GLOBAL ECONOMIC VIEWPOINT
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.
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.
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.
To restore that deterrence, we must now do three
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.