In an interview last Friday with Ma'ariv, former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Ya'alon expressed his view that the ongoing debate in Israel regarding the solution to the conflict with the Palestinians is an exercise in futility. As he put it, "We argue over what the solution is, but we still haven't agreed on what the problem is."
On the face of it, Ya'alon's statement beggars belief. It doesn't take a genius to understand what Israel's problem is. All a person has to do is take a look at Palestinian "educational" television, where Mickey Mouse exhorts kindergarteners to become mass murderers, destroy Israel, and bring about Islamic world domination, to know that Palestinian society seeks Israel's destruction and Islamic global supremacy.
And the Palestinians are not alone. The Arab and Muslim world supports their goals. The Syrian government threatens war with Israel everyday. Hizbullah and Iran issue daily calls for Israel's annihilation. Egypt and Saudi Arabia are the central clearinghouses for genocidal anti-Semitism, replete with Holocaust denial and Nazi-propaganda characterizing Jews as subhuman filth who the Muslim world must unite to snuff out.
Opposing all this is the State of Israel and its citizens. Since we are not interested in being annihilated and don't like it when people insult us, it should be fairly clear that Israel must be strong in order to defend itself and to prevent our enemies from acquiring the ability to carry out their evil designs.
But as Ya'alon points out, for the past 15 years, this obvious predicament has rarely been mentioned. It certainly has not informed the policies of Israel's governments.
So it would seem that if we wish to solve our problems, the first question that must be addressed is, why are we ignoring reality? Over the past week, three events exposed the causes of this national flight of fancy. First, last week, B'Tselem and Hamoked published a joint report entitled, "Utterly Forbidden: The Torture And Ill-Treatment Of Palestinian Detainees."
The report purports to detail 73 testimonies of Palestinian prisoners claiming to have been tortured by IDF soldiers and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) agents.
The report was extensively and dispassionately covered by the Israeli media. The fact of its publication was the first item on Israel Radio's hourly news updates for several hours running. The impression given by the coverage was that there was no reason to doubt the veracity of the report's findings.
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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