The new Palestinian Authority “President” hadn’t even been sworn in before he criticized the “cycle of violence” in the Middle East. An inaccuracy, to be sure. Mahmoud Abbas knew exactly what he was saying. Creating a pleasing symmetry between Arab terrorism and Israeli counter-terrorism, the expression conveniently erodes all differences between crime and punishment, between murder and reprisal. Not surprisingly, though a deception, it was quickly picked up and obediently repeated by many world media sources – most notably the BBC.
As should be plainly evident from the most recent Palestinian attacks upon Jewish mothers and their children in Gaza, there is no “cycle of violence” in this conflict. There is only ritualistic Arab murders of Jewish civilians followed by essential Israeli measures of self-defense.
Imitating past practice, Hamas and its sister terror organizations promptly argued that they were merely “retaliating” for Israel’s prior assassinations of lead terrorists, as if to say that: (1) a constituted democratic state and an outlawed terrorist gang are of equivalent legal stature; and (2) terrorist leaders and defenseless civilians are equally permissible targets. Yet, even in the shadow world of Arab/Islamic terror, there are palpably meaningful differences between fiendish criminality and law-enforcement.
There is no more egregious form of criminality than the premeditated murder of children. Under all authoritative standards of international law and basic morality, there is NO cause – no matter how just – that can ever justify such killing. None. Ever. Even if the incessant Palestinian refrain of an Israeli “occupation” were not utterly contrived, and even if the manipulative claims of “Palestinian land” made any historical or legal sense, there could never be any justification for purposefully blowing up Jewish children. Moreover, the so-called “suicide bombers” who pack their explosives with nails, screws and razor blades dipped in rat poison are not “militants.” They are monsters.
Terror groups have no right to “retaliate” under international law – no more than does an individual criminal have such a right against police authorities under domestic law. These groups are flagrantly illegal organizations that recognize no proper boundaries in the use of force. This should now be especially evident to President Bush, whose misconceived endorsement of a “Road Map” to a Palestinian state will only push Israel into a condition of existential insecurity. Israel, we should be reminded, is a country so small that it could fit twice into Lake Michigan.
Civilized societies acknowledge no equivalence between the inexcusable violence of murder and the corrective violence of law. But this understanding is now lost upon most of the world’s major newspapers and news services, leaving Israel to battle not only the murderers, but also the unceasing media misrepresentations.
Even when Israel was one of the first countries to mobilize massive medical assistance to victims of the recent Asian Tsunami, nary a word was mentioned in the press. Of course, there were widespread allegations in the Arab/Islamic press that Israel and the United States were somehow responsible for the catastrophe. As for Saudi Arabia, which has always had substantial monies available to fund Palestinian suicide bombers and to buy-off al-Qaeda cells, it naturally had little medical expertise to offer and finally (under pressure) extended barely a pittance to help beloved fellow Muslims.
Let us call things by their correct names. Following American and European endorsements of a Palestinian state, we have witnessed absolutely no identifiable Arab/Islamic movement toward reconciliation or peace with Israel. Instead, we observe an unambiguous escalation of threats to the Jewish state. Now there are even explicit Arab threats to unleash biological terrorism upon Israeli civilians.
Recently, the Lebanon-based Palestinian weekly, Al-Manar, published an article titled: “Will We Reach the Option of Biological Deterrence?” Here, according to a translation by the highly reputable Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Palestinian terrorists plan to deploy “death-carrying devices near Israeli water resources; the Israeli beaches….the markets and the residential centers.” The plain objective for the Arabs, says the article, is “…to create a balance of horror in the equation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”
A “balance of horror.” Is this the sort of peace that Israel can expect? The new Palestinian “President” still insists that he will not use decisive force against Hamas and its kindred terror groups. All of these groups recognize only a “One State Solution.” And the one state they have in mind is certainly not Israel.
The Palestinian leadership embraces an irrepressible and barely disguised delight in the murder of Jewish noncombatants. For these leaders, the issue is not about territory, but about religion. The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is only superficially about land. Much more profoundly, it is about God, and about Arab unwillingness to allow a Jewish state, ANY Jewish state, in an Islamic region. Under no circumstances are the Palestinians willing to allow Jewish sovereignty over Muslims. It – the State of Israel, not just the “occupied territories,” is a “cancer” on the World of Islam. It MUST be excised.
Hatred and intolerance of Jews and also Christians – and their inferior status as dhimmis – is deeply embedded in the Koran. For example, from Sura IX, verses 29-35: “Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given as believe neither in God nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and His Apostle have forbidden, and do not embrace the true faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued.” And from II.61: “Wretchedness and baseness were stamped upon them (the Jews) and they were visited with wrath from Allah.” Or V.51: “O you, who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who takes them for friends is one of them.”
Then consider the oldest source on the life of the Prophet, the SIRA by Ibn Ishaq as quoted by Ibn Hisham. It is available in an English translation. Here is Mohammed’s rather basic instruction on imperative hatred of the Jews: “Kill any Jews that fall into your power.”
What is Israel to do? There is no cycle of violence in the region, only a continuous and faith-driven murder of Jews on their own land. Left unrecognized and unchallenged, the Jihad or Holy War against Israel will also leave America unprepared for carefully-planned attacks by waves of suicide bombers. Far better that we should all immediately understand the differences between terrorists and “militants,” the deeply religious basis of Arab/Islamic terrorism against Israel and the United States, and the terrible foolishness of appeasement in the face of intractable evil.
Copyright © 2005, The Jewish Press. All Rights Reserved.
LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and publishes widely on Israeli security matters. He is author of many of the earliest major books dealing with nuclear war and nuclear terrorism, and is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.