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March 23, 2004
Israel Signals The End of One-Sided Negotiations

Israel has clearly signaled its refusal to take part in any more meaningless negotiations, announcing that it intends to kill the leadership of any organization that targets its citizens, including the Palestinian Authority:

With tension between Israelis and Palestinians at intense levels following the assassination of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin (search), an Israeli security official on Tuesday said they will continue the targeted killings of the entire Hamas leadership without waiting for the terror group to strike again. ... Israel's army chief also suggested Tuesday that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah could eventually be assassinated by Israel.

"I think that their (Arafat's and Nasrallah's) responses yesterday show that they understand that it is nearing them," Yaalon said. "In the long term, I hope that this will be a sign to all those who choose to hurt us that this will be their end," Yaalon said.

I am sure that this rhetoric will result in all the usual moaning from the usual (EUsual?) suspects, who somehow believe that Israel should continue to hold meetings with the leadership of terrorist organizations that have made clear that Israel must not be allowed to exist. Israel has done exactly that during the so-called intifadas, and it resulted in absolutely no respite from bombings. Israel tried building a wall, and the EU dragged them into the Hague. Israel announced a plan to simply withdraw from Gaza and take the settlers with them, and even that wasn't good enough for Israel's allies.

So Israel has decided, in a clear and rational moment, that its allies weren't helping to keep Israelis alive and likely would never quit blaming Israel for Palestinian terrorism no matter what Israel did, up to and including ending the occupation. In light of that, Israel's decision to put the "war" back into the war on terror makes perfect sense. And since the leadership of their enemies can't be counted on to act rationally, killing them first holds no special risk for Israel. Until the Palestinians change their approach, no other strategy makes any sense for Israel.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 23, 2004 6:23 AM

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