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
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.