By Binyamin Netanyahu (former prime minister of Israel),
Jerusalem Post, March 29, 2002
Since Yom Kippur in 1973, Israel has not experienced a violent Arab attack so
laced with savage contempt for our people and our heritage as we experienced
on Pessah Eve this year.
The message Palestinian terrorists are sending us is crystal clear: We will
murder you at every opportunity, in every place, at any time – even on the
holiest of your days.
An unremitting carnage that indiscriminately slaughters all who come within the
murderous reach of Palestinian terrorists shows the depths of their hatred.
Clearly, the only constraint for Arab terrorists is their destructive capability.
Given the power, they would destroy all of us, down to the last infant.
The primary objective of Arafat’s terrorist regime is not to establish the
twenty-second Arab state, but to destroy the only Jewish state. This was and
remains the heart of the conflict.
In 1948, the Arabs rejected an international resolution that would have
established an Arab state, and instead attempted to destroy an embryonic
Fifty-two years later, Arafat rejected a similar offer and demanded the
flooding of Israel with millions of Palestinians, a measure that would effectively
bring about the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.
With such a regime, whose ultimate objective is our destruction and which
pursues this objective by the most barbaric means imaginable, there is no place
for negotiations and no hope for reaching any sustainable peace agreement.
Indeed, the much vaunted political solution to end the conflict was in fact
attempted two years ago at Camp David, and it utterly failed. Arafat rejected a
scandalously far-reaching Israeli offer of a sovereign Palestinian state in Judea,
Samaria, and the Gaza Strip, which included half of Jerusalem, and instead
chose to unleash the present war of terror against Israel.
There is only one option that is now available to Israel: to decisively win the
war that has been forced upon us. What is required of us today is not a
willingness to clench our teeth and bear this ongoing violence. We must instead
seek a total military victory against an implacable enemy that is waging a
terrorist war against us.
First, we must immediately dismantle the Palestinian Authority and expel Arafat.
Second we must encircle the main Palestinian population centers, purge them
of terrorists, and eradicate the terrorist infrastructure. Third, we must establish
security separation lines that will allow Israeli armed forces to enter Palestinian
territory, but prevent Palestinian terrorists from entering our towns and cities.
The choice we face today is not between military victory and a security
separation. Rather, we must do both together. Only by combining the two can
we stop the terror, restore a deterrence that has been dangerously eroded in
the last two years, and enable a realistic and moderate leadership to emerge
among the Palestinians with which we can pursue a political settlement in the
Like a partial dose of antibiotics that is not sufficient to cure the disease, the
partial actions of the government and the fitful changes between a policy of
restraint and half-hearted military action has not and will not achieve anything.
Our excessive concern about the international community has also borne bitter
fruit. Israel’s refusal so far to act as would any other self-respecting nation
heightens the doubts in the minds of our friends of our belief in the justice of
our cause and encourages our enemies to increase the bloodshed.
The only way to win international understanding for our position, especially in
America, is to steadfastly assert our basic right to defend ourselves and achieve
a quick and decisive military victory that will stop the terrible massacre of our
Finally, the claim that we have tried all military means to end the terror is
baseless. We have not even used a fraction of our military power, and the little
we have used has not been directed at the right target, namely ending Arafat’s
regime. Today, after 18 months of terrorism, the government continues to work
under the illusion that it is possible to stop terrorism without dismantling this
main terrorist engine.
What is absolutely clear is that we cannot continue, even for one more day, on
a path of indecision, without a goal or a policy. We must do what any nation in
our position would do: stop bickering among ourselves, fight the war that has
been forced upon us, and vanquish an enemy who is determined to annihilate us.