Abbas and the 'cycle of violence' in the Middle East
By Louis Rene Beres, For the Journal and Courier
The new Palestinian Authority "president" hadn't even been sworn in before he attacked the "cycle of violence" in the Middle East. An inaccuracy, to be sure, Mahmoud Abbas still knew exactly what he was saying. Creating a contrived symmetry between Arab terrorism and Israeli counter-terrorism, the expression conveniently erodes all differences between crime and punishment.
There is no "cycle of violence" in this conflict, only ritualistic murders of Jewish civilians followed by essential Israeli measures of self-defense. Imitating past practice, Hamas and its sister terror organizations always argue that they are 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 criminality and law enforcement.
There is no more egregious form of criminality than the premeditated murder of children. Under all existing standards of international law and 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 fabricated, and even if the persistent claims of "Palestinian land" made any historical or legal sense, there could never be any justification for intentionally blowing up Jewish children. 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 illegal organizations that recognize no proper boundaries in the use of force. This should now be especially evident to President Bush, whose mistaken endorsement of a Palestinian state will only push Israel into conditions of existential insecurity and our own country into more terrorism. Palestinian terror groups are increasingly aligned with al-Qaida.
Following American and European endorsements of a Palestinian state, we have witnessed absolutely no identifiable Arab/Islamic movement toward 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 claiming that Palestinian "fighters" plan to deploy such "death-carrying devices near Israeli water resources; the Israeli beaches ... the markets and the residential centers." The plain objective, 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" 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. In size, by the way, Israel is less than half as big as Lake Michigan.
The Palestinian leadership displays a barely concealed delight in the mass 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. Doctrinally, it must be excised.
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 foolishness of endless appeasement.