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After Olmert’s July 16 ‘Exchange’ Israel’s Rapidly Approaching ‘Sickness Unto Death’


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Smugly and shamelessly, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert gives freedom to terrorists in exchange for slain Jews. By any measure of sanity or logic, this grotesque exchange is incomprehensible. But so, too, is the underlying and antecedent Israeli policy of exchanging land for nothing.

Credo quia absurdum. “I believe because it is absurd.”

And there is an attendant rottenness. This rottenness is impossible to stifle. Every friend of Israel is aware that what now emanates from the Prime Minister’s continuing complicity in Israel’s incremental defeat is a powerful scent of impurity. What can Olmert hope to achieve by his progressive strengthening of Israel’s sworn enemies? What can he be thinking?

The ongoing Arab/Islamic war against Israel has never been about compromise. It has always been, and still remains, a war about annihilation. Jewish annihilation. It follows that the only acceptable “compromise” Israel could ever offer to its enemies would be to die quietly and disappear.

Soon, Olmert and his followers will encounter a stunning irony. Following multiple self-destructive arms transfers, “realignments”, and prisoner “exchanges,” Israel will appear to its many foes as exceptionally weak and utterly without existential will. Drawing upon their own particular interpretations of sacred texts, proverbs and revealed expectations, these adversaries will then conclude (however erroneously) that Israel actually wishes to die. This is admittedly a very difficult concept to grasp for all those who do not seek to understand from an Arab/Islamist perspective; but it is now an indispensable mode of policy thinking in Arab capitals and Tehran.

There is an additional irony here. Sensing Israel’s newest surrenders and exchanges as incontestable expressions of “divine will,” Israel’s principal enemies won’t immediately oblige the Jewish State’s presumed wish to die. Instead, they will “allow” Israel to disappear slowly; first, by more “realignments” and terrorist releases, and later by total war.

This long-planned Arab/Islamist Jihad will be initiated in carefully measured phases. Only when the IDF is openly fawning upon its own doom – a hideous humiliation that has already dragged on from Rabin to Olmert − will the dissolving Jewish state merge seamlessly into “Palestine.”

Let us be candid. In the end, Washington, London, Paris and Ottawa will be pleased. Still unable to understand why their proposed “Two State Solution” never materialized, they will be content that Israel is at least no longer a bother. And so it is, that they will proudly celebrate Israel’s “incorporation” into a “democratic Palestine.” Like Bill Clinton, who first set the American stage for Israel’s Oslo capitulations, they will realize and applaud the ubiquitous unimportance of truth in politics.

Despair, we learn from the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard, “is the sickness unto death,” and it is now Israel’s possible fate to despair for a long, long while, eventually to a point where it might actually prefer to die. If Israel’s enemies interpret Olmert’s capitulations as a fulfillment of precise religious expectations, the torment of Israel’s despair will be that, it will not be able to die. To be sick in this grotesque fashion, to be sick unto death and not even to be able to die, would be, for all Israel, the unkindest cut of all.

The despairing state, like the despairing individual, cannot die. For Israel, the agonizing hopelessness (in this case, even the last hope of death would be unavailable) will entail “dying the death,” living to experience death. This fate is much worse than simply being allowed to die − to expire quickly, completely, and blessedly. But to die and yet not to die, to actually die the death, would be for Israel a fate distinctly worse than death.

So it is, that despair − this immobilizing sickness in the Israeli Self, is the Jewish State’s sickness unto death. The despairing Jewish State under Olmert is mortally ill, but it will not be allowed to die, at least not for a while. To be delivered from this sickness unto death is impossible, unless Israel’s profound sickness of the spirit is first understood.

This sickness, a rotting of Israel’s Jewish soul now enhanced and accelerated by terrorist releases, is ultimately more dangerous, than even enemy armies and missiles. Although it is certainly correct that a dramatic synergy exists between enemy military might and Israel’s growing “soulnessness,” it is the latter that breeds a virulent sickness unto death.

Israel’s sickness of the spirit is not its sickness unto death. Rather, it is the pathology that leads to the sickness unto death. It is, then, an illness that leads not to death directly (that would be a relatively favorable outcome), but to a protracted death by an extended despair.

Fear and Trembling. It is time for Israel to experience these sorts of dread, to acknowledge that the Third Temple Commonwealth may not live to see a Third Temple, and to understand that freeing terrorists in exchange for murdered Jews is always an unforgivable crime.

The (moderate) Palestinian Authority’s appointed clergy, preaching on the Temple Mount, recently offered the following familiar sermon: “Palestinians: spearhead Allah’s war against the Jews. The dead shall not rise until the Palestinians shall kill all the Jews…. All agreements with Israel are provisional.” As for expected Palestinian gratitude to the United States for pushing Israel into the “Road Map” gambit of genocide, here is what another PA-appointed preacher said on the Gaza-based Al Quds radio station on the day following the London bombings: “We welcome these blessed acts….”

The Islamist solution for “The Jews” is an openly Final Solution. As long as Israel agrees to surrender – in increments – its sickness of the spirit will spread. Finally, unless cowardly surrenders can finally give way to courage, it will become the sickness unto death.

Copyright© The Jewish Press, August 8, 2008. All rights reserved

LOUIS RENÉ BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971). He lectures and publishes widely on international relations and international law. Professor Beres is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

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About the Author: Louis René Beres, strategic and military affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, is professor of Political Science at Purdue University. Educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), he lectures and publishes widely on international relations and international law and is the author of ten major books in the field. In Israel, Professor Beres was chair of Project Daniel.


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