A Question of Responsibility

So Tul Karm is in our hands again, and Gaza, and Jenin, and Bethlehem too. In a combined operation, with hardly any Israeli casualties, we proved that it's possible to reenact the Six Day War in two days.

So Tul Karm is in our hands again, and Gaza, and Jenin, and Bethlehem too. In a combined operation, with hardly any Israeli casualties, we proved that it's possible to reenact the Six Day War in two days and start history afresh. All that remains is to enter Nablus and Hebron with large forces an in a few hours.

There is no need to actually conquer these places. The "message" - the new concept that justifies every war - has already been sent to the Palestinians. The footage showing Palestinian policemen wandering around helplessly next to blasted doors or collapsed roofs, as in Beirut, or bereaved families looking for a new shelter to live in, attest to the Israeli "victory."

The Palestinians have "won" too. They are again occupied and we are again responsible for them. The Palestinian Authority is not functioning and there is no point to the Israeli army's semantics according to which there is no intention to bring about the PA's collapse but only to put pressure on it. When the PA is unable to supply health and welfare services to the residents in the places where the IDF is in control, when the schools are closed and there is no way to get produce to the market - in this situation the fact that Yasser Arafat is still the head of the PA is meaningless.

Responsibility accrues to the occupier. The IDF, though, has a ploy. It occupies a place for three days and leaves, then reoccupies it for four days and leaves again. It destroys civilian infrastructure and shakes out the dust. In this way the government thinks it will be able to shake off its responsibility for the occupied population. This ploy was already tried unsuccessfully in Lebanon.

At first the IDF only "penetrated" areas there, then came the operations of longer duration, and finally came the full occupation with the instruction manual for a new "political order." The conclusion is that there is no need for the PA. Indeed, the vision of the government is now becoming increasingly clear. Thousands of soldiers, tanks and armored personnel carriers will cruise through the occupied streets and serve as convenient targets for every Palestinian with a firearm.

No central authority will be able to exercise control over these guerrilla operations, even if wanted to. Every village and town will have hit squads that will no longer need to cross the 1967 Green Line. The targets will be in their locales, on the street, on rooftops or on the nearby hill. In every village and town will see competition between branches of the PLO, which will come to life, between the Tanzim militia, the Hamas fundamentalists and Islamic Jihad, and the other organizations that will want to take part in the war of liberation. In contrast to the previous occupation - which never ended - the Palestinian population will have no way out this time.

They will not be able to work in Israel as they used to in the earlier "enlightened" periods. They will not be able to migrate to Jordan, because Jordan will not let them cross the river. They will not even be able to dream of being expelled to Lebanon, because the northern border is so sensitive that any unexpected movement there will immediately heat up the sector. And Israel, as everyone knows, wants only one front at a time. What does a captive population do, a population that is without sources of income and without schools and clinics, and understands that the present generation is lost?

Prime Minister Sharon assumes they will hold up the white flag. The Palestinians, though, are liable to hoist other flags. They say they are ready to sacrifice a generation in order to achieve independence, and if needed, another generation, too. That is the last resource they have. The next question will be who Israel will blame when another Kassam rocket slams into Kfar Sava or Sderot. There is no need to wait until the PA evacuates its residence, we can start now to ask the question in anticipation of the next terrorist attack, because as of now the IDF is managing the security of Israel's residents from the territories and Sharon is responsible. Again.