Terrorists: The Third Paradigm

If only Israel were to get serious.

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Prof. Steven Plaut,

Prof. S. Plaut
Prof. S. Plaut
INN:S.P.
On July 2, 2008, an Arab terrorist seized a bulldozer in Jerusalem, rammed it into people and vehicles, and ended up murdering three people (including the mother of an infant), injuring dozens. The home of the murderer was not demolished.

Because the murderer held Israeli citizenship as a resident of eastern Jerusalem, his family members collected
The failure to penalize the family of the mass murderer had its effect this past week.
"survivor benefits" from Israel's National Insurance Institute (like Social Security). They probably also collected payoffs from the Palestinian terrorist groups or their bankrollers in Arab countries who reward families of murderers. Terrorist family members were not expelled or deported. All in all, engaging in murder paid off handsomely. No sub-prime financial distress for them.

The failure to penalize the family of the mass murderer had its effect this past week. Taking his cue, yet another terrorist seized a bulldozer in Jerusalem and rammed it into vehicles and people, injuring dozens.

Both attacks could likely have been prevented if Israel were to get serious at long last about fighting terrorism and defeating it; as opposed to its existing policy of seeking to end terrorism by being nice and through appeasement. Israel treats terrorists as ordinary criminals, entitled to Miranda warnings, due process, legal representation and long-winded trials. But terrorists are neither combatants nor common criminals, and should be treated as neither.

Terrorists are not summarily executed in Israel when caught, nor given the death penalty afterwards. Once captured, they are held under resort conditions, with DVDs and air conditioning. The baby-murderer Samir Kuntar, released recently by Israel as payoff to the Hizbullah for recovering the corpses of two IDF soldiers murdered by the terrorists, was allowed to obtain a BA at an Israeli university and to marry while in prison.

Israel is at war, but its leaders are too pusillanimous to declare so. Israel refuses to take any action at all against the families of suicide bombers, regarding them as "innocents" entitled to "rights," rather than as de facto accomplices to murder. Israel's only method for dealing with terror is to ask the terrorist squad leaders who send out the mass murderers in the first place to kindly take action and arrest the terrorist foot soldiers. Israeli leaders have preached for 16 years that pretending war does not exist is the surest path to peace.

While treating terrorists as enemy combatants is better than allowing them to enjoy civilian due process, rules and protections, this is also an erroneous way of dealing with them. Terrorists must not be granted Geneva Convention privileges and POW rights. They must not be held under humane conditions, with Red Cross visits.

Terrorists must be treated under a third, unique paradigm - neither as POWs nor as criminals. Terrorists must be treated inhumanely. They should be denied human dignities, for behaving without human dignity is the very basis for their behavior and agenda. People who murder groups of children are not entitled to any privileges or exhibitions of compassion. They are beyond the pale. They are garbage. Treating them as such makes a hugely powerful
People who murder groups of children are not entitled to any privileges or exhibitions of compassion.
statement to the world. We honor those whose values we cherish in myriad ways; let us also exhibit our contempt for those deserving of it.

Moreover, the latest attempts to mollify the Hizbullah terrorists by releasing the baby-murderer Kuntar contain even worse unprecedented dangers. One of the unique features of Nazism was the insistence that Jews were Untermenschen, or an inferior species, and so killing Jewish civilians was not only a legitimate instrument for social policy but downright just. Since Jews were inferior to other humans, there could be nothing wrong with exterminating them like vermin. Jewish lives did not count.

For decades, the position of the Arab world has been largely the same. The Arabs not only always tried to make the point that killing Jewish children and civilians is legitimate, but attempted to coerce Israel into publicly and officially acquiescing in accepting this definition of Jewish inferiority. They did so by equating murderers of Jewish children with soldiers, and demanding that Israel do the same. The anti-Semitic media largely agreed, as manifested in their insistence on referring to suicide bombers as "activists" and "militants," and counting the suicide bombers among the "victims" of any terror atrocity.

Israel's leaders, even the most cowardly, refused to accept this equation. Until now.

When the Israeli cabinet under Ehud Olmert approved a "hostage deal" that traded a baby-murderer for the corpses of two murdered IDF soldiers, for all intents and purposes it acquiesced in accepting the axiom of Jewish inferiority and the legitimacy of murdering Jewish children.

Ehud Olmert has made me ashamed to be an Israeli.