What is wrong with a people who choose to live under a terrorist organization, as opposed to a state that respects freedom of worship, democracy and — to a great extent — individual rights? Why do Palestinian Arabs pick a terrorist dictator over an essentially free country?

Nobody ever asks this question.

For eight years, under the Clinton Administration, Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian “Liberation” Organization (P.L.O.) were elevated to a status they did not deserve. More than anything that took place during the Clinton years, this probably did the most to pave the way for today’s monstrous terrorism on American soil.

The Clintons, who could not help but identify and sympathize with a two-faced power monger such as Yasser Arafat, were only too happy to place Israel and the P.L.O. on the same moral plane. We knew at that time, as we know even better today, that the P.L.O. has direct ties to terrorist organizations. It didn’t matter to the Clintons, to whom freedom was not especially important; but it should have mattered to the rest of us.

Now the P.L.O. is angry. After being treated like a dignified and peaceful nation state for eight long years, they are now appalled to be up against a much more determined and principled Israeli leader than we have seen for some time.

The United States is unfortunately making matters worse, by going back and forth between siding with Israel, on the one hand, and treating them as equals with the P.L.O. in some mythical “peace process” on the other. The policy seems to change daily, if not hourly. The Bush administration must make up its mind, and fast: Does it want to continue appeasing the P.L.O., or does it want to help Israel destroy them once and for all — just as it destroyed the Taliban and seeks to eliminate other terrorist organizations?

In any dispute such as this, there is a right side and a wrong side. The right side is always the one more respecting of individual rights and freedom. While the Israeli government unquestionably has its flaws, it is overwhelmingly superior to the terrorist gang known as the P.L.O. If only the U.S. would consistently back its precious ally, Israel, then genuine and lasting peace would finally become possible. The only losers in such a powerful alliance would be the Yasser Arafats, Saddam Husseins, and Iranian mullahs of the world — those who disdain and despise freedom and liberty.

It’s not about Arabs versus Jews. It’s about freedom versus terrorism and dictatorship. If you favor freedom, you must back Israel. If you favor terror and dictatorship, then you will back the P.L.O. Yes, it’s that simple.

A compromise or “peace process” between the P.L.O. and Israel is no different than a compromise between the U.S. and the Taliban, or the U.S. and Iraq. It’s ludicrous. In any compromise between food and poison, poison wins.

If you want to keep your freedom here in the United States, you should support the only hope for freedom and democratic government in the Middle East: Israel. You should call on President Bush to support Israel in militarily occupying all of the West Bank and to expand that occupation as much as possible: throughout Iran, Iraq, and wherever else it’s militarily possible to do so. Help Israel decimate the P.L.O., including Yasser Arafat, and then we can move on to the terrorists in Iraq and, hopefully, Iran.

Freedom-respecting governments win out over terrorist run states such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, and, yes, the P.L.O. every time. By a landslide. It’s no contest. We should all pick a side, and pick it proudly.

At a time when the United States has just overthrown a terrorist government in Afghanistan, and prepares to overthrow a monstrous government in Iraq, it continues to aid and support a terrorist state in the making: the P.L.O. It makes no sense. It’s profoundly unfair, including even to the Palestinians who just might want to live under freedom, rather than still another Muslim dictatorship. It’s certainly unfair to those of us in the U.S. and elsewhere who want to be spared further terrorist attacks, not to mention biological and nuclear warfare. If we keep appeasing terrorists, worse attacks are coming. Our cowardice empowers their evil.

Let’s hope President Bush stops listening to his liberal aides, such as Colin Powell, and starts listening to his wiser advisors, and his better side: the side of him that proudly and correctly proclaimed that there is an axis of evil in the world, an axis that must be destroyed.

If we stand up to the P.L.O., and support Israel in taking over as much of the Middle East as possible, we will do more to eliminate terrorism than any other single action could possibly hope to do. The time has arrived.

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Dr Michael Hurd

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.