Jewish World Review Jan. 28, 2001 / 16 Shevat, 5762

Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez
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Let Israel declare war on Gaza and the West Bank -- LIGHTNING isn't supposed to strike twice in the same place, but tell that to Mark Sokolow. Mr. Sokolow survived the attack on the World Trade Center in September, barely escaping from his 38th floor office when the second plane hit and the building collapsed. Then on Sunday, Sokolow and his family were shopping in Jerusalem, where they had gone to visit a daughter studying there, when a suicide bomber, a Palestinian female, detonated a device that killed her and one other, and injured scores, including Sokolow, his wife and two remaining daughters.

Americans are not used to this type of vicious attack, despite the September 11 experience, but Israelis are all too familiar with it. In the last two weeks alone, there have been four attacks in the heart of Jerusalem, one only days earlier on the very block struck Sunday. Merchants had just replaced the broken windows when they were shattered once again in the latest attack.

No people -- no country -- should have to live like this, where every day brings new terrors and bloodshed, where it is impossible even to go shopping with your daughters to buy a pair of sandals without nearly being killed. But what is Israel to do?

The United States has declared war on the terrorists who attacked us, following the Bush Doctrine: Anyone who aids terrorists, harbors or funds them is an enemy, subject to our wrath. President Bush has vowed, "The enemy hopes they can hide until we tire. But we're going to prove them wrong. We will never tire, and we will hunt them down."

Should we expect Israel to do any less in defense of her people?

The Israeli military is far superior to any of its Arab neighbors. It has fought four wars against the united forces of the surrounding Arab nations which attacked Israel -- and won every time. Does anyone doubt that Israel could crush the Palestinians and defeat any countries that came to their aid today? And perhaps that is the only way to prevent innocent Israelis from being murdered one by one by fanatics willing to take their own lives so long as they can drench themselves in the blood of Jews.

An all-out war against a known enemy would be preferable to the war of attrition they are fighting with terrorists now. At least it would be soldiers facing each other in combat, not suicide bombers blowing up babies, teenagers, mothers and old men, as the murderous terrorists have been doing for the last year and a half.

The Peace Process has been a farce from the beginning -- fostered by a Clinton administration that was more interested in a Rose Garden ceremony that would rank up there with the Camp David Accords than it was in achieving a genuine peace.

But unlike former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, who helped bring together the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli President Menachem Begin to the bargaining table, President Clinton was never able to get Yasser Arafat to agree to change his ways, despite inviting Arafat to the White House more often during his presidential term than he did any head of state. Once a terrorist, always a terrorist.

Thankfully, the Bush administration shows no interest in accepting Arafat's charade as peacemaker. Vice President Cheney came very close to calling Arafat a liar on ABC's "Sunday Morning." When asked about Arafat's denial of PLO responsibility in an Iranian arms shipment intercepted by Israel on its way to Palestinian terrorist groups a couple of weeks ago, Cheney said simply, "We don't believe him." Refreshingly straightforward talk in an area where politicians are usually more politic than honest themselves.

Palestinians and Moslem terrorists have declared war on the people of Israel. Israel must be allowed to defend itself -- and if that means a full scale assault on the West Bank and Gaza, so be it. Just as the United States did all in its power to root out the Taliban and al Qaeda from Afghanistan while not harming innocent civilians, Israel should do the same. But those who take up arms against Israel should not be surprised when Israel matches force with force, and Israel's is much superior to her foes'.

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