Suicide as a Weapon 10-2003

Avraham Burg, Rabbi Edward Schecter and Suicide as a Weapon


October 2003


My views are that Israel has attempted, from day one to survive as a good neighbor. Basically since 1948 this attitude has been fruitless. Historically, if in 1947 the Arabs would have accepted the partition, Israeli territory would have been only a fraction of what it was after the 1948 War of Independence. The Arabs have never wanted an independent democratic Jewish state. They have always feared western modernism and representative government. Their social order cannot process that post World War II western reality. In a sense a democratic society and elections would probably result in more examples of the Iranian model, which they fear greatly. Since their type of governments can never provide for their people the institutions and reforms that must exist before democracy takes root, reform is impossible. Their societies are doomed to over-population, political crises and an unending struggle between the capitalistic oligarchs and the religious fanatics who offer theological rationalization. Without the free institutions of speech, education, the press, and the ballot, along with the rights of minorities and women, democracy will never take flourish no less exist. Arab/Muslim society can never coexist with our western institutions. To believe that their position, regarding Israel, has or will mature is one of serendipitous folly. In the nine years of so since the Oslo Accords, they armed themselves to the teeth with as much small ordinance that they could smuggle into the West Bank. They are now using that ordinance to sustain the Intifada. In a sense the suicide bombers of Hamas are not unlike the kamikazi aircraft and banzai charges of the of the Japanese military. It was the Japanese hope that at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, cheap suicidal strikes on our fleet would make the price for victory too expensive. In a sense the atomic bomb was a result of the kamikazi attacks. We understood that if we could suffer so incredibly on Okinawa, what would be the result of an attack on the home islands? The answer was a bit simpler in the summer of 1945. We faced the possibility of politically unacceptable losses versus the need to conquer Japan without pre-conditions. But, there is no doubt that their suicidal weapons sent a strong statement to our leaders. Remember in the last month of the war, the United States was losing over 1000 men killed per day in the Pacific. Therefore the option of the atomic bomb became more of a reality.


Israel has had to deal with a PLO leadership that has looted billions of dollars that could have been used for the building of stable and durable infrastructure. This infrastructure could have been the foundation for peace and coexistence with Israel as a neighbor. But peace is what they do not want. They want victory! They believe that they have found the soft under belly of their enemy, and they are recruiting endless numbers of children and young people for their suicidal strategic effort. There have been over 18,000 attempts at disrupting the sanctity and stability of normal life in Israel by the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, and their fellow travelers. If one believes that negotiation with this current Arab leadership, that smells victory through Israeli divisiveness, can work, then one must believe in the “bigger fool” theory. The Arab/Muslim leadership only respects strength and more strength. Japan and Germany had been involved in limited and then total war for many, many years. Japan had invaded Manchuria in 1931 and continued to fight next in China in 1937, and with us, and the European colonialists since December 7, 1941. Germany had begun its preparation for war in Spain in 1937 and with its invasion of Poland in 1939, had been fighting for almost six years. With their total defeats their population faced and accepted capitulation and change rather than a draconian peace. They were tired of war, exhausted with their dictator's bankrupt philosophies and ready for a new day and a new direction! A change in the old social order was worth the price to end the suffering.


The Arab/Muslim leadership has never understood that lesson. They are not forced to understand. Their abused and victimized populations know no better choice. The West, because of its dependency on Middle East oil has tolerated this “bad neighborhood” and its backwardness too long. If we continue to appease the Arab/Muslim “mindset” conditions will worsen. They will feel strengthened by our appeasement, and they will continue to follow their set direction of overpopulation, hatred of anything western, religious fanaticism and “scape-goatism.”


Therefore in conclusion, if Israel dismantles it settlements, withdraws unilaterally from the West Bank, and seeks terms with the Arafat government, certain realities will happen immediately. Arab refugee camps will eventually pour into the West Bank, and with these refugees an unlimited flow of arms will follow. The Arafat government will demand the “right of return” for these refugees, the partition of Jerusalem, a land bridge between the West Bank and Gaza and probably reparations for their 50+ years of exile. The West Bank will become an armed belligerent state confronting Israel. Israel will refuse those demands and a continued round of Fedeyeen incursions will ensue; in the same way they did from 1947 until 1956. The Arab world will support the demands of the West Bank Arabs and the cycle will continue, but Israel's strategic position will be fatally compromised. Without a real nation or army to fight, Israel's tactical advantages in equipment and technology will be compromised. They again will be forced to make unpopular, costly and debilitating incursions into the West Bank to counter a better-armed and more determined foe. Therefore the answer is to make the price for the Intifada and its activities to high for the West Bank Arabs to pay. The United States did not tolerate Pancho Villa's raid into Texas in 1914 and sent General Pershing into Mexico with an army to harass and hunt him down. Israel will only retain the respect of the discerning world by strength, self-determination and consistency of purpose. That purpose is to survive freely and independently.

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