One only has to look as far east as Iraq, to see that force of arms can change a regime and impose a solution.
The Problem: One nation, spiritually and historically attached to its ancient homeland, is being constantly attacked militarily, both directly and through terrorist actions against its civilian population, from the adjoining contiguous territory - there are no natural borders - which is also part of its ancient homeland, now occupied by an enemy population who has invaded it over time.
The Military Solution, which can be imposed, offers several choices.1. Declare a total, all-out war against the enemy, hit all targets, military, political, economic, and destroy their infrastructure. Maximize enemy casualties - including civilian - with the express purpose of reducing the enemy population drastically and facilitating the elimination of it from your homeland. Guarantee peace by eliminating the enemy's ability to wage war, and greatly reducing the enemies will to wage war. Reunite your ancient homeland under your exclusive control, declare victory, peace, and praise G-d.If you stop and think for a moment, there are those who are attempting to implement a combination of these choices, as we speak. No, not Kahanist elements, the Jewish settler movement, and the far-right fringe in Israel; but Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah - such as their Tanzim and al-Aqsa Brigades - and others. They see a military solution to the conflict. Just listen to what Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi recently said, "We will continue with our holy war and resistance until every last criminal Zionist is evicted from this land. By G-d, we will not leave one Jew alive in Palestine. We will fight them with all the strength we have. This is our land, not the Jews."
2. Declare a total, all-out war against the enemy's military, hit all targets, including their political and military command-and-control centers, and military leaders’ residences. Eliminate enemy military actions against your population and facilitate the evacuation of the enemy’s occupying population from your homeland. Reunite your ancient homeland under your exclusive control, declare victory, peace, and praise G-d.
3. Declare a total, all-out war against the enemy's leadership. Eliminate them wherever they can be found. Destroy the enemy's military infrastructure and reduce the occupying enemy to a servile population. Facilitate the evacuation of most of the enemy population and incorporate the rest into your population. Reunite your ancient homeland under your exclusive control, declare victory, peace, and praise G-d.
And they're working to implement their vision. Their suicide murderers roam around looking for more victims. Jerusalem: August 19th, 22 people murdered, including seven children, and over 130 were injured, including 40 children, in a bus bombing, returning from evening prayers at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. Rishon L'Tzion area: September 9th, seven people murdered and over 30 injured near the Tzrifin military base, in a bombing that some believe was originally intended for the nearby Assaf HaRofeh Hospital itself. It seems that heightened security at the hospital caused the killers to pick an easier target, soldiers standing at a bus stop. Jerusalem: the same day, September 9th, another seven people murdered and over 50 injured when a bomber tries to enter a cafe, then explodes himself and his victims.
If you think that these are just extremist elements in Palestinian society, think again. According to a May 2003 Pew Global Attitudes Project opinion poll, 80% of Palestinians agreed with the statement: "The rights and needs of the Palestinian people cannot be taken care of as long as the State of Israel exists." They clearly want to destroy the Jewish state.
This is most clearly reflected in the attitudes of Palestinians regarding the so-called refugee problem. On the Official Palestinian Authority website, they posted the results of a Poll from May 2003, conducted by Human Rights International Solidarity Institute (HRISI) about the Palestinian refugee 'right of return', surveying Arabs in northern 'refugee camps' in the West Bank, 84% of respondents expressed their hope to return to their homes in pre-1967 Israel. In regard to the proposal to live in the Jewish settlements instead of returning to their homes that they left in 1948, 87% of the respondents opposed this solution. So one can clearly see a desire to establish an independent Palestinian State in Judea and Samaria - the West Bank - and flood Israel with refugees, creating a bi-national state. How long will it take for irredentists to begin fighting the then-Jewish-minority in Israel, agitating to merge with Palestine, and effectively killing the State of Israel?
And killing Jews, Israelis, and the State of Israel isn't just for Rantisi or Hamas. Monthly public opinion polls by the Jerusalem Media & Communication Centre, from December 2002 to April 2003, have consistently shown that around 75% of Palestinians, "strongly or somewhat support the continuation of the al-Aqsa Intifada," meaning "continued military operations inside Israel and/or inside the 'occupied' territories." When asked in April 2003 about suicide bombing operations against Israeli civilians, 59.9% of Palestinians, "strongly or somewhat support them." Support for suicide bombings has consistently been between the high 50s and 80% for several years now.
In a poll carried out between August 21-28, 2003 for Yasser Arafat's Gaza-based "Office of Palestinian Information" - of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip - they found that 60.2% continue to support attacks on Jews and 88.8% oppose the detention of members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad by the Palestinian Authority. Besides the fact that the above results do not correspond with the commonly held working assumptions of the Bush and Sharon Administrations, that the Palestinian public actually opposes terror and would support Palestinian compliance with the Roadmap, the poll found that 56% believe attacks serve Palestinian national interests and 79.7% oppose the PA's decision to freeze contacts with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. A clear majority wants to continue warfare against Israeli soldiers and civilians, including suicide bombings. This certainly isn't just a fanatical fringe, but Palestinian society's wishes. They are an enemy to the Jewish People. They are in an all-out war until the end.
What we see from all this is that not only the "military" - i.e. terror - organizations, but the rank and file on the Palestinian street desire a military victory, the collapse of the Jewish state -Israel - and its replacement with an Arab state - Palestine - from the "river to the sea". If the Palestinian Authority ever agrees to a negotiated settlement bringing an end to the conflict, it is far from clear that Palestinian society will accept it. A more likely prognosis would be continued warfare, a possible take-over by Hamas and others of the PA, and continued terror, with the goal of Israel's destruction.
So, how does a state defend its citizens under such circumstances?
For a long time now we've been hearing the mind-numbing mantra of the Left, "There is no military solution to the conflict," with its let's-throw-our-hands-up-and-surrender-already corollary, "There is only a political solution." But one must understand, there can only be a political solution to a conflict if the parties involved want to accept a political solution. If one side insists on total and absolute victory, even to the point of exterminating its enemy, and the other side pursues a political solution, then you have a prescription for disaster.
You can throw water on a normal fire to put it out, but throw water on an electrical fire and all you do is spread the area of danger. Not only is there danger from the fire, but now from electrocution as well. Such one-sided behavior on the part of Israeli leaders, attempting to achieve "peace" with a society that wants to exterminate it, has spread the danger.
Although Israeli society seems to be confused as to how to respond to this existential threat, one issue has been consistently clear in the minds of an overwhelming majority of Israelis for several years already, they don't want a Palestinian state to come into existence. A Poll by the Hanoch Smith Institute (HSI) in November 2001 found 68% of Israeli Jews believe that "regardless of the size or strength of a Palestinian state, if one is established it will constitute a threat to the State of Israel." A later poll done by HSI in June 2002 found 80% of Israeli Jews oppose the proposal that Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders and create a Palestinian Arab state in the vacated territories.
The Geocartography Institute carried out a poll on February 25, 2003 for the Ariel Center for Policy Research. They asked: "In light of the experience that has accumulated since the Oslo agreements, do you support or oppose a Palestinian state?" 61% said they oppose creating such a state; only 31% said they support it.
And after the crowning of Mahmoud Abbas - Abu Mazen - PA Prime Minister, Dahaf carried out a poll of Israelis (including Israeli Arabs) the week of May 2, 2003, that asked: Will the election [he wasn't elected, but appointed] of Abu Mazen affect Palestinian terror? 68% answered that there would be no change or there would be an increase. Clearly, Israelis hold out no hope that so-called Palestinian political reforms will bring an end to the violent struggle the Palestinians have been carrying out. It seems that Jews in Israel understand just how extreme the Arabs are in their Palestinian visions of mass annihilation of the Jews. Hamas leader Rantisi's murderous statements just express those visions more openly than most.
But Abbas didn't last too long as prime minister. Some have blamed Yasser Arafat for interfering with Abbas's job, but an honest look reveals otherwise. Abbas himself was unwilling to implement the Roadmap commitment to criminalize terror organizations and dismantle their infrastructure; he resigned on September 6th, 2003.
And who has replaced him?
Ahmed Qureia - known by his underground name, Abu Ala - speaker of the Palestinian legislative Council. He's been touted as a moderate - as Mahmoud Abbas was - due to his early involvement in the Oslo process. But don't forget, he's been appointed by Arafat and has no political base of his own, just like Abbas.
"Moderate" PA Prime Minister-elect Ahmed Qureia said, in a December 1997 interview, that there would be "no compromise for one centimeter of the West Bank, including Jerusalem," not even on such integral parts of Jerusalem as French Hill or Ramat Eshkol. "Nothing," Abu Ala said, "not settlements or settlers either. [French Hill and Ramat Eshkol are] occupied territory from 1967. [Those who live there] are welcome to apply for citizenship under Palestinian law."
In December 1998 - after the Wye summit - Qureia published an article in the PA daily al-Hayyat al-Jadida stating that the borders of the future independent Palestinian State, that would be declared in May 1999, are the boundaries set by the 1947 Partition Resolution. That doesn't even give Israel Beersheva.
And in a September 1999 visit to China - according to the newspaper al-Ayyam -Abu Ala demanded the so-called "right of return" as a basic condition for peace: "Either [we achieve] a just peace that will guarantee the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, including [the] Return, self determination, and the establishment of an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital, or there will be no peace, but a return to the struggle in all its forms." Very "moderate", indeed!
After the Jerusalem bus bombing of August 19th, the Israeli government declared an all-out war against Hamas and the other terror groups. Within 36 hours, Israel picked-off one of Hamas' top leaders, Ismail Abu Shanab. Hamas quickly threatened that Israeli Prime Minister Sharon and other government leaders were now targets. Several days later, Hamas leaders were holding a meeting at the home of senior Hamas official and Islamic University lecturer, Dr. Marwan Abu Ras when Israeli F-16s struck, unsuccessfully. At the meeting were high-ranking officials Mohammed Deff and Adnan al-Rul, as well as Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the target of an unsuccessful Israeli Air Force missile strike in June. Israeli security sources confirmed that Hamas "spiritual" leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and other senior officials in the organization were the targets of the attack, as they were meeting "to plan future terror attacks against Israelis." The Israeli Army vowed to continue waging "relentless war against Hamas."
Speaking recently at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center's annual counterterrorism conference, IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Moshe Ya'alon hinted Israel could start targeting terrorist leaders in places from Syria to Lebanon to Iran who support Palestinian terror cells, saying "all leaderships should be held accountable."
Eight such Israeli missile strikes since the Jerusalem bus bombing have killed 12 terrorist operatives. Out of seven prominent Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip, three (Salah Shahada, Dr. Ibrahim Maqadmeh and Ismail Abu Shanab) have been killed since July 2002; two were lightly hurt in assassination strikes (Sheikh Yassin and Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi in June); one escaped injury in an attack (Ismail Haniya) and only one, Dr. Mahmoud a-Zahar, has not yet been targeted in an attack [a-Zahar was targeted mere hours after this article was submitted - ed.].
A war of words has begun. After the attempt on Sheikh Yassin, the Hamas military wing, Iz a-Din al-Kassam announced, "Each Zionist who occupies our land is a target for us, but we did not select a specific target and we leave this to the judgment of our fighters and their ability to reach targets. Our response to the attempted killing of the head of the Hamas organization pyramid will be of the type that Israel has never seen before. We call on all organization cells in various cities to heighten the state of alert and prepare for an especially harsh response against the enemy."
One Hamas supporter shouted through a loudspeaker as Yassin was treated in a hospital right after the attack: "Sharon, your head is now wanted." Others chanted: "Bomb Tel-Aviv." Later, Yassin, after praying at a mosque, told a crowd of angry supporters, "You will pay the price for this crime," aiming his comments at Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "The Israeli people will pay a dear price for this crime... Our people will not raise the white flag. The [Israeli] entity will be removed." Supporters outside the mosque waved Hamas flags, chanting, "We will sacrifice our blood for Yassin!"
Former PA Prime Minister Abbas, it was reported at the time, telephoned Hamas "spiritual" leader Sheikh Yassin to express his condolences over the death of Abu Shanab. The Palestine Media Center - an official arm of the PA - reported that about 150,000 people in Gaza attended Abu Shanab's funeral. Earlier, it had been reported that fireworks celebrations were set off over the Arab part of Hebron and Palestinian radio stations began broadcasting upbeat, happy music when news of the August 19th bus bombing reached them. Celebrations were also reported in Gaza after the news of the September 9th bombings as well, with shooting in the air and the handing out of candies. Who said that Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror against Jews doesn't have popular support amongst the Palestinians?
Sharon's response after the recent assassination attempt on Hamas "spiritual" leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and others was, "It's us or them. They are dead men. We won't give them any rest since they have just one goal, our destruction."
"We intend to liquidate all of Hamas, without any distinction between the political and military branches of this terrorist organization," an unnamed Israeli official was quoted as saying.
It's nice to see that PM Sharon realizes that "...they have just one goal, our destruction." But this "limited war" against Hamas terrorists obfuscates the real problem - all of Palestinian society is at war with Israel. When Israeli leaders admit this, when they begin to internalize that "peace" is not possible with a society that wants to replace Israel, then they can begin to see that there is only a military solution.
Now, go back to the top, and pick - 1, 2 or 3....