by Bret Stephens
For most Israelis, and for many Palestinians too, the violence seems to be in recession. How did things improve so dramatically for Palestinians and Israelis alike? Begin by recalling Israel's elimination, in late March, of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. The Israeli army has also incarcerated terror suspects in record numbers, which helped yield information for future arrests. Most importantly, the security fence has begun to make the Israeli heartland nearly impenetrable to Palestinian infiltrators. Taken together, these measures prove what a legion of diplomats, pundits, and reporters have striven to deny: that there is a military solution to the conflict. A sufficiently strong military response to terrorism does not simply feed a cycle of violence (although a weak military response does); rather, it speeds the killing to a conclusion. (Wall Street Journal, 14 Oct 04)"