Israel's dangerous concessions

September 28, 2005|By CAL THOMAS

ARLINGTON, Va. -- It took just 12 days from the completion of Israel's withdrawal from Gaza before rockets started raining down on the western Negev area from the now-unoccupied territory.

The attacks might have occurred sooner had the terrorists not been preoccupied with torching synagogues and destroying flower-growing operations in Gaza that could have been used to produce income for Palestinian residents. Sadly, their hatred of all things Jewish prompted them to act against their self-interest.

Every time Israel offers concessions, withdrawals, confidence-building measures and other "good faith" gestures, the response is more terror, more death and no peace. Will there ever come a time when the United States and the international community conclude that forcing Israel into making unilateral concessions is not a prescription for peace but a guarantee of more war?

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is facing a growing political challenge from former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, should have seen this coming because it has happened so many times before.

Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz promised a "crushing and unequivocal response" to the rocket attack, and Israeli aircraft retaliated Sunday. The Hamas terrorist group blamed Israel for an explosion at a Hamas rally Friday that killed 15 people, though the Palestinian Authority said it appeared to have been an accident caused by Hamas members carrying explosives in a crowded area. Hamas vowed to resist any raid in Gaza and called for attacks on Israel.

Continuing his denial of the obvious, the top U.N. envoy to the Middle East, Alvaro de Soto, told the Security Council on Friday that the "road map" remains the only realistic method for achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Not exactly. The road map requires reciprocity. So far, Israel has been the only party doing the giving and the Palestinian-Hamas-Fatah side has been doing the taking and the killing. Why should they stop when violence is giving them what they want?

Commenting on Israel's withdrawal, but ignoring the continuing terrorist threat, Mr. de Soto said, "Forces of moderation have prevailed over those of extremism."

You could have fooled me!

After Mr. de Soto spoke, the Security Council approved a statement again calling on both sides to adhere to the road map and saying the Gaza pullout must be only one step toward further Israeli withdrawal and efforts to achieve a viable Palestinian state.

The frustrating part is that no one pays attention to the pronouncements of the terrorists. Hamas announced it would flood Gaza with its soldiers once Israel withdrew. Islamo-fascist clerics call for the annihilation of Israel and tell jihadists it is their religious duty to kill Jews and Christians.

Our "friends" the Saudis and Egyptians allow this rhetoric to flow unimpeded from their mosques and in their government-run media. Meanwhile, the Bush administration and its State Department sink deeper into denial and pretend the terrorists don't mean what they say. The terrorists trumpet their plans and then carry them out. After they have caused death and destruction, they promise to do it again. Objectives can't be made clearer than that.

Will a second coming of Mr. Netanyahu as prime minister make a difference? Perhaps. He once told me he had learned a valuable lesson from his own concessions during the Clinton administration. Mr. Netanyahu should tell Israelis and the world that if he again becomes prime minister, he will not budge on more land concessions until the Palestinian-Hamas-Fatah side begins responding positively to all of Israel's concessions.

Having given so much and received nothing in return, it might now be too late to save Israel, but giving more without getting anything ensures Israel's extinction sooner rather than later.

Cal Thomas' syndicated column appears Wednesdays in The Sun.

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