Listen to the truths that lie within your hearts, and be not afraid to follow them wherever they may lead you.(Clarence Thomas, in his Francis Boyer Lecture, Washington D.C. 2/13/01).
One should not be surprised that the election of Ariel Sharon has brought a sharp increase in terrorist activity among Arafat's cohorts. This is the typical way that cowards behave. Arafat knows that Sharon's actions will be much stronger than Israel's "actions" during Barak's tenure as a prime minister. Therefore, as long as the new Israeli government is not yet in place, meaning that Barak is still in charge, Arafat is trying to inflict as much damage as possible on Israel. Arafat hopes that the more Jews are murdered during the transition of power in Israel, the stronger his "negotiating" position will be when Sharon's rule starts. After this happens, he will curtail terrorist activity for a period of time, while appealing to the world community to bring Sharon, the "hard-liner," to the negotiation table. However, this time Arafat has lost. There should no longer be any negotiations. Only a strong and unequivocal use of Israeli force can be an appropriate response.
The negotiating phase is over. There is nothing left for Israel to talk to Arafat about. Ehud Barak's limitless offers clearly demonstrated that Arafat's plans have never changed. His famous statement - "peace for me means the destruction of Israel and nothing else" - is better than any other explanations of his "seemingly unexplainable" behavior during the suicidal Oslo process of the past seven and a half years. The only thing that he will accept from Israel will be Israel itself. Nothing else is sufficient.
Israeli society is ready for the proper move. Israel must fight the war that the Arabs are leading against her with all her formidable force. It has long been time to stop declaring that "Israel is at war," as the Israeli leaders do after every terrorist attack with a large number of casualties, but to declare this war through military actions.
If the Israeli leaders have any doubt that the Israeli people will not support them, they should listen to them more carefully. When Israelis were asked in a December 29, 2000 Gallup Poll, "Do you agree with the assertion that 'only Sharon can bring peace?'" 26% of them said "Yes," and 65%, "No". When the question was put more precisely - "Do you agree with the assertion that 'if you choose Sharon you choose war?'" - 70% answered "Yes" and only 23% said "No." Knowing these poll results and bearing in mind that Sharon's victory in the elections was more than a landslide there are no doubts as to what sort of actions the Israelis are expecting from their leaders.
Ehud Barak had lifted the masks from Yasser Arafat and his cronies. The terrorists and murderers remain terrorists and murderers. They were forced on the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs alike by people like Yossi Beilin and Shimon Peres through the Oslo accords. The time has come to destroy the terrorist gang disguised as peace-lovers whose only goal is Israel's destruction.
For those who look in awe at any international agreement, it should be mentioned that the Oslo agreement between Israel and the PLO cannot stand any legal ground in any international court, since, as Professor of International Law Louis Rene Beres has explained many times, it is not a treaty between two legitimate bodies. It is an agreement between a country, a member of the UN, and a terrorist organization, whose "frozen" Charter still calls for Israel's destruction.
Moreover, the ill-conceived Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles states in its fifth article that "the outcome of the permanent status negotiations should not be prejudiced or preempted by agreements reached for the interim period." That means that nothing prevents Israel from reversing the situation on the ground. Israel is not obliged to allow PLO gangs to freely roam in the territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Israeli retired Brig.-General Efi Eitam said recently,
"Main strategic goals of Zionism have been lost .... Israel was supposed to be a place of shelter for Jews all over the world, so that there could never be another Holocaust. …But Israel has become the most dangerous place in the world for Jews young and old. Instead of Israel being a shelter against anti-Semitism, Jews in Israel are being bombed and tortured because of who they are."
Israel's main task right now is to recover the deterrence capability that she lost in the last decade. There are different scenarios that Israel can follow. It should be clear, however, that all of them will require returning, even if temporarily, to the areas designated today as areas under full Palestinian control. This was the mantra of the supporters of the Oslo agreement who constantly repeated that if Oslo failed we would always have the option to return. Oslo has failed, so it is time to return.
As soon as Sharon's government is assembled, Israel must issue an ultimatum to Arafat to collect all the weapons that were given to the Palestinian Authority (PA) by the Jewish state as well as all illegal weapons within a week. If Israel's demand is not honored in a week, the Israeli army should enter any city among those under the control of the Palestinian Arabs and leave it after confiscating all the weapons. This action should serve as an example of what will follow if a second ultimatum that must follow immediately after this action is not fulfilled by the PA.
If the weapon surrender request is disregarded again the Israeli army must reenter all the territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza currently under PA control or joint Israeli-PA control. The Jewish state should not be afraid to overuse force in order to achieve her goals. The terrorist PLO, Hamas, Islamic Juhad and other such groups must be destroyed. While it is expected that Israel will try to avoid casualties among civilians it should be clear that this should not be done at the expense of the lives of Israeli soldiers.
The outcry of the world community that will obviously follow must be countered by an Israeli informational campaign that must first of all emphasize mankind's hypocrisy. If it is quiet during eight years of brutal slaughter of more than 100,000 Arab men, women and children by fundamentalist Muslims in Algeria, it has no right to shed crocodile tears over a war that causes the death of another group of Arabs, whose leaders day and night infect their minds with hatred towards the Jews. If America can bomb Iraq and Serbia for "security reasons," why should Israel not be allowed to defend herself from people who in the past seven and a half years have murdered more than 550 of her people and maimed and wounded several thousand others?
February 13 was the anniversary of the bombing of Dresden by the allies at the end of the WWII. There were no important military or industrial targets in Dresden; the outcome of the War was already determined; nevertheless 800 bombers for many hours continued to drop their lethal loads onto the city. More than 40,000 people perished during this bombardment, including, women children and the elderly. This was done with only one purpose - to break the morale of the Germans. We know very well what was done later in order to break the morale of the Japanese.
If we translate the percent of the Israeli population murdered since the beginning of the "peace process" into an equivalent number for the USA, it will amount to over 25,000 murdered Americans - almost half the number of casualties that America suffered during the Vietnam War. But this was a WAR, whereas in this situation civilized mankind wants to convince Israel that she lives in PEACE. Does this not mean that since Israel has not used weapons during this "peace" she still has the opportunity to use half of the amount of bombs and ammunition that America used in the Vietnam War?
It is vital for Israel to restore her deterrence capabilities. It is much better if the Arabs and the world know that the Israeli Jews can sometimes behave like ferocious dogs instead of like pussycats. The Lion of Judah must wake up. Israel's enemies must know that as long as they do not respect the right of Israel to exist, the Jewish state will not allow them this right either. 02/17/01 -------------------------------------------
Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.