Three Dead, War to Go
By A.D. Freudenheim

2 July 2001

No sooner had I written and posted my column last night, then I heard the news this morning that a well-armed Israeli helicopter - taking advantage of what surely must have seemed like an opportunity - assassinated three Islamic militants traveling in their car in the West Bank. In roughly the same time span, Israel "responded" to Hizbollah attacks near the Israel-Lebanon border, and engaged in fighting with Palestinians and militias in and around the occupied territories.

Yesterday I wrote that I consider Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's statements and political maneuvers on the subject of peace, and his call for a period of total calm, to be baldly cynical. The opportunities for disgruntled parties on both the Israeli and the Palestinian side to disrupt such a calm - and thereby scuttle further peace talks yet again - are so broad and diverse as to make Sharon's demands laughable (were they not so sad).

What is not laughable is the combination of the Israeli policy that promotes political assassinations - a totally unacceptable policy under any set of religious laws or moral codes, and certainly not condoned by Jewish law - and the inherent pessimism of the current Israeli leadership, which includes (but clearly stretches beyond) Ariel Sharon. It is one thing for Sharon to have made outrageous demands on his Palestinian adversaries in the hopes of maneuvering the situation to a compromise more to Israel's liking; let us give Sharon credit and acknowledge that perhaps this was his intention, despite the obvious pitfalls I mentioned yesterday. It is quite another thing for Sharon to make such demands in an environment where he, and the country and army he represents, refuse to even attempt to play by the same set of rules they wish to impose on others. Sharon, on Israel's behalf, cannot talk of peace while making war, and expect to be applauded for both.

I cannot condone, in any way, Palestinian acts of terrorism. The bombings masterminded and claimed by the Islamic Jihad movement, meant as a forceful reply to the Israeli assassinations, are cowardly and unproductive, just as Israelis claim. Yet in continuing its policy of political assassinations, and its cynical and blatantly dishonest efforts at establishing peace, Ariel Sharon and his Israel have only reduced themselves to the same revolting moral level as the terrorists they fear. Contrary to Sharon's beliefs, this is not an exhibition of strength, it is a display of tremendous weakness. This road leads to war.

Copyright 2001, by A.D. Freudenheim. May not be used in whole or part without written permission. However, you may link to this page as desired! Contact A. D. Freudenheim for further information.
This page is part of: The Truth As I See It.