Well, it happened again. Another suicide bombing in Israel. But by some amazing coincidence, the reports tend to gloss over the truly important points:
- The bombing was a joint venture of Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. AAMB is attached to Fatah, the political party that many argue is the “moderate” side we should be backing.
- Fatah is the new name for the old Palestine Liberation Organization, which assassinated two American diplomats in the 1970’s — and the United States State Department covered up that fact for decades.
- The stated motive was to protest Israeli archeological work near the Al Aqsa Mosque, “the third holiest site in Islam.” What is almost never mentioned are two rather inconvenient facts: A) while Jerusalem is mentioned repeatedly in the Jewish and Christian holy books, it appears NOWHERE in the Koran; and 2) the Al Aqsa Mosque is built on top of the Temple Mount. That was named because it was the site of the First and Second Temples of the Jews, and is the FIRST holiest site to Jews.
- The real motive was to put an end to the rapidly-escalating civil war between Fatah and Hamas. In essence, it was a cry: “hey, let’ stop killing each other and get back to the one thing we both agree on: killing Jews!”
- All the talk about how this could “imperil” the cease-fire is (as Oyster would have me say) a load of codswallop. A cease-fire, by definition, means that BOTH SIDES stop attacking. If one side starts attacking again, that pretty much drives the nail in the cease-fire. Unless, of course, the attacked side is the US, Israel, or another Western power. Then the cease-fire means “you don’t hit me back.”
In all the talks and calls for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, one element has never — to my knowledge — been addressed: the need for the Palestinians to actually demonstrate that they are interested in peace, to take a single substantive step towards peace. The pattern of peace plans in the Middle East has almost always run this course:
1) Parties get together with grandiose plans.
2) Talks go on and on and on for ages.
3) Ambitious, wide-sweeping plan is put forward, with a detailed step-by-step process towards a final settlement, and each side obligated to carry out those steps.
4) Israel makes first step or two.
5) Palestinians hem and haw about taking even the first steps they agreed to.
6) Israel calls on the Palestinians to take their first step.
7) Palestinians dawdle some more.
8) Israel announces that it will take no more steps until the Palestinians take at least one.
9) Palestinians accuse Israel of “threatening the peace process.”
10) Terrorist attacks resume.
11) Go back to step 1, but the concessions Israel made in step 4 are left intact as the new starting point.
The reason this keeps happening is that it is in the best interests of the Palestinians and their supporters to keep it going. The strategy of the Palestinians is clear: a pattern of incrementalism, of getting a little more each cycle without having to make any concessions of their own.
Personally, I was a bit relieved when it looked like Fatah and Hamas might actually erupt in a full-blown civil war. Let them kill each other and their supporters for a change, instead of blowing up buses, bakeries, pizza joints, religious celebrations, and other such high-value military targets. But it looks like they’ll go back to killing Israelis (and, perhaps, Americans again.
But the important thing to remember is that the Peace Process must be preserved. No matter how many dead Israelis we have to pile up.
That appears to be the message being sent, especially by that Champion Of Peace, Jimmy Carter.