Israel Draws the Line

(Washington Post) Charles Krauthammer - * Last Sunday Israel's Cabinet decided to withdraw from Gaza and dismantle 25 settlements - 21 in Gaza and four in the upper West Bank. Yet, had Israel done only this, it would be seen, correctly, as a victory for terrorism, a unilateral retreat and surrender to the four-year intifada. That is why the second Israeli decision was so important. The Cabinet also voted to finish the security fence on the West Bank. * The idea is that Israel must (unilaterally, if necessary) rationalize its defensive lines - in order to (1) protect its citizens, (2) permanently defuse the Palestinian terrorist threat, and thus (3) open the door to a final peace. The Palestinians will in time be forced to the collective conclusion that the world has been awaiting for 57 years - that they cannot drive the Jews into the sea and must therefore negotiate a compromise for a permanent peace. * That day may not come immediately. The beauty of the withdrawal and fence plan is that, in the interim, it creates a stable status quo with a minimal level of violence. In that interim, Israel can live in peace, and the Palestinians can develop the institutions of their state and begin to contemplate a final end to the conflict.

2005-02-25 00:00:00

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