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Arafat's Leninist Strategy: Worse is Better.
National Review Online ^ | April 22, 2002 | Gerald M. Steinberg

Posted on 04/22/2002 9:44:50 AM PDT by xsysmgr

Yasser Arafat remembers at least one important principle of scientific Marxist-Leninist thinking from his days as an honored guest in the Kremlin during the golden era of the Communist empire. In true Leninist fashion, Arafat believes that "worse is better," and the more that Palestinians are seen as victims, the greater the international pressure on Israel. (In Lenin's case, the victory was short-lived, and the Russian people are still digging themselves out.)

To promote this strategy, 18 months ago Arafat (the Noble Prize winner) set out with the objective of using escalating terrorist attacks to goad Israel into a major military response. This would then lead to intervention by the reliably naïve "international community" (the U.N., European Union, Norway, etc.), which would force Israel back to the 1949 cease-fire lines (often described, mistakenly, as the "1967 borders"). Arafat would then have a state on his own terms, without any treaties, and Israel would be totally isolated and ready for the next phase in its demise. In true Leninist fashion, the high number of Palestinian casualties and the destruction of any economic infrastructure that managed to survive Arafat's corruption and cronyism, were signs of success.

The Israeli government was aware of Arafat's strategy, and Ariel Sharon has been careful to avoid falling into this trap. He waited patiently, minimizing the use of Israeli military capabilities despite the escalating terror attacks, and absorbing a great deal of criticism from his core constituency in the process. However, the Passover massacre in Netanya was too brutal too let pass, and signaled the beginning of an all-out military response to destroy the Palestinian terror network built up over the past eight years under the façade of the Oslo process.

This network was well dug in, and in centers such as the Jenin refugee camp, extensive underground tunnels and bunkers were filled with explosives and readied for detonation when Israeli troops entered. Families in the upper stories of these buildings provided cover and protection against air strikes (the same strategy used by Arafat in Beirut, and now adopted by Hezbollah and other terror groups around the world).

As a result, when the IDF rolled into the Jenin camp and began the house-to-house searches, the Palestinians started detonating the explosives and buildings collapsed. Israel's heavily armored bulldozers and tanks followed, and in the intense warfare that lasted for days, 23 Israeli soldiers died, including 13 when Palestinians detonated dozens of bombs in a building they were searching. The number of Palestinians killed in the destruction remains unknown, and this, as well as the automatic sympathy for Palestinian victimization, and the combination of massive ignorance and hostility within the "international community" and media, created the environment for the tales of carnage and massacre.

For Arafat, this was another golden opportunity to advance his strategy of self-destruction. On CNN, the BBC, and all other available media outlets, Palestinian officials shrilly declared that over 500 civilians were buried in the rubble. Following their Pavlovian imprinting, the U.N. officials, European diplomats, hysterical journalists (primarily from Europe and from Arab countries) immediately began to repeat the Palestinian tales of "massacre." The hundreds of black-clad terrorists who were seen marching in Jenin a few weeks earlier with their Kalachnikov rifles and explosive belts, declaring their readiness to kill Israelis, had suddenly been abducted by aliens and removed to another planet. The rocket propelled grenades and other weapons fired at the IDF in Jenin were apparently imaginary.

Israel's guilt was confirmed by the claims that the government and IDF had refusal to allow independent observers, humanitarian aid agencies and journalists to verify the Palestinian claims, and therefore had something to hide. Indeed, Israel had designated the areas in which the fighting was taking place as closed military zones. This was, in part, an effort to avoid situations in which journalists and international aid workers are hit in the fighting, and then blame Israeli troops (more Pavlov) for deliberately firing on these self-styled heroes. In addition, the absence of professional standards combined anti-Israeli biases and herd behavior in the journalistic community led Israeli decision makers to conclude that it was better to keep them as far away as possible. In revenge, the reporters insert the word "massacre" repeatedly in their stories, balanced, in a few cases, with a cursory mention of the absence of any evidence and Israeli denials.

The "blame Israel" chorus also features U.N. and international humanitarian-aid officials whose biases and lack of professionalism is even more blatant. U.N. special Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen has appeared on every television-news program on the planet to denounce Israeli actions, declaring that there could be "no moral justification" for the destruction of center of the Jenin refugee camp. (For Larsen, any use of force in Israeli self-defense is clearly immoral.) He did not mention the possibility (indeed, the probability) that most of the destruction was caused by the bombs detonated by the Palestinians, or that this was the center of the terror network. Apparently, his good friend, the president of Palestine, did not share his Leninist strategy that "worse is better" with the U.N. envoy.

Larsen also attacked Israel for allegedly turning back "international search and rescue teams" that had lined up to find the bodies buried in the rubble. This is another example of blatant bias — in other words, a lie. The IDF did not turn back any teams, but insisted, for good reason, on checking each team after some terrorists were smuggled out in this way. Of course, due to bias or Palestinian threats, the international humanitarian groups refused these conditions. As a result, the failure to provide assistance was not due to the IDF, but rather another key dimension in Arafat's Leninist strategy.

Now that at least this round of the fighting is over, the real humanitarian crisis is beginning. Up to 2,000 people from 100 buildings in the camp (out of 1,100 total — not quite the devastation usually described) are now homeless, and without food or water supplies. However, the number of individuals and agencies qualified to deliver aid without engaging in destructive propaganda is very small. Many of the non-governmental organizations and aid agencies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, are tainted by their support of anti-Israel political agendas. Self-declared "peace protesters" are more interested in the publicity and propaganda than in actually helping people. By adopting a policy of confrontation with Israel (and bringing compliant journalists), these propagandists know that any packages, like Larsen's rescue teams, will be carefully searched for bombs, while they publicize allegations of Israeli interference and delay in the transfer of food and medicine.

U.N. agencies, in general, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, in particular, provide poignant examples of this catastrophic situation. In the 52 years of its "temporary" existence, UNRWA has become part of the problem, rather than providing a solution. In addition to the humanitarian aid, including food, health, education, housing, and other services, UNRWA has also become an central component in the Palestinian political structure. UNRWA is allowed to operate in the camps as long as it cooperates with the political "rules of the road", determined by the gunmen, thugs and terrorists from Fatah, Hamas, and other militias. In UNRWA-operated schools, the texts of anti-Israeli incitement and rejectionism are part of the standard curriculum. UNRWA facilities have been routinely used as warehouses for weapons storage and for bomb-making factories. UNRWA director Peter Hansen stumbled through an interview on BBC's Hardtalk with Tim Sebastian, unable to dispute the evidence. Any director who would not have been willing to do Arafat's bidding would have been forced out long ago. As a result, UNRWA cannot be entrusted with the job of providing humanitarian relief under the current circumstances, and the sooner it is closed, the better.

Another group, Human Rights Watch, has played a leading role in the systematic delegitimization of Israel. HRW frequently supports groups that publish unverified or patently false claims regarding Israeli prisons and on policy regarding weapons such as landmines. From an Israeli perspective, HRW is not a humanitarian agency, but another hostile political organization. If members of this group were allowed to enter the Palestinian areas, even on a humanitarian mission, past behavior shows that they would use this opportunity to increase the volume of anti-Israeli propaganda that is used to justify more homicide bombings.

Together, the U.N., HRW, and other groups, such as Amnesty International, as well as many governments, also share major responsibility for the fiasco of the Durban process. The Durban "anti-racism" conference held in September marked a major step in the campaign to delegitimize Israel and promote anti-Semitism. While the U.S. government had the moral fortitude to walk out, other groups stayed on and joined the process.

A few days ago, the 53-member U.N. Human Rights Commission (with the important exceptions of Canada, Britain, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Guatemala) voted to condemn Israel for "acts of mass killings," and supported Palestinian "armed struggle" (in other words, terror attacks). The members of the UNHCR (mainly from the European Union) and its leader, Mary Robinson, have consistently demonstrated that the anti-Israeli agenda, and not morality, has priority. Similarly, politicians such as Ann Clwyd (a British MP), who visited Jenin to highlight concerns for the "suffering Palestinians", are tainted by propaganda. In an interview with the BBC, Clwyd repeated a conversation with an unnamed U.N. representative in Gaza (probably an UNRWA employee) "who told me … of an Israeli colonel who unless he managed to shoot seven Palestinians in the leg each day, then he considered that he had had a bad day." The ease with which Clwyd accepted and eagerly repeated this tale is a reflection of the depth of her humanitarianism.

For the past 54 years, Palestinian suffering has been exploited by the politicized aid agencies and the governments that support them. Once again, it is not Israel that is blocking aid, but rather the members of these groups, who have exploited fundamental ethical principles to further the goals of destroying Israel and spreading anti-Semitism. The time for dismantling these U.N. groups and NGOs and creating new, apolitical and professional aid agencies is long overdue. This won't change Arafat's Leninist strategy, but it will limit the degree of assistance he gets under the guise of humanitarian aid.

— Gerald Steinberg teaches politics and heads the Program on Conflict Management and Diplomacy at Bar Ilan University in Israel.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Israel
KEYWORDS: napalminthemorning; wot

1 posted on 04/22/2002 9:44:50 AM PDT by xsysmgr
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To: xsysmgr
2 posted on 06/11/2003 5:31:48 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe (Those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who don't)
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