“Kill them, O Lord, for you are compassionate” Psalm 137

Theoretically speaking, why cannot we kill out the Palestinian Arabs? Senseless murder is disgusting because it is senseless. Traditionally, humans have only nominal qualms about purposeful killing: no one really complains about the Old World’s religious refugees and settlers annihilating the New World’s Indians, or the New World’s military carpet-bombing Dresden or Tokyo.

Killing out the aboriginal population is the surest, indeed the only way to take over its territory, as Machiavelli has noted. Whoever does not like Machiavelli might busy himself with the Bible: God, the supreme source of moral authority, commanded the Jews to annihilate the nations which settle the Promised Land: “However of the cities of these peoples, that the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall leave alive nothing that breathes” (Deuteronomy 20:16). Just as the preceding lines were not wholly fulfilled in antiquity, this one looks into the future and cannot be said to describe past events.

To kill the enemy

As always, God is not only moral but normal as well: how can Jews coexist with people who believe that we took the land which is rightfully theirs? The Russians stopped short of exterminating the Chechens because they never meant to settle the Chechen land, but only to incorporate Chechnya for reasons of imperial grandeur. Even so, non-exterminatory occupation explodes into riots once in a while. Tiny Israel cannot absorb major riots, as the aboriginal mobs could overcome the Jewish population in a matter of hours simply because they live among us. Mass murder is well accepted in modern history: the United States and France never apologized to the Vietnamese for killing a couple of million of them, America launched guerrilla wars which eventually claimed 1.5 million lives in Afghanistan and over a million in Iraq. Killing by the millions is not unthinkable, but really quite acceptable.

The world might well accept the mass killing if it were presented as a fait accompli. A crazy Israeli general stages a putsch, removes the government, and sends the IAF to thoroughly weed out every concentrated trace of Arab presence from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean and from Litani to Sinai. In a day or two, the issue would be over. Afterwards, the government might overcome the leaders of the putsch, try them for crimes against humanity, and sentence them to a five-star jail. They would be released quietly over health issues within a few years. The world could do nothing about such a scenario: there would be no time to react and no reason to punish the government. Besides, many foreign governments would be relieved that the nagging problem had gone away. Even if there were sanctions, they would be lifted within a few years: the world leaves happily with Serbia after condemning a handful of its leaders of massacres.

A peace treaty does not preclude such a scenario.