A few hours after the weekend commentators described in detail how the damage and futility of the "pinpoint prevention" policy is beginning to penetrate the consciousness of Israel's decision-makers (thus explaining, perhaps, the brief lull in the terror attacks until Saturday night), there was, as expected, another "pinpointed prevention." And a few hours after that, another terrorist attack. As expected.
Once again, in the words of the right-wing anthem, the "mud" beat the "quiet"; based on the so far credible vows of revenge issued by Islamic Jihad and Hamas, it can be said with certainty that we're facing yet another so-called "week of blood." A less certain bet is how many Israelis will make it safe and sound to the coming weekend.
Why do these things happen, when the outcome is so predictable? And not just on our side, but on the Palestinian side too? Sometimes it seems that each side has a mole on the other side, whose entire mission is to prevent any rational decision that doesn't include an element of self-defeat. Indeed, it's not a war between us and the Palestinians; the fighting has reached such levels of absurdity and madness that it's reminiscent of Warner Brothers comics, or the comic strips in Mad Magazine; those same cycles of endless violence based on the principle that the person who digs the trap is the one who will fall into it.
Remember Wile E. Coyote from the cartoon, endlessly chasing after Roadrunner, that odd, devilishly quick bird, who not only gets away every time with a "beep, beep," but does it by making Coyote fall into the trap that he set for the bird. Remember Spy vs. Spy, those two agents of the absurd from Mad Magazine? There isn't a trick in the book that the black one didn't use against the white one - and vice versa - from demolishing houses to headquarters, but all on one condition: The victim will be a casualty of his own plot - standing behind the wrong wall, flipping the switch at the wrong moment ...
But the absurd is not amusing here. A celebrated warrior is killed as a result of punishing a terrorist's household by demolishing it; the most sophisticated, long-range planes are sent to blow up a few houses and destroy the remnants of support of public opinion; the most advanced and protected tank shows up on a rescue mission and gets blown up by a mine; or shaheeds insist on the right to blow themselves up in empty fields and in "work accidents," all according to the ironclad rule that any damage you do to the other side must be dwarfed by the damage you do to yourself.
All the tactical absurdities are but a parable of the strategic absurdities: "Defense officials are worried about the chaos and the lack of control Arafat and the Palestinian Authority have in the territories," when those very same "officials" are in a state of frenzied destruction of that very same authority; while on the other side, the Palestinians insist on terrorism, in obvious contradiction to their own national interest.
With the shrug of a shoulder, which is no less part of the absurdity, there are those among us who say that we're on a "March of Folly," as Barbara Tuchman called it. But that seriously understates the situation. Because we're rushing headlong into chaos with our eyes wide open, it would be more precise to call it a "The Frenzied Race to Destruction," since there is, after all, something blind about folly, and some kind of order in a march.
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