The Palestinian suicide bombers are not mad fanatics. Their taped speeches seem divorced from reality, but Nazi anti-semitism was similarly irrational, yet the Nazis acted—within their cognitive framework—rationally. Palestinians are notoriously irreligious, and suicide bombers are not fundamentalist crackpots but young nationalists like the Jewish youths who died fighting the British Mandate administration.
Palestinian terrorists do not wage a hopeless, apocalyptic battle but fight for a political objective. They fight very economically in terms of cost/benefit analysis and spend relatively few of Israeli and their own lives; very few Israelis are killed and still fewer terrorists die in the successful struggle for the Palestinian state.
Palestine’s tactics look good against the background of the Israeli madness in Lebanon. In a month Israel killed more Lebanese civilians than the Palestinians killed Israelis since the outbreak of Intifada. A week of war in Lebanon cost Israel more than twelve years of terrorism have cost the Palestinians. Israel’s political and long-term military results in Lebanon are pitiful, while the Palestinians have attained de facto statehood.
Israelis vacillate and do not know what they want. Palestinians are coherent and know their territorial objectives. Israelis give way continuously, but the Palestinians, never. Israeli morale—worn down by leftists and years of war—is weak, but the Palestinians are ideologically charged. International aid to Israel dwindles, but increases to Palestine.
Picturing the Palestinians as stupid and mad is self-gratifying but blinds Israelis. Palestinians today are very much like Jews sixty years ago. And like them, the Palestinians are winning.