Charles Krauthammer

But there is an even larger question not asked. Whether the rocket bases are near civilian beaches or in remote areas, why are the Gazans launching any rockets at Israel in the first place -- about 1,000 in the last year?

To get Israel to remove its settlers, end the occupation and let the Palestinians achieve dignity and independence? But Israel did exactly that in Gaza last year. It completely evacuated Gaza, dismantled all its military installations, removed its soldiers, destroyed all Israeli settlements and expelled all 7,000 Israeli settlers. Israel then declared the line that divides Israel from Gaza to be an international frontier. Gaza became the first independent Palestinian territory ever.

And what have the Palestinians done with this independence, this judenrein territory under the Palestinians' own control? They have used their freedom to ... launch rockets at civilians in nearby Israeli towns.

Why? Because the Palestinians prefer victimhood to statehood. They have demonstrated that for 60 years, beginning with their rejection of the United Nations decision to establish a Palestinian state in 1947, because it would have also created a small Jewish state next door. They declared war instead.

Half a century later, at the Camp David summit with President Clinton, Israel renewed the offer of a Palestinian state -- with its capital in Jerusalem, with not a single Jewish settler remaining in Palestine, and on a contiguous territory encompassing 95 percent of the West Bank (Israel making up the other 5 percent with pieces of Israel proper).

The Palestinian answer? War again -- Arafat's terror war, aka the second intifada, which killed a thousand Jews.

This embrace of victimhood, of martyrdom, of blood and suffering, is the Palestinian disease. They are offered their own independent state. They are given all of Gaza. And they respond with rocket attacks into peaceful Israeli towns -- in pre-1967 Israel proper, mind you.

What can Israel do but try to take out those rocket bases and their crews? What would the U.S. do if rockets were raining into San Diego from across the border with Mexico?

Now look again at that terrible photograph and ask yourself: Who is responsible for the heart-rending grief of that poor Palestinian girl?

Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.

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