Israel's Intifada Victory

(Washington Post) Charles Krauthammer - The Palestinian intifada is over, and the Palestinians have lost. The past four years of terrorism have killed almost 1,000 Israelis and maimed thousands of others. But Israel has won strategically. Israel's economy is growing again. The tourists are returning. There was terrorism before the intifada and there will be terrorism to come. But the overall level of violence has been reduced by more than 70%. How did Israel do it? By ignoring its critics and launching a two-pronged campaign of self-defense. First, Israel targeted terrorist leaders - attacks so hypocritically denounced by Westerners who, at the same time, demand the head of bin Laden. Second, the fence. Only about a quarter of the separation fence has been built, but its effect is unmistakable, changing the strategic equation of the whole conflict. The Palestinians know the ruin that Arafat has brought, and they are beginning to protest it. He promised them blood and victory; he delivered on the blood. Even more important, they have lost their place at the table. Israel is now defining a new equilibrium that will reign for years to come. These new strategic realities are creating the first hope for peace since Arafat tore up the Oslo accords four years ago. The only way for the Palestinians to achieve statehood and dignity, and to determine the contours of their own state, will be to negotiate a final peace based on genuine coexistence with a Jewish state. It could be a year, five years, or a generation until the Palestinians come to that realization. The pity is that so many, Arab and Israeli, will have had to die before then.

2004-06-18 00:00:00

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