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How can the terrorism be stopped?

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How can the terrorism be stopped?

True and lasting peace can only be achieved by a negotiated settlement. However, for negotiations to have a chance to succeed, Palestinian terrorism must end.

Beginning in September 2000, Israel was subjugated to a wave of terrorism that killed over 1,100 and injured many thousands more. Israeli citizens lived in daily fear of being murdered by suicide bombers, car-bombs and gunmen. Jewish holy sites were desecrated and destroyed, while Jewish worshippers were blown up.

The government of Israel has a duty to protect the lives of its citizens. However, the fight against terrorism poses a difficult dilemma for Israel. As a democratic state, Israel must strive to find the proper balance between its imperative security needs and its desire to uphold the democratic values and freedoms its holds dear. Finding this balance is never an easy task for any democracy under fire. Israel's task is made all the more harder given that the Palestinian terrorists it faces have no respect either for human life or for the rule of law. They not only target Israeli citizens; they also hide behind the Palestinian civilian population, confident that any Palestinian casualties will be blamed on Israel, no matter which side is responsible.

In order to fight terrorism effectively, while attempting to minimize harm to the local Palestinian population, Israel has employed a variety of defensive methods. Passive security measures, which include roadblocks and curfews as well as the anti-terrorist fence, are aimed at limiting the free movement of terrorists.

Unfortunately, the daily lives of many Palestinians have also been affected by these measures. However, the difficulties caused by the anti-terrorist fence or roadblocks, as regrettable as they are, cannot compare to the irreversible harm to innocent lives caused by terrorism.

Active security measures against the terrorists are taken when more passive measures do not suffice. Even then, Israel makes every effort to minimize harm to bystanders. Israel has consistently attempted to limit its use of military force. For example, it waited 18 months before beginning any large-scale military operations against terrorism. That took place only after near daily suicide bombings in March 2002, culminating in the Passover eve massacre, left Israel with no choice.

It is never easy for a democratic country to fight terrorism. This mission is made more difficult when that state is subjected to international pressure to conform to impossible standards. Almost every defensive measure taken by Israel - whether it involves passive security measures, legal steps or proportionate and necessary military action - was met with international criticism. Israel will continue to uphold its democratic values; however, it must also protect the lives of its innocent civilians.

One-sided and unfair international criticism of Israel only encouraged more Palestinian terrorism. The chances of achieving peace are increased when the international community respects Israel's right to self-defense while simultaneously making clear to the Palestinians the futility of terrorism. International pressure on states that sponsor and assist Palestinian terrorism should be strongly applied and the funds to terrorist organizations should be cut off completely. Only when the Palestinians finally abandon terrorism and truly commit to solving political disputes by negotiation can peace be possible.

These texts are taken from material published by the Israel Ministry of Foreign affairs. with additional comments and hyperlinked materials. They were apparently published in connection with the Annapolis peace conference of 2007, but they have extensive applicability beyond it. They explain fundamentals of Israeli policy as well as the meaning of Zionism and history of the conflict.

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Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs text is at Israel, the Conflict and Peace. Original text  is copyright by Ami Isseroff and Zionism-Israel Center.

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