Charles Krauthammer

Over the last six years, Hezbollah has launched periodic raids and rocket attacks into Israel. Israeli retaliation has led to the cessation of these provocations -- until the next time convenient for Hezbollah. Wednesday was such a time. One terror base located in fully unoccupied Arab territory (South Lebanon) attacks Israel in support of another terror base in another fully unoccupied Arab territory (Gaza).

Why? Because occupation was a mere excuse to persuade gullible and historically ignorant Westerners to support the Arab cause against Israel. The issue is, and has always been, Israel's existence. That is what is at stake.

It was Yasser Arafat's PLO that persuaded the world that the issue was occupation. Yet through all those years of pretense, Arafat's own group celebrated its annual Fatah Day on the anniversary of its first attack on Israel, the bombing of Israel's National Water Carrier -- on Jan. 1, 1965.

Note: 1965. Two years before the 1967 war. Two years before Gaza and the West Bank fell into Israeli hands. Two years before there were any ``occupied territories.''

But again, who needs history? As the Palestinian excuses for continuing their war disappear one by one, the rhetoric is becoming more bold and honest. Just last Tuesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, writing in The Washington Post, referred to Israel as ``a supposedly 'legitimate' state.''

He made clear what he wants done with this bastard entity. ``Contrary to popular depictions of the crisis in the American media,'' he writes, ``the dispute is not only about Gaza and the West Bank.'' It is about ``a wider national conflict'' that requires the vindication of ``Palestinian national rights.''

That, of course, means the right to all of Palestine, with no Jewish state. In the end, the fighting is about ``the core 1948 issues, rather than the secondary ones from 1967.''

In 1967, Israel acquired the ``occupied territories.'' In 1948, Israel acquired life. The fighting raging now in 2006 -- between Israel and the ``genocidal Islamism'' (to quote the writer Yossi Klein Halevi) of Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran behind them -- is about whether that life should and will continue to exist.


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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