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Friday, June 29, 2007

What if Arafat had said yes?

In today's Jerusalem Post, Sarah Honig contemplates a question most Israelis would rather not think about: What if Arafat had said yes to Ehud Barak's more than generous offers at Camp David in 2000 and Taba in 2001?
Had Arafat taken advantage of Barak's foolhardy generosity - instead of violently rebuffing it and launching his bloody Second Intifada - he'd have taken possession, besides Gaza, of nearly all of Judea and Samaria, settlement blocks included, as well as east Jerusalem and the Temple Mount (except for ill-defined "subterranean layers" thereof, according to Barak's cockamamie concoction). After Arafat's departure to the netherworld's great terrorist convocation, his PLO cohorts would have inherited his latifundia.

From here on the story is familiar, except for name-place variations. Everything that happened in the Gaza Strip - which Ariel Sharon ceded unilaterally according to Barak's reckless Lebanese precedent - would have been replayed in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, etc. Eventually Hamas would have gained domination over all that Arafat's fat Fatah failed to control.

The pattern is the one revealed before our eyes in Gaza-turned-Hamastan. The outstanding difference is that the Hamastan which brash Barak thoughtlessly almost created along Israel's entire long convoluted eastern flank, directly adjoining this country's densest population centers, would have been incalculably deadlier than anything visited from Gaza on poor suffering Sderot.

WHAT DEVASTATION Kassams from Kalkilya could inflict beggars the imagination. Suffice it to note that into the space between Kalkilya and the Mediterranean is wedged the entire width of Israel and that this slender strip is filled by a row of three side-by-side towns - Kfar Saba, Ra'anana and Herzliya - in that order, with no vacant gaps between them. It's a single urban sprawl, stretched out before enemy eyes and permanently vulnerable to its predations.

And whoever fires into Kfar Saba can reach Tel Aviv easily enough. Those who retroactively doubt the Six Day War was worth winning omit mention that during said war an old Jordanian WWII-vintage Long Tom cannon, fired from a lowly hill outside Kalkilya, hit an apartment building smack-dab in Kikar Masaryk, Tel Aviv's very heart.

The only reason such feats, and worse, aren't replicated today is because of continued Israeli presence in areas Barak would have put beyond Israeli supervision. Luckily Arafat seven years ago churlishly spurned Barak's inconceivably egregious largesse. Barak literally came within a hairbreadth of destroying Israel's self-preservation potential.
Someone needs to remind those who wanted to give the 'Palestinians' the Arab-populated neighborhoods of 'East Jerusalem' in the summer of 2000 (Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres and the Shas party) that we would have had rockets being shot from close range at Ramot, Neve Yaakov, Pisgat Zev, Ramat Shlomo, French Hill, Ramat Eshkol, Sanhedria Murchevet.... Do I need to go on?


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