From that Yom Kippur (1973) to this Passover, we have not had such Arab savagery mixed with such deep contempt for our people and our heritage.

What the Palestinian terrorists are saying to us is: We will murder you at every opportunity. At any place at any time, even on your holiest of days. The continuous acts of slaughter, in which the elderly and children are mowed down along with anyone within the reach of the terrorist, teach us the degree of the murderous ambitions and the depth of the hatred toward us. If the Arab terrorists had more lethal weapons, they would destroy us, down to the last of our children.

That is the first real goal of Arafat’s terror regime — not to establish a state, but to destroy a state. That was and remains the heart of the conflict. In 1948, the Arabs rejected an international proposal to establish an Arab state and tried to destroy the Jewish state immediately after it was born. 52 years later, Arafat again rejected a similar proposal and insisted on realizing the “right of return,” which means the destruction of Israel.

With such a regime, whose goal is to get rid of our state and which does not find the most barbarous means of mass murder repugnant, there is no room for negotiations, and no arrangement of existing in peace is possible.

The “diplomatic option” so often talked about, was exhausted to the finish two years ago at the Camp David meeting and utterly failed. Arafat refused the Israeli proposal for Palestinian sovereignty in Judea, Samaria and Gaza and half of Jerusalem, and chose the present terror onslaught.

Only one path remains — military victory in the war on terror forced on us. What we have to do now is not continue with our willingness to tolerate this horrible blood-spilling, which is meant to weaken our endurance, but the absolute military defeat of the enemy which forced this war on us. Such a defeat means eradicating Arafat’s regime, besieging the Palestinian population centers, purging them of fighters and arms and terror means, and then setting up security separation lines that allow us to enter the Palestinian areas but prevent the Palestinians from coming into ours.

What we need, therefore, is not to choose between military victory and security separation, but a combination of the two. Only such a comprehensive operation can stop the terror, restore the Israeli deterrence that has been so eroded this past year, and enable more realistic and moderate elements among the Palestinians to reach a position of leadership, with whom, when the time comes, we can conduct negotiations on an agreement.

Any partial action, of the kind the government has carried out so far, any local actions, from restraint to a limited and short “response,” forceful as it may be, has not achieved anything and will not achieve anything. It is like taking a quarter dose of antibiotics, not enough to make the patient well.

The hyper-consciousness of “what the goyim will say” does not elicit any consideration or sympathy from them. On the contrary — it only generates growing doubt among them as to the justification of our position, and it also encourages the Arabs to increase their blood shedding. The only way to obtain understanding in the international arena, particularly in the United States, is to win quickly and stop the awful acts of slaughter of our citizens, explaining firmly and clearly our natural right to protect our people and our country.

The argument that we’ve exhausted all the military options to eradicate terror is groundless. We have still not used even a small part of our might, and the might we did use was not directed at the right target: Arafat’s regime. It is unbelievable, but a fact, that even today, the government continues to act under the illusion that we can stop terror while accepting the existence of this regime.

What is clear is that we must not, even one more day, continue in this hesitating manner, without a goal and without a policy. We must do what any normal people would do in our situation: stop the internal arguments, return war and defeat the enemy threatening our existence.

This also ran as a front page editorial in Maariv on March 29, 2002