Israel: March 24, 2002

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Palestinians won't let up, even with continued terrorist attacks keeping the American vice president from meeting with Palestinian leader Arafat. Worse yet, it's increasingly obvious that religious conservatives in Iran (who loudly desire the destruction of Israel) have become energetic allies of the Palestinian Authority and terrorist groups. This means money and weapons from Iran. In addition to the shipload of weapons intercepted in the Red Sea, there have been smuggling attempts across the Jordanian border. The Palestinian Mediterranean coastline in Gaza is heavily patrolled by the Israeli navy. But most Palestinians are taken with the success of Hizbollah in Lebanon, whose constant attacks eventually caused Israel from south Lebanon. But the Israeli reaction to constant Palestinian terror attacks has been the increasing popularity of expelling all Palestinians into Jordan. A recent opinion survey found 46 percent of  Israelis backed this. In the past, less than ten percent did. Palestinians believe such an expulsion is impossible, and that the continued terror attacks will force the Israelis to grant Palestinian all of their territory as an independent state. But most of the terrorists don't want that, they want Israel destroyed and Jews expelled from the Middle East, and won't stop their attacks until their goals are achieved. Israel has the greater military power, and if the Palestinians don't come up with demands Israel can live with, Israel will keep fighting. The Israeli options range from imposing a police state on the Palestinian territories to expulsion. The latter is politically and logistically impractical, the former is more likely. But turning the Palestinian territory into a prison camp isn't a long term solution either, but it would shut down most of the terrorism.

 

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