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Jewish World Review April 2, 2002 / 20 Nisan, 5762

Cal Thomas

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The Middle East fantasyland | Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is right to declare his country "at war" with terrorists and to strike relentlessly at Palestinian militants. It's about time.

What the Palestinians lack in military might they more than make up for in resolve. No matter the number of United Nations resolutions, or statements by Western leaders, or how many military reversals, Yasser Arafat and his PLO-Hamas-Islamic Jihad-Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine axis of evil continue on with religious and fanatical zeal to achieve their self-anointed objective of eliminating every Jew they can get their murderous hands (and bombs) on. Sharon was right to call Arafat "the enemy of Israel and the free world in general."

The misguided belief that Israel's enemies can be dissuaded from their goal has helped create the current predicament. Given the evidence of noncompliance by Arafat and his co-murderers with every and all previous agreements, treaties, cease-fires and "confidence building" measures, what evidence is there that would lead any rational person to accept the fiction that these annihilators would honor new pledges?

How do I know this? Israel's enemies prove by their actions that they mean what they say. Unless words mean only what one says they mean at a given moment, what Palestinians say and do should be taken seriously.

In the Palestinian Covenant of 1968, which embodies the philosophical principles of the PLO, Article 9 states: "Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine and is therefore a strategy and not tactics... ."

Article 15 is more precise: "The liberation of Palestine, from the Arab viewpoint, is a national duty to repulse the Zionist, Imperialist invasion from the great Arab homeland and to purge the Zionist presence from Palestine."

In the view of the Palestinians, no co-existence with Jews, much less an Israeli state, is possible. Article 19 of the Palestinian Covenant states: "The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of Israel is fundamentally null and void, whatever time has elapsed, because it is contrary to the wish of the people of Palestine and its natural right to its homeland... ." Other sections of the covenant (Articles 20 and 22) reject even the historical and religious ties of Jews to the land and call Zionism "a political movement organically related to world Imperialism and hostile to all movements of liberation and progress in the world."

Secretary of State Colin Powell either has not read the Palestinian Covenant or does not believe it. Concerning last week's "homicide" bombings in Israel, Powell stated: "Once again, terrorists have set back the vision of the Palestinian people for a state that would live in peace, side by side, with Israel." There is no such "vision." The only "vision of the Palestinian people" does not include Israel. Looking at Palestinian maps, reading children's textbooks and observing Palestinian media proves that.

The foolish, stupid and historically blind belief that Israel could sign agreements creating a framework for peace at Oslo (1993) and Wye River Plantation, Md. (1998) which Arafat and the dictatorial Arab states would live up to was fantasy. The PLO uses such agreements to pressure Israel into making more concessions, even while it refuses to live up to its own obligations. The PLO and Arab states believe that Israel and much of the West lack the stomach for sustained opposition to the Palestinians' terror campaign. A report last weekend that the White House is concerned that women voters hate seeing so many dead bodies on TV can only contribute to that view.

It's been nearly nine years since Oslo was signed and 38 years since the PLO came into existence. What evidence is there that the PLO is anything but Israel's mortal enemy? What behavior has the PLO engaged in that would give it legitimacy as a negotiating partner? How does it get away with the fiction that terrorism is triggered by Israeli "occupation" of Palestinian land? Can't a single broadcast or cable anchor ask the PLO and HAMAS spokespersons they've been interviewing a simple question: "If 'Israeli occupation' is the cause of recent terrorism, what was the cause of terror before the wars of 1973 and 1967 when Israel 'occupied' less (1973) or none (1967) of the land currently in dispute?"

Prime Minister Sharon says his goal is the destruction of the terror infrastructure. The only question is whether the Bush administration will allow him to do to the PLO what the United States is trying to do to terrorists in other parts of the world.

JWR contributor Cal Thomas is the author of, among others, The Wit and Wisdom of Cal Thomas Comment by clicking here.

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