by Boris Shusteff
He was elected to defeat terror. Nothing else was expected from him. Everybody knew that he was not an economic guru, but the economy was not the issue. The country was bleeding, and the people chose him to stop the suicide attacks, well known for his toughness and military genius.
Almost two years later and several thousand more Jews killed, maimed and wounded he has miserably failed at the only job he was given to perform. By the time he called for new elections the country was not only bleeding - it was reeling from terror. The atrocities inflicted on the Jews by the Arabs during his leg of the "peace process" have exceeded anything that Israel had seen since the day of her creation. Suicide bombings have become the norm, shooting of children in their cribs and beds has become a routine event, and drive-by shootings have become so widespread that if only a single person is murdered the press does not bother to talk about it, apparently treating it as a minor nuisance.
During the 20 years between 1967 and 1987, the number of terror victims in Israel was 305 people. The Six Day War toll on the Jews constituted 759 killed and almost 3,000 wounded. Sharon's short tenure has seen over 620 killed and more than 3,500 wounded. These numbers speak for themselves. It is the worst performance by any Israeli prime minister since the creation of the state. Sharon's impotence in defending the Jews is so obvious that it is impossible to understand how in the world he still wants to keep his job.
His defenders say that one of his biggest accomplishments is his excellent relationship with the American president. They argue that Sharon has achieved a huge success, which allows the Israeli army to operate in Judea, Samaria and partly in Gaza without the world community even speaking up. They say that he made Arafat persona non grata in the White House. All this is true, but none of these achievements decrease the number of murdered Jews; on the contrary, the red trickles of Jewish blood have become gushing rivers. Therefore, these achievements are false, and aren't worth a penny, because Jews are maimed and killed daily along the road to them.
Now, one may ask: What is so good about this "excellent relationship" with Bush? Is it the American Administration's "road map," which proposes an Israel shrunk to the Auschwitz borders, with half of Jerusalem - the half that is sacred to the Jews - brutally severed from the Jews? Or maybe it is permission to sit in sealed rooms, wearing gas masks, with hands tied in order to avoid responding to possible attacks by Saddam Hussein? Or, perhaps, it is Bush's declarations about his vision of a Palestinian Arab state on primordial Jewish lands?
Israel already possessed all of these goodies in 1967. Only at that time, nobody even mentioned anything about creating another Arab state, and no Iraqi rockets were aimed at Israel. It also makes sense to recall that the mood of the Israeli Jews was slightly better than today. Then, after a miraculous victory, the Jews believed that they were destined to live forever in this Holy Land. Today they do not even know if they can survive until tomorrow.
Certainly the deterioration of the situation in the last ten to fifteen years is not completely Sharon's fault. But this in no way absolves him from the responsibility for the butchery of the Jews that has taken place during his tenure. People called on him to save them. He has failed and does not have the courage to admit it.
All the arguments in Sharon's defense are well known. One might say that he cannot act because the international community will not allow him to reply with full force, and that world public opinion will not tolerate the death of numerous "innocent Palestinian civilians" during an Israeli response. On the other hand, perhaps one could ask what is so innocent about them? Perhaps it is the fact that they have not yet taken the opportunity to put on a belt with explosives and walk into a kindergarten?
The vast majority of them are eager to murder Jews and support suicide bombings everywhere where Jews live. The father of the Arab who murdered eleven people, four of them children, in a Jerusalem bus explosion on November 21, was very proud of his son's deeds. He said: "I thanked God when I heard that my son had died in an operation for the sake of God." And added: "We are all one people fighting against the common enemy - the Jews." Talking to an Associated Press correspondent he and the mother of the killer said that they have 4 boys and 9 girls and that "they could only hope for such martyrdom for all their children."
At the same time, why all this fuss about the international community? Does its silence during the Holocaust give it the right today to help spill more Jewish blood by protecting the "innocent Arabs?" The fury of anti-Semitism in Europe is not a sufficient reason to complement it with the non-stop murder of Israeli Jews. Let any of Israel's critics first endure proportionally the same number of casualties that Israel has suffered, before claiming any moral right to condemn Israel. Could anyone imagine a situation with 6,740 murdered Britons, or 6,741 murdered Frenchmen, or 9,388 Germans, or 16,351 Russians, or 31,342 Americans? These numbers correspond to 680 Israeli Jews murdered by the Arabs since September 29, 2000, when Arafat started his war against Israel. Even 680 murdered citizens in any of these countries would draw a response far exceeding any present Israeli action, which these countries so vocally denounce.
The ongoing Arab war against Israel, in terms of the September 11th attack on America, is proportionally equivalent to ELEVEN such attacks. This means that during the last two years, every 71 days Israel experiences a 9/11-scale disaster! The huge United States of America, the world's only superpower is still recovering from just one such tragedy. How can the hypocritical world demand from Israel that she spare her enemies, who repeat these devastating attacks every two months?
Sharon was called by the Jews to DEFEAT the enemy. But he has been conducting a very strange war. It is the first war in history, in which the superior side is afraid to use its weapons even to one tenth of their full potential. His main goal has become to spare the enemy at the price of the lives of his own people, to care more about the interests of others than about the interests of his own country, to listen more to the world's public opinion than to the cries of the Jews.
Sharon was destined for failure from the very beginning, because he did not strive toward victory. His was a war of attrition. He wanted the enemy to give up, rather than to be destroyed. Because otherwise there would be nobody with whom to conduct "peace talks." His blunder was in believing that it is possible to eliminate terror by destroying the terrorists, while leaving intact the fertile ground of hatred against the Jews. The latest terrorist attack in Jerusalem has proven once more the futility of such an approach. The 23-year old Arab who committed the massacre was previously unknown to Israeli intelligence sources. He was groomed into his role within the few months that Israel left Bethlehem unsupervised, after withdrawing from there under international pressure.
Instead of drying out the swamp, Sharon is pursuing individual mosquitoes. He has failed to understand that the longer the swamp exists the more mosquitoes will grow there. The longer the Arabs sit on primordial Jewish land the more reluctant they will be to abandon it. The longer Israel drags her feet, and abstains from sending the Arabs packing back to Arab lands, the more blood will be spilled.
Israel has failed to understand that she must deal with the Arabs exactly as they would have dealt with Israel if they were in her shoes. The Arabs construe any other type of response as proof of Israel's weakness. And in the current situation the Arabs would have expelled the Jews if they had the military potential that the Jews have today.
It is worthless to apply universal principles of morality to the war between the Arabs and the Jews. No common denominator exists in this struggle, because the Arabs want to defeat the Jews and the Jews want to achieve peace. In these circumstances, even after oceans of Jewish and Arab blood have been spilled and the Jews temporarily prevail in achieving peace, the Arab desire for revenge will never subside. They will still try for victory and at the first appropriate moment will rekindle the war again. The whole history of Arab-Jewish relations proves this without the shadow of a doubt.
Only a complete and unequivocal Israeli victory can guarantee peace to the Jews. And this victory can be achieved ONLY THROUGH THE REMOVAL OF THE ARABS from western Eretz Yisrael. The Arabs must live through this defeat. They must understand that this defeat is irreversible. They must realize that their settlement in the Jewish land, that started in earnest not more than one hundred and fifty years ago, is over. They must understand that, the Jews, as the eternal owners of this land, have finally exercised their God-given right and settled the land forever.
Sharon is not ready for this Jewish vision. He has become a politician. He can desperately strive for a peace that the Arabs will not give him. He is not ready for a complete victory.
Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.