Israel Report

August 2002         

The Palestinian Revolution's Vision of Darkness

By Avi Davis August 6, 2002
It should have been no surprise to anyone that among the victims in Sunday's bus bombing in the Galilee were Arabs. The Galilee's population is 52% Arab and it is inevitable that any attack on a bus in that region would have an impact on that population. So too the destruction in Hebrew University's cafeteria last Wednesday. A university that proudly boasts a population 15% Arab should statistically have expected to find Arabs among the dead. It certainly shouldn't have surprised most Israelis who can now finally appreciate the true nature of the terrorist campaign they are facing: any Israeli institution, including the ones that service or care for Arabs, is a potential target. This would seem to include hospitals, day care centers, fire stations and welfare organizations. It goes a long way to answering the question posed by Alistair Goldrein, a British student studying at the Hebrew University when he asked: "Why would someone target this university - it is what was best about Israel."

Why, indeed. The good intentions of liberal institutions or service organizations are largely irrelevant to the master planners of Palestinian terrorism. For them the secular education offered by the Israelis is a trap, designed to goad Arabs from their culture and shatter Palestinian unity. So too are the hospitals where world class physicians often sweat to save Arab life. So are the Israeli human rights groups who actively lobby for their interests and protection. All of these well intentioned people are regarded as indistinguishable from other Zionists "occupying" Palestinian land - a land categorically defined by Hamas as stretching from the Mediterranean to the Jordan.

The spiral of self deception into which the Palestinians are rapidly spinning has as its practical source the acceptance by the international media and European governments that Palestinian terrorists are freedom fighters no different in nature than the French resistance during Second World War. But a poorer analogy could not be imagined. The French resistance, which eventually unified communists, socialists and nationalists under the banner of the Forces Francaises de l'interiuer, not only had as its goals the liberation of German-occupied French territory, but the restoration of a French democratic republic and the reinstitution of French law.

Furious debate was entered by members of the resistance on the nature of that renewed French republic, giving rise to the ideological rifts that characterize French society to this day. But the important point is that debate ensued and the unifying theme of that debate was that only a vigorous democracy could save France from a decent into renewed authoritarianism or even civil war.

The Palestinians have no such mechanism vouchsafing the progress and prosperity of their in choate state. There is no visible debate on the nature of such a state (although there is considerable tension between the religious and secular in that society); there are no intellectuals or statesmen who feel free to talk openly about the challenges of democracy; there is no room for moderates whose voices are silenced in the popular call for jihad. No, the Palestinian state-in-making speaks only in the language of hatred. Today the target is Israel but with the increasingly apparent failure to achieve any concrete political objective, the rancor and hatred unleashed by their venomous campaign is likely to turn inward. The most probable outcome is therefore not victory but civil war.

But an even graver malady afflicts the Palestinian people. Their cause has been hi-jacked, not by a resistance front but by revolutionaries. Hamas, which has stepped into the vacuum left by Arafat's corrupt Palestinian Authority, does not merely seek to eject what it perceives as foreign occupation of its land. It seeks no less than the total transformation of Palestinian society. Its militant Islamist message resonates as prescriptive change reminiscent of many other historical revolutionary movements - conceived in high ideals, reverting to violence and ending in butchery.

So those looking for historical analogies should not waste time examining France of the 1940s. They should recall France of the 1790s when another revolution, conceived with noble aspirations reverted to carnage and destroyed itself in a frenzy of blood letting. That cynical Frenchman Albert Camus once commented that "every revolutionary ends either as an oppressor or as a heretic." He might have also added that most die at the hand of their own people. The leaders of the Palestinian Revolution, wading knee deep in blood and accustomed only to the language of hate, should now be put on notice that history is unlikely to make an exception for any of them. Born in blood, they will likely die in blood.

And no one should be surprised when this revolution begins to devour its own children.

Avi Davis is a senior editorial columnist for and the author of The Crucible of Conflict: Jews, Arabs and the West Bank Dilemma, to be published in the Fall.

©2002 -

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