And now to conclude with our original question, What must be done for peace?
As of this writing all signs, in the U.S. and especially in the U.N., point towards increasing pressure on Israel in the future. This is only likely to prolong the hostility and to increase the violence.
The Israeli incursion into Palestinian cities ("Operation Defensive Shield") has without doubt disrupted many planned terrorist bombings. Had Israel heeded the pressure to withdraw prematurely, more Israeli civilians would have died and Israel would still have had to take the same measures, perhaps even stronger ones.
Forcing Israel to cease or to limit its efforts to defend itself will only prolong the struggle. And in any case, Israel is not likely to heed the pressure once events reach the point where Israel feels its very survival is at stake. It is basic physics: increasing the pressure on a system with no means of release creates an explosive situation. Faced with a choice between death and world disapproval, Israel will surely continue to choose the latter. Nevertheless, Israeli defensive measures will have to cease once there is no longer any need for them.
And so cold logic alone leads inevitably to this conclusion: if the world honestly wants an end to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, it must stand up and with one voice unequivocally condemn terrorism in all its forms. Terrorism is the indiscriminate murder and maiming of civilians to achieve political ends. If the Palestinians continue to send their own children to blow themselves up, taking as many Israelis as they can with them, while still receiving the sympathy of the world, then this conflict will never end. The world must utterly reject terrorism, and especially the tactic of suicide bombing. Otherwise this form of terrorism will surely spread, as it already has to America on September 11, 2001. There can be no social sanction for suicide bombing. If the world really wants to help the Palestinians, it will condemn all Palestinian terrorist tactics.
How will this help the Palestinians? They could have gotten their own state long ago had they not shown a preference for violence. Israel can resist Palestinian violence. But Israel would have real difficulty resisting Palestinian nonviolence, if such a thing could be imagined. Had the Palestinians adopted a strategy of nonviolent resistance, they would have won for themselves a state way before now. They would have removed Israel's main objection to a Palestinian state, which is concern for its own security. Not only would the opinion of the world but also basic Jewish values prohibit Israel from responding to nonviolence with violence. What a tragedy that such values are not shared by Islam, or at least not the Islam that most Palestinians seem to profess.
But the Palestinians have already shown what they would do with their own state. They would fortify it with weapons and bomb factories to become one huge guided missile aimed at the heart of Israel, ready to execute the next phase of their "plan of phases."
The Palestinians' tactics simply do not make sense - unless their intention all along was never to coexist with Israel as two separate states but to destroy Israel and claim it for themselves. The evidence presented in this report should help readers form their own conclusions.
A world that hypocritically persists in condemning Israel in the face of overwhelming gratuitous Palestinian violence will help ensure that the conflict never ends. The Palestinians have turned down the peace table and have chosen bombs instead. No one can reasonably expect Israel to sit back and allow the systematic murder of its people. A world that condemns Israel for defending itself gives support and comfort to terrorism, and makes certain that terrorism will never cease.
Unfortunately for them and for everyone, the Palestinians have rejected nonviolence. And it seems that most of the world supports them. How long could the violence continue if the Palestinian terrorists were as marginalized by world opinion as Israel is now? But the Palestinians are drawing deep encouragement to continue their terrorism from a world that looks the other way. In the meantime Israel will not bargain away its own survival. One hardly needs to be a prophet to see that unless something drastically changes, we are on the road to Armageddon.
May 2, 2002 / (rev. November 2003)
Peace with Realism