Reprinted from Arutz Sheva, Israel National Radio, March 27, 1997


By Yechiel Leiter


Today, I had the opportunity to participate in a conference on the timely subject of "Terrorism." Experts from all over the world converged on the newly-established International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya for a one-day symposium. There was an impressive list of speakers some of whom actually spoke in an equally impressive fashion.

James Woolsey, former head of the CIA, warned that terrorism will be with us for a long time because it has multiple sources and because the West is increasingly vulnerable. Moreover, the world's dependency on Arab oil gives radical Arab states a sense of power which expresses itself in malevolent fashion. Former MI6 Chief of Great Britain, Sir Colin Makol, echoed a similar theme. "The world may not be becoming a safer place to live in the near future as many seem to think," he declared. He cited China and Russia as examples of countries where we can expect to see aggressions. Other speakers at the conference made a quite disappointing presentation. Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria and to Israel Edward Dejraijian spoke about terror-sponsoring states, but did not even mention Syria once. Former Mossad head Shabbtai Shavit spoke for almost half an hour, and, incredibly, said absolutely nothing of note.



For our own interests, the most important issue addressed was, of course, the issue of Palestinian terrorism, particularly in light of its formal resurgence in the past few weeks. David Kimchi, former Director-General of the Foreign Ministry and master spy for many years, presented the same anachronistic assessment that before Oslo, Palestinian terror was PLO terror, but after Oslo, it is Hamas and Islamic Jihad - i.e., terror that opposes peace. He said that Arafat must be held accountable, but that the peace process should not be stopped.



General Meir Dagan, the Prime Minister's advisor on terrorism, spelled itall out the way it needs to be said. We can be thankful that the Prime Minister and his cabinet are hearing the same intelligence analysis as we heard today from General Dagan. He explained that Arafat has done nothing to compromise the potency of terror groups operating from the areas under his control. He made it clear that Arafat's strategy is to use terror every time he feels that the process is not going his way. He confirmed unequivocally that Arafat gave the "green light" that has been spoken about so much over the past few days.

Dagan then urged that Arafat must be held to:

- disarming all the opposition groups and barring them through formal legislation

- taking over and neutralizing completely all centers of incitement

- arresting those involved in attacks on Israelis

- curbing the violence of his own Fatah organization.


But what Dagan did not say was, what do we do if we indeed hold Arafat to the above verbally, but he refuses to substantively comply and the violence continues? It can be said - it should be said - that the situation under Netanyahu is infinitely better than it was under his two predecessors. At least we do not hear the Prime Minister repeating ad nauseam, that the compromises must go on as if there was no terror. But what happens if the unilateral compromise on Israel's part stops, but the Palestinian terror continues because, reasons Arafat, he has nothing to lose? Indeed, this is what appears to be happening now.


Another speaker at the conference, Boaz Ganor, adumbrated a bit on the answer to this question. The answer is a difficult one to implement, but a simple one to understand. We must make it clear to Arafat that he has something to lose if he does not do what we demand of him - what he agreed to do. Not only must he understand that we will not go further, but that we are ready to move back into areas A (transferred to full Palestinian control) and destroy by ourselves the terror infrastructure he has fostered there. The sad truth is that sooner or later, that is exactly what we will have to do. Because in the final analysis, those of us who opposed Oslo from the start, were right from the start. Arafat will not stop Hamas and all the rest of his brigands, because he is no different than they are. There interests are identical, and their methods are interchangeable extensions of one another.


That is what the Prime Minister should tell Dennis Ross tonight. He should let Dennis's boss know that we are ready to do what is necessary to protect our civilians, even if it means mitigating one of his foreign policy "accomplishments." Then, maybe, the leader of the Free World will show a bit more compassion for victims of terror and a bit less understanding for its perpetrators.


Yechiel Leiter is the Executive-Director of the Yesha Council Foreign Desk <>, and authors a weekly commentary in English on Arutz Sheva. Arutz-7 Educational Radio is a project of Bet-El Yeshiva Center Institutions.

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