"We must kill Arafat," declares Jerusalem Post editorial
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Thu Sep 11 19:00:12 MDT 2003
Note also the growing insistence the growing insistence across the
capitalist political spectrum that the key to winning the "war on
terrorism" is killing Bin Laden, his top aide, and Saddam. This is a
sign of weakness as well as accelerating barbarization.
Jerusalem Post September 10, 2003
The world will not help us; we must help ourselves. We must kill as
many of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders as possible, as quickly
possible, while minimizing collateral damage, but not letting that
damage stop us. And we must kill Yasser Arafat, because the world
leaves us no alternative.
No one seriously argues with the fact that Arafat was preventing
Mahmoud Abbas, the prime minister he appointed, from combating
terrorism, to the extent that was willing to do so. Almost no one
seriously disputes that Abbas on whom Israel, the US, and Europe had
placed all their bets failed primarily because Arafat retained control
of much of the security apparatus, and that Arafat wanted him to fail.
The new prime minister, Ahmed Qurei, clearly will fare no better,
since he, if anything, has been trying to garner more power for
Arafat, not less. Under these circumstances, the idea of exiling
Arafat is gaining currency, but the standard objection is that he will
be as much or more of a problem when free to travel the world than he
is locked up in Ramallah.
If only three countries Britain, France, and Germany joined the US in
a total boycott of Arafat this would not be the case. If these
countries did not speak with Arafat, it would not matter much who did,
and however much a local Palestinian leader would claim to consult
with Arafat, his power would be gone.
But such a boycott will not happen. Only now, after more than 800
Israelis have died in three years of suicide bombings and other
terrorist attacks, has Europe finally decided that Hamas is a
terrorist organization. How much longer will it take before it cuts
off Arafat? Yet Israel cannot accept a situation in which Arafat
blocks any Palestinian break with terrorism, whether from here or in
exile. Therefore, we are at another point in our history at which the
diplomatic risks of defending ourselves are exceeded by the risks of
not doing so.
Such was the case in the Six Day War, when Israel was forced to launch
a preemptive attack or accept destruction. And when Menachem Begin
decided to bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. And when Israel
launched Operation Defensive Shield in Palestinian cities after the
Passover Massacre of 2002. In each case, Israel tried every fashion of
restraint, every plea to the international community to take action
that would avoid the need for "extreme" measures, all to no avail.
When the breaking point arrives, there is no point in taking
half-measures. If we are going to be condemned in any case, we might
as well do it right.
Arafat's death at Israel's hands would not radicalize Arab opposition
to Israel; just the opposite. The current jihad against us is being
fueled by the perception that Israel is blocked from taking decisive
action to defend itself.
Arafat's survival and power are a test of the proposition that it is
possible to pursue a cause through terror and not have that cause
rejected by the international community. Killing Arafat, more than any
other act, would demonstrate that the tool of terror is unacceptable,
even against Israel, even in the name of a Palestinian state.
Arafat does not just stand for terror, he stands for the refusal to
make peace with Israel under any circumstances and within any borders.
In this respect, there is no distinction, beyond the tactical, between
him and Hamas. Europe's refusal to utterly reject him condemns
Palestinians, no less than Israelis, to endless war and dooms the
possibility of the two-state solution the world claims to seek.
While the prospect of a Palestinian power vacuum is feared by some,
the worst of all worlds is what exists now: Terrorists attack Israel
at will under the umbrella of legitimacy provided by Arafat. Hamas
would not be able to fill a post-Arafat vacuum; on the contrary, Hamas
would lose the cover it has today.
A word must be said here about the most common claim made by those who
would not isolate Arafat, let alone kill him: that he is the elected
leader of the Palestinian people. Even if Arafat was chosen in a truly
free election (when does his term end?), which we would dispute, this
does not close the question of his legitimacy.
Whom the Palestinians choose to lead them is none of our business,
provided it is a free choice, and provided they do not opt for leaders
who choose terror and aggression. So long as the Palestinians choose
such a leadership, it should be held no more immune to counterattack
by Israel than the Taliban and Saddam Hussein were by the United
We complain that a double standard is applied to us, and it is. But we
cannot complain when we apply that double standard to ourselves.
Arafat's survival, under our watchful eyes, is living testimony to our
tolerance of that double standard. If we want another standard to be
applied, we must begin by applying it ourselves.
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