Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

17 Cheshvan 5761 - November 15, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Sponsored by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Produced and housed by

Opinion & Comment
Stopping Terror with Preparedness

Yasser Arafat has signed two major agreements, "countersigned" and "guaranteed" by the President of the United States, in which the main thing that he promised in return for legitimacy and control of millions of people was to renounce violence. Even the late Yitzhak Rabin, who concluded and signed the agreements found it an effort to shake the hand of the celebrated terrorist. It was the renunciation of violence that made Arafat into a "former" terrorist and thus a candidate for participation in ceremonies on the White House lawn.

Though there were warnings all along based on the fact that the Palestinian Authority did not educate its people for peace but for war, the events of the past month and a half have made it perfectly clear that Arafat has not renounced violence and terror. He publicly identifies with the constant shooting and certainly stands behind the release of all the terrorists from the PA prisons.

Nonetheless, the Israeli leaders declare their readiness to continue talking to him about peace, whenever he is ready. Unfortunately they must continually reaffirm their readiness since outrage follows outrage, and they do not want to leave the impression that after the most recent outrage perhaps they are no longer willing to negotiate.

The world seems to have accepted that Arafat has norms of behavior that are radically different from those that are expected of virtually every other member of the modern family of nations. He can do whatever strikes his fancy and the only reaction he gets is a plea to behave normally. He can commit himself to stopping the terror while continuing to encourage it. He can be received with honor in world capitals while continuing to shoot at innocent civilians and provoking attacks to get his own people killed so that he can complain of excessive Israeli force. And the minute that he has decided that he has nothing more to gain from the violence, everyone will be so grateful and eager to meet him again to talk "peace."

One of the most often-heard statements from the Left is that we must continue with the peace process with the Palestinians because there is no alternative. It is true that no one in the past ten years has articulated any other policy than some variation of the process that was started seven years ago at Oslo. Even the Right has only argued for variations in tactics and the speed of the process, but it has basically accepted that the key issues will be worked out in negotiations with the Palestinians.

This is certainly the best -- and for now the only -- way to go. It is clear that refusing to speak with Arafat is something that the entire world will not accept.

However, there is nothing to prevent us from preparing a genuine alternative to a negotiated peace settlement with Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. The alternative is simply to make better preparations for the conditions that have prevailed for the past month and a half. Since the goal of terror such as Arafat is using is not to secure a military victory in the conventional sense but to wear down the adversary so that he will surrender or retreat (such as Israel did in Lebanon), the better prepared we are to weather the intifadah conditions, the more likely it is that the Arabs will abandon them and negotiate seriously.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.