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.
Such grotesque stories of official PA honors bestowed upon Palestinian terrorists are quite common. In the matter of Ziyad Da’as, the PA shamelessly identified a repeat murderer of women and children “as one of the brave people of the Palestinian resistance.” The daily newspaper proudly carrying the story, Al Hayat Al Jadida, is an organ owned by the Palestinian Authority.
What’s wrong with this picture? For some reason, President Bush – indifferent to the PA’s true colors – continues to prod Prime Minister Olmert to follow the “Road Map.” Making matters even worse, Messrs. Bush and Olmert, unimpressed by history and indifferent to facts on the ground, now proceed smugly with their stillborn plan to aid one Palestinian terrorist group against another. Moreover, in a corollary policy of self-deception, they also supply even larger packages of military assistance to those very same Arab governments who mentor and sustain a broad spectrum of Islamist (anti-Israel/anti-U.S.) terrorists.
Are our governments in Washington and Jerusalem consciouslyself-destructive? In the sordid matter of arming Fatah against Hamas (some time ago, both Israel and the US were actually aiding assorted Islamist forces for presumed geopolitical benefit), it is manifestly a policy built upon sand. Yet, both governments accept the glaringly false presumption of a real difference between two murderous terror organizations.
On the somewhat related issue of arming Sunni Arab states against a Shiite Iran, the Bush policies are merely the latest example of a time-dishonored expression of American Realpolitik; that is, seeking some sort of tangible balance in regions of exceptional competition and conflict. Admittedly, the metaphor of equilibrium is neat and satisfying, but it bears no relation to the real world.
Searching for dynamic equilibrium in Middle Eastern politics will inevitably spawn catastrophic failure. This is now especially evident when we consider the profoundly destabilizing prospect of Iranian nuclear weapons development. Taken together with the U.S.-supported birthing of “Palestine,” this increasingly probable impact will produce various force multipliers with distinctly negative synergies for both Israel and the United States.
What is really going on here? Bowing to the president of the United States, the Olmert government now fully intends to conform to the prescribed Road Map. These partisans of a starkly delusionary diplomacy still believe, contrary to all ascertainable evidence and to all recent history, that a process of unilateral dismemberment (former Prime Minister Sharon called it “disengagement;” current Prime Minister Olmert calls it “realignment”) can somehow bring mutually gainful resolution to the longstanding dispute between Israel and its enemies.
Why such blinders? What these national leaders steadfastly refuse to recognize is that the now-unavoidable civilizational struggle against Arab/Islamic “genociders” has almost nothing to do with territory. Rather, it has to do with an irreconcilable configuration of foes that seeks not land, but religious hegemony. From the standpoint of the PA or any of its kindred states and movements, there can simply be no Jewish state in the midst of the dar al-Islam, the world of Islam. Never. Period.
Ultimately, all Jihadists seek something far more personal and far more elusive than land. They seek the ultimate form of power. They seek immortality.
On its face, all world politics is a struggle for power. But in this interminable struggle, there can be no greater power than the power over death. The core dispute with the Palestinians, therefore, will never be about any sort of political compromise. It will always be about G-d
From 1948 to the present, the Arab/Islamist world’s existential opposition to Israel has stemmed from a deeply doctrinal hatred of a Jewish state in the region of Islam – indeed, of any Jewish state that dares to take hold in the “dar al-Islam.”
Even now, this manifestly obvious observation seemingly needs to be re-stated. After all, if Arab/Islamist opposition to Israel were only about West Bank (Judea/Samaria) and Gaza, why were there so many Arab terrorist attacks against Jews between 1948 and 1967? At that time, these disputed territories were still in Arab hands. What exactly were these terrorists seeking to “liberate” before there were any “Israel-occupied territories?”
The Palestine Liberation Organization was first formed in 1964, three years before the Six-Day War. What precisely was the PLO seeking to “liberate”?
For that substantial portion of the Arab/Islamic world that remains fully dedicated to Israel’s annihilation, an inventive cartography is merely part of a much wider strategy of genocide – a term that is used here in the literal, jurisprudential sense; that is, the explicit meaning codified at the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Unambiguously, the Road Map is merely the latest diplomatic routing to Jewish extinction in the Middle East. First fashioned by the so-called “Quartet” (the U.S., Russia, EU and UN), it is accepted by many others only on an understanding of Israel as the individual Jew in macrocosm.
To be sure, in the generally acknowledged Arab/Islamist view, Israel is always the singular Jew writ large. The Jewish State must thereforealways be loathed. Significantly, this insidious view is a far cry from the wishful vision of the supporters of the Oslo/Road Map/Disengagement/Realignment. For these more “optimistic” archeologists of Jewish and American ruins-in-the-making, Israel should be pleased that it is despised only because it is an “occupier.”
What can possibly sustain such “optimism?” We don’t hear any such territorial explanations of Arab/Islamist hatred from within elements of the Arab/Islamist world. On the contrary, each and every Israeli, every young Jewish infant and child as well as every uniformed soldier, is hated in the Arab/Islamic world because he is a Jew. That is the whole story – the whole indisputable story.
An authoritative expression of this mainstream Islamist view was clarified in an important article in Al-Ahram. Here, the religiously prominent Dr. Lufti Abd al-Azim wrote straightforwardly and unhesitatingly: “The first thing we have to make clear is that, no distinction must be made between the Jew and the Israeli…. The Jew is a Jew, through the millennia…. in spurning all moral values, devouring the living and drinking his blood for the sake of a few coins. The Jew, the merchant of Venice, does not differ from the killer of Deir Yasin or the killer of the camps. They are equal examples of human degradation. Let us therefore put aside such distinctions and talk about Jews.”
The regionally and Islamically revered Dr. Abd al-Azim is hardly alone in this position. A current Egyptian textbook on ARAB ISLAMIC HISTORY – widely used in teacher training colleges – expresses the following revealing sentiments:”The Jews are always the same, every time and everywhere. They will not live save in darkness. They contrive their evils clandestinely. They fight only when they are hidden, because they are cowards…. The Prophet enlightened us about the right way to treat them, and succeeded finally in crushing the plots that they had planned. We today must follow this way and purify Palestine from their filth.”
Some April 2006 postings from the Muslim Brotherhood Children’s Website (based in Egypt, a country “at peace” with Israel) are also worth mentioning:
“Did you know that the Jews murdered 25 of the Prophets of Allah, and that their black history is full of crimes of murder and corruption?”
“Did you know that the criminal Jews frequently revile and curse our Lord?”
“Did you know that the Jews made several attempts to murder our beloved Prophet, but that Allah the Omnipotent saved him from their plot?”
“Did you know that the corruption and deviance widespread in the world today are the result of activity and planning by the Jews, who are interested in leading people astray, away from the path of Allah?”
“Did you know that the Jews who occupy our land and our holy places in beloved Palestine are planning to occupy the rest of the Muslim countries and to establish a Greater Israel, from the Euphrates to the Nile, and that they are interested in excavating in the tomb of our beloved Prophet?”
“Did you know that today the Jews are inciting the entire world against Islam and the Muslims, on the pretext of the war against terror?”
How, then, shall we understand current advocates of peace in the Middle East through further diplomatic negotiations? Some supporters of the Road Map and its attendant disengagements and realignments base their position on the Palestinian claim to territories (Judea/Samaria/Gaza). Leaving aside the very questionable nature of the underlying demographic argument (e.g., the commonly stated and unsupported assertion that current Palestinians are descended directly from the ancient Canaanites), these supporters conveniently ignore the continuous Jewish presence in these lands.
They also ignore that more than one million Palestinians are now full citizens of Israel, enjoying substantially more legal rights (especially women) than do their counterparts in the Arab/Islamic world. Also generally forgotten, is that 900,000 Jews were slaughtered or expelled from Muslim area states after 1948 – states that even today deny Jews any parallel rights of dignity or nationality. Yet, it is the Palestinians – not the Israelis – who cling relentlessly to the grotesque idea of Jihad.
The “sacred” struggle to evict “The Jews” from “all of Palestine” (that is, from Israel as well as from Judea/Samaria/Gaza) is driven by high expectations of Holy War. According to certain Islamic orthodoxy, the Prophet is said to have predicted a final war to annihilate the Jews. Mohammed, it is reported, had stated: “The hour (i.e., salvation) will not come until you fight against the Jews; and the stone would say, `O Muslim! There is a Jew behind me: come and kill him.’”
Israel’s Peace Process supporters, in advancing Palestinian “legal” claims, forget that the PLO once urged Saddam Hussein to launch annihilatory attacks upon Israeli noncombatants during the 1991 Gulf War. Then, Yassir Arafat had enthusiastically embraced Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, openly sending units of the Palestinian Liberation Army (PLA) to join in the inter-Arab killing, rape and torture of Kuwaitis. Following the Iraqi aggression, Arafat and the PLO supported Saddam’s Baghdad in many different ways. At the Cairo Summit of August 10, 1990, Arafat tried to deflect attention from the barbarous invasion toward the crises in Afghanistan and Kashmir. Abdul Abbas sent his own paramilitary forces into the occupied state to help “police” the sheikhdom. So, too, did the PFLP’s George Habash and the DFLP’s Nayef Hawatmeh. At the time, Mohammed Milhem, senior aide to Arafat, publicly threatened Fatah-led terrorism “everywhere” in support of Iraq. This is the very same Fatah that Israel and the United States now arm and support – the same “moderate” Fatah.
Copyright© The Jewish Press, November 30, 2007. All rights reserved
LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) lectures and publishes widely on Israeli and US counter-terrorism and nuclear security policies. Chair of Project Daniel, he is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, and the author of ten major books dealing with international relations and international law.