I didn’t know what to think about Israel’s recent threat to kill Arafat. I wish they had done it years ago, but I wasn’t sure it would do much good now. Nonetheless the Israeli government did make the threat. And I agree with David Warren that, having made the threat but not followed through with it after the most recent terror bombing, Israel now is in a worse position than if it had never raised the issue.
It’s easy to blame the U.S. for Israel’s failure. However, as Warren points out, Israel probably would have gotten away with getting rid of Arafat. (What would we have done?) If Israel had killed him a month or two ago the matter would likely be behind them by now, and Arafat’s replacement — whoever he might be — would probably be most careful not to do anything that might lead to his own arafatization. That would have been progress.
I blame Israel’s failure on the moral confusion of its leaders, and of the people who elected them, and on the corruption of its political system by billions of dollars of U.S. aid. The Israelis behave like Chicago residents in the days of Dan Rostenkowski: they vote for leaders who will bring home the subsidies. Now they are getting what they voted for. Their political class puts Israel’s relationship with the United States over its own country’s security. This situation will continue until Israelis decide that their national interest in self-preservation comes before the illusory security of being on the dole.