Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Murder in Jerusalem

Just as Israel finished taking Israelis out of Gaza and 4 settlements in the West Bank, an Arab stabbed two and killed one student in Jerusalem, near the Jaffa Gate of the old city.
The attacker stabbed his first victim in the leg around 8:30 on David Street. The young man suffered moderate injuries and managed to reach the nearby police station, where he reported he was attacked with a kitchen knife.

Police rushed to the scene and discovered another stabbing victim with stomach wounds. Medics tried to resuscitate the man as he was rushed to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, where he died while undergoing an operation. The other victim was hospitalized at Sha'arei Tzedek Hospital. Police are investigating reports that there was a third victim, who may have been injured lightly. They discovered the 30-centimeter (12-inch) knife at the scene.

This is especially sad, when one puts this into perspective. Israel has just taken a huge step, pulling 25 settlements out of the ground after as many as 25 years, and despite a large opposition among its own people - particularly in the Likud, Sharon's own party. Israel did so despite receiving nothing in return from the Palestinians.
As LittleGreenFootballs noted, President Bush
made it clear that the Palestinians must take the next step towards peace, by reforming their government and their security forces.
“Of course we want to get back to the road map, but I understand that in order for this process to go forward there must be confidence, confidence that the Palestinian people would have with their own government to perform, confidence with the Israelis, that they’ll see a peaceful state emerging,” Bush said.

However, as LGF notes, the Palestinians are doing no such thing.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced on Monday that they have reached an agreement with the Palestinian Authority according to which the two groups would not be disarmed.

The agreement was reportedly achieved during talks in Damascus between PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Qurei met Sunday night in Damascus with leaders of various radical groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and discussed ways of cooperating with them after implementation of the disengagement plan is completed. Sources close to the two groups said Qurei made it clear that the PA would not confiscate the weapons of any of the armed groups in the Gaza Strip.

The next paragraph LGF quotes from the Jerusalem Post is even more disturbing:
Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas leader based in Syria, said the meeting was held in a “cordial atmosphere” and that the two sides agreed that the Palestinians should have a joint strategy after disengagement. “We stressed during the meeting that the Palestinians have the right to continue the resistance [against Israel] and that there would be no attempt to collect weapons from the resistance groups,” he said.

It is the final sentence LGF quotes which is the most troubling, and probably the most revealing:
“The weapons of the resistance were founded to defend the Palestinian people and resist the occupation,” he added. “The Gaza victory was achieved with the weapons of the resistance, which is the only strategy to drive Israel out of the rest of our lands.
It is these attitudes that are the problem. Until Abbas and the Palestinian Authority control Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the rest, Israel should reserve the right to respond with no holds barred to any attack. Charles Krauthammer has a very interesting suggestion:
Israel should announce that henceforth, any rocket launched from Palestinian territory will immediately trigger a mechanically automatic response in which five Israeli rockets will be fired back. There will be no human intervention in the loop. Every Palestinian rocket landing in Israel will instantly trigger sensors and preset counter-launchers. Any Palestinian terrorist firing up a rocket will know that he is triggering six: one Palestinian and five Israeli.

Israel would decide how these five would be preprogrammed to respond. Perhaps three aimed at the launch site and vicinity, and two at a list of predetermined military and strategic assets of the Palestinian militias. This new policy would echo, though in far more benign form, America's Cold War deterrence policy of "massive retaliation." That was all somewhat theoretical, but the Soviets apparently thought otherwise when they backed down during the Cuban missile crisis. In Gaza, the issue is not theoretical. Once Israel leaves, there is no way to dismantle the rockets. Deterrence is all there is. After but a few Israeli demonstrations of "non-massive retaliation," the Palestinians themselves will shut down their terrorist rocketeers.

Finally, as Krauthammer notes, Israel should absolutely not give any more concessions until there is a complete cessation of violence and the Palestinians destroy the terrorist infrastructure - and the education that leads to it.
The Gaza withdrawal is not the beginning but the end. Apart from perhaps some evacuations of outlying settlements on the West Bank, it is the end of the concession road for Israel. And it is the beginning of the new era of self-sufficiency and separation in which Israel ensures its security not by concessions, but by fortification, barrier creation, realism and patient waiting.

Waiting for the first-ever genuine Palestinian concessions. Waiting for the Palestinians to honor the promises — to recognize Israel and renounce terrorism — they solemnly made at Oslo and brazenly betrayed. That's the next step. Without it, nothing happens.
The clock is ticking. Now, we wait.

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