The Terrorist’s Best Friend

by | Feb 25, 2002 | POLITICS

The events of the past few weeks in Israel have offered a timeless lesson on the real cause of terrorism and the real meaning of the “peace process.” The pattern of these events is crystal clear: Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Authority have escalated their war against Israel, while loudly demanding that Israel renounce “military […]

The events of the past few weeks in Israel have offered a timeless lesson on the real cause of terrorism and the real meaning of the “peace process.”

The pattern of these events is crystal clear: Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Authority have escalated their war against Israel, while loudly demanding that Israel renounce “military solutions” and return to the “peace process.” It is a brazen attempt to wage an all-out war while urging the victims to disarm themselves.

It is important to grasp the nature of the recent escalation in the Palestinian war effort. A little more than a week ago, an Israeli tank was destroyed when it was lured over a mine made from 80 pounds of powerful C4 explosives — not exactly a homemade weapon cooked up by disaffected youngsters in a refugee camp. Early this week, a squad of Palestinian militants killed six off-duty soldiers asleep in their bunks at an Israeli checkpoint. This was not a suicide attack, but rather a carefully planned commando raid carried out by the al-Aqsa militia, a branch of Yasser Arafat’s own Fatah political faction. Over the past few weeks, Palestinians have also begun pelting Israel with Qassam 2 rockets, which have a range of up to 5 miles and carry a destructive power equivalent to a 122 mm mortar.

All of this comes after the capture of the Karine A, a Palestinian ship caught smuggling $50 million of Iranian military weapons into Gaza. Taken together, all of these events make it clear that the Palestinian “uprising” is an all-out military campaign that is increasingly taking on the character of conventional warfare.

But while the Palestinians treat this like a war, they urge the Israelis to do the opposite. Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub rails: “Not security, not the military, not the siege, and no F-16 fighter planes will assure the Israelis security and stability; only a negotiated political settlement will bring peace and security.” In other words, war is a practical plan for the Palestinians, but not for the Israelis.

The immediate goal is to gull Israel into a dishonest Saudi “peace plan” that would give Arafat his own independent state and force Israel to withdraw to its fragile pre-1967 borders, in exchange for an Arab promise to be nice — the same kind of promise Arafat made in 1993. But these calls for a “political solution” also have a broader purpose: to keep Israel committed to the “peace process” — the structure on which Arafat’s war strategy is based.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the alleged hawk, has proven to be a prisoner of the “peace process,” responding to Palestinian attacks with a series of pin-prick retaliatory strikes against mostly empty Palestinian police buildings and political offices. Asked why he won’t do more — why he won’t dismantle the Palestinian Authority and cut off terrorism at its source — Sharon declares that he “will not drag Israel into an all-out war.”

This answer is revealing, because it is obvious that the Palestinians are already at war with Israel. What Sharon really means is that Israel won’t wage war in return. And that is what Arafat is counting on.

Terrorism is a form of warfare waged by the weak. Arafat knows that his Palestinian Authority would not survive for 48 hours in direct conflict with an unrestrained Israeli army. So instead, he wages war through semi-official proxies, through the militias and terrorist networks that he tolerates and supports. But this strategy can only work if Israel agrees not to recognize that this is war. Terrorism can only work against a victim who refuses to fight back.

What kind of country refuses to answer war with war? A country paralyzed by pacifism. For decades, Israel has been bombarded by the dogmas of the “peace movement” — both from the Israeli left and from the acolytes of pacifism in the diplomatic community, especially in Europe. The fundamental dogma of the “peace movement” is that those who initiate a war and those who fight to defend themselves are equally guilty, that they are both responsible for a “cycle of violence” that can only be halted through negotiation and appeasement.

Thus, Arafat’s strategy: unleash a terrorist war; use the “peace process” to keep Israel from fighting back; then terrorize Israel into a “political solution” that gives him more concessions and more territory — which Arafat will use to launch a new war to eliminate Israel altogether.

What makes this war strategy work? Only one thing: the “peace movement.”

The peacenik is the terrorist’s best friend.

Robert Tracinski was a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute from 2000 to 2004. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Mr. Tracinski is editor and publisher of The Intellectual Activist and TIADaily, which offer daily news and analysis from a pro-reason, pro-individualist perspective. To receive a free 30-day trial of the TIA Daily and a FREE pdf issue of the Intellectual Activist please go to TIADaily.com and enter your email address.

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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