- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2006

“All people, Jews or gentiles, who dare not defend themselves when they know they are in the right, who submit to punishment not because of what they have done but because of who they are, are already dead by their own decision; and whether or not they survive physically depends on chance. If circumstances are not favorable, they end up in gas chambers.”

Bruno Bettelheim, “Freud’s Vienna and Other Essays”

Like the Greek poet Homer, Bruno Bettelheim understands that the force that does not kill can turn human beings into stone — into things — while they are still alive. Merely hanging ominously over the head of the vulnerable creature, it can choose to kill at any moment, poised lasciviously to destroy breath in what it has graciously allowed, if only for a few more moments, to breathe, this force mocks the fragile life it intends to consume. The pitiable human being who stands helplessly before this force has already become a corpse.

Israel, this pitiable human being in macrocosm, is now in a final process of becoming this “thing.” Called upon repeatedly by our “civilized” world to negotiate with unrepentant terrorists, every prime minister from Yitzhak Rabin to Ariel Sharon has agreed to assorted policies of national defeat. Current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s idea for Middle East peace is simply more of the same. Fortified by an incontestable history of prime ministerial failure, his ironic plan is to arm Fatah against Hamas and to proceed with a new round of existential territorial concessions. Inevitably, of course, Israel will continue to disappear in shameless increments of auto-desecration now named “realignment.”

Years ago, in an initial burst of strategic ingenuity, Israel decided to arm Hamas and its various Islamist fundamentalist antecedents against Fatah. Now, the leadership in Jerusalem calculates that an adversarial reversal is in order. In both cases, this leadership has missed the essential and rather obvious point: Both Hamas and Fatah are equally and fully committed to Israel’s complete annihilation. Neither can ever serve Israel’s security interests.

It might seem, however, that the Arab world would at least be grateful to Mr. Olmert for being complicit in Israel’s eradication. Surely, the Arab world must be immensely pleased that no words from the current prime minister now curse Fatah’s unceasing support of genocide against Jewish Israel. Surely, in appreciation, they must be prepared to offer some significant quid pro quo.

But the Arab world does not willingly play the gentleman. It is, in this respect, a markedly honest world. Even today, even while Mr. Olmert slavishly follows the “roadmap” peace plan, the official Palestinian Authority map of “Palestine” remains undisguised. On this revealing piece of genocidal cartography, Palestine includes all of Israel. There aren’t two states on Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas’ maps — only one.

One might expect that Israel, after all the horror it has suffered at the hands of Arab terrorists, would betray itself no longer. When Priam enters the tent of Achilles, stops, clasps Achilles’ knees and kisses his hands, he has already reduced himself to a hapless and unworthy victim — one to be disposed of without ceremony and in very short order. Realizing this, a gracious Achilles takes the old man’s arm, pushing him away. As long as he is clasping Achilles’ knees, Priam is an inert object. Only by lifting him up off his knees can Achilles restore him to a position of self-respect and to a living manhood.

Here Israel and Priam part company. Israel’s frenzied foes, twisted by jihad, will never act in the manner of Achilles. Their aim is not the high-minded revitalization of a respected enemy, but rather the literal liquidation of an inert object.

Israel has come to accept a deformed image of itself that was spawned not in Jerusalem or Hebron, but in Cairo, London, Damascus, Paris, Baghdad, Washington, Tehran, Hamburg, Jericho and Gaza. Degraded and debased, this is the view not of a strong and righteous people determined to remain alive in their own land but of a conspicuous corpse-in-waiting. Large majorities of courageous Israelis have certainly fought bitterly against such an intolerable view — against the hapless visions of disengagements and realignments — but this defiling image is still in force.

The moral confusion of many Jewish “intellectuals” fuels Israel’s open enemies. Writing several years ago about Israel’s Oslo agreements, precursor of the road map, Israeli novelist Aharon Megged observed, “We have witnessed a phenomenon which probably has no parallel in history; an emotional and moral identification by the majority of Israel’s intelligentsia with people openly committed to our annihilation.”

This unique identification has taken poisonous root in a ceaseless succession of inept Israeli governments. Unless it is finally ended with Ehud Olmert, this prime minister will bring a final end to Israel.

Louis Rene Beres is professor of political science and international law at Purdue University and the author of many books on Israeli security issues.

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