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From the November 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 48, No. 11)


Israel: The Beginning of the End of Terror


Yael Paz Melamed, Ma’ariv (centrist), Tel Aviv, Sept. 13, 2001.

The Western world—which is already global—is currently living the trauma and attempting to digest it somehow. The same is true in Israel. And as irrelevant as it may sound at the moment, the tragedy that occurred several days ago in the United States may have far-reaching implications for what will happen here in the war between ourselves and the Palestinians.

There are two possible scenarios. The first is that the Americans will want to detach themselves from us, blaming Israel for dragging them into a conflict that is not theirs but for which they paid a heavy price. The second and more probable scenario is the exact opposite of the first. The enlightened world will understand what we understood following a year of war that started as a national uprising and very rapidly took on a fundamentalist tone.

Throughout history, religion—in whatever form—has been a driving force behind war and the deaths of millions of human beings. At the start of the third millennium, Islamist extremism, from which suicide missionaries are born, is the world’s number-one threat.

This is the reality that we have faced for many months, and only now will the Western world understand its implications. One can assume that in France suicide bombers will no longer be referred to as freedom fighters and that Belgium, Denmark, and the rest of Europe will not lend legitimacy to the struggle’s terrible character, which dictates killing people, women, and so on, simply as a means to [the reward of] 100 virgins in heaven.

What transpired a few days ago symbolizes the beginning of the end of Islamic terror, even if the road is still long and vast. The first to understand this was Yasser Arafat, who scrambled to condemn the attack. There is a war on between two world cultures that have no common ground—the culture of the Western world against the culture and codes of fundamentalist Islam. The free world’s culture must prevail, and in the long run, it will be the victor.

This all-inclusive war against a common, strategic threat will also absorb into it organizations such as the Hezbollah, Jihad, and Hamas. They will never again be able to draw free-flowing funds from organizations somehow justifying anti-American spending with full knowledge that their generosity funds terrorist activity. Their people will no longer be free to roam the world, and it is likely that joint intelligence cooperation between Israel and the United States will severely restrict and close in upon them. Several days ago marked the Islamic terrorist organizations’ Black Day.

Insofar as Israel is concerned, the possible implication is that the Intifada will return to its original state: a national, armed uprising mostly secular in nature. The army can more easily deal with that type of situation. Some sort of shift within the Palestinian sector is also a possibility, particularly among the secular and enlightened who understand that the path of terrorism that became characteristic of their struggle is destructive for all involved. Perhaps pressure may even be placed on Arafat to fight against Hamas and Jihad. Perhaps out of the ash and dust and thousands of bodies in Washington and New York will be born a new history for the conflict between ourselves and the Palestinians.



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