By Steven Plaut

The entire world seems engrossed with the fate of Yassir Arafat, as he sits perched in the ruined headquarters of his Palestinian Authority, looking down at his pursuers like a terrorist Rapunzel.

And as the world contemplates the denouement of this drama, it seems that there is international consensus that Arafat - unlike Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein - must not be harmed physically. Even within Israel, it is almost impossible to find a single politician or commentator who suggests that Arafat should be killed. The working presumption of all is that the world will be outraged if Israel harms a whisker on Arafat's cartoon-like face. Some politicians in Israel are proposing simply expelling Arafat. Others suggest he be allowed to run off to some Arab summit or other and then be prevented from returning. Nearly all of them are in intense anxiety lest an Israeli bulldozer or IDF soldier accidentally cause harm to befall the imprisoned arch-terrorist.

All of which would be laughable if it were not so sad.

The fact of the matter is that Arafat should have been killed long ago. Israel actually had opportunities to kill him, such as in the 1982 siege of Beirut, but decided to let Arafat go free at the time. Hundreds of Israeli lives have been lost due to that decision. September 13, 2001 might also have been an opportune timing.

It is argued that the Palestinians will be outraged and go on a murder spree if Arafat is killed. But when Arafat was NOT dead, indeed when he was directing the mechanism of a Palestinian state-emerging, the Palestinians went on a barbaric killing spree. Was there any shortage of Nazi-like atrocities perpetrated by Palestinians when Israel was treating Arafat with red carpets and honor guards, as a statesman, and appeasing him with unbelievable concessions?

And it is argued that the world will denounce Israel if it kills Arafat and would demonize the Jews. But the world was denouncing Israel and demonizing the Jews as "Nazis" even when Israel was exercising "self-restraint" and self-abasement to degrees without precedent in human history. And when Ehud Barak offered Arafat absolutely everything at Camp David that the latter was publicly demanding, despite Arafat's having violated every single Oslo obligation to which he had ever committed, the entire world denounced Israeli "obstinacy" and "occupation". The world's reaction was to demonize Israel as being the "obstacle" to "peace". Western Europe and the developing world morphed into huge anti-Jewish Nuremberg Rallies. So what does Israel have to lose from killing Arafat?

But there is a far more important reason why Arafat should be killed.

Israel was created because in its absence Jews were mass murdered throughout history by savages with impunity. Israel was created in response to the events of World War II. Israel was restored to independence so that never again could someone commit mass murders of hundreds of Jewish civilians and be left alive. Israel was created to be a mechanism to kill any future mass murderers, any future Nazis. Israel's basic existence must be to deny impunity to mass murderers of Jews.

Arafat's stormtroopers have murdered nearly a thousand Jews, just since he signed the 1993 Oslo "Peace" Accord on the White House Lawn. To allow Arafat to walk is the same as conceding that Israel is willing to abandon its raison d'etre, that "Never Again" is just an empty slogan. To leave Arafat alive is to advertise to all that Jews are there for anyone with a grievance (real or imagined) to kill, that it is open season on them. It makes a mockery out of any program to deter terrorism. It denies the fundamental moral justification for Israel's rebirth.

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