Friday, June 30, 2006
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 5 Comments
Terrorism is the use of violence to inspire terror. It is not meant to achieve military victories but to inflict terror on a population in order to break their will.
In 1992 terrorism won in Israel when Yitzchak Rabin under heavy international pressure surrendered to Yasir Arafat's PLO and signed agreements that allowed terrorists to set up an armed state within Israel's borders. When that state was set up what followed was a quantum increase in terrorism from its new base. Sensing victory the real war to destroy Israel began.
The myth Labor leaders like Rabin\Peres\Barak sold Israelis was that terrorism could be ended by signing an agreement and meeting some of the terrorist's demands. By the time the 21st century had dawned, that myth was dead. Negotiations with terrorists who used terrorism as a negotiating tactic resulted in only one thing, more terrorism.
The myth Likud leaders like Netanyahu\Sharon\Olmert sold Israelis was that terrorism could be cordoned off by a few limited withdrawals so the problem of the terrorist state created by Labor could be contained. Instead all they achieved was to hand over more territory to the enemy. When terrorists struck they carried out military operations that did not break the back of the enemy but inflicted limited damaged and resulted in international outrage. All this concealed the fact that they had no solution to offer but to retreat behind borders and try to keep the Palestinians at bay with the occasional military strike.
Labor's myth is dead and Likud's myth is dying hard. Disengagement from Gaza was to the Right what Oslo was to the Left. Their great gambit, their attempt to cowardly settle things with the least risk and the least effort. They all failed.
The kidnappings and murders of Israeli soldiers and civilians represents the Palestinian tactical answer to Olmert's Disengagement. Israel can build walls but the Palestinians will tunnel under them. Israel can withdraw its soldiers from Gaza and the Palestinians will kidnap them there leaving Israel the choice between watching its soldiers beheaded on television or launching military operations and returnings its soldiers back into Gaza. Once again the Palestinians have checkmated Israel.
Olmert's response has been to send in large numbers of troops as a show of force, to arrest top Hamas officials and then wait for negotiations. The problem with employing a show of force when it's a bluff is that the enemy has to credibly believe you're prepeared to carry out acts of force. After over a decade of retreats and surrenders, half-hearted military operations and concessions; bombing a power plant, a bridge and a lot of empty areas convinces no one that Israel is prepeared to go in and devastate Hamas. Israel is demonstrating what it can do, which is futile when the Palestinians know Israel won't do it.
For the last decades, under Labor and Likud, Israel's shows of force have been nothing more than attempts to cover their retreats. The Palestinians know it. Everyone knows it. All the Palestinians need to do is absorb some light casualties, wait for the international press to publish their photos of Palestinian children walking past the rubble and the diplomatic and international outcry to ensue and then collect their winnings at the negotiating table.
For the better part of the last century Jews in Israel have been fighting for their survival. For the last decade we've been losing. The path to victory does not lie in creating new ghettos behind tall walls or in trusting to our allies in Washington D.C. or in the Churches of the Christian Religious Right to save us, the usual tactics of Jews in Galut; but in ending a decade of retreats and fighting the war that has been declared on us until hostilities on the enemy side cease.
There is a story about a road that looks short but is actually long and a road that looks long but is actually short. In the hopes of finding a shortcut to the problem of Arab Terrorism, Israel has taken the long way around and arrived at the same destination as they would have by the short route, much weakened and battered, and facing the same choice. War or anhiliation. There is no other choice, there never was. Wars against an instatiable enemy are not ended by hiding or retreating, but in victory or ultimate defeat.