How to Stop the Terror
Benjamin Netanyahu is the former prime minister of Israel.
Jerusalem-We are told that there is no way to stop Palestinian terror,
and no military solution to the current conflict. I vehemently disagree.
Palestinian terror can and will be stopped by restoring Israel's deterrent
strength and by using that strength when necessary
Many years before we entered into diplomatic negotiations with Egypt and
Jordan, we used our military forces to put an end to terrorism emanating
from those states. But one need not go back decades to see that terror
can be defeated.
When my government came to power in 1996, the Jewish state had witnessed
horrific carnage over the preceding months, including a spate of exploding
buses and suicide bombings that left scores dead and hundreds wounded.
Three years later, when my government left office, it handed over a tranquil
Israel whose citizens shared a sense of personal security.
How were we able to restore security to the people of Israel? Did Arafat
become a Zionist during my tenure as prime minister? Did my government
offer him more generous concessions than the government that preceded
or succeeded it? Of course not.
We restored security by restoring deterrence and by refusing to accept
terrorism as an inevitable part of our daily lives.
Arafat understood three things:
First, that I was prepared to use the full strength of the IDF (Israel
Defense Forces) against the Palestinian Authority to stop terror, even
to the point of dismantling Arafat's regime. Second, that my government
would uniformly support this policy. And, third, that this policy would
be implemented in the face of international pressure.
The danger that Arafat faced was made clear to him in our response to
the riots that followed the opening of the Western Wall tunnel-riots that
lasted only two days-and in our response to the three serious bombings
that occurred during my tenure. Faced with the threat to his regime, Arafat
arrested terrorists, reined in Hamas and Islamic Jihad and instructed
his security services to prevent further attacks against our citizens.
The restoration of Israeli deterrence led to a dramatic reduction of terror.
By abandoning this policy, the government that succeeded mine once again
endangered the security of Israel's citizens.
By offering outrageous concessions, by negotiating under fire and by the
ill-advised nature of its withdrawal from Lebanon, Ehud Barak's government
implemented a policy of weakness that also marked the government that
had signed the original Oslo accords. The result was another wave of terror
that has continued for eight months.
To restore that deterrence, we must now do three things:
First, Israel must be prepared to use any means necessary to stop the
terror, even if that entails the end of the Palestinian Authority. Arafat
does not care about the Palestinian people, but he certainly cares whether
his own regime survives.
Second, the government must unite behind this policy, which is supported
by the overwhelming majority of the nation.
Third, Israel must explain to the international community that it is exercising
a nation's most basic right to defend its citizens. The presence in Washington
today of an administration strongly committed to fighting terrorism should
make that task easier, and with a properly coordinated public relations
effort, we will succeed at conveying this message. After all, if the United
States and Britain bombed Kadafi's Libya over the bombing of a Berlin
nightclub, Israel certainly has the right to take action after Tel Aviv
and Jerusalem are bombed by Arafat's proxies.
Adopting these measures should stop the terror without having to dismantle
the Palestinian Authority. But if Arafat doesn't get the message, his
replacement surely will: Any Palestinian regime that terrorizes Israel
will not survive.
The central premise behind Oslo-that we could forge a peace with the PLO
because it had given up its intention to destroy Israel-was flawed. In
its place, we must return to a peace based on the concept of deterrence:
a strong Israel that is prepared to defend itself and use its power when
necessary. This concept has protected Israel since its inception, stopped
the conflict with two of our neighbors and eventually enabled peace with
them to become a reality.
Our nation stands at an historical crossroads. For the first time in decades,
parts of the Arab world believe that it is possible to overpower the Jewish
state. We must again convince them otherwise. Our willingness to accept
the war of attrition that Arafat wishes to impose on us will further undermine
our deterrence and draw us into a wider regional conflict. Just as we
did in the recent past, I have no doubt that we can prevent this deterioration
and stop the terrorist onslaught that Arafat has unleashed.
In the final analysis, the current conflict is a test of our national
resolve. I have full confidence in the will of a people who over the centuries
has overcome obstacles far greater than Arafat's corrupt junta.
back to index