Middle East: Mistakes were made
Name two of the most accurate weapons delivery systems: (1) A fuel-laden, wide-bodied jet aircraft and (2) A Palestinian teenager wearing a belt packed with explosives.
The first was used to destroy the World Trade Center and to attack the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The second weapons system has been Yasser Arafat’s weapon of choice every since he and his Arab-state co-sponsors of terrorism decided to wage a War of Attrition against Israel.
Both weapons systems can be, if not totally defeated, almost nullified. The airliner can be defeated by strict controls imposed on access to airliners. Unfortunately, that entails a great deal of personal inconvenience on the part of passengers, airline employees, and yes, the folks who must do better a job of screening of everyone who goes near an airliner.
The suicide bomber can be defeated by invading and destroying the places where the bombs are made and by strict access controls to keep these human bomb movers from going into places where they can kill and maim innocent civilians. The Israeli government is currently engaged in doing that. When the known bomb factories and the known terrorists have been killed or captured, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) will leave the so-called “occupied” territories. Not before.
Meanwhile, President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon must continue to play out their “good cop,” “bad cop” routine. As Bush and Powell urge restraint on both sides and withdrawal by the IDF, Sharon continues to do what he must do if Israeli is to survive Arafat’s War of Attrition.
This observer (and former history professor) is still waiting for someone to cite an instance of a true and lasting peace that was not preceded by a decisive victory by one of the warring parties.
Note well that not one of the Arab terrorist-sponsoring states thinks that the Palestinian people are so imperiled by the IDF’s police action that they are threatening to send troops to evict the IDF from the West Bank or Gaza. Israel’s Arab neighbors: Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt and even the major monetary backers of terrorism against Israel: Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia know full well that the IDF is eliminating only the actual terrorists and trying, as best it can in a guerilla war, to leave innocent Palestinians untouched.
If this were not so, we would be seeing a repeat of the Arab invasions of 1948, 1967 and 1973.
When the United Nations created the State of Israel in 1948, it made the huge mistake of creating a country with crazy-shaped borders that made Israel’s terrain militarily indefensible. When the Arab nations invaded Israel in 1967, they made the equally huge mistake of giving Israeli a bona fide excuse to reconfigure its geography so it has somewhat military defensible borders.
But when Israel occupied the “new” 1967 borders that included the West Bank and Gaza, the Israelis made the terrible mistake of not occupying the West Bank and Gaza in the same manner that the United States and its Allies occupied Germany and Japan at the end of World War II. The Allies re-indoctrinated the Germans and the Japanese to the point that anti-Nazism became almost a religion in Germany and to the point that the Japanese still refuse to raise and fund military forces commensurate with the post-war economic might of Japan.
Regrettably, the Israelis hoped the Arab brothers of the Palestinians would receive those who wanted to emigrate to Arab nations and/or would provide the same kind of economic aid that the Allies provided to the defeated peoples of Germany and Japan. Neither happened. Many believe that the Arabs withheld held Palestinian aid on purpose.
Meanwhile, the Israelis made the desert bloom and created all kinds of high-paying, high-tech industries. Today, the Israelis are paying a price for not being the Good Samaritans that we were to the Germans and Japanese.
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and former professor of history at Nebraska Wesleyan University, is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy by William Penn – a novel about terrorism in the Colorado high country. See: www.thegrandconspiracy.com
©2002. William Hamilton.