ONLY A MILITARY SOLUTION WILL END CONFLICT;
By Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu is the former prime minister of Israel.
JERUSALEM -- The message Palestinian terrorists are sending us is
crystal clear: We will murder you at every opportunity, in every place,
at any time -- even on the holiest of your days.
An unremitting carnage that indiscriminately slaughters all who come within
the murderous reach of Palestinian terrorists shows the depths of their
hatred. Clearly, the only constraint for Arab terrorists is their destructive
capability. Given the power, they would destroy all of us, down to the
The primary objective of Yasser Arafat's terrorist regime is not to establish
the 22nd Arab state, but to destroy the only Jewish state. This was and
remains the heart of the conflict.
In 1948, the Arabs rejected an international resolution that would have
established an Arab state, and instead attempted to destroy an embryonic
Jewish state. Fifty-two years later, Arafat rejected a similar offer and
demanded the flooding of Israel with millions of Palestinians, a measure
that would effectively bring about the destruction of Israel as a Jewish
There is no place for negotiations and no hope for reaching any sustainable
peace agreement with such a regime, whose ultimate objective is our destruction
and which pursues this objective by the most barbaric means imaginable.
Indeed, the much vaunted political solution to end the conflict was in
fact attempted two years ago at Camp David, and it utterly failed. Arafat
rejected a scandalously far-reaching Israeli offer of a sovereign Palestinian
state in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, which included half of Jerusalem,
and instead chose to unleash the present war of terror against Israel.
There is only one option now available to Israel: to decisively win the
war that has been forced upon it. What is required of us today is not
a willingness to clench our teeth and bear this ongoing violence. We must
instead seek a total military victory against an implacable enemy that
is waging a terrorist war against us.
First, we must immediately dismantle the Palestinian Authority and expel
Arafat. Second we must encircle the main Palestinian population centers,
purge them of terrorists, and eradicate the terrorist infrastructure.
Third, we must establish security separation lines that will allow Israeli
armed forces to enter Palestinian territory, but prevent Palestinian terrorists
from entering our towns and cities.
The choice we face today is not between military victory and a security
separation. Rather, we must do both together. Only by combining the two
can we stop the terror, restore a deterrence that has been dangerously
eroded in the last two years, and enable a realistic and moderate leadership
to emerge among the Palestinians with which we can pursue a political
settlement in the future.
Like a partial dose of antibiotics that is not sufficient to cure the
disease, the partial actions of the government and the fitful changes
between a policy of restraint and half-hearted military action has not
and will not achieve anything. Our excessive concern about the international
community has also borne bitter fruit. Israel's refusal so far to act
as would any other self-respecting nation heightens the doubts in our
friends' minds of the belief in the justice of our cause and encourages
our enemies to increase the bloodshed.
The only way to win international understanding for our position, especially
in America, is to steadfastly assert our basic right to defend ourselves
and achieve a quick and decisive military victory that will stop the terrible
massacre of our citizens.
Finally, the claim that we have tried all military means to end the terror
is baseless. We have not even used a fraction of our military power, and
the little we have used has not been directed at the right target, namely
ending Arafat's regime. Today, after 18 months of terrorism, the government
continues to work under the illusion that it is possible to stop terrorism
without dismantling this main terrorist engine.
What is absolutely clear is that we cannot continue, even for one more
day, on a path of indecision without a goal or a policy. We must do what
any nation in our position would do: Stop bickering among ourselves, fight
the war that has been forced upon us, and vanquish an enemy who is determined
to annihilate us.
(c) 2002, Global Viewpoint. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate
International, a division of Tribune Media Services.
For immediate release (Distributed 4/1/02)