I've gotten so much email saying I'm despicable, saying I should be ashamed, saying I was a Palestinian apologist, saying I was bashing Israel...

I thought it best to try to repeat myself — for those of you who either love to twist someone else's words, or refuse to actually listen to what is being said.

I tried to say something slightly critical of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. I wasn't even critical of his determination to root out the terrorists in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza.

I was simply trying to say that in his zeal — and you have to be blind to not see the zeal — Sharon is undermining the ability of the American president to go after the larger problem in the region, which is Saddam Hussein and Iraq.

I did not say Sharon should not go after the terror infrastructure. I did not say that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is a good guy.

I did say that allowing U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to try to find some way to end the violence, and start something that might eventually result in a peaceful coexistence between Israel and a Palestinian state, would be a good thing.

Sharon's declaration that Powell's planned meeting with Arafat was a tragic mistake was a slap at the American president.

I've said that Arafat is a terrorist. I don't think there's any doubt about that. I've seen some indications he actually ordered the execution of two American diplomats, and I have no doubt he's sent suicide bombers into Israel to kill innocents.

The people who want to send Arafat into exile — Bibi Netanyahu being the most prominent — say there is simply no dealing with him, that to try undermines Israel. In fact... saying anything in opposition to Israel's virtually unrestrained military campaign undermines Israel.

I don't think this is true. America is Israel's friend and it is in Israel's interest to see that fact remains true.

America has an interest in proceeding with a war against the terror governments that are sitting unmolested in Iraq and Iran, and maybe even Syria. These are also Israel's fights, but they are fights that Israel dares not engage alone. It needs America to do it.

Yes... going after Arafat is important. Going after the bus bombers is important. We all hope Israel succeeds.

But if that effort is so unrestrained that it makes America's war on terror impossible or delays it unreasonably, that is not a good thing and should be avoided.

That's My Word.

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