Israel: June 20, 2003

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The Palestinian terror groups are blaming the Israeli armed forces for prolonging the violence. The terrorists insist that the Israeli armed forces attacks on their leaders makes it impossible for them to halt their attacks. The Israeli attacks kill Palestinian civilians, because the terrorist leaders, quite naturally, live among civilians (and take advantage of the fact that, at least in the past, the Israelis tried to make their attacks only when the terrorist leaders were away from innocent civilians.) The Israelis, on the other hand, have been bluntly telling American or European leaders, who criticize them for such attacks, that the Americans or Europeans would do the same if their populations were subject to the same kind of terrorist attacks. The citizens of the US or European nations would not tolerate the death toll from groups calling for the destruction of their countries. It's a hard argument to answer, because terrorist attacks against the civilian population of a democracy does trigger that kind of response and politicians have not got too many options in dealing with it. People want to be protected from terrorism.

The US is pressuring Israel to make more gestures to get the peace process going. Things like stopping the attacks on terrorist leaders, shutting down more Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory and withdrawing troops from northern Gaza. Israel will probably go along with all, or most of this, even though it will probably not be enough for Palestinian leaders to get all the terrorist groups to stop their attacks on Israeli civilians. If the Israelis comply and the attacks on Israeli civilians continue, then the Israeli leadership will face an enraged population wanting all out war on the terrorists (and any Palestinian civilians in the vicinity.)

Meanwhile, the terrorists, looking at Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon after years of terrorist attacks, and growing calls by Israelis to get all the Jewish settlers out of Palestinian territory because of terrorist attacks, as proof that their tactics are working and feel that continuing the attacks long enough will eventually cause all Jews to leave the Middle East. 

Meanwhile, the terrorist attacks continue, as does the Israeli military operations against terrorist groups. Since September, 2000, 3,349 people have died in the violence ( 2,523 Palestinians and 766 Israelis.)

 

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