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Cycle of Absurdity

Cycle of Absurdity

With the body count of Israeli civilians mounting, it's time to get tough.


Poor Anthony Zinni. Sent to the Middle East with the nearly impossible task of forging a cease-fire, America's envoy barely had time to unpack his suitcase before Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat decided to undermine his mission and launch a wave of terror against Israel.

Since Zinni's arrival last week, more than 30 Israelis have been killed and 300 others wounded by Palestinian terrorists. Buses have blown up in Haifa and near Pardess Hanna, youths in Jerusalem were massacred in a double-suicide bombing, and mortar rounds and gunfire have been directed at Israelis in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

But Zinni remains undeterred. Speaking to reporters the other day, he insisted that he will stay in the area "as long as it takes" to achieve a cease-fire. For his sake, I certainly hope that he brought along some extra Jockey shorts, because chances are there won't be a lull in the violence anytime soon.

Arafat's Fatah faction has set up its own unit of suicide bombers.

After the past week of bloodshed, it should now be clear to even the most ardent defenders of the Palestinian cause that Arafat is not a partner for peace. His Fatah faction of the PLO has begun launching attacks against Israel within the pre-1967 borders, such as the November 27 shooting attack in Afula that killed two Israelis, and has even set up its own unit of suicide bombers. And Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Shaul Mofaz recently told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Arafat had explicitly ordered the Fatah Tanzim to carry out terror attacks against Israelis (The Jerusalem Post, November 28).

If that is not enough to earn the Palestinian Nobel Laureate a cozy little cell with bars on the windows, then it is hard to imagine what more he would have to do. Through his actions, Arafat has demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt where he stands in the battle between good and evil. He has cast his lot with the likes of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, and he should therefore be treated accordingly.


As self-evident as this would appear to be, there are still those incapable of mustering up the moral courage to point the finger of blame squarely at Arafat. Take, for example, the European Union. After the attacks in Jerusalem and Haifa earlier this week, the EU issued a statement condemning the violence and calling on the PA to prevent further attacks. It went on, however, to speak of the need for both sides to work toward "breaking the cycle of violence," as if both Israel and the Palestinians are equally to blame for the events of the past 14 months. By referring to the intifada as a "cycle of violence," rather than a full-fledged Palestinian assault against Israel, the EU is choosing moral equivalence over moral clarity, which effectively provides the Palestinians with political cover to carry out future assaults.

The fact of the matter is that there is no "cycle of violence" in the Middle East. If anything, there is a "cycle of absurdity," one which goes something like this: innocent Israelis are murdered by the PA and its henchmen; the international community feigns concern, expressing its "regret" and "revulsion"; Israel takes limited measures to defend itself; and the international community condemns Israel's "excessive and disproportionate" response.

Israel takes limited measures to defend itself, and the international community condemns the "excessive and disproportionate" response.

The effect of this "cycle" is not only incremental. It is also dangerous. Pressure mounts over time, and Israel ends up refraining from doing what needs to be done to quash Palestinian terror. And therein lies the absurdity -- because while the Palestinians continue to perpetrate senseless violence, Israel's government has thus far failed to stop it.

Since the Palestinians refuse to break this ugly cycle, Israel has no choice but to step up to the plate and shatter it once and for all. The only way to do so is not to hold back from fighting terror, as the Europeans and others have suggested, but to do precisely the opposite -- to thoroughly uproot the terrorist infrastructure and completely dismantle the PA.

Doing so will not only break the "cycle of absurdity" -- it will also save countless Jewish lives. We need to stop worrying so much about how we look, and start worrying a little more about how we live. That, after all, is what the government was elected to do.

December 4, 2001

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Visitor Comments: 5

(5) Dave Schwep`, December 23, 2001 12:00 AM

Amen! (Michael Freud's Middle East article)

"excessive and disproportionate response" ? Perhaps the international community would provide the Palestinians with armament and training comparable to that which Israel has acquired over the years. To believe that the same in the hands of Arafat would be used with equal restaint and respect for human life belies all rational! It has been said if we give the devil an inch he will take a mile.
Give us more people who will boldly proclaim the 'truth' to the farthest corners of the earth!
Thank you and God bless you!

Dave Schwep, Oregon, USA

(4) Anonymous, December 10, 2001 12:00 AM

Nobel Laureate Recall

Michael Freund's piece reminds us that Arafat was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Does the Nobel organization have a mechanism whereby such a citation can be nullified or recalled? Arafat most certainly deserves that distinction!!

(3) DENNIS Bealick, December 9, 2001 12:00 AM

The sole effective response to escalating terrorism

It must be clearly evident to all that the only remaining response to the escalating terrorism is to eradicate it.
It is the response of the USA and the world community must accept that Israel has the same right and obligation.

(2) Anonymous, December 7, 2001 12:00 AM


I fully concur! It's time for Israel to stop the 'cycle of absurdity' and do more than just "take steps", or "try". It's time to succeed. Israel was formed to provide a safe refuge for Jews against pogroms, holocausts, arbitrary murders in the streets and homes. But innocent Jewish schoolchildren and teens are being massacred daily, weekly, as well as babies, mothers, fathers returning home from work. No-one knows where or when the next attack is coming from. Gosh, wonder why more Jews around the world aren't moving to Israel. They can barely get up the nerve to visit with their children never mind live there! The economy is in a mess . Meanwhile it's not as if the government of Israel and the IDF are powerless to put a stop to this nonsense -- they could if they wanted to. The provisions of Oslo provide for Israel to retake the areas if necessary. It's necessary. There's no excuse anymore. America is aghast at the completely immoral and evil society the Arabs have created in the territories they've been allowed to control for the last 8 years, inciting hate in their press their schools their television station their mosques their universities, celebrating murders in their 'art galleries', training their children to become suicide bombers, putting them in front of snipers to throw rocks so the IDF must shoot past them to stop the sniping, paying off the families of suicide bombers, nurturing and harboring bloodthirsty terrorist groups, the evils go on and on and on ad nauseum. They have created one of the most perverted societies I have ever heard of and I have taken many an anthropology course. These people have been moulded by the lunatic Arafat and its effect has been as ugly as Hitler's on Nazi Germany. In fact, Arafat's uncle, the notorious antisemitic Mufti of Jerusalem who raised him from the age of 4, was tried and convicted of collaborating with Hitler. Arafat probably called him 'Uncle Adolf' whenever he came to visit. Arafat is obviously hellbent on ensuring that his uncle's dream of a Jew-free Palestine comes to pass.
There is no excuse for murdering people going about their everyday activities. There is no moral equivalence between that and the "collective inconveniences" the Arabs have been subjected to as a result. It's time to completely uproot the root cause of the terror. Many people are very angry that it has gone on for so many years. And they have a right to be. Good people everywhere are angry. The events of this past week have been the worst of times, but it may also provide the best opportunity to uproot the PLO and all the terrorist organizations it has nurtured and harbored on its dirt.

(1) Rob Mahaffy, December 7, 2001 12:00 AM

Couldn't agree more

Your article put into print what I have been thinking for months. Every time a story came out in the press about the Israelis taking out a senior terrorist leader and how the EU and the US condemned the attack I couldn't help but feel embarrassed. I hope that the Israelis drive the message home that terrorists cannot be allowed to exist, period, and that the rest of the civilized world has the intestinal fortitude to stay that course as well.

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