Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict
[ Counterattack governments that support terrorists ] [ Retaliate against civilians for terrorist acts ]


Attack Muslim countries in response to Arab terrorist acts against Israel

After 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Arabs realized they could not defeat Israel in war and turned to attrition through border shelling of Israel, skirmishes, and terrorist attacks. Arab support of terrorists is a continuation of the attritional warfare against Israel.

Although annexation will not work unless the population is expelled or assimilated into the invading population, punitive expeditions designed to stop Muslim support for Arab terrorists would work. The Israeli question is stopping support of Arab terrorists, a dispensable issue for Muslims, not regime change or any other critical matter. As Commodore Perry showed, countries can be threatened into changing policies and opening doors. The doors are sufficiently open even in fundamentalist Saudi Arabia that Israel need not fight. Israel should concentrate on forcing the Muslims to abandon the Arab terrorists without reference to other matters.

Quick Israeli strikes would shock wealthy Arabs who think they are safe while their governments pursue anti-Israeli policies. The Saudi rich fund Palestinian martyrs but are themselves no martyrs. Israeli violence can and should disillusion them and shock them into getting rid of Islamic terrorists for Israel's benefit. When Muslims want peace, the Arab-Israeli negotiations will move right along.

Every Arab terrorist attack is a loss for Israel. But small tactical victories over Israel could be Pyrrhic for the Arabs if Israel made them pay for them. Immense, disproportional retaliation by Israel Defense Forces would position Israel as a monster and allow the Islamic countries to withdraw from the Middle East conflict. The deaths of eighteen American combatants against a thousand Somalis encouraged terrorists worldwide. Arab terrorists receive support while they deliver headlines at no loss to their sponsors. Had the United States flattened Mogadishu, people in other conflict zones would be more cautious about supporting terrorists. Israel made a similar error withdrawing from Lebanon: Israel won the war but lost the media battle. Poor, uneducated, numerous, ideologically inspired Muslims don’t see things the way Israelis do and take anything less than total defeat of Islamic troops as victory, regardless of the cost. Israel must inflict clear-cut, devastating, humiliating defeat on Arabs. The number of casualties is irrelevant to Arab terrorists. Israel must show cruelty greater than the Arabs’ and overwhelming power. The Arabs did not soon forget Dir Yassin. Israel razing another Arab settlement and slaughtering the population would extinguish the Middle East conflict for years, saving many more Israeli lives than it cost Arabs' when Arabs realize it was not an isolated incident and Israel could repeat it.

The Torah teaches “an eye for an eye,” so how can Israel react so disproportionally? The doctrine of equal reciprocity covers only situations involving simple offenses where a culprit is likely to be identified and punished, like a fist fight. When, however, multiple offenses are likely to go unpunished, Torah requires penalties double the immediate damage. The idea is plain: a thief is unlikely to get caught every time he steals, so when he is caught, the punishment should cover his undetected crimes as well. Major offenses, like stealing an ox, are punished at a 5:1 ratio. Similarly, the Islamic terrorists’ relatives or direct supporters are not likely to suffer from Israeli retaliation. When Islamic terrorist sponsors hide behind other Muslims, Israel should give back better than she gets.

Arabs rich and poor share a weak spot, the oil infrastructure. Everyday Iraqis, Iranians, and Egyptians get very little oil revenue, though enough to worry them, if only because interruptions in the oil supply disrupt Muslim economies. The least Israeli threat will force major concessions from Muslims.[5] Would that make Arabs more hostile to Jews? Surely—unless they see that further hostility means further Israeli retribution. The parties to the vendetta persist because, the clans being about equal, each hopes to prevail. The case of Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini is instructive: actively involved in Islamic terrorism almost everywhere, Iran felt the burden of retaliatory sanctions, not even very effective ones, and limited its support for Islamic terrorism to Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, and Bosnia, places unlikely to trigger additional sanctions. Arabs are not about to sacrifice their oil infrastructure to Israel for the Palestinians. The Saudis are too rich and too lazy to risk all-out war with Israel and would use Israeli threats as an excuse for cutting aid to Palestinian terrorists. Arabs have no reason to stand up to Israeli strikes; it is not their war. Few Arabs worry about Palestinian nationalism and will not support Islamic governments that incur Israeli reprisals. Although the international community would pressure Israel not to attack oil-producing facilities, it would just as quickly pressure the Muslims to stop supporting Arab terrorists if they threatened the West’s oil supply.

Beside oil-related targets, Israel can attack Islamic military installations, airfields first, which would cost Arabs both financially and morally and would destroy their arsenals. That Israeli policy would rule out annexing Arab territory beyond Palestine. Unless Israel disables the Arabs completely, Arabs will fear escalation and might strike back at Israel with the large weaponry that remains. An overwhelming initial Israeli strike must precede annexation. Israel could use anything less only to stop the support for Arab terrorists.

Israeli automatic retaliation should not be confused with hostility toward the particular Arab regime affected. Islamic radicals hoped the Khobar bombing would spoil the efforts of the Iranian government to normalize relations with the West. Israel should punish Muslim countries cautiously for Islamic terrorist attacks originating on their soil to avoid ruining relations with potentially friendly Arab governments.

International law prohibits revenge, but Israeli harsh retaliation prevents escalation. To improve public relations, Israel should retaliate within minutes after Arab terrorist attacks to avoid cause-and-effect disputes.

[5] That does not work in Iraq, where Arab terrorists target oil facilities, because they see that as the best strategy to run the Americans off and build dissatisfaction with occupiers who don't deliver the promised welfare without oil. Iraqi terrorists do not profit from oil, and thus do not value it.