It sounds odd, yet it is true: the experience of having gone to a Soviet school and playing during school breaks turns one into an intifada expert unmatched and unmatchable by anyone – even in such a formidable institution as the U.S. State Department.

As with any area of expertise, the core reason is the breadth and depth of experience. Soviet kids got it by playing a game called ‘Commissar, Drop Me Down!’

In a Soviet movie, a Red army soldier is wounded in a bloody revolutionary battle. Seeing him fall, the commissar runs to the rescue, dodging machine-gun fire, and drags the wounded proletarian to safety. But the soldier, aware of the danger to the commissar’s life, would rather sacrifice his own (being of lesser value to the Revolution) and begs, in a most heart-wrenching tone of voice, ‘Commissar, drop me down! Commissar, drop me down!’

Soviet youngsters ignored the message of revolutionary self-sacrifice imbedded in this scene and instead used it for an exquisitely cruel game, always targeting a schoolmate who was momentarily staring off in one direction, apparently lost in thought.

One would suddenly jump on the poor fellow’s back, throw arms around his shoulders, lock hands on his chest, tightly squeeze his lower body with the legs, and not allow the wriggling and kicking victim to free himself – all the while incessantly yelling ‘Commissar, drop me down! Commissar, drop me down!’

The similarity of the game to the Palestinian intifada is striking. In September 2000, when 97 percent of Palestinians lived under self-rule in West Bank and Gaza and were on their way to some form of permanent settlement of the conflict, the Palestinian Authority suddenly assailed Israel with a shout of ‘We are under occupation!’

And now, just as a Soviet youngster playing ‘Commissar, Drop Me Down!’ the Palestinians sit tight on Israel’s back shouting ‘End the occupation!’ – while making it impossible for the Israelis to do so.

Every time Israel loosens its grip, there follows a deadly act of terror.

This similarity turns anyone who spent his Soviet childhood switching, in effect, between a self-righteous Palestinian cruelly taunting his opponent and an Israeli tottering under the burden of a tormentor, into a natural intifada expert. Lessons and advice from one with this exceptional expertise follow.

Lesson one: ‘Commissar, Drop Me Down!’ is a very dangerous game for the assailant. Unless he ends it in time, he’ll wind up with a good many bruises. Patient wriggling and admonitions on the part of the victim are usually followed by pinching and punching, and the final result is a fight fought with utter abandon.

By constant repetition we have all but convinced ourselves that there is ‘no military solution’ to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; yet we should not be surprised, if the fence proves ineffective at warding off terror attacks, that a military solution not only exists (it obviously does), but is actually used when all patience is lost.

Lesson two: No schoolteacher or principal takes the side of the student who initiates the ‘Commissar, Drop Me Down!’ game, and no kid who had to fight off his adversary feels the slightest remorse for having hurt his opponent. So it is not surprising that Israel is deaf to pleas to stop the construction of its defensive fence. 

If it does come down to a military solution, Israelis will be in no mood to be restrained, either by pious cries of the goody-goody intellectuals of Europe or pressure from coldly calculating foreign diplomats. Israel will not look back while ridding its neighborhood of Hamasers, Jihaders, Arafaters and other intifaders.

And so, a word of advice: Mr. Palestinian Prime Minister, listen to this expert. Don’t risk everything that Palestinians now have. Stop the cruel game of ‘End the Occupation.’

Heed the lesson eventually learned by all the youthful instigators of ‘Commissar, Drop me Down!’ 


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