globeinteractive.com: Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail/globeandmail.com
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

  This site      Tips

  

  The Web Google

  





  Where to Find It


Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business

  Sports

  Technology


Read and Win Contest


Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business

  National

  International

  Sports

  Arts & Entertainment

  Editorials

  Columnists

  Headline Index

 Other Sections
  Appointments

  Births & Deaths

  Books

  Classifieds

  Comment

  Education

  Environment

  Facts & Arguments

  Focus

  Health

  Obituaries

  Real Estate

  Review

  Science

  Style

  Technology

  Travel

  Wheels

 Leisure
  Cartoon

  Crosswords

  Food & Dining

  Golf

  Horoscopes

  Movies

  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...



Services
  Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site

 Newspaper
  Advertise

  Corrections

  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us

  Reprints

  Subscriptions

 Web Site
  Advertise

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


GiveLife.ca

    
It is not a cycle of violence
By MARCUS GEE
Saturday, March 16, 2002

 
The Lost City of David

Pictures
  • Photo Essay

    Related Stories
  • Mideast hopes lie in tatters
    (March 28, 2002)
  • Ask the Globe: Arab Summit
    (March 28, 2002)
  • A different Passover for us this year
    (March 27, 2002)
  • Plight of a bomber's mother
    (March 25, 2002)
  • It is not a cycle of violence
    (March 16, 2002)
  • Trouble brewing over bulge
    (February 13, 2002)

    Related Links
  • Municipality of Jerusalem
  • Jerusalem Post
  • Jerusalem Times
  • Jerusalem Centre for Women (Palestinian)
  • Bat Shalom (Israeli women's centre)

  • We all know about the "cycle of violence": Israeli troops kill a carful of Palestinian militants; a Palestinian suicide bomber blows up a group of diners in a Jerusalem restaurant. The Israelis kill more militants; the terrorists send more suicide bombers.

    On and on it goes, a series of tit-for-tat attacks that builds relentlessly on itself. Both sides are equally to blame and the only solution is for both to forswear violence and get back to talking peace.

    That, in any case, is how most of the outside world sees what is happening in the Middle East. The "cycle of violence" is a neat way of understanding a confusing situation. No wonder that it has been embraced by governments and media nearly everywhere.

    Only one problem: It is dead wrong. The idea that both sides are equally to blame for the current violence is absurd. The violence has one cause and one cause only: Palestinian terrorism.

    Israel today is suffering the most intense and sustained terrorist assault that any modern nation has endured. When its military hits back, its purpose is to stop that terrorism, and it would stop attacking tomorrow if the terrorism stopped. The same is not true of the terrorists, who would keep sending their suicide bombers even if there were no Israeli response.

    The leaders of the Palestinians would have the world believe it is they who are reacting to Israeli violence. When a suicide bomber detonated his device in a Jerusalem café near Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's residence last weekend and killed 11 people, a Palestinian spokesman said it was only a spontaneous "human reaction" to Israeli violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

    But it isn't a reaction at all. The terrorist war is a deliberate campaign designed to demoralize Israelis and create a crisis that would bring international intervention that would favour the Palestinian cause. There is nothing spontaneous about it.

    Distinctions like that may seem like hair-splitting when bullets are flying and blood flowing. But they matter. To frame the Mideast conflict as a simple "cycle of violence" is to put the response to terrorism on the same plane as terrorism itself. Seen this way, the Israeli general who sends his tanks after gunmen in a refugee camp is every bit as debased as the terrorist leader who sends his suicide bombers to blow up a café.

    That is clearly not so. Every nation has the right to defend itself against terrorism. That includes the right to retaliate with military force if necessary. Even when that retaliation ends in the loss of innocent life, as it too often has in the Palestinian areas, it does not put the retaliator in the same moral league as the terrorist.

    There is a world of difference between the Israeli soldier who accidentally shoots an innocent child in the heat of battle and the terrorist who deliberately blows up a bus full of Israeli children. The deaths are equally tragic, but the killers are not equally culpable.

    When the United States retaliated for Sept. 11 by attacking the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, all but the most fervent anti-Americans recognized that its use of violence in self-defence was different from the terrorist violence inflicted on it. Yet when it comes to Israel, that distinction is blurred.

    Even Washington buys the "cycle of violence" theory. When Israel moved forces into the West Bank town of Ramallah this week to root out terrorists, George W. Bush called it an "unhelpful" move that would only provoke more killing.

    It may well do that, just as the U.S.-led campaign to root out terrorists in Afghanistan may bring more attacks on Americans. But the way to stop terrorism is not to stop retaliating. It's to stop the terrorists.


    7-Day Site Search
        

    Breaking News



    Today's Weather


    Inside

    Michael Posner
    Ethnic laugh lines
    Jeffrey Simpson
    Health care: Do we know better than everyone else?

    Paul Knox
    The rise of anti-anti-Americanism




    space

    Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
    space

    © 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page
    [an error occurred while processing this directive]