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Jewish World Review May 9, 2002 / 27 Iyar, 5762

Cal Thomas

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As long as Israel appears uncertain about its objectives, it will get more terror | What if law enforcement took the same approach to the 21-year-old suspect arrested in the planting of 18 pipe bombs in five states that President Bush is taking with Yasser Arafat? The scenario might go something like this: Someone would interview the suspect, Lucas John Helder, to determine his grievances against the government. He would be given what he wants (Nebraska?) in hopes that the bombings would subside. If the bombings did not stop, Helder would be offered other concessions (Iowa?). The plan might even be called "land-for-peace."

The lessons of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's concession of Czechoslovakia to Adolph Hitler at Munich in 1938 need to be re-learned. People who use violence to obtain their objectives will not be placated short of attaining those objectives. They must be forcibly stopped.

President Bush is dispatching CIA Director George Tenet to the Middle East to help establish a "unified" Palestinian police force to fight terrorism. That's been tried before. Arafat violated the tenants of the Oslo peace accords by turning the limited number of police allowed under that agreement into his private army. Does anyone seriously believe Arafat will sign off on any police force that does not have him as its leader?

The silliness of this proposal was evident if you were watching the cable TV news channels during Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's abbreviated visit to the White House Tuesday (May 7). While President Bush spoke of his latest peace proposals on one side of a split screen, the other side of the screen carried pictures of the work of the latest Palestinian "homicide" bomber, who was making the ultimate statement that no proposal will satisfy Arafat and his band of killers short of the obliteration of the Jews.

Bush said such bombers, some of whom are children, are driven by "hopelessness." That's not true. Terrorism is based on an ideology. Children are indoctrinated with it in their mosques, their schools and through the Palestinian media. They're persuaded that if they die while killing Jews they will be transported into the presence of Allah with "eternal dividends" that include an unending supply of virgins. The children know their parents will get monetary rewards courtesy of Saudi Arabia and Saddam Hussein.

How much more proof is needed that nothing will deter Arafat? Freeing him from house arrest was supposed to allow Arafat to exert control over his forces (Arafat said he was prevented from exercising authority because he was cooped up in his Ramallah headquarters). So now he's out and 16 more innocents are dead. More will probably die from their wounds.

The Israeli government estimates it completed 60 percent of its operations against terror when it sent tanks and troops into Jenin. Prime Minister Sharon needs to finish the job. Arafat and his co-conspirators in terror should be arrested and sent back into the exile from which they came (or better yet, put on trial, although that's not likely to happen). At a minimum, exile offers the possibility for new and more moderate leaders to come forward to negotiate with Israel in good faith. Arafat has executed as "collaborators" every Palestinian who has sought to make peace with Israel without him.

As long as Israel appears uncertain about its objectives, it will get more terror. The standoff at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is a good example of this. After Italy refused to accept the 13 Palestinian militants inside the church, many wanted for attacks against Israelis, Israeli Knesset member Michael Kleiner noted: "The arrangement to expel the wanted terrorists...degrades Israel. Every questionable agreement under which Israel foregoes putting the murderers of Jews on trial before a military court and a firing squad will come back to haunt us like a boomerang. We show both physical and moral weakness to the world and turn ourselves into easy prey for our enemies."

Responding to the latest homicide bombing in Israel, Husam Kadar, a senior member of the Fatah Tanzim terror organization, said, "the operation proves the nobility of the Palestinian people and its (sic) irrepressible willingness to carry out sacrifice and persist with the struggle against the occupation."

No new police force is going to placate that sort of fanaticism. Not even if the fanatics were given Iowa or Nebraska.

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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