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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 07, 2003


President Bush and United Nations Secretary Kofi Annan may be pursuing their three-year timetable to establish a Palestinian state, but Hamas Sheik Ahmed Yassin has unveiled his personal 23-year schedule: Loosely translated, destroy Israel.

Yassin told Hamas supporters at a mass rally in Gaza City on Friday, Dec. 27, "Resistance will move forward, jihad will continue, and martyrdom operations will continue until the full liberation of Palestine. The Zionist entity will fall within the first quarter of this century."

He could very well have been talking about Israeli control of the territories...if you wish to stretch your imagination. I strongly doubt it.

Advocates on both sides of the Israeli crisis convey sharply different predictions as to whether an independent state existing beside Israel will be sufficient for the Palestinians.

Supporters of the Palestinians claim that they will be happy with their own state. Many Jews and other supporters of Israel contend that creation of a state will be one giant step toward driving all Jews into the sea.

I hope it is the former, but after the events of the last two years, I have too much difficulty believing that that will be the end of all serious hostilities.

Two facts are clear after following this crisis since violence erupted in late September 2000. First, a large number of Palestinians in Israel’s territories have made it clear that they want not only a state but also the destruction of Israel.

Likewise, a fair number of Palestinians are perfectly willing to live in peace with the Israelis, and some probably don‘t care whether they have their own state or live under Israeli rule, so long as they are treated fairly.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to quantify how many fit either category, which makes it all the harder to determine if the extremists can be controlled should a Palestinian state be established.

The zealots among them indoctrinate their children to hate Israel and train them to kill and to die if it will help kill infidels. Thousands of them danced in the streets after Sept. 11 attacks and following a suicide bombing at Hebrew University. Not only do they murder Israelis but also fellow Palestinians who might be considered collaborators – even when they can‘t prove it.

It’s obvious that peaceful Palestinians remain silent because they are terrorized by the fanatics.

Can anyone say with a straight face that fanatics like these will settle down if they get an independent state?

The likelihood is that a sizeable segment of the Palestinians won’t give it up. They might have far less support than they have now, but there will probably be enough extremists to cause Israel serious trouble.

Such a force is one of the most volatile factors in an extremely complicated situation which must be addressed to reach an accommodation. Anyone who denies this reality is, well, in denial - an attitude which benefits neither side.

Contributedf by BRUCE S. TICKER, Philadelphia,