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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

What Israel should do

The victims of the terror attack last night were residents of Beit Haggai. Beit Haggai gets its name from the initials of three victims of a previous terror attack (Hanan Krauthammer, Gershon Klein, and Yaakov Zimmerman.)

This history points to what would undoubtedly be the best reaction to any terror attack.

Israel should immediately announce a new town in the West Bank to be built in the memory of Yitzchak and Talya Imas, Kokhava Even-Chaim and Avishai Shindler.

It can be built in an area that "everyone knows" would be part of Israel in the event of an agreement. It can even be a new neighborhood in an existing settlement, within the existing boundaries that had been "frozen." But the important thing is that it should be done automatically and irrevocably in reaction to every terror attack.

If the terrorists know that their attacks have the direct effect of strengthening Israel's hold on the disputed land, there would be a backlash against the attacks that is much greater than the lukewarm "condemnations" that most Palestinian Arabs do not subscribe to.

The "settlement freeze" did not make the PA the least bit more flexible - on the contrary, it caused them to become far more intransigent. For nearly ten months during the freeze itself, Abbas dug in his heels and stubbornly refused to even talk. The "goodwill gesture" made Abbas even less interested in peace than he was before. Only serious pressure by the US managed to get him to the negotiating table.

Israeli concessions do not make the Palestinian Arabs more flexible. It makes them demand more. Only pressure makes them act towards peace.

And nothing would pressure them more than the knowledge that their intransigence is counterproductive to their purported cause.

Things are not too bad for Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank. Abbas said so himself. "[I]n the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life." It sure doesn't sound like a state is his highest priority, rather it is to kick Jews out of their homes.

Peace will never occur unless the Arabs feel they have something to lose by its absence. The freeze has taken that incentive away. Time to unfreeze the building, and the place to begin is with a new settlement in the name of the terror victims.