THEY CALLED it "Field of Thorns" - a recent IDF war exercise to determine the cost of re-taking areas given to Arafat's PLO. The findings: Israel could do it swiftly, but at an enormous cost in lives, and a high price in relations with the world.

But the reality in the Middle East today strictly limits the options left Israel, which daily receives intelligence about the frenetic arms race and escalating anti-Israel, pro-war rhetoric all around. As Israel's government contemplates the increasing likelihood of war, all possibilities are certainly being weighed up.

Retaking the Yesha areas from Arafat could be the one issue Israel has to deal with ruthlessly, essential as it is that Israel secure its defences internally before facing an assault from outside.

No doubt Israel would not choose to make such a move until sure of at least some external support. Israel is already working to clearly show that it may have no other recourse. For their part the Arabs are trying to ensure that Israel will be judged the aggressor.

It remains for us to do everything possible to ensure that all who care about the truth know that Israel went much, much farther than the extra mile in her effort to make peace with the Arabs.

Our congressmen and parliamentarians must be informed, challenged, and reminded again and again of the PA's infringements of Oslo, of Arafat's incitement to violence, and of his preservation - and embrace within days of their latest bombing in Jerusalem - of the Islamist forces who thrive under his rule.

The failure of Oslo, it must be made clear, is the failure of the PLO, which has shown no desire to live in peace with Israel, and the failure of the international community, which chose not to use its considerable power to pressure the Arabs into making an all out effort to do away with violence, and to pursue peace.

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