Terrorists Deserve The Blame

April 20 2002
Ibtisam S. Barakat

[Other Opinion, April 15, "Conditions Of Palestinian Life Cultivate Desperation"] describes the plight of her people in Ramallah, but she fails to place responsibility on whom it truly belongs: Yasser Arafat and his fellow terrorists.

The Israel Defense Forces are in Ramallah only because Arafat has used Barakat's city as his headquarters to foment terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. Terrorists have even concealed explosives inside ambulances and, in at least one case, used an underaged boy as a suicide bomber against Israeli soldiers. Is it any wonder that the IDF must be suspicious even of ambulances?

Israel jeopardized the lives of its soldiers by deploying them on the ground in house-to-house searches, rather than simply using its air power to level populated areas.

The people of Ramallah along with 98 percent of the Palestinians would have been citizens of an independent Palestinian state had Arafat not rejected the extraordinary peace proposals of the previous government.

Barakat recalls her childhood in Ramallah at the time of the 1967 war. She would not have had to run away "shoeless" had Jordan, then illegally occupying the West Bank, not entered the war. She would not have had to endure daily hunger and "cod-liver oil capsules and nauseating milk" in refugee camps had oil-rich Arab dictatorships been interested in aiding Palestinian children and their families. Today, these dictatorships are generous, but mainly when it comes to rewarding the families of terrorist homicide bombers.

The writer states, "You could get imprisoned or killed if you expressed out loud the love for your country." Because she left Ramallah 15 years ago, Barakat may be unaware of the imprisonment and beatings endured by a number of dissidents who had dared to speak out against Arafat since the institution of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza.

Peace will happen not just "when the Israeli army leaves Palestinian cities," but when Israeli civilians can live within secure and recognized borders, free of terrorist threats, and when Palestinians can have a truly democratic government, free of the corruption, despotism and duplicity of Arafat and his ilk.

-Jay S. Lapidus, West Hartford

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