There are many people in the State security forces in both Spain and France who now believe that the time is right to carry out the final strike against ETA.
They argue that the terrorist organization is divided, demoralized and has little support in the Basque region.
However there seems a reluctance to act on the part of Zapatero and his government. Even the proposal to kick ETA supporters out of the town halls they control in the Basque region has not been acted upon.
One theory is that Zapatero wants to end his second term with the signing of a peace document with ETA. Hence to achieve that aim the terrorist organization has to be kept alive.
Having been in London and then Dublin at the height of the IRA and Loyalist campaigns of the 1970s, which included the assassination of the British Ambassador to Ireland, I have experienced at first hand what living in the midst of terrorism means.
One thing is for certain. Terrorists by their very nature do not observe the same laws and norms of behaviour that we do.
People that can slaughter innocents in the name of an ideal that has little popular support are not capable of negotiating a peace with anybody. They have only one objective and that is victory, a bloody victory that will create a Basque nation under their control.
Ah, you may cry, but look at Ireland and what has been achieved there under the peace process!
True those republicans and loyalists who have seen fit to follow a democratic path have come together in a power sharing initiative, even though that path is far from smooth.
However the reality comes from the British security services. They report that the main threat to Britain comes not from Islamic terrorism but from the remnants of the IRA and other Republican terror groups.
The simple truth is you cannot make peace with terrorists – you have to eliminate them before they eliminate you. To believe otherwise is pure folly.