Charles Krauthammer: Why Israel Is Being Attacked





Next June will mark the 40th anniversary of the Six-Day War. For four decades we have been told that the cause of the anger, violence and terror against Israel is its occupation of the territories seized in that war. End the occupation and the "cycle of violence" ceases.

The problem with this claim was that before Israel came into possession of the West Bank and Gaza in the Six-Day War, every Arab state had rejected Israel's right to exist and declared Israel's pre-1967 borders -- now deemed sacred -- to be nothing more than the armistice lines suspending, and not ending, the 1948-49 war to exterminate Israel.

But you don't have to be a historian to understand the intention of Israel's enemies. You only have to read today's newspapers....

Over the past six years, Hezbollah has launched periodic raids and rocket attacks into Israel. Israeli retaliation has led to the cessation of these provocations -- until the next time convenient for Hezbollah. Wednesday was such a time. One terror base located in fully unoccupied Arab territory (South Lebanon) attacks Israel in support of another terror base in another fully unoccupied Arab territory (Gaza).

Why? Because occupation was a mere excuse to persuade gullible and historically ignorant Westerners to support the Arab cause against Israel. The issue is, and has always been, Israel's existence. That is what is at stake.

It was Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization that convinced the world that the issue was occupation. Yet, through all those years of pretense, Arafat's own group celebrated its annual Fatah Day on the anniversary of its first attack on Israel, the bombing of Israel's National Water Carrier -- on Jan. 1, 1965.

Note: 1965. Two years before the 1967 war. Two years before Gaza and the West Bank fell into Israeli hands. Two years before there were any "occupied territories."

But, again, who needs history? As the Palestinian excuses for continuing their war disappear one by one, the rhetoric is becoming more bold and honest. Just Tuesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, writing in The Post, referred to Israel as "a supposedly 'legitimate' state" ["Aggression Under False Pretenses," op-ed, July 11].

He made clear what he wants done with this bastard entity. "Contrary to popular depictions of the crisis in the American media," he writes, "the dispute is not only about Gaza and the West Bank." It is about "a wider national conflict" that requires the vindication of "Palestinian national rights."

That, of course, means the right to all of Palestine, with no Jewish state. In the end, the fighting is about "the core 1948 issues, rather than the secondary ones from 1967."

In 1967 Israel acquired the "occupied territories." In 1948 Israel acquired life. The fighting raging now in 2006 -- between Israel and the "genocidal Islamism" (to quote the writer Yossi Klein Halevi) of Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran behind them -- is about whether that life should and will continue to exist.

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