Night of June 20/21: The Terror's Balance Sheet

This “Editor’s Word” has been ready in my mind for two weeks. When I began preparing it, the terror against Israeli citizens was back at the January-February levels, more or less. Meanwhile, it has climbed back to the Passover eve level, just before the invasion. And lo and behold, as if on an automatic reflex, another invasion is rolling along. Why not repeat such a glorious success?

Since the start of this Intifada, we are told that “we must not let them gain from terror”, “them” being the Palestinians, of course. So let us slowly and carefully, see who gains and who loses from the terror attacks perpetrated by Palestinian groups against Israeli civilians.

Losers:

·         The Israeli People: Needless to add anything.

·         The Palestinian People: I hope that in spite of the massive silencing, you can still see how bad the Palestinian situation has become – they are starved, imprisoned, humiliated, hopeless – and how closely this deterioration is correlated with our government and army’s acts of revenge following terror attacks.

·         The Israeli Peace Camp: The hard core of the camp, who remained active all along, has forecasted the terror waves and warned against them – is not deterred and continues the struggle. But the “softer” left, still locked in the tradition of stammering and aplogies, becomes neutralized whenever a wave of terror hits. But now to the main loser –

·         The Palestinian Authority and the Legitimate Palestinian Leadership: They find themselves between the hammer and the anvil, between the terrorists who win the street’s support, and the Israeli regime who punishes them for each attack and destroys their international legitimacy. Actually, there is hardly any functioning civil or official leadership in Palestine now.

Is there anyone who Gains from this horror?

·         The Terror Organizations: With food comes appetite, with fame comes glory, and mainly – they succeed in undermining the more moderate leadership and dictating the nature of the conflict. But our side has gainers too! Who are they?

·         The IDF Staff: Sounds illogical. But let's look at facts on the ground: as the terror intensifies, the public sticks to the "military options" and rejects the idea of negotiations. The entire budget is diverted to the unattainable security. Any “Operation” that the generals could only dream of previously, is approved and carried out right away. The army can easily continue its lavish invasions, invasions that only cause more terror, and here it goes again! More terror, more invasions, more budgets, more power. More later.

·         The Israeli Government, its Prime Minister and his Allies in the Far Right: In a unique Israeli paradox, the more blatant Sharon’s failure in bringing “peace and security” he promised so confidently a year and a half ago, the stronger the support he receives for his policies. Our public blames the entire world, but not the body that rules the territory between the sea and the Jordan River: its own government. This body is thus left alone to continue inching towards Sharon’s “Great Plan”.

Please tell me, what's going on here? The bodies that are supposed to protect us from terror actually gain from it? How can this be? Is it just a coincidence?

This is no conspiracy theory. Things are clear, simple, and open for all to see.

One doesn’t need to be an extreme leftist, or a leftist at all, in order to understand that the best chance, perhaps the only chance to reduce terror in the near, medium and far future, is to withdraw the army to pre-Intifada lines, to evacuate isolated settlements, and to start negotiating with a commitment – a commitment to us, the suffering public – not to stop talking until there is an agreement, and not to go back to arms. So why is this not happening? “Because of the Terror”.

But why does Terror go on and on and on? What is the role of our Government and Army in this story? Are they just hapless victims of “Arafat the Terrible”?

Since the start of this Intifada, since Barak’s days, the IDF has turned its full destructive power against the Palestinian Authority. Reminder: the Palestinian Authority is the only body in the world who succeeded to effectively stop suicide terror  - especially from the end of 1998 to summer 2000. But we kept pounding and pounding and pounding them, like a master beating an unruly slave. Until there was almost no one from whom we could demand cooperation.

An even more important aspect of the government and IDF staff strategy is torturing the Palestinian civilian population. Whoever of you who have not seen in their own eyes, and do not bother to read and follow this hidden reality – would not believe what is done there in their name. Killing, strangulation, vandalism, humiliation and starvation have become a policy. If this policy continues, we shall soon find out how many months of malnutrition are needed to see little children running around with swollen bellies (I swear, this is not an exaggeration!). The Palestinians who experience this torture and see the world’s indifference, do not know whether to laugh or cry when this same world wags a finger at them and preaches against terror. “The life of Civilians are sacred? What about the life of Palestinian Civilians? They are worth nothing.”  The major factor contributing to the popularity of terrorists, the major factor sending more and more volunteers to the terror organizations – is the ongoing torment of Palestinian civilians by the IDF and its masters, and the world’s silence about this torment. If all this is news to you, take my tip and start at the new testimonies page we are compiling on this site, and go from there to the linked sites. This is but the tip – of the tip – of the iceberg.


Moreover, you've got to be blind not to notice that each time there's any chance of returning to the negotiation table, Sharon takes care to produce some provocation - an assassination, a raid, a set of cruel measures against the population. At the bottom line, these provocations never fail.

 

In short, rather than "A War Against Terror", the policies of Sharon and Mofaz constitute a major factor contributing to the intensification of terror. But why? Why is our government doing this to us? First of all, why not? You are letting them. Above all, it is because of the Israeli public. The relationship between government and the public are like those between supplier and customer. A dim-witted customer who doesn’t demand the service and accountability he deserves – will continue paying and paying for nothing.

But of course there are vital interests at play. Back to the army: what is every general’s nightmare – be it an Israeli, American or Mongol general? Peace. A real peace, a complete quiet along all fronts. Then, the army is diminished, service is shortened, and whoever arrives, becomes a spoiled and lazy soldier. An army’s staff always strives to have at least one live “scene of operations”. Something to train to, to act in, towards which one can work up the soldiers’ motivation. Now that the Lebanese scene is quiet, retaining the Palestinian scene “hot” has become an existential necessity for our generals. Just to make it clear once again: I'm not talking about conspiracy here, but about narrow-mindedness and short-sightedness.

And what about our Prime Minister? What good does the terror do for him? Sharon is a completely different story. Terror is the fuel driving Sharon’s Plan – the Plan to Enslave the Palestinians Forever, and perhaps even to expel them if and when opportunity knocks. For those who have forgotten the Lebanon War: Ariel Sharon really doesn't give a damn how much blood will be spilled along the way.

Ladies and Gentlemen, do not let Them gain from Terror - Them being our Government and our Generals. Stand up for your right to live here peacefully, to send your children to school, to go shopping with your kids, to take your kids on a trip. Do not continue to be the butchered meat in Their bloody games - the childish games of the Generals, and the infinitely cruel games of Ariel Sharon.

Hoping to see you in better days, please please help bring them,

assaf