Originally created 12/04/01

Defining moment

It becomes more difficult to advise Israel to turn the other cheek, as wave after wave of suicide bombings shake that country's tenuously held commitment to restraint. In the latest outrage, three suicide bombers killed 25 people and injured more than 200 in Israel over the weekend. Relatively speaking, that is a massacre for a nation the size of Israel.

As usual, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat issues the same denunciations against these terrorist actions, but his words have no effect. Either he's unable to exert control over Palestine territory or he's unwilling. Either Palestinian terrorists don't listen to him, or else they know he's winking at them at the same time he denounces them.

Arafat knows who these extremists are but does not arrest them, or if he does, he lets them out of jail after just a few days. This is not a commitment to peace.

As one senior administration official told The Washington Times, "People here won't take him seriously if he doesn't act. We will no longer regard him as a partner. This is a defining moment for Yasser Arafat."

The time has come for President Bush to stop asking hard-line Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for patience. If the nations of the world are committed to stopping terrorism, they can't ignore any longer what is happening in Israel.

It's a safe bet that the missiles fired by Israeli forces in Gaza City on Monday were a shot across the bow of Arafat, telling him that they could have hit his headquarters if they wanted.

Arafat either needs to change his course or change his address. But he can't sit and shovel the same simpering excuses he's been using for years.


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