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Abandoning Gaza Won't End Terrorism

Abandoning Gaza Won't End Terrorism

The Hatuels opposed Ariel Sharon's proposed Gaza pullout because they understood that unilaterally surrendering land to Hamas and the PLO could only result in more terror and bloodshed, not less.

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Meirav, the 2-year-old, had been strapped into a car seat for safety. But car seats are no protection against bullets, and by the time rescue workers reached the Citroen station wagon, Meirav was dead of multiple gunshot wounds to the head. So was her 7-year-old sister, Roni. And Hadar, the 9-year-old. And Hila, 11. One by one, each had been shot at point-blank range.

In the driver's seat, their mother was dead, too. Tali Hatuel, 34, was a social worker who was often called upon to comfort and assist victims of terrorism. Eight months pregnant with her first boy, she had been driving to Ashkelon on Sunday for an ultrasound exam. Then she and the girls had planned to join her husband, David, at an election precinct to urge voters to oppose the controversial Israeli referendum on unilaterally "disengaging" from the Gaza Strip.

But David never saw his wife and daughters alive again. He buried them Sunday evening, sobbing with grief and surrounded by thousands of mourners in Ashkelon's new cemetery. "You were my flowers," he wept. "I am all alone and there is no one left."

Not long after the slaughter of the Hatuel family, two terror groups -- Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committee -- proudly claimed responsibility in a call to the Associated Press. The Voice of Palestine radio praised the quintuple murder as a "heroic" operation against "five settlers," not bothering to mention that the victims were an unarmed pregnant woman and four children or that their bodies had been riddled with bullets fired at close range.

The savagery of the attack was similarly downplayed by National Public Radio in its broadcast the next morning. Actually, reporter Julie McCarthy did more than minimize the horror of the massacre. She blamed the victims for "provoking" their own murder -- not by anything they did but by their mere "presence" in the disputed territory.

The settlers were rallying to defeat the Gaza pullout referendum, McCarthy reported, "saying Israel was withdrawing under fire. But there was ample evidence yesterday to show that their continued presence in Gaza is provoking bloodshed. Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian gunmen after the men ambushed a mother and her four small daughters outside the Gaza settlement of Gush Katif. The family was shot and killed on their way to the Israeli city of Ashkelon."

In NPR's warped moral calculus, Tali Hatuel and her children are in early graves not because Palestinian culture celebrates the mass murder of Jews but because Jews have no business living among Arabs. If McCarthy had been reporting from Birmingham in September 1963, would she have blamed the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on the provocative "presence" of the four black girls who died in the explosion?

The Hatuels opposed Ariel Sharon's proposed Gaza pullout because they understood that unilaterally surrendering land to Hamas and the PLO could only result in more terror and bloodshed, not less. If the past decade -- the era of the "land for peace" delusion -- has made anything clear, it is that the more Israel concedes to the Palestinians, the worse Palestinian terror becomes. Abandoning Gaza will not make the Arabs more peaceful. It will simply strengthen their conviction that Israelis can be defeated through terrorism and make Gaza a more effective staging-area for attacks on Jews.

The only workable recipe for lasting Middle East peace is the difficult one of remaking Palestinian society from the bottom up.

Notwithstanding the defeat of Sunday's referendum, Sharon says he still intends to go forward with his "disengagement" from Gaza. That presumably will mean the uprooting of some 8,000 Gazan Jews from the homes, farms, and schools they have built over the past quarter-century. The State Department and the UN will cheer the sight of Gaza being ethnically cleansed of its Jewish population -- being rendered "Judenrein," as the Nazis used to say. But having approved Sharon's expulsion of Jews from territory largely occupied by Arabs, what will they say if he then proposes to expel Arabs from places whose majority is Jewish?

Arab-Israeli peace will not be won by dragging people kicking and screaming from their homes. Nor will it be won by giving land and statehood to the gangsters who run Hamas and Fatah.

The only workable recipe for lasting Middle East peace is the difficult one of remaking Palestinian society from the bottom up. Of destroying its poisonous culture of violence, death-worship, and Jew-hatred. Of educating its people for democracy and tolerance. Of replacing its cruel and corrupt rulers with leaders genuinely committed to moderation.

Only when -- only if -- such a transformation takes place will the Palestinians be ready for statehood. To confer sovereignty on them now would be disastrous, a guarantee of violence for years to come. If there is one thing a regime that can call the execution of a mother and her four daughters "heroic" doesn't need, it is a reward.

This article originally appeared in the Boston Globe.

Published: May 8, 2004


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Visitor Comments: 16

(16) david Schwep, August 8, 2005 12:00 AM

Gaza Pullout

It is unthinkable that the Gaza pullout is in the best interest of Israel. Those who will immediately move-in are anti-Israel and will be in a more strategic position to attack her. This is as illogical, unreasonable and irresponsible as Russian Roulette.

David Schwep
Oregon, USA

(15) Anonymous, April 6, 2005 12:00 AM

It really pains me that there are people, otherwise intelligent, and knowledgeable about the middle east, who would disagree with Jeff Jacoby. It is patently obvious that the only way to peace in the middle east is "remaking Palestinian society from the bottom up." As true and obvious as this is, it is like banging your head against the wall to get people to understand this! Similarly, the conclusion that leaving Gaza will cause more terrorism is equally correct - and obvious. Israel has been down this road before (remember Barak's retreat from Lebanon, or for that matter the beginning of the "peace" process in 1993?) If I may be allowed to vent, since 1993 those people opposed to the "peace" process have called the situation in the Middle East for more accurately than anybody in the Israeli government did. It is indeed quite scary when people sitting in Chutz La'Aretz, thousands of miles away from the action, even without reading Israeli newspapers, were able to better understand what was happening than the people right there! Please don't misunderstand me - I don't pretend to have the right to tell Israel what to do. But I can express my opinion, and that is all I am doing now - nothing more.

(14) Anonymous, May 21, 2004 12:00 AM

Why Isreal needs to withdraw from Gaza

The only workable recipe for lasting Middle East peace is the difficult one of remaking Palestinian society from the bottom up. Of destroying its poisonous culture of violence, death-worship, and Jew-hatred.

Perhaps the Palistinains would stop the culture of violence if Israel withdraws from Gaza, and stop the murder of Palistinians...violence breeds violence. Isreal must be the first to stop the cycle.

(13) Ken Rhodes, May 18, 2004 12:00 AM

Evil deeds shall be punished

The murder of this family sickened me. How anyone could look upon this as anything other than evil escapes my understanding. I prayed for the Father, I felt his loss in my very body.
There is much evil in the world at this time, I am so sorry to know there is hatred in the world for the Jewish Faith. What can God our Father think, when his children become so despicable, course and vile. I pray for peace each day and my hope is that Peace come to the people of Israel. May God Bless all of you, and protect you in these troubled times.

(12) Brandon, May 16, 2004 12:00 AM

TIME FOR BOTH HANDS

For far too long, Isreal, now the United States have been fighting to stop terrorist with one hand tied behind their backs. As long as we bow to anti semites, anti west sentiments we will continue to bleed slowly and painfuly. We should unleash the full fury of our armed forces upon these people of mindless killers and then deal with the aftermath of international relations of countries with little or no understanding of the reality of current state of affairs in Isreal and the United States in regards to terror. Our first and foremost responsibility is the mere survival of our people. We can either do this, or stare at the slow poor of blood from our wounds and wonder why the anti semitic countries do not (A)see (B)care. Lets heal our wounds by fighting with both hands in a fury of our armed forces unleashed to their utmost capacity. After, we have saved ourselves, then we can spend more time and resources on public oppinion in countries that have turned a blind eye on the struggle of the jewish people. This is the oppinion of a Christian American living in Europe.

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