Two Youths Found Dead
Wednesday morning, the 220nd day of Yasser Arafat’s “Al Aqsa Intifada”, Israelis woke up to a fresh horror in a week filled with intensified bloodshed and terror: Two 14-year old youths, Kobi Mendel and Yosef Ishran, the day after they went missing, were found brutally stabbed, beaten and stoned to death in a cave behind their homes in Tekoah, near Bethlehem, in the popular Judean Wilderness trekking site of Wadi Haritoun. Council of Judea and Samaria Settlers members angrily rebuffed the prime minister Ariel Sharon’s expression of condolence: “We’ve had our fill of condolence from various Israeli governments. As long as our government refrains from stigmatizing the PLO, with its leader, Arafat, as a terrorist organization and engaging it in war, it bears full responsibility for the victims.
Earlier, the grief-stricken head of the Gush Etzion regional council, Shaul Goldstein accused the Palestinian media’s vicious hate propaganda against Israelis of making each individual Palestinian a potential murderer. “It therefore doesn’t matter if the two boys were killed on direct orders from the Palestinian Authority, or by an individual from a nearby Arab village.”
Yesterday, Israeli West Bank and Gaza Strip settlers led by right-wing politicians staged their first protest demonstration against Sharon outside his Jerusalem residence.
A few days ago, debkafile‘s political commentator predicted that the Sharon’s personal failure in his two months as prime minister to restore national security and stem rampant Palestinian terrorism would bring the government down’ if he does not break out of the no-win, no-lose military stalemate with the Palestinians, Sharon will suffer the same fate as did Ehud Barak.
The lynching of the two boys in Tekoa may mark his point of no return. Last week, he confided to members of the Hershkowitz family, who lost a father and son to Palestinian terrorists, that he did not imagine the war against Palestinian terror would take so long. Wednesday morning, he made exactly the same response as his defeated predecessor to a terrorist outrage: He called on the Palestinian Authority to call of its terrorist and incitement campaigns.
Sharon may not realize this, but this may his last chance to reassure an angry and terrified country that the war against the Palestinians is not lost. For months now, a broad consensus has prevailed in Israel’s security establishment, including the chief of staff, that total war with large numbers of casualties on both sides can only be prevented by one drastic measure: ejecting Yasser Arafat and his terrorist fraternity beyond the borders of Palestine.
Just as the 1993 Oslo Peace accords were a modular framework for implanting the Arafat regime in Palestine for the first time, so must the IDF create a second modular structure for getting rid of him. His followers will go where he goes. Arafat’s very presence, and the willingness of the small Israeli faction that still clings to the Oslo concept to maintain a verbal and financial dialogue with the Palestinian leader, are the recipe for the continuation of the deliberate campaign of child lynching, booby-trapped cars, bomb blasts in buses and shopping centers, mortar and rocket attacks on villages and the constant escalation of the military threat to Israel’s presence in any part of Palestine.