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Read Hillel Halkin

Also on the Israeli situation, I would be remiss not to link the most recent column by Hillel Halkin, also written just before the current military operation.

Halkin, who writes a column for The New York Sun (from Israel), is perhaps the sharpest person writing on Israel today -- put down that Tom Friedman column (as if I needed to tell you). And despite his being perhaps one click too far to the Left, I can't recommend his pieces highly enough.

Anyway, with the praise out of the way, here's a bit of his column, titled "An End To Ambiguity":

Make it clear that, as far as the government of Israel is concerned, it and the Palestinian Authority are now in a state of war and that Israeli policies will be adjusted accordingly.

Until now, ever since the creation of the Palestinian Authority by the 1993 Oslo accord, Israel's relations with this Authority have been absurdly ambiguous. On the one hand, the PA has supported anti-Israel terror, both by funding it and its organizations, and by turning a blind eye to it when it has been committed and refusing to bring its perpetrators to justice. Yet on the other hand, because the Palestinian Authority has always publicly disclaimed responsibility for terroristic acts, and has mendaciously asserted that it is not to blame for them and has done all it could to prevent them, Israel has refrained from declaring it an enemy state.

Although this has been a gross charade all along, there have been perhaps justifiable political and diplomatic reasons, from an Israeli perspective, for allowing it to take place. But these reasons have now exhausted themselves. The Palestinian Authority now has a Hamas government - and however this government may twist or turn, and however it may have tried to disassociate itself from the hundreds of Kassam rockets shot from the Gaza Strip into Israel with its complicit knowledge in recent months, it can not disassociate itself from the Hamas soldiers who raided the Israeli outpost on Sunday.

Israel should therefore say to this government: "The charade is over. While we are willing to negotiate through neutral parties a prisoner exchange involving Gilad Shalit, we are also declaring war on you. From now on we will treat you as any country treats another country it is at war with. We will close all our borders with you, cease providing you with all services, and consider any branch of your government, any of its members, and anyone on your side contributing to your military effort, legitimate war targets. We will do our very best to avoid harming civilians, and we will expect you to do the same, but anyone else, from Prime Minister Ismail Heniya down, is from now until further notice a legitimate target. And when you're ready to sue for peace-and-quiet, let us know."

Rest assured that Hamas will sue fast. This time, though, Israel will have to insist that the quiet, if not the peace, be real and lasting.

Bold added. This is the only way for Israel to deal with the Palestinian Arabs.

The election of Hamas officially ended the peace-process charade.