Thomas Sowell
Now that Israel has responded to rocket attacks and the abduction of its soldiers by terrorists by making military strikes into areas controlled by those terrorists, much of our media are deploring another "cycle of violence" in the Middle East.

For reasons unknown, some people seem to regard verbal equivalence as moral equivalence -- and the latter as some kind of badge of broadmindedness, if not intellectual superiority.

Therefore, when Palestinian terrorists ("militants" in politically correct Newspeak) attack Israel and then Israel responds with military force, that is just another "cycle of violence" in the Middle East to some people.

The "cycle" notion suggests that each side is just responding to what the other side does. But just what had Israel done to set off these latest terrorist acts? It voluntarily pulled out of Gaza, after evacuating its own settlers, and left the land to the Palestinian authorities.

Terrorists then used the newly acquired land to launch rockets into Israel and then seized an Israeli soldier. Other terrorists in Lebanon followed suit. The great mantra of the past, "trading land for peace," is now thoroughly discredited, or should be.

But facts mean nothing to people who are determined to find equivalence, whether today in the Middle East or yesterday in the Cold War.

Since all things are the same, except for the differences, and different except for the similarities, nothing is easier than to create verbal parallels and moral equivalence, though some people seem to pride themselves on their ability to do such verbal tricks.

Centuries ago, Thomas Hobbes said that words are wise men's counters but that they are the money of fools.

Regardless of fashionable rhetoric, there is no Middle East "peace process" any more than trading "land for peace" has been a viable option. Nor is a Palestinian "homeland" a key to peace.

During all the years when Arab countries controlled the land now proposed for a Palestinian homeland, there was no talk about any such homeland. Only after Israel took control of that territory as a result of the 1967 war was it suddenly sacred as a Palestinian homeland.

There is no concession that will bring lasting peace to the Middle East because the terrorists and their supporters are not going to be satisfied by concessions. The only thing that will satisfy them is the destruction of Israel.

Pending that, they will inflict as much destruction and bloodshed on the Israelis as they can get away with at any given time. This brutal reality is not going to vanish through verbal sleight of hand.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate