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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 6/26/2002 8:46:51 AM EDT
The Chicago Sun-Times June 26, 2002 Giving up territory would reward terrorism BY MICHAEL FREUND http://www.suntimes.com/output/otherviews/cst-edt-ref26.html If you live in Chicago, it is probably difficult at times to appreciate what the fuss is all about over land in the Middle East. Indeed, for the past 20 months, Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians have been waging a relentless terror campaign against Israel, sending suicide bombers to blow up passenger buses and gunmen to open fire at Israeli motorists on their way to work. Arafat says he wants Israel to turn over territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East War. Why, then, won't Israel simply yield to his demands? The answer to this question, oddly enough, can be found on the shores of Lake Michigan, of all places. Consider the following: The total area of the lake's water surface is 22,300 square miles. By contrast, all of Israel--including Judea, Samaria and Gaza, the areas captured in 1967--is just 10,840 square miles in area, or less than half the size of the lake. Were Israel to agree to Arafat's demands, and turn over the territories to full Palestinian control, it would mean shrinking the Jewish state still further, reducing it to a vulnerable and indefensible size. Prior to the 1967 war, Israel was just nine miles wide at its narrowest point. That is less than the distance between Chicago's downtown area and the Brookfield Zoo. A smaller Israel would make for an even more tempting target for continued Palestinian aggression. Ever since the state of Israel was founded, back in 1948, its neighbors have repeatedly sought to wipe it off the map. And that is precisely the motivation that lies behind the current Palestinian terror campaign. A poll released on June 11 by a Palestinian organization called the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center found that a majority of Palestinians--51 percent--said they want to eliminate the Jewish state. No country in the world would even consider turning over territory to those who seek its destruction, and neither should Israel. On Monday, President Bush made an important policy statement on the Middle East, one in which he rightly noted that Yasser Arafat's dictatorial and corrupt Palestinian regime needs to be removed from power. But the president also stated that once the Palestinians implement wide-ranging democratic reforms, he would eventually be willing to support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Bush's statement marks a positive shift in American policy, particularly when compared with the Clinton administration's approach, for it will finally force the Palestinians to choose, once and for all: either violence and despotism or peace and democracy.
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