Haifa, Israel — I am writing this in between ducking in and out of a bomb shelter as Haifa is bathed by the Katyusha rockets and other missiles that Ehud Barak has allowed to be fired at the city. Why Ehud Barak? Because, as Israeli prime minister in 2000, he ordered the cowardly unilateral withdrawal of Israeli troops from the security zone in southern Lebanon, which led to the positioning of thousands of Hezbollah rockets on Israel’s northern border.
It occurs to me that now would be as good a time as any to sum up everything that has been learned about the Middle East conflict — that is, everything that the Israeli government and chattering classes have refused to learn for the past two decades.
1. Nice fences do not stop missiles, rockets, and mortars.
2. Complete removal of Israeli forces and Jewish settlers from an area does not achieve anything positive, but merely signals Israeli weakness, inviting escalated terror and aggression from Israel’s enemies.
3. Hezbollah and Hamas cannot be defeated with air strikes. There is no effective alternative to ground invasion and ongoing control of the ground.
4. Unless the Israeli military controls the ground on the other side of fences, those fences achieve nothing.
5. Goodwill gestures by Israel tend to increase terror and invite further demands.
6. Goodwill gestures by Israel never produce moderation of Arab goals and demands, but rather produce the opposite.
7. Terror is not caused by settlements, but rather fueled by the removal of settlements.
8. Terror is not caused by Israeli military occupation, but rather allowed to flourish with the removal of Israeli military occupation.
9. It is impossible for there to be two sovereign entities between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.
10. No matter how many concessions Israel makes, the world will always justify Arab terrorism, because there is always one more capitulation that Israel has failed to make (e.g., giving up the “Shebaa Farm” on the Golan Heights).
11. No matter how nice Israel is to Israeli Arabs, no matter how many affirmative-action programs it implements, it will always be accused of being an “apartheid regime.”
12. Much of the Israeli far Left is essentially an anti-Semitic movement that seeks Israel’s destruction and automatically endorses the enemies of Israel in all things.
13. The Israeli Labor party and its Kadima cousin may be more effective at fighting terror, once they decide to do so, than Likud. The reason is that if Likud were fighting terror, the Israeli Left would take to the streets in mass demonstrations against Israeli imperialism and aggression, and the leftist Israeli media would declare that 400,000 protesters turned out.
14. The Israeli Left will oppose every conceivable act of Israeli self-defense, other than total capitulation.
15. Jewish far-leftism is a very real enemy of Israel.
16. Some international observers don’t mind seeing Jewish civilians murdered by terrorists, and will applaud and justify all such murders as comeuppances for the Jews’ being so insensitive.
17. Israeli niceness and flexibility often encourage and embolden anti-Semites.
18. Israel-bashing is often driven by anti-Semitism, and many Israel-bashers are increasingly open about their delight at seeing Jewish civilians murdered.
19. Israeli pursuit of the “peace process” has triggered a worldwide storm of anti-Semitism.
20. Terrorists cannot be appeased.
21. Arab terrorists do not morph into statesmen.
22. Looking for Palestinian moderates in politics is a fruitless endeavor.
23. Many Israel-bashers do not care about dead Arab civilians, other than as a useful bludgeon with which to de-legitimize Israel.
24. Much of the Western Left would celebrate the destruction of Israel.
25. The vast majority of Israeli Arabs want to see Israel destroyed and the Jews thrown into the sea.
26. There are hundreds of Jewish professors in Israel who serve as an academic fifth column for terrorism and will do almost anything to collaborate with the enemies of their country.
27. The Arabs will not accept an independent Israel in any set of borders, no matter how small. Thus nothing can be achieved by reducing Israel’s territory, other than signalling weakness and vulnerability.
28. Much of the Western media believes that there are no problems on earth that could not be greatly ameliorated by destroying Israel.
29. Most of the governments of Europe seem not to believe Jews should be allowed to defend themselves from aggression.
30. The only country on earth that is expected to respond to the mass murder of its civilians by turning the other cheek is Israel. The only country on earth that has spent many years trying to defeat terrorism by turning the other cheek is Israel.
31. Whenever Israel responds firmly to aggression and terrorism, it will always be criticized for a “disproportionate” response.
32. Most of those who claim that anti-Zionism is different from anti-Semitism are anti-Semites.
33. The only people on earth whom the Left believes should be denied the right to self-determination and self-defense are the Jews.
34. “Palestinians” are not a people and never were. They are simply Arabs who happened to migrate into historic Western Palestine. They have no right to statehood.
35. The Golan Heights are not “Syrian” and never were.
36. Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein are anti-Semites, and so are many of their supporters.
37. Israeli politicians are among the stupidest on earth.
38. Israeli leftists never learn from the failures of their policies and “ideas.” Every failure is explained away by the fact that their policies were not applied thoroughly enough.
39. The moral and legal responsibility for every single Arab civilian death or injury in the Middle East conflict rests squarely upon the shoulders of the aggressive Arab fascists and terrorists who have provoked Israel.
40. There is no moral or legal reason for Israel to refrain from attacking terrorists and murderers when they hide among civilians.
41. Many of the “anarchists” and others who protest against Israel’s security wall want the wall removed because they want terrorists to murder Jewish civilians.
42. Palestinians are the Sudeten Germans of the Middle East.
43. Israel has no obligation to share its water resources with the “Palestinians” or anyone else.
44. There are no non-military solutions to the problem of terrorism.
45. Talk of “peace” is revealing, because it is only necessary to consider making peace when you are faced with an enemy. Israel is faced with a host of committed enemies, and it is they who will not accept a fair peace settlement.
46. There are no significant differences between the agenda of the PLO and the agenda of Hamas and Hezbollah.
47. The Middle East conflict is not a marital spat. Going through the pretense of holding hands and holding talks does not calm tensions and achieves nothing.
48. One cannot make peace by pretending that war does not exist.
49. One cannot buy off anti-Semites and Islamofascists with trade concessions and subsidies.
50. The only way to stop terrorism is to kill terrorists.
–Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa.