Israel’s Intifada Victory
Charles Krauthammer, not known for his sunny optimism, proclaims, “The Palestinian intifada is over, and the Palestinians have lost.” As evidence for this Israeli victory, he notes that, “The overall level of violence has been reduced by more than 70 percent.”
Krauthammer believes this case study has a lot of lessons to teach.
How did Israel do it? By ignoring its critics and launching a two-pronged campaign of self-defense.
First, Israel targeted terrorist leaders — attacks so hypocritically denounced by Westerners who, at the same time, cheer the hunt for, and demand the head of, Osama bin Laden. The top echelon of Hamas and other terrorist groups has been either arrested, killed or driven underground. The others are now so afraid of Israeli precision and intelligence — the last Hamas operative to be killed by missile was riding a motorcycle — that they are forced to devote much of their time and energy to self-protection and concealment.
Second, the fence. Only about a quarter of the separation fence has been built, but its effect is unmistakable. The northern part is already complete, and attacks in northern Israel have dwindled to almost nothing.
This success does not just save innocent lives; it changes the strategic equation of the whole conflict.
Of course, Israel is fighting on a much more contained battlefield. They know precisely who their enemies are and where they live. The US can’t very well build a wall that would shield us from our enemies, given both our comparative vastness (for comparative purposes: Israel would fit in Ted Turner’s backyard).
Still, we can and have hardened some key targets. Highjacking a commercial airliner or bringing a suitcase bomb into a federal building are much harder than they were two years ago.
Killing the terrorist leaders is also a more daunting task when one’s enemy is a global jihadist network rather than a handful of Palestinian irredentists. We’ve been looking in vain for bin Ladin for years. Still, we’ve “otherwise dealt with” dozens of key al Qaeda leaders and, while we’ve barely made a dent in the movement, we do seem to have disrupted their ability to plan 9/11-scale operations. It’s simply harder to plan attacks when you are hiding in a different spider hole every night, unable to show your face in public, and can’t use your cell phone. It’s even harder if you’re dead. (It’s true–look it up.)