Over the past 18 months, Americans have been bombarded with images comparing rock-throwing young Arabs with the Israelite David who confronted Goliath in biblical days. Images of kaffiyeh-bedecked youths hurling rocks and boulders at Israeli soldiers have occupied network television news footage and newspaper telephotos.
On the surface, their actions seem parallel to the ancient David’s. Both threw rocks.
But David did not hijack wagons. And David did not murder children. And David did not endanger bystanders. He specificly attacked Goliath, who had challenged the Israelites to send a representative against him in a one-on-one battle to the death.
The bus that traveled on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway last week did not carry among its passengers any Goliaths, nor did the Achille Lauro cruise ship. They carried civilians whose crime was that they were Jewish. And despite Israeli politicians’ fierce warnings that “Jewish blood is not cheap,” these murderers have successfully established a different thesis.
The intifada, or Arab uprising, is not limited to a struggle over sovereignty in the West Bank regions of Judea and Samaria. Nor has it ever been so territorially circumscribed. The intifada is aimed just as surely at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. It is aimed at Haifaand the Galilee. It is aimed at removing the Jewish state from a region otherwise in the exclusive orbit of Islam.
No minority has found peace or security under Arab Islamic patronage. Not the Berbers of Algeria and not the Kurds of Iraq and not the Coptic Christians of Egypt. Even intra-Islamic doctrinal differences become cause for bloodshed: Alawites and Sunnis face off in Syria; Iraqi Sunnis wage war for a decade against Iranian Shiites; several Lebanese sects intent on destroying one another are destroying the very country each seeks to dominate.
The Israelis know what majorities in the Arab Islamic world have done to each other and how minorities fare when the dust settles. And the Israelis know that their Jewish ethnicity and religion leaves them as the ultimate sitting ducks should they ever let down their guard for even a moment. They know that if the Syrians can massacre 40,000 of their own countrymen, as happened when the city of Hama was razed in 1982, the fate awaiting the Jewish state will not be even that merciful.
That is why the Israelis appear to be hard-liners, why they hestitate to succumb to the well-meant advice of friends like the U.S. secretary of state who never lost a relative to terrorism and whose nation has allies on all its borders.
The Arab terrorist who murdered 14 bus passengers on a day’s innocent journey to Jerusalem undoubtedly sought to send a message to all Israelis. He succeeded, but the message he sent may not have been the one intended.
Israel has again faced its enemy, eyeball-to-eyeball, and has seen that there are no short roads to peace. Camp David concessions of territory and military bases and oil fields have not brought peace. The 1985 Pandora’s Box decision to release 1,150 convicted Arab terrorists has not brought peace; indeed, many in Israel have come to acknowledge that the seeds of the intifada were sown on the day those convicts were set loose. Proposals to allow elections among Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza have not brought peace. Each Israeli concession has instead sent a renewed signal that, given enough pressure, Israel might cave in altogether.
There is only one course of action left: Israel should annex the West Bank regions of Judea and Samaria, in a firm and clear affirmation that the Jews are there to stay. The government should disband the military occupation and offer every Arab in Judea andSamaria a choice: Stay in your homes and live with us in peace, or go to the Palestinian homeland east of the Jordan River and express your self-determination there.
The country of Jordan, after all, embraces 78% of Palestine. The majority of its citizens are Palestinians. And no one ever did elect King Hussein. Jordan is ripe for self-determination.