Is the current Israeli incursion into the West Bank really solely meant to destroy “terrorist infrastructure?” Not according to this piece in the L.A. Times. The main targets of the Israeli attacks have been Palestinian Authority infrastructure, and the aim seems to be to dismantle the PA and humiliate Yasser Arafat. Needless to say, this is what one would expect from Ariel Sharon, who’s had an ongoing feud with Arafat for decades.
By invading the West Bank in the way that they have, the Israelis can no longer claim to be simply targetting terrorists, the way that they could when they launched their assassination program against Palestinian militants (which I thought was out of bounds anyway). When you occupy a city militarily or place it under siege, every current resident is, by default, the enemy. Invading all of the cities in the West Bank doesn’t really provide a “path to peace,” as President Bush is so fond of talking about.
The incursion has stopped the suicide attacks for now, perhaps because the suicide bombers are busy fighting the Israelis within the West Bank. It may even stymie them for awhile … but there’s no chance that they’ll compel the Palestinians to just give up. The article speculates that Ariel Sharon hopes to demolish the PA and install a quisling regime in its place, but does anybody really think that will happen? It sure seems unlikely to me.