Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict
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Peacetime harassment of Israeli enemies

Minimize the involvement of Israel Defense Forces infantry in the Middle East conflicts

To avoid repeating the error of getting Irsael Defense Forces mixed up in the Lebanese civil war in 1982, Israel should not send ground troops to Arab countries but rather bomb them into submission and install puppet governments as a temporary solution. Arab rebellion could be punished by Israeli mid-scale war operations. A sufficiently cruel and militarily effective administration usually eliminates opposition, though such a policy failed in Lebanon because the South Lebanon Army did not handle the job. Israeli-controlled territory should be combed for Islamic terrorists and isolated from intrusion. As the Soviet Union showed, border control can be effective even over an immense perimeter.

Non-military harassment of Israel's Islamic enemies

Israel should go after Arab wealth, conscripting the best Israeli lawyers to entangle wealthy Arabs and Arab countries everywhere in lawsuits and put pressure on their interests with the aim of taking away their income, preferably expropriating for Israel. The Arab O.P.E.C. countries are obvious targets for Israeli extortion due to price collusion.[13] Islamic charities that support Islamic terrorists are also candidates for civil prosecution by Israelis. Islamic charities have significant assets, and Israeli prosecution would pay for itself.

Families of Jewish victims of Islamic terrorists have a good case against Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as against individual Muslim donors for their support of Islamic terrorists who attack Israelis. The options range from civil lawsuits by Israelis to criminal indictment under the RICO act.

The descendants of Israelis who left property in Iraq and Egypt have a reasonable claim for those assets, either nationalized or pillaged by mobs. To be fair, Israel should hear Palestinian property claims: the balance will favor the Israelis, since many Jews left documented assets in Arab countries while most Palestinians were peasants without title to the land. Israel' hearing Arab property claims does not mean letting their descendants return to Israel: citizenship is personal. Once abrogated, descendents cannot inherit it. The Jews returned after 1,900 years, not by right but by force, which Arabs can resist and Israel can defend. The Arab refugees in 1948 were not Israeli citizens. They fled the Arab invasion and sided with Israel’s enemy.

Further Israeli claims could be entertained, like suing the Arabs for the cost of Israel’s defensive war build-up, necessitated by Arab violation of United Nations resolutions.[14] Israeli casualties in the clearly defensive 1948 Arab-Israeli war, and of Israeli civilians, qualify for wrongful death compensation. Israel may perhaps invoke the concept of crimes against humanity retroactively and implicate the Arabs in earlier crimes against Jews—like the Palestinian pogroms of the late 1920s[15] and 1930s; the atrocities against Israeli civilians in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war; the Iraqi massacre of Jews in 1941, led by the Palestinian Nazi sympathizers, and persecution of Jews for the ensuing decade; the devastation of Egyptian Jewish communities by followers of Al Banna[16] in 1945; and many other past acts, beginning when Mohammed exiled two Jewish tribes from Yathrib (Medina) and killed all the males of a third tribe and enslaved the women and children.[17]

Libel suits against Arabs are also potentially fruitful for Israel. The Egyptian government-controlled mass-media openly incite Arabs against Israel in violation of the peace treaty.[18] European law, unlike the American, defines defamation broadly. The mosques in Paris and Lyon sued novelist Michel Houllebecq for calling Islam the stupidest religion. Israelis would find enough material defamatory of Jews in Muslim appeals to sue the publishers into bankruptcy. Israelis, however, must formulate the suits carefully, since Jewish religious schools, though not the media, do the same, and Israeli Basic Law includes the goal of Greater Israel, much as the PLO Charter did for Palestine. Arabs could sue the yeshivas and various Jewish fringe groups on the same ground, not without benefit.

Even Arab mainstream newspapers in Egypt and Qatar preach hatred of Israelis and often call on their readers to kill Jews. Hostile Islamic mass media outlets could be shut down by Israel not only legally but by subverting their publishing and transmitting facilities and closing, not just censoring, the hostile Palestinian media. It is even easier for Israeli hackers to shut down Islamic internet sites on which fringe groups like Al Qaeda depend for appeal to Muslims. Rather than engaging in cyber-warfare, Israel should file civil or criminal charges against the internet providers hosting such sites. The Israeli targets should include Islamic insurgent groups’ official websites but also Islamic forums, chat rooms, secondary Islamic support sites, and so on. Israeli security services should log the IP addresses of everyone who visits those sites and track them down; Israel can even subpoena them through the local police. Better that Israel monitors their e-mail accounts than shuts them for small-time intelligence on vulnerable Israeli and Western assets. The anonymous free mail accounts, especially when they are a gold-mine of intelligence, let investigators log the IPs and track the owner’s movements. Horror stories of police brutally interrogating Islamic chat participants on Israel's request would discourage use of those sites the governments did not block yet, especially by the fifth column of Muslim immigrants in the West. The F.B.I. did the same thing on a smaller scale to combat child pornography where curious onlookers are presumed guilty. Since most people in Islamic countries access the internet from cybercafés, local governments should be told as a condition of their connection to the American-controlled internet to require fingerprint access to public computers and install security cameras in the cafés, already mandatory in some countries. The decision to shut down or monitor any particular site is arbitrary: grassroots forums that attract people who might support Islamic terrorists politically or financially should be closed, while major Islamic terrorist group sites visited by hardcore adherents should be monitored. Freedom of expression on the internet does not include inciting Arabs to murder Israelis. People should be scared away from Islamic terrorism.

Islamic terrorist charges of violation of freedom of speech are ridiculous. Muslims often suppress that freedom wherever they come to power. Israel should deal with Islamic enemies reciprocally, not liberally. Israel does not need to suppress freedom to achieve Israeli ends. Theoretically, there are no absolute freedoms. If Islamic aims are unacceptable to the West and worth Arab--Israeli fighting, then propaganda supporting them is unacceptable to Israel. Calling for murder is not a problem: America publicized bloodthirsty appeals from the allied South Vietnamese officials. Western political thinking tolerates collateral damage: American troops killed seven to twelve hundred rioting civilians in Mogadishu in 1993. The Iranian verdict on Salman Rushdie for desecrating their supranational symbol, the prophet of Islam, is of the same legal stock as the American criminal penalty for burning the flag, enforced forty years ago. The problem is the Islamic radicals’ intent to murder civilians in Israel and the West. Neither the Israeli nor the American government would care if Shiites published a newspaper in London calling for overturning the Sunni regime in Afghanistan in the name of Islam, even at the risk of a civilian bloodbath, but they do care when the attack is aimed at Israelis or Americans. There is no obligation to protect an enemy’s freedom of expression. Speech is a tool of war, no different from mobilization centers. Incitement is more immediate than ordinary radical rhetoric. Radicalism is acceptable so long as it stays non-violent and urges only the force needed to overthrow an egregiously rotten regime. Islamic radicals incite people to violence against anyone who disagrees with them, surely against Israelis.

Theoretically, Israel should punish only actions, not thoughts or value judgments. That is the essence of Judaism. Each person is endowed with free will and must decide for himself between Israeli liberal propaganda and Islamic fundamentalist propaganda. Israel should suppress the radical mouthpieces specifically because they are mouthpieces hostile to Israel and part of the enemy organization. They are immune from Israeli prosecution for what they say, but they are responsible for what they do—and they act for Israel’s enemies. Israel should prosecute them not as criminals but as enemies in time of war.

The same is true for non-media incitement against Israel, such as Muslim leaders in Europe use to stir up attacks on Jews; the same kind of propaganda that led to the pogroms and set the stage for the Holocaust. European governments tolerate them, since the large, unassimilated Muslim communities vote and pander to European interests in the Arab world. Nevertheless, nobody likes the meddling and would be content so see Israel eliminate the masterminds. Europeans care little when Muslims attack Jews in their countries and will not worry if Israelis give the Muslims as good as they get. Israel might recruit European right-wing xenophobes to make common cause with Israel to curtail the influx of Muslims into Europe. They are not inherently anti-Semitic but rather anti-alien. Jews are more assimilated to Europe than are the Muslims who outnumber them. Xenophobia can be focused. Visibly alien Muslim immigrants make an easy target for European nationalists, a welcome shift of hatred from Jews. Israel will either seek tactical rapprochement with right-wing radicals or the sponsorship of Islamic terrorists and rogue states. Israel has a stake in curtailing Muslim immigration to America and Europe and the resulting changes in voting patterns and political affiliations.

Alienating immigrants to the West from mainstream Muslims is important for Israel. Muslims are prohibited from living under heathen rule. Israel could hoax a kind of Lavon affair[19] for Arabs: radical Muslim group bombing the places frequented by European Muslims to drive them to Dar al-Islam. Measures from the times of anti-communist witch hunts could prove useful, such as requiring Muslims during immigration or job interviews to sign a statement dissociating themselves from Islamic terrorists. The oath will not preclude Islamic terrorists from acting but will create public intolerance of Islamism. Disgraceful as McCarthyism was, it succeeded in making communist allegiance indecent. Forceful secularization, as in France, could help to assimilate Muslims and diminish the threat to Israel. No one prohibits veils in public—just in the public schools. These attributes thus cannot enjoy attraction of prohibited items, yet children are taught that veils are indecent. Israel picturing Islamic terrorists and their leaders in the media as stupid, backward folk would make the immigrants ashamed of them. Being a Wahhabite Muslim should become as bizarre as practicing shamanism. Israel has every reason to foster an Islamic reform movement with equal rights for women, including female imams, peaceful coexistence with other religions and Israel and renouncing jihad as an old barbaric habit, secular education, Quranic textual analysis, and critical evaluation of rulings issued by religious authorities.

Touching on freedom of expression, consider the leaking of war secrets. Long a national sport among the American bureaucracy, it happens in Israel. Leaking war secrets when they abet the enemy and endanger Israel Defense Forces should be called treason, a war crime against Israel. Identifying a culprit from the small Israeli government circle of those in the know is not a problem; the political will to prosecute Israeli high-ranking officials is lacking. Israeli journalists should be dealt with the same way. Public interest even in exposing typically classified wrongdoings of Arab-Israeli war is small. In democracies like Israel, such incidents are relatively minor, but unearthing them greatly harms Israel's credibility.[20]

Western media trumpet every Palestinian casualty from Israeli retaliatory strikes while scarcely mentioning mass atrocities by a Muslim regime. Many, perhaps most, Westerners do not know about the wars and riots which lasted years and took thousands and even millions of Muslim lives, though everyone knows that Israel somehow persecutes Palestinians. This attitude stems from two factors: Israel is considered civilized and thus accountable, unlike the barbaric Islamic regimes, and shooting documentaries in Palestine under Israeli security is easy and safe.

Israeli freedom of reporting Islamic terrorist acts needs reevaluation. Israeli actual damage from terror is small. Islamic terrorists seek to frighten Israelis brainwashed with images of bloodshed. No one, repeat, no one assists Islamic terrorists in their aim like Israeli media. The media damage Israel's national security to please the mob and commit high treason in the Arab-Israeli war on terror. Picturesque reporting on Islamic terrorist acts must be prohibited in Israel, and only short notices allowed, with no photos or video feed, except censored images in drastic cases, like the W.T.C. attacks. Nothing would impair low-level Islamic terrorist efforts against Israel as much as such a ban. The Israeli policy is not misinformation, as did the Japanese throughout the war and the Soviets throughout their existence. It rather prevents misinformation, distortion, exaggeration. Israelis get true information, with facts and figures. The mind is non-linear; it does not, like a computer, ignore repetitive or superfluous data but registers it as more important. Vivid pictures of Islamic terrorist acts cause excessive anger and anxiety in Israelis who never saw blood. No Israeli TV station shows blown buses along with reports from surgery rooms in the American Midwest; that would discount the effect. Give the Israelis figures instead of photos or news anchors’ faces wrought in fake compassion to Israeli victims. Most people in the West do not realize that casualties during the much-trumpeted intifada favorably compare to loss of life in car accidents, or that outfits like Hamas fare poorly in Palestinian polls, or that statistically Israeli Arabs prefer living in the "oppressive" State of Israel to moving to Dar al-Islam.

Making Israelis used to reports of Islamic violence is a half-measure. People see cruelty mostly in connection with Israel and Iraq. Showing the bloodshed happening daily around the world would divert attention from Israeli actions and from the Islamic terrorists. The audience is not interested in atrocities in Rwanda or Syria or Yugoslavia perpetrated by black, Islamic, or Orthodox barbarians. Keeping these aliens on television would make them familiar, and Westerners might then apply to the rest of the world the stringent moral standards they demand of Israel, dissipating the reproach concentrated on Israel.

Western governments should stop granting asylum to Muslim dissidents, most of whom belong to aggressive fundamentalist groups. France harbored Khomeini and got a hostile Iran to deal with. America refused to extradite blind Sheikh Omar to Egypt, where he was under sentence for terrorism, and he bombed the World Trade Center.

Israel can use financial scams, phony banks and mutual funds, and Ponzi schemes against the Islamic enemy as conventional weapons; uneducated rich Arabs are perfect prey for Israeli swindlers. In the early 1990s, many swindlers pretended to sell uranium, red mercury, and other radioactive materials. Some say national security services fishing for Islamic terrorists orchestrated the frauds. Israel should extend the business not only to identify Islamic terrorist groups but also to seize their resources and destabilize the black market in weapons.

Blackmail as an Israeli source of funds and influence has huge potential in the Muslim world entangled with unnatural prohibitions, hypocritically moral though rotten.

Another way for Israel to discredit Arab leaders is to feign Israeli support for them, praising them in Israeli government press releases or asking the United States to make minor but well-publicized concessions to them.

Trade sanctions, popular in effete unwarlike societies, are useless. They did not prevent Japan from getting ready for World War II. Iraq circumvented them with ease after the 1991 war. Administered by corrupt bureaucracies, they are worse than nothing at all. Iraq played American, Russian, and French lobbyists against one another to embezzle chunks of profitable sanctioned trade. Sanctions do not work in economies[21] where every product, including most military equipment, is available on the gray market, where Israeli companies are active, and even such a supposedly easily controlled product as oil was extensively smuggled out of Iraq. Conflicts between states cannot be solved by palliatives but require the credible threat of force. Israel must learn that.

What justice could Israel expect from the United Nations where Muslim-dominated countries have sixty votes? Or for how long will the West be able to refuse the sixty countries and over a billion people a seat on the Security Council? Israel could not accept the U.N. with a Muslim veto and corresponding bargaining power. Israel cannot but laugh at the institution whose Human Rights Commission has Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Libya on board. The United Nations where America and Zimbabwe have similar votes is dysfunctional; its decisions are implemented only when they conform to the balance of power.

Discrediting the hostile United Nations and exploiting its weaknesses make sense for Israel. Votes of negligible countries like Tuvalu could be bought and obtained by Israel through blackmail and bribery. Israel could set up bogus jurisdictions by buying minor islands and registering them with the United Nations as countries of the Israeli commonwealth, increasing Israeli voting power.

Sun Tzu and Machiavelli advocated such war, and Bismarck created such a peace: finish wars before they begin; seek and exploit the enemy's weaknesses not only in the military sphere but in finances, logistics, diplomacy; do not risk battles but devise unorthodox strategies. Could not the Israelis do this?

[13] The Arab oil-price hike cannot be meaningfully compared to embargo America instituted against its adversaries. Arabs employed embargo against Israel, but the oil-price increase affected every country regardless of its Middle East conflicts' attitude, disqualifying the move as a foreign-policy device. Arabs did not reduce the price even when the U.S. defended Saudi Arabia and Kuwait against Iraq; the American tolerance of such abuse for all its help is bizarre.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco decided in 1981 it has no authority over the acts by foreign states, but non-sovereign oil companies effect price hikes. The Supreme Court’s Keeton vs. Hustler established jurisdiction of a state where the product is intentionally sold. The U.S. prosecutes foreigners violating American laws without entering the country, such as heads of drug cartels and Islamic terrorists. O.P.E.C., which engages in operations illegal in the U.S., should be treated similarly.

[14] The legal basis for Israeli claims would not be the U.N. resolution per se, which is only a recommendation, but rather Arab acceptance of the terms the resolution laid down regarding Israel. Arabs could not counterclaim for Israeli violations of the U.N. resolutions on Israeli withdrawal, since Israel never agreed to the resolutions which harm Israel. The fact that they were never enforced against Israel by U.N. military intervention testifies that Israeli actions did not substantially violate the Arab-Israeli peace.

[15] Hundreds of Jews were killed after they tried to put benches near the Western Wall and pray there, and Jews were massacred by Arabs in Hebron in 1929.

[16] The Egyptian fundamentalist cleric who provided a religious basis for modern Islamic terrorism by reinventing jihad. Al Banna was affiliated with the Nazis and instigated attacks on Jews in the previously very tolerant Egyptian milieu.

[17] The murky details came to us only through Islamic sources. The Jewish tribes of Medina welcomed Mohammed, supposedly signed a treaty providing for peaceful coexistence of Jews and Muslims and defense. According to Islamic scholars, the Jews violated the treaty by deriding Mohammed and refusing to fight for him. Jews say they had every reason to be skeptical of Mohammed's prophecy and Jews refused to fight both because Mohammed's people started the conflict ambushing caravans and because his army, deserted even by many of his own, stood no chance against the Meccans. The forged treaty text has the Jews acknowledging Mohammed as a prophet and a judge on the treaty he is a party to.

[18] Summarized at www.memri.org

[19] Israel facilitated Jewish exodus from Arab countries—unnecessarily, since negative attitude to Israel would have soon forced Jews from Arab countries, anyway. Israelis extended provocations, and bombed the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to set up the Americans against Arabs. Inexperienced Israeli operatives blew the operation, which resulted in major scandal, marred Israeli image, and discredited Israeli claims of Islamic terrorism for years to come.

[20] The world media made a great deal of sentencing the American sergeant for shooting terminally wounded Iraqi fighter. The fact that the sergeant tried to save the Iraqi from burning truck was lost in the chorus of condemnation. The news' consumers are disproportionably interested in accidents. Compare a huge coverage of American soldiers mildly pressuring interrogated enemies, and next-to-no coverage of everyday mass tortures in Russian, Chinese, Egyptian jails and that of perhaps all but handful of countries.

[21] Restrictive sanctions do not work. Protective sanctions, like refusing to import beef possibly affected by mad-cow decease, are easier to implement. Governments can control their own borders but not their enemies’.