Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict
[ Retaliation against enemy civilians for terrorism ] [ Cruelty to enemy population ]

Israeli harsh actions are less painful to Arabs

Destroy Arab oil infrastructure in retaliation for Islamic terrorism

Israeli reaction to Islamic terrorism must be fierce and translate into a high ratio of Arab losses: for example, a hundred million dollars worth of civil infrastructure for every Israeli killed in an Islamic terrorist assault. Such an approach would extinguish Israeli losses or Arab property. Instead of tearing down a few ramshackle houses, Israel should strike at Arab universities, factories, police stations. Pass a law that Israel will destroy the Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock if a regular Arab army attacks or Islamic terrorists kill hundreds of Israelis in a single attack. “An eye for an eye” is not a doctrine of compensation but a prescription for inflicting equable damage on culprits to discourage repetition. Israel should attack Arab countries that support Islamic terrorists randomly, without warning. Arabs must see a connection between events in Israel and in their countries. When Islamic states realize Israel will make theml lose oil wells as a consequence of Palestinian mischief, they will oppose Islamic terrorism, at least politically and financially. Muslims, like anyone else, will turn on their own when they see the fight is lost. Muslims have a long history of murdering other Muslims when they pose a problem for the state. Recall the janissaries[7] or the Palestinians butchered in Jordan.

Since Arab countries export nothing beside oil, only going after the oil wells can Israel succeed, regardless of foreign public opinion. Even if the Saudis and Iranians stand by the Palestinians to the end, Israel Defense Forces would bring the end soon as the Islamic governments, starved of cash, fell to internal insurrection. No oil means no foreign support for Islamists, and they would have to face Israel alone.

In the Iran-Iraq war, the United States implicitly approved Iraqi attacks on Iranian oil shipments that quickly drained both parties’ resources. The hike in oil prices that stifled the oil supply in 1974 was a function of Egyptian war strategy, and the Arabs left no doubt they were using oil as a weapon against Israel and the West. So if an Arab weapon, oil should be Israeli target.

Israeli assaults on Arab oil facilities would intensify the Middle East conflict briefly, but soon Arab support for Islamic terror would vanish and put them out of work—as has happened in virtually every war against terrorists. With the present balance of power in the Middle East, there is no chance Muslims would launch an all-out war against Israel. If the Israeli population knows a war is going on, an Arab-Israeli war conducted with clear purpose and resolution, Israeli will tolerate casualties if they bring Israeli victory closer. The Israeli government need not treat Israelis like fools, terming a deep invasion of Lebanon or occupation of the West Bank by Israel Defense Forces “defensive.” Propaganda stems from the misconceptions of liberal democracies unsupportive of aggressive wars, which are therefore redefined as defense. People generally support short, victorious wars, regardless of the long-term consequences or moral concerns, e.g., the Six-Day War or the American campaign in Afghanistan. Popular opinion turns against war when it becomes protracted, bloody, and fruitless, as in Vietnam, Lebanon, or Iraq.

Propaganda can soften Arab reaction to Israeli assaults, especially in Lebanon and Palestine, which do not support Islamic terrorists willingly but are powerless to oppose them. Israel must create terror in the Arab states, like the terrorist bombings in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.[8] Israel eliminating the terrorists’ Muslim financial support would provoke exactly that reaction and make Arab governments more amenable to Israeli anti-terror campaigns, possibly even induce tacit cooperation by Islamic governments, who will rely on Israel to solve their Islamic fundamentalist terror problems for them.

Israeli harsh actions are less painful

In war, harsh actions are often the most humane. The sooner a people’s will to fight and support fighters is crushed, the sooner the war and the suffering end. There have been periods of relative reduction of Arab resistance to Israel. Dir Yassin frightened Israeli Arabs, and Ariel Sharon’s police operations in Gaza worked.[9] On the contrary, when Israel was tolerant and negotiated peacefully, the Palestinians rose in revolt, seeing that Israel is unable to sustain the terrorist conflict. Contrast the way the Arabs fled amateur Israeli soldiers in Arab-Israeli war of 1948 to the way they stood up to the Israeli Defense Force in terrorist skirmishes in 2003. Arabs dare, not because they are brave but because they have nothing to fear from Israel. The Israel Defense Forces posture but do not kill. Palestinians, fearing ejection, did not participate in the 1973 Egyptian-Israeli war. That changed in the 1980s, when Israel was content to demolish a few Palestinian houses which the Arabs soon rebuilt. Germans burned villages to eliminate support for Soviet partisans. Israeli weak responses have an adverse effect of intensifying the Arab-Israeli war. Palestinians cringe before fire barrages; but if all they face is an Israeli demolition crew, they are bold. Israeli leniency only provokes more Palestinian crime. Israel Defense Forces make a fool of themselves, using helicopter gunships, tanks, and artillery in massive assaults to wound a few Arabs. NATO’s civilian-casualty-free bombing of Yugoslavia did nothing to stop the massacre of the Albanians. If Israel wants to frighten her Palestinian neighbor into compliance, Israel must be ready to inflict casualties on Arabs. A good army kills well. Using Israel Defense Forces for police operations like checkpoints, house searches, crowd control, and the like demoralizes Israeli soldiers.

Israeli attempt to fight an ethical war with Arabs is futile. War crime is a tautology. Civilized war is an oxymoron. Both are foolish delusions that cost Israel dearly and cause more suffering than a short, cruel war.

Israeli inhumanity is a matter of degree. While people remember only the worst mass murderers, like Genghis Khan, Napoleon, and the Nazis, many national leaders have killed, often more than is required of Israel to end the Palestinian conflict. Morally there is no difference between one murder and a hundred thousand. More people die in Syrian jails than Israel kills in the Palestinian war, where Israel only defends the status quo and does not infringe on Arab life and property per se. If Israel must take morally objectionable action, Israelis should at least make it effective.

[7] The Turkish government murdered many janissaries, on whom it had relied for centuries, to rid itself from their grip.

[8] Islamic militants killed and harmed many Muslim civilians in attacks against Western forces and their local supporters. Muslim population surely doubts the fatwas establishing the legality of such murders by declaring the victims as jihad warriors.

[9] Sharon employed a network of Arab and Arab-speaking Jewish informers in the Palestinian settlements to gather information on Islamic terrorist suspects who were dealt with in no-nonsense terms: killed some, arrested others, and expelled their families to Jordan. Historically, that has been Israel's the only effective policy.