By George F. Will - August 17, 2001
Among reasonable people, who are now impervious to the diplomats' anesthetizing imbecilities about "preserving" the Middle East "peace process," there is a crystallizing consensus: Israel needs a short war and a high wall. To understand the context of such thinking, consider what USA Today's Jack Kelley saw at the Aug. 9 terrorist bombing that killed 15 at the Jerusalem pizza restaurant. Kelley was 30 yards away when the terrorist detonated a bomb packed with nails:
George Will is on the mark about the need for decisive action, but when he joins Charles Krauthammer in adopting the suggestion that some Israelis are now pushing friends of Israel to embrace that a wall between the West Bank and Israel is an answer he ignores the considerable amount of time it would take to construct such a wall - nor the considerable technical and practical difficulties associated with the construction of such a wall - NOR Israel's security situation if it pulled back so that it is left with a few kilometers of land between the sea and a wall (not to mention that the israeli Arabs who support the people BEHND the wall would be on the ISRAEL side of the proposed wall). Unfortunately, Peres, Beilin and the rest of the Oslo experimenters have created a mess that can't simply be subjected to a temporary cleaning and then put behind a fence and ignored.
Israel cannot afford the luxury of such a move.
Without Israeli involvement, Israel may find itself facing a new Arafat etc. on the other side of the wall with one difference: the Palestinians would have the benefit of renewing the conflict form new lines with more territory under their belt thanks to the unilateral Israeli withdrawals Unfortunately, our neighborhood is one in which third and fourth best solutions (for example, limited autonomy) are the closest to being the workable ones.
Will, Krauthammer, and other American columnists who have been enlisted in the "call for the wall" solution may want to consdier the ideological backgrounds of the Israelis who have been marketing this line to them.
Aaron Lerner - IMRA
"The blast . . . sent flesh flying onto second-story balconies a block away. Three men were blown 30 feet; their heads, separated from their bodies by the blast, rolled down the glass-strewn street. . . . One woman had at least six nails embedded in her neck. Another had a nail in her left eye. Two men, one with a six-inch piece of glass in his right temple . . . tried to walk away. . . . A man groaned. . . . His legs were blown off. Blood poured from his torso. . . . A 3-year old girl, her face covered with glass, walked among the bodies calling her mother's name. . . . The mother . . . was dead. . . . One rabbi found a small hand against a white Subaru parked outside the restaurant."
As with the June bombing that killed 21 at a Tel Aviv disco, children were not collateral victims -- they were the targets. Abdallah al-Shami, a senior official of Islamic Jihad, celebrated "this successful operation" against "pigs and monkeys." That is a familiar rhetorical trope among those whom the calamitous Oslo "peace process" cast in the role of Israel's "partners for peace." In yet another of the constant violations of the Oslo requirement to stop anti-Jewish incitements, this was a recent broadcast from the moral cesspool that is the official television station of Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority: "All weapons must be aimed at the Jews . . . whom the Koran describes as monkeys and pigs. . . . We will enter Jerusalem as conquerors. . . . Blessings to he who shot a bullet into the head of a Jew."
Al-Shami boasts that "no border restriction will stop" suicide bombings. It is time to test that proposition, which surely depends on where the border is and what precedes the establishment of it. Arafat's Palestinian Authority, in brazen violation of the Oslo undertaking to abandon violence, has chosen to wage a kind of urban guerrilla warfare against Israel. But Israel is skilled at combating such warfare. And now Israel should show that it, not Arafat, will dictate the intensity of the conflict.
A short war -- a few days; over before European and American diplomats' appeasement reflexes kick in -- should have four objectives. First, to kill or capture those terrorists (and those who direct them) whom Arafat has permitted to remain at large, in violation of his Oslo undertaking and of his promise to CIA Director George Tenet after the disco bombing. Second, to destroy the Palestinian Authority's military infrastructure built up in violation of detailed Oslo restrictions. Third, to destroy other physical infrastructure useful to the Palestinian Authority, including all newspaper and broadcasting facilities.
Fourth, and most important, to define, with finality, Israel's borders, around which a wall should be built. All of Jerusalem should be within the wall. Israel's seizure of the Palestinian Authority's East Jerusalem headquarters, Orient House, which has been constantly used for political activities forbidden by Oslo, should signal the end of all talk about the indivisibility of Jerusalem.
The State Department, that brackish and bottomless lagoon of obtuseness, where Secretary of State Colin Powell has gone native with disgusting speed, will respond with the rhetoric of moral equivalence -- "both sides" must stop "the cycle of violence" -- to whatever Israel does in self-defense. On Tuesday the department sank to self-caricature when it denounced as "provocative" Israel's brief incursion into the West Bank in pursuit of the perpetrators of suicide bombings.
It is instructive that the assault against Israel was not slowed by the intervention there of former senator George Mitchell, whose achievements in Northern Ireland are just now proving similarly illusory. Under his promptings, the IRA -- like the Palestinian Authority, a terrorist organization masquerading as a normal political entity -- made various false promises about "decommissioning" arms, abandoning violence, etc. Like Arafat, IRA leaders say the continuing violence is committed by entities beyond their control.
Mitchell cannot be blamed for failing to reconcile irreconcilables. But blame, and complicity in murder, attaches to all those who willfully refuse to recognize the limits of diplomacy and the duty of active self-defense.
©2001 - The Washington Post