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Jewish World Review April 5, 2002/ 24 Nisan, 5762

Richard Z. Chesnoff

Richard Z. Chesnoff
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Consumer Reports

Sharon had to declare war |
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is right on target: Confronted by Yasser Arafat's latest tidal wave of suicide bombings, he has had no choice but to declare full war on Palestinian terrorism.

In waging that war, I see several strategic options Sharon can choose from. One is to have Israel's troops force their way directly into the Palestinian leader's Ramallah bunker, arrest the mastermind of terrorism and his loathsome coterie of armed thugs and ship them back to Tunis, to Lebanon or maybe to Europe where the head of Palestinian Murder Inc. has so many close friends and admirers.

Then Israel can continue to clean up the West Bank and Gaza as it did in 1967, rounding up terrorist suspects, rooting out caches of illegal arms and destroying the explosives factories that the Palestinians have assembled through the territories.

Another choice is one that I proposed some months back: At a given moment, the Israeli Army unilaterally withdraws from all the West Bank and Gaza, except those frontier areas that Israel deems absolutely essential to its security.

Israel then informs the Palestinians they are officially on their own - really and completely on their own. No more jobs in Israel. No more access to Israeli medical and social services. No contact with Israel. A full political and geographic divorce, complete with a tall wall or fence around Israel and a richly seeded minefield to prevent Palestinian terrorist infiltration.

Since the Palestinians have no viable economy of their own, thanks largely to Arafat's corruption, they'll need another job market. Let them go to work in the Arab and European countries that have so much sympathy for their cause.

There are those who will argue that neither option solves anything. Without Arafat and left to their own resources, they say, the Palestinians will undoubtedly sink into chaos and a civil war that will benefit Islamic extremists. I believe the vacuum will be filled by new and, one hopes, more rational leaders.

But the outcome can't be worse than what Israel now faces with Arafat on the scene. He is a morally bankrupt, lying leader who talks peace and carries out war. He has no credibility. He has proven himself incapable or unwilling to control terrorism. In either case, he is not a partner for peace - he is an extreme danger to it.

There are also those who will argue that by taking tough new action, Israel is merely fostering more Palestinian hatred, that talking around a negotiating table is far better than any military action.

I wish they were right. But it is now tragically clear, as Mideast expert and JWR columnist Daniel Pipes puts it, that peace plans are like "putting a Band-Aid on cancer."

The reason is simple. Despite all the glad talk, all the Oslo Accords and all the U.S. peace missions, the basic problem remains the same as it has since 1947: The Arab world won't accept the presence anywhere in the Mideast of a non-Islamic state, and certainly not a Jewish one.

When that changes, and only when that changes, will full peace come to the region and all its peoples, Israeli and Palestinian, Jew, Christian and Muslim.

JWR contributor and veteran journalist Richard Z. Chesnoff is a senior correspondent at US News And World Report, a columnist at the NY Daily News and a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Demoracies. His latest book, recently updated, is Pack of Thieves: How Hitler & Europe Plundered the Jews and Committed the Greatest Theft in History.

Richard Z. Chesnoff Archives

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