Good Fences, Safe Neighbors

(US News) Mortimer B. Zuckerman - Israelis are right to believe that left with their arms the terrorists will sooner or later use them to kill innocent Israeli citizens and will use the temporary cease-fire to regroup, rearm, and re-enlist new suicide bombers. The Israelis have bent to American pressure and accepted the temporary cease-fire, but only as a prelude to a showdown between Abu Mazen and the terrorists. If the Bush administration lulls itself into accepting the current calm as the equivalent of confronting terrorism, it will reap the whirlwind of an even bloodier scene when the terrorists have recovered their strength. The Bush administration is misreading the situation in treating Abu Mazen as if he were a victim of Arafat instead of Arafat's longtime colleague and supporter. Arafat's henchman Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian legislator, said Abu Mazen is aiming to get Hamas and Islamic Jihad to agree to wait until the Palestinian state is declared before attacking Israeli targets. The security fence is no more than a response by the Israelis to a thousand days of terrorism with over 800 civilians killed - the vast majority women and children. The Israeli fence will separate two warring people in order to protect citizens of Israel from being murdered and maimed by Palestinian terrorists. This fence will not be built exclusively along the 1967 borders. Every Israeli prime minister, from Yitzhak Rabin on, and every military and national security official have agreed that Israel can never go back to the June 4, 1967, borders, which did not meet the standard of either secure or defensible borders - as called for in UN Resolutions 242 and 338. The Palestinians have forfeited the right to object since the fence is no more than the minimum penalty for their unwillingness to live in peace with their neighbor.

2003-08-04 00:00:00

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