When I visited Israel for the first time in 1983, the so-called Palestinians had hardly any weapons and were not a serious threat to Israel. As the implementation of the Oslo Accords progressed in the early 1990's, Israel foolishly gave substantial amounts of weapons to the newly-formed Palestinian Authority, our new "partner for peace". The stated purpose was to provide their "police" (Fatah) with the means to contain "the terrorists" (Hamas).
It always went unspoken among the Israeli officials who enabled the transfer of these weapons that the Fatah and its "military wings", such as the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades and the Tanzim militia, who committed countless horrific terrorist attacks against Israelis, were the ultimate recipients of this unexpected military largess, which has multiplied exponentially ever since we first opened the floodgates.
With the exception of occasional raids and a few mini-wars, Israel's political leadership has allowed the Palestinian Authority and its Hamas-Fatah terrorist components to keep and increase their weapons supply, which they continue to use against us.
Therefore, it needs to be stated and stated clearly for every Israeli to hear: Israel's leadership - from Yitzchak Rabin to Binyamin Netanyahu - bears ultimate responsiblity for virtually every terrorist attack that has taken place since the signing of the Oslo Accords and every subsequent agreement.
Having said that, we need to learn the lessons from those tragic mistakes. Simply put, it's time to take back those weapons. In the eighteen days that all of Israel was obsessed with the kidnapping of our three teenagers, the IDF was given a free hand to search and capture weapons in the PA-autonomous areas. This process needs to continue and be greatly expanded as a full-blown ongoing weapons collection until we return the situation to what existed back in 1983. It is an absolute danger and a betrayal of Israel's citizens to allow any of these weapons to remain in their hands.
Would such an ongoing operation in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria arouse international opposition? Of course it would. The primary responsibility of Israel's leaders is to protect its citizens, not to adhere to the diktats of foreign leaders.
Be courageous, act strongly, and fear not the condemnations from the UN, the EU, and the US State Department. Take back the weapons!