Killing Those Who Would Kill You

One of the lies we live by, a lie in which the Jewish right takes particular delight, is that what the Palestinian people really want is to see the Jews dead.

One of the lies we live by, a lie in which the Jewish right takes particular delight, is that what the Palestinian people really want is to see the Jews dead. The lie serves with devotion the ulterior political motives of the right, in particular the restoration of the lost Kingdom of Yesha, the return of Jewish dominion to all of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Of course, like all lies that become ironclad tenets of political belief, the lie of the genocidal Palestinian comes with a certain wrapping of truth. There are Palestinians whose life goal is to bring death to the Jew. On Monday night, Israel's armed forces killed 10 of them.

The Israel Defense Forces, it must be said, killed the Islamic Jihad men without taking the lives of innocent Gazans. One of the men killed, Majed Harazin, has for years been a central commander in the Jerusalem Brigades, the Jihad's armed wing. He and another Jihad commander killed in the Monday night raids were key figures in Qassam production, targeting and launches against civilian targets and innocent populations. A third Jihad man killed was the wing's commander in the northern West Bank.

They were war criminals. More to the point, they were soldiers. Soldiers in a war in which they are declared combatants, and in which civilian noncombatants are their declared targets. It was our right to kill them. It was our responsibility. Just as we condemn - justifiably - the Israeli attacks in which innocent Palestinians are killed, we have a right to respect and appreciate what it took to prevent the deaths of noncombatants while killing our sworn enemies.

In the interest of candor, let us call the Palestinian Islamic Jihad what it is: the most active terrorist organization now operating in the Holy Land. It is this group that fires most of the Qassams into Israel's southwestern reaches. It is this group that has hatched most of the suicide bombings over the past two years, most of which were, thank God - Who is their God as well - thwarted by Israeli intelligence and security efforts.

And in the interest of shedding light on the lies by which we live, it is worth taking a closer look at the Jihad's initial response to the IDF operations. After the deaths of Harazin, rocket mastermind Karim al-Dahdouh and the others, the movement issued a series of "Death to the Zionist" decrees, threatening to retaliate with a wave of suicide bombings inside Israel.

That is how it is with lies. You can't have it both ways. You can't call yourselves soldiers for Palestine, lovers of death, cravers of martyrdom, incinerators and dismantlers of Israel and the Zionist enterprise - and, at the same time, profess outrage and anger that we would have the temerity to kill you. You're soldiers. Grow up.

That's how it is with lies. Their strongest appeal is to the 2-year-old in all of us, and the 12-year-old boy in too many of us. The suffering of those on our side becomes the only suffering in the conflict. The other side has no rights to recognition, nationhood, peoplehood, land.

The irony is that the Palestinian organization which was once the most honest, Hamas, is now trapped within a number of lies of its own. Two days after 200,000 Hamas activists rallied in Gaza, chanting "We will never recognize Israel," a Hamas spokesman was interviewed on the flagship talk show of Army Radio - the station of the army of the nation Hamas will never recognize. His message: Assassination is not the way to a solution, and only negotiations between the sides can end the conflict.

Israel has surely done its part to cripple the possibility of talks taking place. But Hamas, for its part, serves up the Qassams that the Jihad fires at Israel. Moreover, the Jihad takes its orders from Iran, which has no interest in the survival of Israel, much less talks with a Jewish state.

The longer the lies of martyrdom and "What our Lord the Terrorist wants" persist, the longer the world will be content to live without an independent Palestine in its midst. The Palestinians must choose what they want to do with their liars. The Palestinians must decide what they want to do with the warlords who want Jews dead more than they want a state. With the infantile young men who want Jews dead more than they want Palestine to be a functioning, contributing part of the world. With the Palestine-as-Columbine gun nuts who want Jews dead more than they want Palestinians to be able to live in peace and well-being. And with those who will never accept a Palestine that is won on the negotiating table and not in a blood-flooded West Jerusalem street.

The Palestinians have a choice to make. They can be ruled by the mentality of the seventh grader, the kid with a heart full of fresh, unsullied ideals and a head full of hormones. Or they can begin to think about the future like adults.

Thanks to the Jihad and to Hamas, the real martyr is no longer the poor kid who goes to kill himself for a few dinars and a passel of religious lies. At this point, thanks to the Jihad and to Hamas, the real martyr is the cause of Palestine itself.