PLO TERRORISM AND GRAND STRATEGY
By Prof. Paul Eidelberg
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres wants to continue the policy of negotiating with Arafat despite on-going PLO-Palestinian violence. Prime Minister Sharon rejects this policy, or so he would have us believe. The present writer will argue that negotiating with Arafat is a grave error. To explain, allow me to recall an article I wrote about the PLO back in March 1985, almost four years before Arafat renounced violence in Geneva.
1. Like all terrorist organizations, the PLO uses terror to gain recruits. Terrorist leaders know as well as Hollywood move-makers that violence and bloodshed are alluring to no small number of men. They do not harbor a softheaded view of human nature.
2. To attract recruits the PLO must of course succeed, from time to time, in killing Jews, especially in Israel. Only by murdering Jews can the PLO obtain from Saudi Arabia the financial means with which to buy arms. Only by murdering Jews can Yasir Arafat's PLO obtain diplomatic support from the Moslem world... above all from Egypt, the creator of the PLO and the most steadfast champion of this organization's claim to represent the so-called "Palestinian people."
3. Unlike Western politicians, Moslem leaders think in long as well as in short terms. Jewish children in Israel eventually become Jewish soldiers. Murdering one is eliminating the other. No less a "moderate" than [the late] King Hussein of Jordan urged Moslems to "kill Jews wherever you find them, kill them with your hands, with your nails and teeth."
4. Now let us go a little deeper. Operating under the leadership of Yasir Arafat, another "moderate," the PLO [then ensconced] in Lebanon used schools, Mosques, hospitals, and other civilian structures for storing arms and other military purposes. The object was not only to inhibit Israeli retaliation against terrorist attacks, say on Israel's northern towns and resort areas. To the contrary, Arafat surely knew that such PLO attacks would compel Israel, at some point, to strike at the PLO's civilian sanctuaries with the consequence of killing Lebanese civilians, but of thereby alienating American public opinion and triggering U.S. military sanctions. Viewed in this light, terrorist attacks are instruments of grand strategy, the subject of the next consideration.
5. It was said above that the PLO must engage in terrorism in order to obtain financial and diplomatic support from Arab states. If the PLO were to go [purely] "political" and not merely for the purpose of wresting Judea and Samaria from Israel in preparation for a mortal blow [by Arab states] it would self-destruct; it would be of use to no one. The Islamic world uses the PLO to keep alive American fear of another Middle East war. This fear aligns the United States with Egypt and other Moslem autocracies against Israel's retention of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza [as well as] the Golan Heights. I am referring to the key strategic function of the PLO...
6. Consistent therewith, Islamic autocrats have foisted on the U.S. the fiction that the "Palestinian problem" is the "core" of the Middle East conflict. PLO terrorism serves to dramatize this fiction because nothing gains the media's attention more than violence. The short-term pragmatism of American politicians enables Moslems to pander to one of America's worst instincts: the belief in "quick-fix" solutions... for all problems. And what is the neat solution to the so-called Palestinian problem? Simply Israel's return to her pre-1967 borders. Within those borders, however, are 600,000 [now almost 1.2 million] Moslems. These Moslems are not only related by blood to the mythical Palestinians in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, but they identity with... the PLO. This unpleasant but strategically significant fact is conveniently ignored by sheltered American commentators on the Middle East [to say nothing of Shimon Peres].
7. Consider, now, the impact of repeated terrorist attacks on Israeli morale [and this was written 8? years before Oslo]. Moslem leaders know very well the value Jews place on a single human life... [Hence] one aim of terrorist attacks against the people of Israel is to break down their will and perseverance, their political sobriety and national solidarity. Jewish realism may give way to Jewish wishful thinking: the ... desire for peace may move softhearted and shortsighted politicians to enter into unwise and dangerous agreements. Here PLO terrorism functions as a form of psychological warfare.
8. Terrorism is also used as an instrument of economic warfare. Planting bombs in Jerusalem cannot but diminish tourism, on which Israel's economy to no small extent depends.
9. Finally, reluctant as the free press may be so say it killing Jews is a religious obligation for Moslems so long as Israel remains a sovereign and independent state. Ponder the words of Dr. Abdul Halim Mahmoud, rector of Cairo's al-Ashar University, theologically and politically the most influential university in Islamdom: "Allah commands Moslems to fight the friends of Satan wherever they are to be found. Among the friends of Satanindeed, among the foremost friends of Satan in the present ageare the Jews."
To begin to fathom this venomous hatred of the Jews, let us cite Professor Abd al-Rahman al-Bazzaz of the University of Baghdad: "The existence of Israel nullifies the unity of our civilization which embraces the whole region. Moreover, the existence of Israel is a flagrant challenge to our philosophy of life and a total barrier against the values and aims we aspire in the world."
Not the "Palestinian problem" but the "Jewish Problem" is the core of the Middle East conflict. For Islam there is but one "Final Solution" to this problem, which is why all Moslem states support the PLO Covenant calling for Israel's destruction...
It is hard for men of good will to take implacable hatred seriously, which is why Adolph Hitler was chosen Time's Man of the Year in 1939.
Thus my 1985 article. Only a postscript is necessary. Sharon will either make war with the PLO or succumb to its minister in the cabinet, Shimon Peres.