- Think what you will of the Israeli military strike in
the West Bank, it sure seems to be working.
- Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sent in the troops to destroy
the terrorist infrastructure that flourished under Yasser Arafat's rule.
- The Israeli Defense Forces drove home the point yesterday,
when it killed the Hamas official who masterminded the two deadliest suicide
bombings in the recent wave of attacks on Israeli civilians.
- Qeis Odwan was one of six Hamas members killed by Israeli
shelling of their hideout in the West Bank city of Tubas. Odwan was commander
of Hamas' Izzedine al Qassam Brigades, which was behind the Passover massacre
in Netanya and the suicide bombing four days later in Haifa.
- Also killed Friday was Nasser Awais, leader of the Al
Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, which is tied to the Arafat-headed Fatah movement.
(He died when explosives strapped to his body went off prematurely. Live
by the bomb . . .)
- In fact, Israeli forces have arrested 1,200 people -
including 70 who were on a list of most-wanted terrorists.
- Unfortunately, a number of others are holed up with Arafat
in his Ramallah compound, including the assassins of an Israeli Cabinet
- Others are among the 200 Palestinian gunmen who shot
their way into the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. (Media bias note:
Some news agencies accuse Israeli tanks of "defacing" the Christian
shrine - yet those tanks haven't fired a shot.)
- Israeli forces have also seized some 2,000 heavy weapons
and other ordnance from Arafat's compound, much of it illegal under the
(Arafat-signed) Oslo Accords.
- They have also confiscated hundreds of documents that
prove beyond a doubt that Arafat and his top lieutenants have been actively
involved in terrorism - financially and operationally.
- Following his meeting Thursday with U.S. Special Envoy
Anthony Zinni, Sharon declared that "determined action must be taken
against terror and Israel will do this."
- The prime minister is not unmindful of the unjustified
public-relations toll Israel is taking, thanks to the one-sided, pro-Arafat,
reporting by much of the mainstream news media.
- But Sharon recognizes that all the criticism in the world
will not stop terrorism against Israeli civilians.
- For that matter, even Israel concedes that concerted
military action cannot halt suicide attacks entirely.
- But there have been none for the past several days, which
underscores the essential utility of making it difficult for the terrorists
to achieve their deadly aims - by reducing their ranks.