- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 7, 2002

Israeli settlers on the West Bank many of them American Jews holding dual nationality have much in common with French settlers in Algeria prior to independence in 1962.French youth were brought up to believe that Algeria was an integral part of metropolitan France (three French departments on the map). Many of the 1 million French in Algeria were third-generation settlers who had never set foot in France proper. They were known as pieds noirs. Algerian Arabs, like today's Palestinians, opted for terrorism to get France to understand Algeria was Algerian.
Beginning Nov. 1, 1954 six months after France's defeat in Indochina at Dienbienphu Algerian terrorists, led by future President Ahmed Ben Bella, unleashed what became known as the Algerian War. Unspeakable massacres of innocent civilians were committed. The French army eventually 500,000-strong cracked down hard, and the cycle of violence continued for eight years. After Tunisia and Morocco gained their independence in 1956, they backed the FLN (National Liberation Front) with covert arms shipments and gave the terrorists privileged sanctuaries, much the way Iran and Syria secretly assist Palestinian terrorists today.
Eight years of terrorism and counterterrorism caused almost half a million killed before France conceded independence. But by then it was too late for some 1 million French settlers. They were sent packing by a newly independent Algeria.
Terrorist violence has been seen as a legitimate response to occupation in a wide variety of conflicts during the past 60 years. In Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, the country's future president, and his Mau Mau terrorists launched terrorist attacks against white settlers and their black supporters. In 1953, Kenyatta was convicted of managing a terrorist campaign against British rule. Thousands were killed and independence finally came in 1964.
In Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, the first terrorist attack in an eight-year war of terrorism against white settlers took place on Christmas Eve 1972 against a farming family outside the town of Centenary.
Unmentionable acts of terrorist cruelty became the norm in ANC's war against apartheid in South Africa that was backed by governments and public opinion the world over. They were regarded as legitimate against white oppressors and fence-sitting blacks.
During the Vietnam War, Viet Cong guerrillas wiped out entire villages, down to the last woman and child, as punishment for collaborating with the pro-American government in Saigon. Communist suicide bombers were also a common occurrence. The left wing the world over saw them as heroes in a war of national liberation.
Palestinian suicide bombers and the carnage they wreak among innocent Israeli lives are an abomination. Seen in a wider context, however, terrorism has been the weapon of the weak against the strong from time immemorial. Brainwashed kids who strap explosives to their bodies believe beautiful women await them in paradise, just as Japan's kamikaze pilots in World War II thought nirvana was the next stop.
The Sharon plan has been clear since last summer: Dismantle the Palestinian Authority's infrastructure and force Yasser Arafat into exile, much the way he was chased out of Jordan by the late King Hussein's army in 1970 and out of Beirut in 1982 when Ariel Sharon laid siege to the Lebanese capital. In 1974, Mr. Sharon told this reporter that Israel would never give up the West Bank and that the only viable Palestinian state was Jordan, whose population is more than 60 percent Palestinian.
After seeing the Israeli army roll into West Bank cities and losing the few creature comforts they still had, there will be no shortage of Palestinian volunteers to kill themselves killing innocent Israelis. Israeli intelligence believes 30 are ready for a suicide mission and another 100 in the pipeline. About 60 percent of Palestinian males are now jobless. The Israelis have doubtless dented the PA's infrastructure and Mr. Arafat's authority. But the best Mr. Sharon can hope for now is a brief pause.
But there was no pause in the messages of hatred emanating from minarets all over the Muslim world where the U.S. and Israel are now interchangeable enemies. One "holy war" message that is heard frequently in Middle Eastern mosques is a call for another Arab oil embargo. The Iraqi and Iranian regimes have echoed the call. It was the 1973-74 oil embargo that led to a cease-fire in the Yom Kippur War and later the Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula. Today, as then, experts dismiss the possibility of oil becoming part of the combustible mix.
Historical precedents do not favor Israel's 200,000 settlers in the West Bank and Gaza. Palestine's war of liberation, as reprehensible as wanton terrorism is, will continue until the two-state solution Israel and Palestine is achieved. And unless the Tenet-Mitchell negotiating track is imposed by the Bush administration, the current drift may well lead to the adoption by the moderates of the extremist agenda i.e., a one-state solution. That's why a muscular U.S. policy in the region is an urgent imperative.

Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International.

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