by Austin Bay
April 3, 2002
Follow the money -- in this case $15,000.
That's the blood money Iraqi operatives shuttle to the familiesof Palestinian suicide bombers, the martyrs who strap on canvas belts packedwith TNT. These mercenary martyrs -- with this economic plum in the picture,in a very real sense they are mercenary killers -- serve as "smart bombs;human bio-weapons in the anti-restaurant and counter-cafe offensive waged byPalestine against Israel.
Other sources say a martyr's family can receive as much as$25,000, with "Islamist charities" joining Saddam (ironically, the world'sleading murderer of Muslims) in financing the bloody pot. Of course, some ofthe cash must filter through the fingers of the Palestinian Authority.Israelis claim to have found a counterfeiting press in Ramallah -- one forfaking shekels, not dollars. Shekels, however, are the local hard currency.One wonders if a few martyr families have been slipped plug nickels inexchange for a kamikaze child.
Sound cynical? The vicious shenanigans behind the slaughter areexponentially cynical. Yes, the Israeli settlements policy (emplaced by ArikSharon) is very wrong. Yes, Palestinian kids are desperate and despairing --but that terrible condition infects so many of Earth's hard corners. TheWest Bank is paradise compared to south Sudan, where Christian Dinka aresavaged and enslaved by Khartoum's Islamist militias. However, they don'tbecome human bombs.
The cafe bombings are calculated, promoted homicide --Fatah-directed Hamas- cide. Palestinian militant masterminds aren'tstrapping bombs to their waists. They are, however, directing a "Lebanonstrategy," mimicking the grating war in south Lebanon waged byIranian-backed Hezbollah. Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon convinced a cropof Islamist-inspired tacticians that Israelis lacked the spine for a "terrorwar of attrition" that crimped lifestyles and economic productivity. Thesuicide campaign intends to erode Israeli will with kamikaze strikes oncappuccino bars. The message is: You'll never be safe, anywhere.
At this point, one must follow the myths. The offensive'sultimate goal isn't Israeli withdrawal to 1967 borders, but Israeliexpulsion from the region. Islamists say it took two centuries to pushChristian Crusaders from Palestine. These Jewish Crusaders will also go.
The support infrastructure for this offensive extends throughoutthe region. Saddam uses the Palestinian conflict to buy time to developnukes and delay or deter U.S. action against his regime. Iranian mullahs useHezbollah as an "agent of influence" (i.e., threat) throughout the MiddleEast. The Palestinians are pawns in their scheme.
Al Qaeda and Islamo-fascist organizations understand theIsraeli-Palestinian conflict is THE point to pressure Washington and perhapsderail the War on Terror. In the hothouse minds of Osama bin Laden and hisboys, all Muslims are martyrs to their dream of global Islamic rule.
Israel's counter-strategy is unfolding. TV records the bluntinstrument of battalion- sized pincer operations isolating Palestinianstreets. Israelis then go house by house to arrest or kill known (orsuspected) terrorists. Welcome to attrition.
After the Netanya Passover slaughter, no Israeli militaryresponse can be completely ruled out. Strikes against Hezbollah in Lebanonare possible, with sustained operations in the Bekaa. Syrian weakness willonce again be exposed.
Following the 1972 Munich massacre of Israeli Olympians, Mossadassassins struck globally. This dirty war will accelerate. Iranian mullahswon't be safe in Tehran coffee shops. "Attrition" will occur in Europeancafes, perhaps on American and Asian streets.
The War Process, with its bare-knuckle and barren brutality,will grind on until ... what? If heavily punished (or in Iraq's case,eliminated), state sponsors of terror will curtail support.
But the basic issue of Israeli and Palestinian co-existence --and one hopes, co- development -- remains. Pragmatists still see U.N.Resolution 242 as a cornerstone. If the Israelis withdraw to pre-1967 warborders (with a few adjustments), the Palestinians would recognize theresults of the 1948 war.
Rejectionists, however, now direct events. Radical Zionists drawmaps based on their reading of Genesis. Israeli pragmatists, as the warproceeds, must prepare to build a new peace. That means dismantling thesettlements -- those bunkered Idahos of hard-right zealots. As difficult asit may be in current circumstances, it means formulating a "Money Process,"offering Palestinian pragmatists a long-range economic development plan, analternative to the promoters of foolish self-destruction.