GAZA Judenrein?

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Abandoning Gaza will not end terrorism

By Jeff Jacoby

Savages don't deserve a state

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 official 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.

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 rallied
support [against the referendum], saying Israel was withdrawing under fire,"
McCarthy reported, "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 violent attacks on Jews.

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 United Nations
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?

No: 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. Abandoning the field to the terrorists will
not make the terrorism stop.

The only workable recipe for lasting Middle East peace is the enormously
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.

JWR contributor Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist.

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