For too long, the journalistically-pleasing phrase, "cycle of violence," has been applied glibly to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Always, whatever the intent of a particular phrase-maker, the resultant effect has been the same. That is, to create a conveniently simplistic equation between terrorism and counter-terrorism, between an incessantly crude criminality, and an utterly indispensable form of law-enforcement.

Now that sectarian violence is rising once again in this protracted struggle, it is important to point out there has never been an authentic "cycle of violence" between Palestinian Arabs and Israelis. Never. Rather, what has been ongoing since May 1948, is a cyclically gratuitous targeting of Israeli noncombatant populations by willful murderers, followed by a carefully measured Israeli effort at self-defense.


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