invaded Kuwait, and the first Gulf War began. And, now it looks like a second Gulf War may remove Saddam completely from power.

In other words, when Saddam’s Iraq became a threat to Israel’s existence, God stepped in to protect Israel.

Question: Will the Quartet take Iraq’s place and become the next threat to Israel?

You see, when Bush comes to shove, God could step in again.

— Herb Peters
1/21/03