Thursday, March 03, 2005

Tech Central Station - Lee Harris on Why Palestinian Terror Is Different

TCS: Tech Central Station - The Peculiar Institution: Understanding Why Palestinian Terror Is Different: "Those who have no sympathy for the Israelis must still have a healthy respect for what they might be capable of doing when they suddenly find themselves in the same desperate situation that their ancestors found themselves in on mount Masada nearly two thousand year before. Those who think that the Israelis would go down without a catastrophic parting shot at the Arab world -- and perhaps Europe as well -- are simply being naive. Hate the Israelis as much as you wish; you must still take a realistic measure of their awesome capacity to inflict damage on anyone who assumes that they could be removed from their land without one final apocalyptic death spasm; and this single fact renders the Palestinian use of the Algerian model utterly ridiculous. Metropolitan France had a breaking point, and the Algerians revolutionaries were able to push them to this point. But the Israelis cannot afford to have a breaking point; and if they did, the achievement of this breaking point by the Palestinians would not result in the evacuation of Israel, but in the destruction of the Palestinians themselves, and perhaps millions in the Arab world as well.


There is a psychological barrier here that is of profound significance. The Algerian terrorists looked upon terror frankly as a tool. Their strategy dictated that there had to be terror bombings, but the terrorists themselves were not interested in slaughter for the sake of slaughter, so that when the French agreed to pull out, those who had been terrorists turned to something else.

But what do the Palestinians suicide bombers turn into when they stop being terrorists? Into cinders. Those who practice this kind of terror do not see it as a bloody and ghastly instrument that they hope one day to set aside, and in this respect they differ profoundly from both the terrorists who helped to found an independent Algeria and the terrorists who helped to establish the state of Israel."

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