War for Peace

by | Apr 29, 2002

After 10 years of seeking security through “land for peace” deals, Israel has finally rediscovered the formula for real security: war for peace. Notice what you have seen in the news for the past few weeks: Europeans screaming about civilian casualties at Jenin (the “City of the Bombers”), Prince Abdullah lecturing President Bush to give […]

After 10 years of seeking security through “land for peace” deals, Israel has finally rediscovered the formula for real security: war for peace.

Notice what you have seen in the news for the past few weeks: Europeans screaming about civilian casualties at Jenin (the “City of the Bombers”), Prince Abdullah lecturing President Bush to give even less support to Israel, another vague and useless terrorism warning from Tom Ridge, the Catholic Church’s pedophile scandal. You might also have read about Jean-Marie Le Pen’s upset in France, or, equally sordid, the Robert Blake murder trial.

Now notice the headline that has been missing, the headline that we had grown used to seeing, day after day, week after week, for 18 months. We have not heard about a constant barrage of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.

In March, 108 civilians were murdered and more than 500 injured in terrorist attacks on Israel. Another 22 soldiers and three policemen, by my count, were also killed. It was the climax of Yasser Arafat’s uprising and the bloodiest month of terrorism in Israel’s history.

The terrorist attacks came almost daily, targeting Israelis going about their normal business. On March 2, 10 Israelis were killed — including two infants in strollers — when a terrorist from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade blew himself up outside a bar mitzvah. On March 5, three people were killed and 30 injured when an officer in the Palestinian naval police opened fire on a seafood restaurant and nightclub in Tel Aviv. On March 9, two people were killed in a sniper attack near the boardwalk in the resort town of Netanya.

That same day, 11 more Israelis were killed by a Hamas suicide bomber at a sidewalk cafe in Jerusalem. On March 20, seven people died when Islamic Jihad blew up a bus on its route from Tel Aviv to Nazareth. On March 26, international observers from Turkey and Switzerland were shot and killed in an ambush by Palestinian gunmen. This is just a sampling of the terror campaign that reached its peak with the Passover Massacre. If the U.N. wants to investigate massacres, they should start with this orgy of killing.

On March 29, when Israel began its invasion of the West Bank, French President Jacques Chirac sniffed, “Everyone knows there cannot be a military solution to the conflict in the Middle East.” I’m sure that’s what his predecessor said, six decades ago, about Germany.

The facts have proved him wrong.

About 30 Israeli soldiers were killed in Operation Defensive Shield — not many more than in the preceding month. But the number of civilian deaths has dropped dramatically. In the past four weeks, there have been only three significant terrorist attacks. On April 10, a Hamas bomber blew up a bus, killing eight off-duty soldiers and policemen. On April 12, a zealot from Islamic Jihad shot an Israeli border policeman and a Palestinian worker at a border crossing. Later that same day, a bomber at a bus stop killed four Israelis and two foreign workers from China.

In the past two weeks, from April 13 to April 26, only two Israelis have been killed. One was a soldier, the other a member of the border police. Not a single civilian has been killed. The barrage of murder has been stopped, for now.

Through war, Ariel Sharon has achieved what he could not even get as a show of good faith from Palestinian negotiators: seven days of quiet. He bought this respite the only way anyone can ever buy peace from terrorism: by killing the terrorists, seizing their stocks of explosives, taking away their guns and imprisoning (or at least “isolating”) their leaders.

Bear this in mind the next time you hear someone say that the only path to peace is a “political settlement” to be reached by negotiating with terrorists. Remember it every time you hear that ludicrous phrase “the peace process,” referring to the talks that brought Israel nothing but bloodshed.

Think about it when you hear the people who have spent the last four weeks condemning Israel’s war of self-defense. Would they rather see 17-year-old girls still being blown to bits in Israeli shopping malls? Judge for yourself.

No, this one military operation will not buy peace forever; more military action will be needed after the terrorists regroup. But this does “chart a path for peace,” as diplomats are fond of saying. It is a reminder that the only way to end terrorism is to attack it ruthlessly.

Robert Tracinski was a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute from 2000 to 2004. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Mr. Tracinski is editor and publisher of The Intellectual Activist and TIADaily, which offer daily news and analysis from a pro-reason, pro-individualist perspective. To receive a free 30-day trial of the TIA Daily and a FREE pdf issue of the Intellectual Activist please go to TIADaily.com and enter your email address.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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