terrorism, genocide and palestinianism

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    Terrorism, Genocide and Palestinianism
    Stuart E. Hersh
    14 March 2003

    The Shabbat terrorist infiltration of the Kiryat Arba community near Hebron, which occurred only a few yards away from my apartment, was the worst of several attacks on Kiryat Arba. The Palestinian terrorists, disguised as Jewish yeshiva students, were able to penetrate deep into the community. They struck first at the Nir Yeshiva, then came within 50 yards of my apartment, choosing a closer apartment and killing a husband and wife as they were enjoying their Shabbat meal. The injured were all students at the yeshiva, which, like the 1929 Hebron massacre, was the first target. Despite the excellent security measures in Kiryat Arba, the violence will continue. No "Roadmap" or U.S. intervention will alter that reality.

    This recent terrorist attack gave pause to reflect upon some of the emails received over the past few years. Some people have written to me asking why we are living in a "foxhole" on the front lines. The only logical answer that came to mind is that it is not safe anywhere in Israel - as this past week has shown. Since we have an IDF base and two police stations, as well as a fully equipped emergency treatment clinic staffed by professionals, we are probably the most secure West Bank Jewish community outside Efrat.

    The reality is, however, that this is where we make our stand. Terrorism cannot be regarded as a spontaneous or impulsive action. Nor is its justification acceptable, regardless of the expression formulated to describe the action. "Resistance" and "martyrdom" are no more valid than Nazi Germany´s "Lebensraum" or Imperial Japan´s "co-prosperity sphere". Much of the core problem lies beneath the surface.

    We are fighting a war against a people who believe that violence is the legitimate and only means of diplomacy, reflected in the "Bible" of Palestinian Nationalism - Article 9 of the PLO Covenant - and who view diplomacy-terrorism as a means to pressure Israel to capitulate. I am convinced that the Arab attitude is genocidal with regard to the Jews in general, and the citizens of Israel in particular. It has nothing to do with a small sliver of territory under Israel´s control since 1967. The idea that Jews live anywhere in Israel is an anathema to the Arab mind and the legitimacy of Israel´s existence is rejected on principle alone.

    Terrorist organizations such as Hamas, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), to name a few, merely serve as the means of institutionalizing ideology, equipping, planning and financing the terrorism. The intrinsic Arab attitude has already been made fertile for these ideologies to nurture and grow. It is a fundamental principle of Arab identity - Israel is illegitimate, Israel must cease to exist, Israel exists because Jews live there. For Israel to be liquidated the Jewish body politic must die. This is the central tenet and logic of the institutionalized attitude, not a strategy.

    "Roadmaps", removing Arafat from power, vice-presidents and democratic reform are Western concepts that are useless in the Middle East. In the mind of an Arab whose attitude is as ethnocentric as his 17th century predecessors, Western concepts are to be rejected. The intrinsic principle of Arabism is that the existence of Israel and its Jewish population constitute an obstacle to the maximal achievement of Arab and Palestinian character and regional homogeneity. Thus, the Arab and Palestinian nationalist objective is the destruction of Israel, which, dialectically, necessitates the liquidation of its population.

    That said, Arab and Palestinian nationalisms contain, as a pillar of their existence, an inherent and intrinsic genocidal element. In short, what the late former head of Israeli Intelligence Yehoshafat Harkabi referred to as "politicide" appears to be a justification for genocide. Arab and Palestinian nationalism is a product of an evolution that began before Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, before the late President of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser, and before Hajj Amin al-Husseini, former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who openly collaborated with Hitler during WWII.

    The Arabs and Palestinians have passed on this politicidal-genocidal ideology from generation to generation. This ideology has become institutionalized as the nucleus of Arab and Palestinian national identities. It has become the ideology that justifies Arab and Palestinian viewpoints and actions. This attitude is what must be radically altered if there is to be any peace in the region.

    The current plans on the international table are simply cosmetic changes that will not alter the violent reality. They are the brainchild of a world that believes that Western orientation is the only logical means to resolve conflicts. This, despite the fact that the Arab-Moslem mind has long ago rejected such orientation.

    What should be unequivocally clear is that this politicidal-genocidal attitude will not change, and with each generation it becomes more institutionalized in ideology and tactically more radical. Without a radical alteration of the Arab attitude, the achievement of peace and an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict is simply an illusion.
    Stuart E. Hersh is a journalist and Palestinian affairs analyst living in Kiryat Arba, Israel.
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