Professor of International Law,
Department of Political Science, Purdue University
While Israelis and Palestinians blame each other for recent terror-violence against Jews, another major actor in the ongoing bloodshed of Oslo has been forgotten. I refer to Bill Clinton. The President of the United States, personally, bears much of the responsibility for this latest rash of anti-Israel terrorism. Although his persistent and misguided prodding of Israel to surrender its security to sworn enemies is certainly spawned by good intentions, the President's overwhelming lack of real insight will bring little comfort to those murdered Jewish children who now sleep in the dust. What is even more distressing, only minutes after the latest Tel Aviv atrocity, Mr. Clinton was on television from Helsinki, once again reaffirming his now ritualized commitment to a misnamed and repeatedly discredited "Peace Process."
Let us be honest! The President of the United States does not even begin to understand the complexities of Middle Eastern survival and the interrelated Islamic commitments to Jihad or holy War. Captivated by cliches, he does not begin to recognize that his marked unwillingness to probe these matters with seriousness has lethal consequences: It kills flesh and blood human beings. When Israeli rabbis scrape Jewish flesh and blood from sidewalks and buildings in Tel-Aviv in conformity with religious law, it is flesh and blood lost in part because of this president's stubbornly unimaginative commitment to banality.
As a result of President Clinton's nearsighted partnership with Israel's previous Labor Government, a government that actually asked permission for Israel to join the Arab League (the request was denied), the Jewish State is now in a lose-lose situation. Should it continue with the so-called Peace Process, President Clinton's idea of correct response to terror, further territorial surrenders will remove all strategic depth from Israel and prepare the path for the final Islamic slaughter of Israelis. Should it back away from the process of incremental dismemberment, PLO/Hamas terrorism will escalate according to plan, possibly even to chemical, biological or nuclear forms. Today, as our overly optimistic president fails to understand, the Final Solution of the Jewish Question remains an overriding goal of many millions of people. All that has really changed since 1945 is the venue.
Has the President of the United States ever taken the trouble to actually read the PLO Covenant or the Hamas Charter? The first continues to call openly for the annihilation of the Zionist entity. The second requires Muslims, in confronting Jews (it is always Jews, not Israelis) to "assault and kill; assault and kill; assault and kill."
The Netanyahu Government, like its predecessors, will soon declare "total war" on Hamas. The American President, strikingly naive in all such military matters, will applaud loudly. Yet, Netanyahu and Clinton will still display a fatal unawareness of Hamas/PLO coordination and of unalterable Hamas objectives. Above all, Hamas - linked inextricably to the Palestine Authority - seeks total war; passionately, enthusiastically, immutably. It is for this group an unswerving Islamic expectation. This is precisely the reason that these Islamic forces periodically and willfully - and with Arafat's clear approval - "upset" the Peace Process. Ultimately, it is only through total war with the Jews, they maintain, that true Muslims can deal religiously with the "Zionist cancer."
For Hamas, any sort of peace with Israel must always be a poison threatening the very life-blood of Islam. As for territorial compromise over "Palestine," this is altogether out of the question. Because a Muslim land in the heart of dar al-Islam, the abode of Islam, can be ruled properly only by a Muslim authority, Israel's alleged "usurpation" of any presumed Arab land must be met with holy war. Mohammed, it is reported daily by Hamas, had stated: "The hour of salvation will not come until you fight against the Jews; and the stone would say, `O Muslim, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.'" Israel, President Clinton does not understand, is approached as a "cancer" not because of its particular policies, but because it is a Jewish state. Short of ceasing to exist, there is nothing, absolutely nothing that Israel can do to satisfy its Islamic enemies.
Ceasing to exist? This is already a plausible prospect for Israel, one helped along enormously by a
cliche-ridden and intellectually ineffectual President of the United States. Israelis must now
understand that for Mr. Clinton the shooting and burning of scores of Jews eight thousand miles
from Washington is little more than an eight-minute inconvenience. While there is no doubt that
the President finds such carnage loathsome and inexcusable, there is also little doubt that he will
continue naively on the present disastrous course. Surely Mr. Clinton, thinking about the Jewish
victims, will predictably "feel their pain," but the land of Israel would be a far better place if he
first learned to think seriously about the Middle East.
LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and lectures/publishes widely in
this country, Europe and Israel on Israeli security matters. His many books deal with matters of
terrorism, nuclear strategy and nuclear war. Professor Beres's work is well-known to Prime
Contact Professor Beres by E-MAIL: BERES@POLSCI.PURDUE.EDU