Polite Talk Won't End Terror

Article excerpt

The Gaza Strip was said by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to be a "test case": to see if the Palestine Liberation Organization could govern itself and control terrorism. The Oct. 19 suicide bombing of a civilian bus in which 23 people were killed and dozens wounded shows that the PLO is failing that test.

Some politicians and pundits here and in Israel explain that the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas is an extremist organization, implying that it does not reflect the yearnings of the PLO. Don't believe it. For years the PLO claimed to be the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. If Yasser Arafat can't exercise authority over Hamas in Gaza, why should anyone expect him to be effective when Israel hands over additional territory in the West Bank and the Golan Heights?

Hamas and other killers have slaughtered 100 Israelis since the Oslo agreement to cede land to the PLO. What has the PLO done meanwhile? Not much. The PLO promised to abrogate its charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel. It hasn't. The PLO promised to fight terrorism in any territory within its domain. While it arrested scores of suspected terrorists following the bus bombing, it released most of them immediately.

In fact, the objectives of the PLO and Hamas are one: the eradication of Israel. What these groups couldn't do on the battlefield, they are now doing at the "piece-by-piece" table.

The deal signed by the PLO and Israel is a "false" peace, as Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu has said. Appearing on ABC's "Nightline" the night of the bombing, Netanyahu said that if Arafat is serious about his role as a leader and spokesman for Palestinians, "let him dismantle Hamas." A real peace, he said, means "no more Lebanons."

President Bill Clinton's trip to Syria plays into the hands of Israel's enemies. People who feel a religious mandate to eliminate Jews are not going to be dissuaded by the voice of an American president when they claim to have heard the voice of Allah.

In the October issue of Commentary magazine, Martin Kramer, associate director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University, writes about the indiscriminate terrorist attack July 18 on the Jewish quarter of Buenos Aires, which killed 95 people, nearly one-third of whom were non-Jews. …