Facing imminent existential attacks, Israel could decide to preempt enemy aggression with conventional forces.
"In a dark time," says the poet Theodore Roethke, "the eye begins to see." Today, with improving sight, the Iranian nuclear threat should remain bright in our visual field. Despite a recent U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that effectively supports Tehran's multiple lies and deceptions, this unconventional threat remains existential. It follows that an Israeli and/or American preemptive strike against certain Iranian nuclear assets and infrastructures should still not be ruled out.
My readers in The Jewish Press are accustomed to reading my articles on timely strategic and jurisprudential issues. For the most part, these columns have explored various dangers of terrorism, war and genocide. But sometimes we are imperiled by a very different sort of terror. There is, of course, the "usual" threat of terror violence (the terror "outside"), but there is also a serious specter of interior terror that arises from our willful abandonment of individuality (the terror "within").
Some years ago, following one of the devastating suicide bombings in which small Jewish children were blown to bits, prominent Palestinian columnist Fahd al-Rimawi - then writing with obvious approval of Nobel Peace laureate Yassir Arafat in Amman's al-Majd newspaper, gleefully celebrated the monstrous act of terror:
The recent Annapolis "peace" conference - and President Bush's subsequent visit to the Middle East - shows that where Israel is concerned, there is still nothing new under the sun. Once again, fundamental Israeli rights were shamelessly subordinated to the presumed rights of all others, including even of openly Arab defiant terrorists now conveniently disguised as an "Authority." Once again, it seems, Israel had been called upon to offer land for nothing.
It is easy to feel sorry for the Palestinians in Gaza. Televised and print images of their apparently unrelieved misery suggest Israeli cruelty in the creation of shortages and in the use of armed force. Exactly the opposite is true. The moment that flagrantly illegal Hamas rocket attacks upon Israeli noncombatants cease, no harms of any kind will be imposed by Israel.
From a national survival standpoint, the candidate debates remain pretty much beside the point. Not a single presidential aspirant has answered (or even attempted to answer) a very important question: Are we Americans now involved in a merely tactical struggle against particular terror groups and individuals, or are we, instead, embroiled in something much larger? Should we now be focusing on assorted political, military and logistical issues (the effective position, more or less, of all candidates), or upon the much wider religious and cultural context from which our principal terror enemies are spawned?
For Jews, free will must always be oriented toward life, to the blessing, not to the curse. Our binding charge is to strive in this obligatory direction of individual and collective self-preservation by using our intelligence and by exercising our essentially disciplined acts of will. In circumstances where such striving is consciously rejected, the outcome - however catastrophic - can never rise to the dignified level of tragedy.
True life, it seems, can never be brought purposefully before the judgment seat of Reason. Much as we might wish it were otherwise, absurd narratives now best mirror the deteriorating situation of life on earth. Still living an elaborate pantomime of right and wrong, justice and punishment, we humans desperately want the unfolding world-drama to develop with both fairness and sensibility. Generally, we witness something quite different.
Notwithstanding all of the alleged "progress" in combating Islamist terrorism, our leaders have yet to really understand the core Jihadist rallying cry. "We love death," the murderers shout ecstatically - and they always shout in chorus, for terrorism is a collective activity - but we seem to think this apparent necrophilia is merely perverse, that operationally it is beside the point. No judgment could be further from the truth. In fact, correctly interpreting this openly lurid affection is ultimately the key to fashioning a genuinely effective strategy of counter-terrorism.
The more things change, the more they remain the same. For anyone who can still think clearly, the Annapolis "Peace Conference" in November was merely the latest hallucinatory rendition of a very troubled sleep. It's not that this carefully scripted assembly actually confirmed a catastrophic outcome for Israel. Rather, it underscored America's perilous and persistent preoccupation with a determinably wrongheaded foreign policy.
Since Netanyahu, whose own slick administration disingenuously strengthened the hand of Palestinian terrorists, most Israelis have insistently kept up a hollow refrain for Palestinian "autonomy." But the Palestinians know full well the difference between autonomy and sovereignty, and they will have nothing of the former.
Now that the Annapolis "Peace Summit" has concluded, it is likely - that in time - a new terror state will be declared in the region. Strangely, Israel's Prime Minister Olmert is convinced that the creation of "Palestine" is essential to his country'ssurvival. Of course, this position might make a great deal of sense if the planned Palestinian state were to be led by Buddhist monks, but the intrinsic and endemic violence of both Fatah and Hamas make such a leadership rather implausible.
From the Oslo Accords' very beginnings, on September 1, 1993, Yasir Arafat reaffirmed that any "peace" agreements must be an intrinsic part of the PLO's 1974 phased plan for Israel's destruction: "The agreement will be a basis for an independent Palestinian state in accordance with the Palestinian National Council resolution issued in 1974.... The PNC resolution issued in 1974 calls for the establishment of a national authority on any part of Palestinian soil from which Israel withdraws or which is liberated..." Later, on May 29, 1994, Rashid Abu Shbak, a senior PA security official, remarked: "The light which has shone over Gaza and Jericho will also reach the Negev and the Galilee."
Certain Arab/Islamic critics of Israel often speak of some deeply sinister Jewish migrations to "Palestine" after World War I, neglecting to mention that (1) there has been a large and continuous Jewish presence in the land for over 3,000 years; and (2) there has been a continuing Jewish majority in Jerusalem.
Back in August 2007, the Palestinian Authority (PA), Prime Minister Olmert's "partner in peace," named a soccer tournament after Ziyad Da'as, a Fatah-Tanzim terrorist who had been eliminated by Israel exactly five years earlier. The Palestinian Da'as was responsible for the heroic January 2002 attack in which gunmen opened fire with an M-16 at a Bat Mitzvah in Hadera, murdering six and seriously wounding thirty. With equal courage, he had also planned the kidnapping and murder of two Israeli civilians in Tulkarem in 2001.
"It is in the thick of a calamity," we learn from Albert Camus' The Plague, "that one gets hardened to the truth, in other words, to silence." Now that Iranian nuclearization is reaching the point of no return, noisy declarations from Tehran are apt to become less shrill. Reciprocally, in Jerusalem, an inaudible truth could soon yield to action.
One must wonder: Is current U.S. policy on the "Road Map" merely the result of a foolish consistency, or is something much more sinister going on? After all, President Bush and Secretary of State Rice remain determined to birth a viable Palestinian state, one that would be part of an altogether mythical "two-state solution."
Some things never change. First and foremost, it seems, is the determination of American presidents to assist in the birth another enemy state called "Palestine." Notwithstanding this country's "War On Terror," the Bush administration continues on a conspicuously self-destructive path that will only make us more vulnerable to terrorism.
My readers in The Jewish Press will already know that I write a great deal about Israeli nuclear issues. One of these inherently existential issues is the need for a coherent and codified Israeli nuclear doctrine. Moreover, this need was an integral part of Project Daniel - a private effort that reported to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ("Israel's Strategic Future," January 2003) and was most immediately concerned with Iranian nuclear weapons and the associated prospect of nuclear war in the Middle East.
Over the years, I have closely followed the work of Yossi Melman, an outstanding investigative journalist with Ha'aretz and a leading authority on Israel's intelligence communities. Not surprisingly, his earlier book, Every Spy a Prince (co-authored with Dan Raviv) was an international bestseller.
Can the Olmert government protect Israel's citizens? After last summer's Lebanon war, this is hardly a serious question. Further, following Iran's continuing defiance of the international community in its illegal nuclearization, a defiance carried out with literal impunity, the consequences of Israel's national impotence could soon be genuinely existential. Let us be candid. This is the case even before Mr. Olmert proceeds with his plan to give up the Golan.
Amid the growing chaos of internal Palestinian violence, the manifest error of every Middle East Peace Process should be altogether obvious. Quite predictably, Fatah and Hamas now validate years of informed Jewish opposition to both the original Oslo Agreements and to the equally twisted cartography of a so-called "Road Map."
On IDF Refusals To Follow Orders: The Interlocking Perspectives Of National Law, International Law...
In Claude Lanzmann's monumental documentary, SHOAH, one of the surviving leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising remarks: "If you could lick my heart, it would poison you." Sadly, the time may still come - if Prime Minister Olmert is permitted to continue following Washington's cartography - that surviving Israelis will someday express similar sentiments.
On IDF Refusals To Follow Orders: The Interlocking Perspectives Of National Law, International Law...
Can the current government of Israel protect its citizens? Clearly, Israelis have already experienced the Oslo and Road Map "peace process," as a Terror Process. If Judea/Samaria are soon transformed into "Palestine," the peace process will once again become a war and terror process.