Moral Inversion in the Middle East

by | Dec 5, 2000

Israel should never have engaged in peace talks with a man who has repeatedly called for its destruction, and who has actively planned, led and participated in terrorist attacks that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of its citizens.

The UN’s Security Council recently voted to condemn Israel for the murder of innocent Palestinians and for perpetrating crimes against humanity. Arafat readily denounced Israel’s actions as “mass killings and barbarian bombings.”

The Clinton administration, keeping faith with its appeasement strategy, and admittedly in fear of terrorist retaliation, chose to abstain from vetoing the UN’s resolution.

The casual observer, bombarded by the media with countless images of dead and injured Palestinian children, would reasonably interpret the global condemnation of Israel, and the veto of the US, Israel’s greatest ally, as a sign of Israel’s deep guilt on the matter.

The higher count of deaths among Palestinians was taken by many as evidence of Israel’s gratuitous use of violence. But it should come as no surprise that Israel, being military stronger than the Palestinians, would naturally impose more casualties than it would take in any conflict with them.

Arafat claimed that the cause of the new wave of violence was Ariel Sharon’s attempted visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Sharon, the present Likud Party leader, was stoned by Palestinians, as were other Jews praying not far from there, at the famous Western Wall.

The site visited by Sharon is generally open to the public and visited by tourists. It corresponds to the place where the Temple built by Solomon stood, about three thousand years ago — it was, and still is, the holiest patch of land on earth for many Jews. The site is, however, controlled by the Palestinians, who believe their prophet rose to heaven from there.

The attacks on Sharon and on other Jews did nothing but demonstrate that the Palestinians should have no right to, or sovereignty over, that piece of land. Arafat demonstrated the same point in relation to all of the occupied territories, when he ordered the release of terrorist prisoners held by his police force into the streets.

Voice of Palestine, the official radio network, played war songs as their TV stations broadcasted scenes of past conflicts with the Israelis, inciting their audience to violence. Sheik Ahmad Abu Halabaya, in a live broadcast from a Gaza city mosque, was fairly eloquent about the idea: “Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them. Wherever you are, kill those Jews and those Americans who are like them and those who stand by them…”

Palestinian mobs got the message and burned down two synagogues, fired at buildings of Jewish communities, and attacked isolated Israeli settlements and military posts.

Palestinian police soon joined the mobs. Three Israeli reservists who strayed into an Arab neighborhood were taken into “protective custody.” They were then murdered, one of them thrown out the police station window to an ecstatic Arab mob below.

When the Israelis found themselves being attacked by groups of children and youngsters, and by adult snipers and shooters hiding behind them, they had no other recourse but to defend themselves and shoot back.

Hebron’s area commander, Israeli Col. Noam Tivon, later said that the Palestinian Authority encouraged children to participate in clashes with the Israelis by offering their families “$300 per injury and $2,000 for anyone killed.”

If the Israelis were interested in killing or injuring children, their troops would not regularly use rubber bullets, and would not have explicit standing orders to shoot only below the waistline. Moreover, the Israelis, who suffer from no lack of firepower, would have killed all Palestinians long ago, of all ages, if that ever was their intention.

Israel should never have engaged in peace talks with a man who has repeatedly called for its destruction, and who has actively planned, led and participated in terrorist attacks that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of its citizens. Israelis are paying the price for not holding Arafat accountable for his crimes.

 

By giving Arafat legitimacy, and an equal moral standing, Israel paved the way for the UN and the media — who both regarded the Palestinian attackers as victims and the Israeli troops that acted in self-defense as villains — to commit the ultimate moral inversion: to attack the good and defend the evil.

The UN countries and reporters that condemned Israel are guilty of evading the crucial difference between murder and self-defense. And the US, for saying nothing, is guilty of moral cowardice.

But guilt also lies with the Israelis themselves, who have been for many years sanctioning Arafat’s status as a moral equal, as a man worthy of their respect and trust. The Israelis are guilty of fooling themselves into believing that peace could be achieved at the expense of justice.

 

If Israel is to survive, it is time for Israelis to learn that morality matters, that no compromise between good and evil can ever be practical for the good, and that the pursuit of peace at any cost will eventually claim the ultimate price: Israel’s own existence.

David Holcberg, a former civil engineer and businessman, is now a writer living in Southern California. He is a former writer for the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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