Jewish World Review Oct. 29, 2002 / 23 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | With the latest attack on Israelis by Palestinian terrorists, it is time to re-evaluate Israel's current strategy with regard to the intifada. And it is time for America to re-evaluate its plan for peace in the Middle East.
Israel's strategy under Ariel Sharon has been one of defensive retaliation. Mass movement of Israeli troops into Palestinian controlled areas has occurred only after Palestinian suicide attacks against Israelis. It has not been completely unsuccessful. With each incursion, Israeli troops have been able to target and either arrest or kill Palestinian terrorists and scatter others from their comfortable nests.
Still, it hasn't been enough. Sharon, like other Israeli prime ministers before him, returns to the illusion that he can negotiate with the current Palestinian regime. Each time Sharon makes diplomatic overtures to the Palestinians, terrorist groups are immediately given the go-ahead to attack Israelis. It is a never-ending cycle: Israeli incursions followed by a period of calm, Israeli attempts to negotiate followed by a wave of terrorist attacks.
The Israeli government has also made the mistake of naming Yasser Arafat as the sole personage behind the terror. The United States has accepted this idea, calling for the Palestinian people to replace Arafat in a free and open election. Unfortunately, the situation is not as simple as one man. Polls of Palestinians show that the plurality supports the destruction of the state of Israel and continued suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. The Palestinian problem is not one of individuals but of collective support for terror. Terrorism is not a perversion of the Palestinian ideal but an integral part of the Palestinian end game.
It is very clear that the actions taken by Israel and America have not procured any peace beyond the intermittent. If America wants an end to the Israeli-Arab conflict, it must support Israel in the implementation of a tough new anti-terror campaign. Here are three practical measures that can and must be taken to end the violence.
Exile Arafat. This plan has been on the table since Sharon came into office, and it is time that it was used. Israel has consistently targeted the Palestinian leadership but, due to international pressure, has not taken out the kingpin of terror, Arafat himself. Without a leader, terrorist groups like Fatah, Force-17, Hamas and Hizbullah will begin internecine warfare, fighting amongst themselves for control of the Palestinian-controlled territories. Let them kill each other off.
Turn off the water and electricity. Israel has been supplying water and electricity to its enemies since the start of the intifada, free of charge. The Palestinian Authority owes Israel millions in utility bills, yet Israel forgives the debt. If Israel stops supplying water and electricity, the PA will fall. The groundswell of support for terrorist groups among the Palestinian people will dissolve once they realize that their support means they can no longer flush their toilets.
Institute a new land-for-peace deal. Since the Oslo Accords in 1993, Israel has forked over land in return for violence. It is time that Israel changed the equation back to what it was supposed to be: land for peace -- if there is no peace, Israel will take back land. After each attack on Israel, Israel should catch the culprits and find their place of origin. The Israeli Defense Force should then broadcast to the residents of that city that they have 48 hours to evacuate their homes and take whatever belongings they need and that after that the Israeli Air Force will destroy the city. Israel should then annex the territory, and take it off the negotiating table -- permanently. Some would call this collective punishment, but the Oslo Accord was a collective treaty giving collective benefits -- if the Palestinians fail to uphold their side of the bargain, they must be collectively punished. Either the Palestinians will realize that violence reaps no reward and return to the negotiating table, or Israel will have its land back and the terrorists will have no bases.
The above measures are hardly extreme. Just listen to the founder of the Oslo Accord, Yitzhak Rabin: "(T)hey know very well that if they use these guns against us once, at that moment the Oslo Accord will be annulled and the IDF will return to all the places that have been given to them. The Oslo Accord, despite what the opposition claims, is not irrevocable." It is time that Oslo is revoked.
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