Time to Survive

Either the authoritarians of Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority have the power to direct, control, intercept and stymie Arab terrorist attacks against Israel, or they do not. If this year’s proliferation of Arab mass murder has been within the Palestinian Authority’s power to control, then those events confirm that the Palestinian Authority has no right to exist as a polity. On the other hand, if the Palestinian Authority cannot control the anti-Israel terror emanating from within its borders, then it also has no right to exist as a polity.

And if Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon does not finally launch a full-scale defensive operation formulated to eradicate the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Tanzim, Force 17 and the whole bunch of them — and to re-take the areas of Judea and Samaria that now are occupied by the Palestinian Authority — then Sharon’s unity government also enjoys no further right to exist.

The first — and possibly only — reason for government is to provide security and protection, internally through the police and externally through armed forces. A government that will not do everything possible to protect, because of secondary sociological considerations, has no right to exist.

The recent bombings at the Tel Aviv Dolphinarium and the Jerusalem Sbarro restaurant arise from a failure by the Israeli government to protect and secure the society that seated it.

The Sharon-Peres policy that begrudgingly accepts a daily torrent of murder in cold blood — whether at the pizza place, the Laundromat, the disco, on the roadway, at the fruit market or at nature sites — is repugnant to the essence of government. If Israel continues its restraint from utterly eradicating the Palestinian Authority — eviscerating Arafat’s entire political infrastructure, including, but not limited to, the parliament building; all television, radio and publishing sites; Palestinian Authority police stations; Arafat’s airport; and the obliteration of Orient House in East Jerusalem — the Zionist hope will have been reduced to a society of Jews living in a bulletproof bubble: riding in bulletproof buses, dwelling in bulletproof living rooms and dressing in bulletproof clothes.

Israel could not continue indefinitely enjoying the luck of bus drivers and pedestrians spotting one bomb package after another, without some Arab cutthroat getting through. Israel must oust Arafat’s entity from further occupying Judea and Samaria because, although the situation has deteriorated to nightly gunfire into suburban Gilo and mortars across borders, it will get worse.

The Ehud Barak years have taught that there can be no Israeli coexistence with those devoted to her obliteration, and Arafat made clear to Barak and President Clinton that no deal can be signed if it contemplates a Jewish State after the ink dries. From its stationery to its Web sites to its every symbol of authority, the map of Arafat’s Palestine is the same as the map of Israel.

I have had three daughters in Israel this summer on three different summer programs. On the day of the Jerusalem bombing, one of them was six blocks from the epicenter, heard the loudest explosion in her life, and felt the earth shake as it never had in two decades of California quakes.

A bomb at King George Street and Jaffa Road at noon is like a lunch explosion at 42nd Street and Broadway. Everyone is nearby. And that is a parent’s nightmare.

Sharon apparently regards the many civilian Jewish victims of the carnage as necessary casualties that a general must accept as part of a long-term battle plan.

But this general’s holding position is not working, and civilian casualties on the home front are not an acceptable sacrifice for the goodwill of Europe that will not be forthcoming anyway.

If he acts now to eradicate the Palestinian Authority, the two-month wait since the Dolphinarium bombing can have some retroactive justification, if only to have offered a nation time to accept that it is at war despite its heroic efforts to compromise everything for peace.