WASHINGTON--The suicide bombing that killed 26 Israelis at a Passover
Seder last week, the worst slaughter of the 18-month-old intifada, has
entered the lexicon of the Arab-Israeli conflict as the Passover Massacre.
It is more than that. It was the beginning of the Passover Pogrom: seven
days of Passover, seven suicide bombings, dozens of innocent Jews murdered,
This is Kristallnacht transposed to Israel. Like Kristallnacht, the
Passover Pogrom takes the murder of Jews to a new level of fury and
national purpose, in this case Palestinian national purpose: making ``death
to the Jews'' not just a slogan but a strategy, a campaign to make Israeli
life intolerable and to force Israel's surrender and ultimate abolition.
It was also Israel's Sept. 11, a time when sporadic terrorism reaches
a critical mass of malevolence such that war is the only possible response.
And like the American attack on Afghanistan, Israel is going into
Palestinian territory to destroy the terrorists and the regime that
American critics, beginning with the secretary of state, object to
this goal of destroying Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority. As The
Washington Post explained in an editorial, we need the continued presence
of ``the leadership of the Palestinian Authority as well as its principal
security services'' because they have been ``the only available instruments
for stopping Palestinian terrorism.''
Good God. Instruments for stopping terrorism? They are instruments for
aiding and abetting, equipping and financing, supporting and glorifying
terrorism, which they call ``martyrdom operations.'' The question of
capabilities is irrelevant. Of course they have the capability. But they
have no intention of exercising it.
This is like arguing at the beginning of the Afghan war that we should
not attack the Taliban because they were the only instrument in Afghanistan
available for bringing al Qaeda to heel. Sure. But they were allied with al
Qaeda, commingled with al Qaeda and shared al Qaeda's objectives. They had
no intention of ever stopping al Qaeda.
That situation is precisely the same in Palestine. The premise of the
Oslo accords was that Israel would gradually withdraw from the West Bank
and Gaza, and allow Arafat to build security services so that, as he made
peace with Israel, he would have the capability to stop the terrorists. It
was a monumental swindle. Instead, he spent eight and a half years building
a cult of death and a killing machine.
The majority of current suicide bombings are carried out by the Al
Aqsa Brigades, a wing of Arafat's own Fatah movement. At PA headquarters in
Ramallah, Israel found an invoice (in shekels--a nice touch) from the
terrorists to the Palestinian Authority for five to nine bombs a week. At
what point do Western observers allow their Oslo illusions to yield to
What to do with Arafat? Isolating Arafat is no answer, because the
isolation must end at some point. Killing Arafat is no answer, because that
will make him a martyr. The important thing is to make him irrelevant by
Let us not hear any more ridiculous talk about Arafat being the only
man who can make peace. Can? He had eight and a half years to make peace.
He has no intention of making peace. He was offered his peace, his
Palestine, in July 2000 by Israel and then by the president of the United
States. Like the Palestinian leadership of 1947, also offered their own
state side-by-side with Israel, Arafat rejected the offer and started a
``What Arafat really wants is the destruction of the Israeli state,''
says the pre-eminent Arab-Israeli peacemaker, Henry Kissinger. ``He may be
willing to make some sort of an interim agreement, which he will consider
probably as a stage to the ultimate destruction of the Israeli state.''
Why expel him? Because as long as he rules, the Palestinian answer to
any offer of peace that genuinely accepts Israel is ``No.'' And there will
be no one in Palestine who will dare say ``Yes.'' (If he does, he dies.)
The only hope for any kind of peace is a Palestinian leadership,
whether national or local, ready to say yes. And that can only become
possible when Arafat has been banished and his rejectionist police state
There are reports that Morocco would accept him. Good choice. It is
west of Tunisia and thus farther from Palestine. The symbolism will be
apposite. He was rescued from his last exile in Tunisia by an Israel
offering him the olive branch of Oslo. He then chose war instead. President
Bush yesterday offered Arafat yet another olive branch, yet another rescue.
This will achieve nothing. This will only postpone the reckoning. If this
fighting is ever to end, it must be shown that there is a price for
violence, terror and duplicity. The price is Elba. No, St. Helena.