JERUSALEM, Israel - For the past generation, Israel has found itself engaged in post-modern warfare. Whereas Arab armies have proved themselves in five wars to be no match for the Israeli Defense Force on the battlefield, since Israeli forces withdrew from most of Lebanon twenty years ago, enemies of the Jewish state have found that the most effective means of fighting it is on the post-modern battlefield.
The most conspicuous component of the post-modern battlefield is terrorism. Terrorist foot soldiers of the post-modern army sow fear and revulsion in the heart of the target population in order to induce a sense of helplessness. In the face of photographs of the charred remains of babies being pulled from bombed-out cafes and buses, the mighty Israeli army suddenly seems small and impotent.
While terrorism is the outward face of the post-modern aggressor, social psychology is perhaps his greatest weapon. If the target population can be manipulated to view itself as the aggressor, if it can be brought to view its position as untenable, then it will sue for peace and surrender. So it was that Kadoura Fares, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and one of the heads of Fatah who signed far left-wing Israeli politician Yossi Beilin's capitulationist Geneva Accords in October 2003, said in an interview with the pan-Arab London-based newspaper Al-Hayat that month that the Palestinian aim in signing the accords was to "foment a piercing public and political debate in Israel."
While Hamas has placed its emphasis mainly on the terrorist aspect of the post-modern battlefield, the PLO has placed an equal emphasis on the psychological component of the war. In fact, it could be said in retrospect that the greatest single victory the PLO has scored in its 46-year-old war with Israel was the publication of a single report in 1997. That report, "Demographic Indicators of the Palestinian Territory, 1997-2015," is based on a census carried out by the PA's Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) in 1997. It projects that the Arab population west of the Jordan River will by 2015 outnumber the Jewish population.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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