It is always difficult to believe that any thinking friend of Israel, let alone a prominent Israeli academic strategist, could find something positive in Israeli territorial surrenders and associated capitulations. Nonetheless, Professor Yossi Alpher’s September 9, 2008 column in The Jerusalem Post heaps praise on Prime Minister Olmert’s incomprehensible policy of granting freedom to live terrorists in exchange for slain Jews. By any reasonable definition of sound logic, this policy endorsement by a former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University is unwarranted on its face.
Let us be clear. Professor Alpher’s argument is based squarely upon a manifestly erroneous assumption. This is that PLO/PA seeks a genuine peace with Israel. Simply ignoring that Fatah fully shares the more open Hamas rejection of any authentic two-state solution, Alpher unhesitatingly applauds Olmert’s already-discredited efforts to “build confidence” among Palestinian “moderates.”
“Credo quia absurdum – I believe because it is absurd.” PLO/PA, like Hamas, sees only one solution for Israel. It is, like an earlier Nazi Endlösung, an unambiguously final one.
Today, “moderate” Fatah/PA (not “radical” Hamas) offers young viewers very special television programming. Here, in honor of Ramadan, Palestinian children can now observe hours of celebrations of Palestinian “martyrdom” by Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters.
There is, therefore, an obvious indecency to the Alpher argument. It is an argument that exudes an overwhelming scent of impurity. How can any one Israeli possibly defend the release of unrepentant Palestinian terrorists to a nation with so many suffering Jewish victims?
As I have indicated again and again to my faithful readers in The Jewish Press, the ongoing Palestinian war against Israel has never been about peace or confidence building. It has always been about Jewish annihilation. For some reason that is unfathomable, Olmert and Alpher still don’t understand that the only acceptable “confidence” Israel could ever “build” would be to die ignobly and disappear.
A significant irony escapes Olmert, Alpher and even some other equally misguided Israeli scholars and politicians. Following multiple terrorist prisoner releases, Israel will immediately appear to all of its enemies (Hamas, Fatah, it makes absolutely no difference) as mortally weak. These Palestinian foes will then conclude that Israel actually wishes to die. This is admittedly a very complex and nuanced concept to grasp, but all the more so for those who are demonstrably unwilling or unable to see the Jewish world from a Palestinian/Islamist perspective.
The irony gets worse. Sensing Israel’s newest surrenders, as expressions of divine will, Israel’s Palestinian enemies won’t quickly oblige the Jewish State’s presumed wish to die. Instead, they will “allow” Israel to disappear slowly; first, by demanding still more terrorist releases (a demand Prime Minister Olmert and Professor Alpher would doubtlessly oblige) and second, by unconventional terrorism and total war.
This long-planned Palestinian/Islamist Jihad is being initiated in consciously measured phases. Only when the IDF is already fawning absurdly upon its own doom will the disintegrating Jewish State merge seamlessly into “Palestine.”
Despair, we have already learned from the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard, “is the sickness unto death,” and – if Olmert has his way − it is now Israel’s likely fate to despair for a long, long while. If PLO/PA/Hamas interpret Professor Alpher’s celebration of persistent Jewish capitulations as a fulfillment of Islamic religious expectations, the paradoxical torment of Israel’s despair will be that it will not be able to die. To be sick in such a grotesque fashion, to be sick unto death and not to be able to die, would be, for Israel, the cruelest fate of all.
The despairing state, like the despairing individual, simply cannot die. For Israel, the agonizing hopelessness of an unavailable death would entail actually “dying the death.” This sentence of living to experience death would be far worse than being allowed to expire quickly. To die and yet not to die, to literally die the death, would be for Israel a fate worse than death.
Despair, a dreadfully immobilizing pathology, is thus the Jewish State’s approaching sickness unto death.
This sickness, a rotting of Israel’s Jewish soul now accelerated by incomprehensible terrorist releases, is ultimately more dangerous than Palestinian rockets or enemy armies. Although it is certainly correct that a dramatic synergy exists between enemy military might and Israel’s growing “soulnessness,” it is only the latter that breeds a virulent sickness unto death.
Fear and Trembling – It is time for Israel to fully experience these terrorizing sentiments in order to avoid far more tangible expressions of Arab terrorism.
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.”
Think about this. Why can’t Prime Minister Olmert and Professor Alpher take a quick glance at PA television “Disney” programming? Then they might begin to understand such “moderate” clerical exhortations with appropriate fear and trembling, not with distinctly suicidal praise.
Copyright © the Jewish Press, October 3, 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.