Israel: April 22, 2002

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: 10.0pt"> In the last 19 months, 470 Israelis have died in the violence with Palestinians. More than half of those deaths were in the last two months. The Israeli campaign led to some 5,000 Palestinians being arrested, including over 400 on Israeli wanted lists. Thousands of weapons were seized and several leaders of terrorist organizations arrested. Many more of these men are under siege in   Bethlehem and Ramallah. Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians are down sharply, which makes the campaign popular in Israel. But worldwide Israel is being criticized for the Palestinian civilians killed and damage in the Palestinian territories. The Israelis are unapologetic, saying that they used tactics that limited civilian casualties. The armed Palestinians were fighting in populated areas, so the danger to civilians could not be avoided. But the Palestinians have claimed (so far without any proof) that Israelis deliberately attacked civilians. The Palestinians are winning the information war, if only because Palestinian civilian losses are up and Israeli civilian losses are down.

The basic problem of how to make peace is still there. The Palestinian radicals still call for the destruction of Israel and Palestinian popular opinion still backs the radicals. Eventually (in months, or years), Palestinian civilians will tire of the violence and back a peace agreement. But the radicals will, if history is any guide, be less willing to change their position. Unless Palestinians turn against the radicals, the radicals attacks on Israeli civilians will continue. The Palestinians believe they are winning this war, as they have scared tourists away from Israel and the Israeli economy is slowing down. Eventually, the Palestinians hope to make Israel unappealing for Israelis and that Jews will begin to leave in large numbers. In the long run, most Palestinians believe their current tactics will win.

 

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