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Peace, or Nothing Like It
2003-06-15 15:20:22


Cackles of the Mad Reverend
 
"Pussyfoot" is a really weird word, if you think about it too long.
-- Mr. Bad

 

My teeth nearly fell out a few weeks ago when I heard Ariel Sharon say that he was going to begin dismantling illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories as a means of getting the Peace Process back on track. Reciprocal promises by Mahmoud Abbas to crack down on factional terror strikes seemed almost as breathtaking. Could this be the moment I so longed for since the fatal blow to a nearly-realized dream three years ago? Would the bloodshed stop and period of reconstructive optimism commence? Oh, come on-this is Israel! Of course it couldn't be that easy!

Never mind that Hamas has tried to squelch every peace deal in the last decade by engaging in a relentless murder spree. Whether it was the number 19 bus line in Tel Aviv or a multi-cultural café in Haifa, Hamas bombs have slaughtered or maimed more people than Ikea packs in on a holiday weekend. Whenever negotiations were at a critical phase or a new milestone reached, Hamas could be counted on to show their distress through abject murder. No wonder Arafat had no problem selling them out to the CIA and Mossad four years ago. They deserved it. The retarded mentality that brings on frivolous and anachronistic reactionary revenge has no place in evolving culture. Particularly where wounds are so deep and furious.

Exactly why Sharon continues to play directly into Hamas' little game is God's own private mystery. Sharon's hardly a dummy, but much like a ravenous dog before a freshly cut stead, he cannot help but shred the meat because that's what he's trained himself to do. No thinking is involved. Like his Hamas counterparts, only revenge is important. This has been demonstrated again and again over the last few years vis-à-vis Sharon's habit of summarily executing Hamas radicals with missiles and heavy machine guns. One such attack missed the target but killed the target's entire family instead. Another such attack left sixteen innocent children dead when a missile slammed into an apartment building. By martyring every Hamas operative he can, Sharon only dumps more gasoline on a wildfire.

Which is why I was taken completely aback by Sharon professing to be a convert on the Way of the Dove. This implied that he could show restraint in the face of trial. He was turning the other cheek, and embracing the fortitude of that turn. And yet what happens at his first test? He flunks the big one, then pulls off yet another stunning blunder right behind it. By responding to a suicide bombing with a missile attack on a carload of Hamas commanders, then repeating this moronic barbarity, Sharon has shown that he hasn't learned a goddamn thing. War dog that he'll be to his own grave, he cannot stay his hand. He hasn't even given Abbas the chance to bring in any Hamas radicals (or maybe Abbas just didn't move with the lightning speed of a rocket). Instead, he's gone back to the ancient salt-the-earth ways. This isn't peace. In fact, pretending to embrace peace through clearly contrary actions insults the intelligence of the global community.

Obviously, in order to achieve any lasting stay in the Israel slaughter game, Hamas must be either neutralized or ignored. By showing indifference to their despicable actions, Sharon and Abbas and Bush could make suicide and other bombings moot. Where's the martyrdom if no one cares? Better yet, all three sides could once again work together in rounding up the most radically violent and virulent of Hamas and putting them in prison. Prisoners enjoy no martyrdom at all, and are free to engage Allah all day long. And if Hamas devotees have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the greener pastures of peaceful co-existence, then so be it. Who will buy their rant when the blood stops flowing and stabilizing investment returns to the West Bank and Gaza? When a new national pride flows through the veins of beleaguered Palestinians, and Martin Luther King's dream spreads laterally to little Jewish and Muslim boys and girls playing soccer on the street together? No one. But getting there will require restraint and tact in action. The only question that remains is whether Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas have what it takes to walk the most difficult and fruitful road.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

eatme@pigdog.org


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