Friday, January 11, 2002


The last month has seen a flurry of diplomatic activity centered around getting the peace process "back on track," with all of the big-wigs issuing statements and making speeches, and everybody else reading volumes into every sentence, word, and punctuation mark. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres is running from place to place like a chicken with his head cut off, still rambling on about the Oslo accords as if there hasn't been a war going on for the last year. The Europeans are pressuring Israel to give up on the Mitchell Report, published as part of a previous cease fire agreement at the beginning of the war, in which Arafat agrees to turn off the Intifadah for seven days and in exchange Israel agrees to a plethora of obligations which were never agreed to during negotiations, such as cease ! all settlement building, throw open the borders of Israel to Arab workers, transfer funds to the Palestinian Authority, et cetera et cetera. Europe now wants Israel to give up on the seven days of quiet, which basically means that Israel fulfills all of its obligations and Arafat does nothing. To this suggestion, Sharon said, "No," so Xavier Solana, the European Union representative undiplomatically called him "stupid." Sharon knows very well that the Arabs are wholly incapable of restraining themselves for a single day, let alone seven, which is why he agreed to the report in the first place. Bush, for the first time, said the two words which make every pro-Israel news addict cringe, "Palestinian State," saying that he hopes to see one some day. Sharon de! cided to jump on the bandwagon too and said he wants a Palestinian State, and then Colin Powell gave a speech a few days ago on middle east policy in which he also said he wants a Palestinian state, and now everybody is squawking, "Palestinian State" like a flock of parrots.

The fact of the matter is that none of this diplomacy makes any difference whatsoever. If Israel withdraws from any land, the war will just move that much closer in. If Israel stops building settlements, the Intifadah will not stop, nor will it if the borders are opened, or even if Israel withdrew all the way to Tel Aviv behind thousand foot high stone walls and dug a moat around it filled with vicious man-eating alligators. This is no longer about 38% of "historical Palestine," 42% of "the occupied territories," the June 4th 1967 border, the return of the refugees, area A, area B, area C, or anything else. An entire civilization is e! xperiencing a massive temper tantrum. It's Jihad now, and the rest of the world had best figure that out.

The first whispers started way back during Clinton's first term. The previous Jihad, the Gulf War, was behind us and everybody was supposed to be friends now. The peace process was "on track," the Commies were out, and New World Order was in. Then began the cycle of Iraq of kicking out weapons inspectors, the US bombing Iraq, and Iraq letting weapons inspectors in. After the cycle had repeated itself a few times, Clinton just seemed to get sick of it and gave up on weapons inspectors. The first victory. Then came the bombings. Prior to the Israeli Prime Ministerial elections, a series of horrible bus bombings killed scores of Israelis, in the first major outbreak since the first Intifadah. Hamas was saying, "Don't forget about me, I'm still here and I can still hurt you." Another victory. The constant state of corruption and brutality in Arafat's regime slowly raised the heat from tepid to simmering. Everybody forgot about Iraq, and now Saddam is back and looking pretty good; no sanctions, no inspectors. By the time Arafat got to Camp David II, it was far too late. He knew it, Israelis on the street knew it, but Clinton and Barak had no idea. Sharon went up ! to the Temple Mount, Har Habayit, and that was the match.

And now, the tiger is out of the cage. The Jihad is on! Ishmael is back on his feet and dusting himself off. All this time, you thought Ishmael wanted to talk to you over buttered scones and tea about the problems of the Arab world, education, the economy, healthcare? All this time, Ishmael was licking his wounds, he was mending his armor, and sharpening his sword. And now, he's standing, blood pumping, adrenaline rushing, lightning reflexes, ready to fight. And just when he's ready for the next round, what happens? From the clouds, as if from heaven itself, two steel birds come flying in to destroy the infidel's greatest city! Ishmael is off his knees. He's not talking to al-Yahoud, those Jews, any more, he's not listening to the big chief of the west in the great white house, George Bush son of George Bush. The street is alive with violent electricity. One who stands against the Jihad is standing against g-d himself, and will be swept away like a feather before a hurricane.

Bin Laden, Saddam, and Arafat all have one thing in common: they love the Jihad, each in their own way.

Bin Laden is the snake. He hides in his borough for months at a time. Silent, motionless, unseen. He strikes without warning, a tiny animal with the power to kill an elephant. Saddam is the hawk. He flies high above from a commanding position of power. He sees everyone and everyone sees him. He has an entire country, and has millions to sacrifice for his cause. He wants to glide on the eddies, to ride the wave of rage as high as it will take him.
And what is Arafat? Arafat is the piranha. He's in a feeding frenzy, right in the trenches with the rest of the Piranhas. Arafat is in his element. He is reliving the days of Black September, when, after attempting to murder King Hussein of Jordan and take his throne, Hussein sent his armies in to wipe out the PLO and anybody suspected of being associated with them. He is in Beirut in '82, with the whole world watching him as the Israelis surround and shell him in his bunker. ! He is in Gaza, with the rest of his cutthroat piranhas getting snuffed one by one, this one by an Israeli missile, that one by one of the other piranhas. He'll land on his feet. He has to. He always does. Anything else would be unbefitting of the legend which he sees in himself.

Negotiating with a Jihad does about as much good as reasoning with an oncoming locomotive. No, there will be no deal, no cease fire. Bin Laden will not be turned over, Saddam will not resubmit himself, Arafat will not turn back. Another generation of Arabs has been flushed into the sewers by its own heroes.

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