May 18, 2002
THERE NO HOPE FOR A PALESTINIAN STATE?
think of Israel, I think of the Hebrew law, ''an eye for an eye.''
21:23-25 reads, ''If there is serious injury, you are to take life for
life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn
for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.''
so-called ''law of retaliation'' was meant to limit the punishment to
fit the crime. Sadly, that is not what Israel has practiced in its
response to the terror of suicide bombers.
Passover massacre was not a single incident. There had been seven
bombings on the seven days of Passover, and 40 over recent months,
killing 300 civilians and more than 100 soldiers. Those suicide bombers
were not copycat crimes.
Arab leaders deliberately cultivated an atmosphere which glorified
suicide bombers as ''martyrs.'' Saddam Hussein gave $10,000 to each
family of a martyr, a vast sum in a society where the unemployment is 50
percent. He later raised it to $25,000.
boys and girls were recruited and given belts of explosives necessary
for the act of terrorism. That took planning by terrorist leaders with
military training - an infrastructure of terrorism that was run by
Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and, the evidence suggests, by Arafat himself.
were terrified. They feared going into public areas and no longer sat at
outdoor cafes. The world's tourists stayed away. Thousands of jobs were
Certainly, a response by Israel was justified. But was it an eye for an
justifiable part of Israel's response was to destroy the bomb factories
and go after the terrorists who ran them.
there have been 1,400 Palestinian deaths more than triple the number of
Jews who were killed. A shot from a sniper's rifle sparked a fusillade
from a tank's cannon or helicopter gunships made in the United States.
Armored bulldozers and tanks destroyed huge swaths of Palestinian homes
and stores in Jenin, and downtown Ramalla, Hebron, Nablus.
government of Israel was elected to end the peace process and to end the
Palestinian Authority,'' charges Jim Zogby, President of the Arab
attitude was there `should be no compromise with evil.'. The Sharon
strategy involved placing conditions that he knew could not be met, such
as seven days of absolute calm. He knew the Mitchell Plan would never
get implemented. If there was calm for several days, he would
assassinate two Palestinians, which he knew would strike a response,''
was accompanied by a continued propaganda to incite Palestinians, such
as creating an identity between Arafat and evil or corruption. He was
blamed for everything, even for things out of his control. The
government would bomb police barracks and prisons which radicalized the
the entire Palestinian Authority was decimated. If governmental
buildings were not destroyed, they were ransacked. Birth certificates,
school records and medical records were destroyed. Water and sewage
facilities and electric power generators were demolished.
there's been massive looting. This week's Newsweek reports, ''Reservists
vandalized dozens of cars belonging to PA officials...puncturing tires,
smashing windows, scratching the bodywork with rifle butts and barrels.
Others ransacked the upstairs office of Arafat's police and carted away
thousands of toys intended for Palestinian children.'' Stores were
looted by an out-of-control Israeli Army.
of international aid donors estimated that the Israeli attacks caused
$361 million in physical damage, not counting loss of income. ''This is
not an eye for an eye, but a whole community, a whole village for an
eye,'' asserts Zogby.
Sharon's aim? To annex as much as half of the land on the West Bank,
reports the London Sunday Telegraph, with quotes from the Israeli
Cabinet. No, the goal is bigger.
Sunday the Likud Party of Sharon voted to reaffirm its opposition to
creating a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza. Sharon has long
said Judea and Samaria are part of Israel. And he's built Jewish
settlements across the entire area where 200,000 Jews now live,
staking a claim to the land.
credit, President Bush still says he wants to create a separate
suggest he divert some of the $3 billion aid we give Israel annually and
rebuild what Israel destroyed. That would earn respect and appreciation
by Palestinians, who now view America as the enemy.
also reassure the Muslim world that the U.S. is committed to both sides.
Reconstruction would make peace possible.
better than "an eye for an eye."
Copyright 2002 Michael J. McManus.