The war that never ends

Posted: Aug 14, 2003 12:00 AM

Why let a little thing like an unprovoked attack by Hezbollah terrorists who fired shells into northern Israel from southern Lebanon in violation of a previous "peace agreement" (a 16-year-old Israeli boy was killed and five others wounded, including an infant) stall the road map to perdition, uh, peace?

The scenario is more predictable than a summer television rerun. Terrorists launch attacks against Israelis and are condemned, sometimes by their own leaders (wink, wink). Israel responds with an attack in an effort to root out the terrorists and stop further violence. The United States and others condemn the Israeli counterattack with far more vehemence than accorded the terrorists' attacks. American officials pressure Israel not to respond "disproportionately" (whatever that means) and pledge renewed efforts to make peace in the region. This means Israel must "do more" to satisfy the insatiable appetite of her enemies, who see the land already given up as merely an appetizer and the rest of Israel as the main course.

Two days after the incident in northern Israel and on the same day as two new homicide bombings struck at a shopping plaza in Rosh Haayin, near Tel Aviv, and at a bus stop in the West Bank, killing two Israelis, Secretary of State Colin Powell said, "we will not be stopped by bombs." Why let a little thing like war get in the way of peace? While the United States would not negotiate with those responsible for terror attacks on our soil, it has no problem forcing Israel into new and dangerous concessions with those who attack its soil.

Hezbollah's Al Manar TV reported that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for the Rosh Haayin bombing, even naming the bomber, Khamis Ghazi Jarwan. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade is under the direct authority of Yasser Arafat, whose "prime minister" (Mahmoud Abbas) has been adopted by the Bush administration as the savior of the "peace process."

In his address to a group of Arab and Israeli students gathered in Maine at a "Seeds of Peace" camp, Colin Powell lapsed into a familiar view of humankind: "It is important that you get to know more about each other ... (to) get a better understanding of the concerns, the anxieties, the anguish, the fears, the hopes, the dreams that other young people such as you have regardless of what language you speak or what country you come from or (what) religion you hold."

This one sentence exposes the central flaw in Western thinking that our enemies skillfully exploit. It isn't "regardless" of religion. It is because of religion that the battle continues with only occasional letup to allow the killers to rearm. Three weeks at summer camp will not deter a people whose faith is in a God many of their religious leaders believe wants a shotgun marriage between mosque and state. Many of them are taught that the heavenly kingdom and the earthly one are linked and that it is their job to eliminate "infidels" who don't see as they do. No one who understands the substance behind this battle and the unchanging objectives of those who fight it could possibly believe that such a religious vision will be modified by "infidel" diplomats.

While American leaders mouth platitudes, Palestinian TV broadcast a music video (two days prior to the latest homicide bombings) that reinforced the doctrine that heavenly rewards await all who die for Allah. The video begins with scenes depicting a romance cut short when Israeli soldiers shoot the woman in the back. She immediately goes to heaven, where she joins other young women dressed in identical long white gowns - the "Maidens of Paradise." The maidens are dancing in water, a clear depiction of the afterlife in Islamic tradition. Later in the video, the man attempts to visit the woman's grave and soldiers also shoot him in the back. He is transported to heaven where he is reunited with the woman. See it for yourself at

Who among the believers would trade this promise for three weeks of summer camp and a speech by Colin Powell? That's why the war continues, not because of land, but because of the promise of paradise. What political doctrine can compete with that?