February 23, 2007

Lest the Sword Slip from Our Hand

From Lest the Sword Slip from Our Hand:

Jibril Rajoub, a former head of PA Preventive Security in the West Bank who is considered a "moderate" Palestinian, has now appeared on television and shocked his Israeli acquaintances with the remark that in the end, the Palestinians will recover every inch of land between the river and the sea.

With all due respect to my Palestinian friends, I can only conclude from these remarks that we must shut our ears when the Palestinians scatter promises about wanting to live alongside Israel. It is not words that matter, but deeds, and deeds alone.

There is only one conclusion, and Moshe Dayan already said it in his eulogy over the grave of Roi Rutenberg, who was murdered by Arabs from Gaza in the 1950s: "This is our life's choice: to be prepared and armed, strong and determined, lest the sword slip from our hand and our lives be cut down."

The key issue here, and our primary concern, is the continuation of terror; today manifested in the continued rocket fire, the refusal to release Gilad Shalit, the attempts to carry out suicide bombings, and the massive smuggling of arms. Bringing an end to these things constitutes part of the Quartet's demands.

Of course Israel must help Mahmoud Abbas, and through him, the suffering Palestinian people. But it cannot participate in a sneaky attempt by Hamas to use a moderate and positive-thinking man like Salam Fayad, who would be finance minister in a unity government, to put aid money into the hands of Hamas ministers, including those heading the movement's military wing.

Having a moderating force in Gaza and within the PA is in Israel's interest, but it is not enough. Israel must also insist that the Palestinians pass the critical test of reining in terror and fully abide by all agreements.