But the clearest endorsement of terror as a legitimate instrument of political bargaining came from former President Jimmy Carter. In his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” Mr. Carter appeals to the sponsors of suicide bombing. “It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Road-map for Peace are accepted by Israel.” Acts of terror, according to Mr. Carter, are no longer taboo, but effective tools for terrorists to address perceived injustices.
Mr. Carter’s logic has become the dominant paradigm in rationalizing terror. When asked what Israel should do to stop Hamas’s rockets aimed at innocent civilians, the Syrian first lady, Asma Al-Assad, did not hesitate for a moment in her response: “They should end the occupation.” In other words, terror must earn a dividend before it is stopped.
The media have played a major role in handing terrorism this victory of acceptability. Qatari-based Al Jazeera television, for example, is still providing Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi hours of free air time each week to spew his hateful interpretation of the Koran, authorize suicide bombing, and call for jihad against Jews and Americans.
Then came the August 2008 birthday of Samir Kuntar, the unrepentant killer who, in 1979, smashed the head of a four-year-old Israeli girl with his rifle after killing her father before her eyes. Al Jazeera elevated Kuntar to heroic heights with orchestras, fireworks and sword dances, presenting him to 50 million viewers as Arab society’s role model. No mainstream Western media outlet dared to expose Al Jazeera efforts to warp its young viewers into the likes of Kuntar. Al Jazeera’s management continues to receive royal treatment in all major press clubs.
Some American pundits and TV anchors didn’t seem much different from Al Jazeera in their analysis of the recent war in Gaza. Bill Moyers was quick to lend Hamas legitimacy as a “resistance” movement, together with honorary membership in PBS’s imaginary “cycle of violence.” In his Jan. 9 TV show, Mr. Moyers explained to his viewers that “each [side] greases the cycle of violence, as one man’s terrorism becomes another’s resistance to oppression.” He then stated — without blushing — that for readers of the Hebrew Bible “God-soaked violence became genetically coded.” The “cycle of violence” platitude allows analysts to empower terror with the guise of reciprocity, and, amazingly, indict terror’s victims for violence as immutable as DNA.
A clear majority of Israelis would instantly hand over the West Bank and its settlements along with Gaza for a real shot at peace with the Arabs, but that’s not an option. Most Arab governments at least implicitly say they will recognize Israel’s right to exist inside its pre-1967 borders, but far too many Palestinians still won’t recognize Israel’s right to exist even in its 1948 borders. Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist inside any borders at all.
“We will never recognize Israel,” senior Hamas leader Nizar Rayyan said before he was killed by an air strike in Gaza during the recent fighting. “There is nothing called Israel, neither in reality nor in the imagination.”
Hamas does not speak for all Palestinians. I’ve met Palestinians who sincerely despise Hamas and everything it stands for. But let’s not kid ourselves here. Hamas speaks for a genuinely enormous number of Palestinians, and peace is impossible as long as that’s true. An-Najah University conducted a poll of Palestinian public opinion a few months ago and found that 53.4 percent persist in their rejection of a two-state solution.
Far too many Westerners make the mistake of projecting their own views onto Palestinians without really understanding the Palestinian narrative. The “occupation” doesn’t refer to the West Bank and Gaza, and it never has. The “occupation” refers to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. A kibbutz in the center of Israel is “occupied Palestine” according to most. “It makes no sense to a Palestinian to think about a Palestinian state alongside Israel,” Martin Kramer from the Shalem Center in Jerusalem said to me a few days ago. “From the Palestinian perspective, Israel will always exist inside Palestine.”
Like all bullies, Hamas likes to make boastful threats. Its 1988 Covenant is replete with them. It threatens to destroy the State of Israel by violence and violence alone. It says it will never accept the work of conferences or peacemakers, and only jihad will solve its problems. Meanwhile, the Palestinians see their lives drained away in a culture that embraces death and martyrdom, their children exposed to a steady diet of military training and preparation for violent death as suicide bombers.
Even if the Palestinians want peace, Hamas won’t let them have it, because Hamas knows best, and jihad “is the only solution.” Don’t believe me, read the Covenant. It likes nothing better than killing Jews, and the bigger bully in Teheran thinks that’s a damn fine thing too. No one says a word, because the UN is dominated by the Islamic states, and the Western governments know where the oil comes from, and nobody likes the Jews much anyway. The people calling for the end of Israel while they march on the streets of London and Dublin aren’t all Muslims by any means.
Israel guarantees civil liberties to all its citizens, Jew or Arab alike, but it is dubbed “an apartheid state”; Hamas, ever the bully, kills its opponents and denies the rest the most basic rights, but we march on behalf of Hamas. The Left prefers the bully because the bully represents a finger in the face of the establishment? Almost no one on the Left has any understanding of militant Islam. Their politics is a politics of gesture, where wearing a keffiyeh is cool but understanding its symbolism is too much effort even for intellectuals.
Israel is a Jewish State. Is that your problem?
Frankly, given a choice, I prefer the skinheads and other brutes who express their anti-Semitism openly. In such places, we know the enemy.
But please spare me the pieties and the righteous indignation of those “good people” protesting throughout Europe against Israel ’s defensive operation in Gaza . True, thousands have taken up banners in support of Israel . At the same time, however, the streets of Europe (and even some in America ) are in an uproar. These are the “humanitarians” – the good, the noble, the refined, who chant “peace.”
Now you’re up and about? Now you speak? Where were you when, throughout the years, thousands of jihadist bombs fell on Israel ? The streets of Europe were empty. There were no pictures in the newspapers of grieving Jewish mothers and fathers. You called it “peace” as long as the Arabs were doing the killing and the Jews were doing the dying. All was well with the world.
Suddenly, as Israel answered back, you found your Cause; and how self-righteous you are in your Cause.
You are the best and the brightest of Europe . You are educated. You attended the finest schools. You care for the birds, the bees, the bears, the trees. You favor free speech and freedom of religion. Strange it is that the one and only place in the Middle East that shares your world-view is Israel , and it is Israel that you slander.
Arab nations have a habit of denying obvious military losses. Saddam Hussein declared victory in the aftermath of the Gulf War. He had been thoroughly defeated, his forces crushed and driven out of Kuwait, and he was forced to accept severe restrictions, sanctions, and conditions in exchange for being left in power — but he had survived, and could still shout his defiance at the world. So, by his standards, he had won. During the Iraq War, the Iraqi Information Minister became a living embodiment of this delusional attitude. The bombastic (and utterly divorced from reality) proclamations became an international joke, as did Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf himself. Who can forget his fierce denials of American troops being anywhere near Baghdad while the press conference attendees could clearly hear the tanks?
With a unanimity that has become all too familiar, politicians, the media, NGOs, and church leaders across the globe took their cue to denounce Israel’s legitimate act of self-defense against one of the world’s most extreme terror organizations. This chorus of disapproval is in stark contrast to the utter indifference to far bloodier conflicts that have been going on around the world.
Why do citizens in democracies enthusiastically embrace a radical Islamist group that not only seeks the destruction of a fellow democracy but is overtly committed to the substitution of a world-wide Islamic caliphate for the existing international order?
Decades of mistreatment of the Palestinians by the Arab states have gone virtually unnoticed. Only when they interact with Israel do the Palestinians win the world’s attention.
The fact that international coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict has invariably reflected a degree of intensity and emotional involvement well beyond the normal level to be expected of impartial observers would seem to suggest that it is a manifestation of longstanding prejudice that has been brought out into the open by the conflict.
The Palestinians are but the latest lightning rod unleashed against the Jews, their supposed victimization reaffirming the millenarian demonization of the Jews in general, and the medieval blood libel – that Jews delight in the blood of others.
Well, peace has prevailed in Gaza. Or, at least, Israel has said it’s going to stop fighting, and Hamas is renewing its vow to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, which is as close to “peace” as you’re going to get. Expect Hamas to use the breather to fire more rockets into Israel, while Israel is urged to “show restraint,” and the same old game to starts up all over again.
The “restraint” argument is one of the most specious lines of criticism. As civil and decent and responsible and humane as it sounds, it’s ultimately self-defeating.
Hamas’s core purpose — enshrined in its charter — is the destruction of Israel. That must end before there can be any kind of peace between Israel and Hamas, yet Hamas has not shown the slightest inclination to alter their goal. Indeed, at every opportunity, they reaffirm it. And it seems that nothing Israel does brings any such alteration closer — everything it does prompts Hamas to reassert its intentions. Israel pulls out of Gaza — it’s a great victory for Hamas. Israel strikes Gaza – it’s a provocation. Israel does nothing – then they are cowards. It’s reminiscent of the argument over global cooling, or global warming, or climate change — everything is proof of one side, nothing is proof of the other.
The ”restraint” and “proportionality” canards need to be rebutted thoroughly. The United States Air Force has its own policy version of such a rebuttal: it’s called “Honor the threat.”
When a threat is made — verbally or nonverbally, explicitly or implicitly — it must be treated as legitimate until it is either countered or proven to be of no real danger. And even if it proves to be of no immediate potency, it’s a good idea to keep a suspicious eye on it for some time, in case things change.
Hamas has made its threat.
The words of Golda Meir have never rung more true:
We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.
For those individuals — such as nearly all members of the world news media — who, in light of Israels invasion of Gaza — see moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinians, here are some clarifying thoughts.
First, it would be difficult nearly to the point of impossibility, to find Israeli or other Jews who celebrate the deaths of Palestinian civilians. Jews both within and outside of Israel cringe when they see pictures of dead Palestinian men, women, and children in Gaza. For thousands of years at their Passover seders, Jews have removed wine from their cups to ceremonially weep for the Egyptians — their erstwhile slave owners for 400 years — who died during the Jews exodus. Jews have never stopped weeping for enemies.
The opposite is the case with the large majority of Palestinians. It would be quite difficult to find many Palestinians who do not celebrate the deaths of Israeli Jews or non-Israeli Jews. This is not only reflected in Palestinian polls that show majority support for terrorism — and terrorism means killing innocent Jews — it is also reflected in Palestinian media, Palestinian schools, and Palestinian mosques that routinely glorify murderers of Jews, and refer to all Jews as monkeys and the like.
Shocking? Only if you haven’t been paying attention.
An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes. – Thomas Jefferson
Hamas wishes not only to spill the blood of their enemies, but of their own people, in order to achieve its goal of the destruction of Israel. To ignore this plain truth is tantamount to inserting one’s head up one’s own ass.