- The Washington Times - Monday, April 1, 2002

To listen to the media's coverage of the Passover terror spree against Israel being orchestrated by Yasser Arafat's thugs, one might think we'd have peace in our time if: 1) Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would just go away, and 2) Israeli settlements and the "occupation of Palestinian lands" would end.
Both of these assertions fly in the face of history and common sense. In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state. The Jews accepted the compromise, while the Arabs went to war in the first in a series of failed attempts to wipe Israel off the map. Arab efforts to destroy Israel and foment terror against its civilian population occurred repeatedly from 1948-67, a period when Jordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt the Gaza Strip. No Israeli settlements existed when Mr. Arafat and his friends founded the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964, vowing to "liberate Palestine" from the Jews. As for Mr. Sharon, who was elected Prime Minister last February by a landslide 25-point margin, he never would have won if Mr. Arafat hadn't rejected Prime Minister Ehud Barak's July 2000 offer of an independent state and shared control of Jerusalem, and given his okay to a wave of suicide attacks on Israeli civilians.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's decision to recognize Mr. Arafat and the PLO in September 1993, the culmination of a series of secret negotiations that began in Oslo, Norway, was a diplomatic crapshoot: Mr. Rabin thought that if Israel could end its conflict with Mr. Arafat and the Palestinians, it could attain peace with the rest of the Arab world. So, Mr. Rabin decided to sign an agreement with Mr. Arafat, who for his part, promised to get out of the terrorism business.
Then, in April 1994, Hamas debuted a new tactic for killing Israelis: suicide bombings of buses. Over the next few years, as Hamas and Islamic Jihad carried out suicide attacks in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other locations in Israel, it became apparent that Mr. Arafat was playing a double game. He launched periodic "crackdowns," locking up some of the worst of the terrorists for a few months or so, before they "escaped" under questionable circumstances. He pointedly rebuffed Israeli demands that he destroy the terrorist infrastructure, such as mosques and other institutions associated with Hamas that funded terrorism and encouraged anti-Jewish violence and hatred. As chairman of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mr. Arafat violated his promises to purge his own security forces of known terrorists, and his senior aides repeatedly incited violence by accusing Israel of injecting Arab children with the AIDS virus. In 1997, the PA, angered over Palestinian sales of land to Jews, orchestrated the murders of Palestinian realtors in the Jerusalem area.
All of these outrages and more continued, to one degree or another, until 18 months ago, when Mr. Arafat and his confederates launched the current wave of suicide bombings. All of these things were well-known to the Clinton administration and to successive Israeli governments, which (often under U.S. pressure) chose to overlook such behavior in the name of achieving "peace." It should be clear by now that such a policy of appeasement was a colossal failure. As for President Bush, the Palestinian killers will soon force him to decide whether to continue his ill-considered policy of expressing sympathy for Israel's action against terrorism on one hand, while joining the UN Security Council in supporting the foolish "cease-fire" resolutions which treat the terrorists and their victims the same on the other.

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