People embellish their enemies in order to improve their own reputations. Fighting a prominent enemy is a marvelous task. Thus Israelis attribute pan-Islamic qualities and freedom fighters’ aspirations to Palestinian peasants, and the Arabs, in turn, mythologize the IDF. Being defeated by an armed-to-the-teeth monster is not so humiliating. Israelis, for their part, inflate the effects of terrorism out of proportion even though they are statistically insignificant, compared to road accidents.

Modern terrorism is a return to the historically standard situation of no universal security. Every man stood—and stands—for himself. Medieval travelers were much more likely to fall prey to bandits than Israelis are to Arab terrorists. Terrorism is a normal mode of war in which the enemies don’t match forces in the open, but undertake to crush each other’s will to fight. In moral terms, terrorism against non-combatants is no different from sieges, which also affect non-combatants. In both cases, the status of non-combatant is dubious, since the entire population supports the war effort by paying taxes and encouraging able-bodied males to fight. Indeed, the textbook example of non-combatants—pregnant women—give birth to babies who will soon become soldiers.

Israel patently demands that Palestinian Arabs stop terrorism before the final-status negotiations commence. The British occupiers of the same land failed to extract the same concessions from Jewish guerrillas. Irgun and Lehi continued attacking the British until they withdrew, much as the Afghan mujahedeen attacked the withdrawing Russians, and as Hezbollah and Hamas pursued the Israelis. Israel negotiates with the Palestinians only because of the terrorists. Should they stop, Israel would abandon the negotiations at once. Israelis want to hold on to Judea, but don’t want to pay even the minor price of suffering terrorism. Public support for abandoning Judea to the Arabs grows with the increase in terrorist acts in Israel.

As a lawyer, I recognize that people have conflicting values which often cannot be reconciled. I have encountered many situations in which I could equally well argue both sides of the conflict. In the present Jewish-Muslim situation, both sides are right. Jews needed a land for our state and sensibly chose a religiously significant land. Palestinian Arabs had settled the nearby hills for millennia and sensibly regarded the country as their own. No amount of debate can solve that contradiction. Jews used terror successfully against the British occupiers, and need not scream when Arabs use a similar tactic against the Jews.

Just fight the Arabs.