A new front from the sea?

Israelis were told yesterday that it was too dangerous to swim, sail or fish along the coast south of Ashdod.

By JPOST EDITORIAL STAFF
February 2, 2010 22:34
3 minute read.
Bomb squad robot on Hofit beach, Feb. 1

Police robot on beach due to bomb 311. (photo credit: AP)

Israelis were told yesterday that it was too dangerous to swim, sail or fish along the coast south of Ashdod.

Since Friday night, several explosives-laden barrels have either been heard detonating in the Mediterranean or have washed ashore in Ashdod and Ashkelon. It is not clear if these devices, originating in Gaza, were intended to be pre-positioned at sea for a terror attack against Israeli power stations or desalination plants, or if they were intended to explode as mines when encountered by Israeli naval patrols.

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Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and Fatah’s Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed joint responsibility; Hamas said nothing.

The sea is hardly a new front in the Palestinian war against Israel. Palestinian efforts to infiltrate this country’s coastline began, unsuccessfully, in April 1953 and have continued episodically ever since. In 1978, PLO terrorists landed on the coastal highway north of Tel Aviv, hijacking a bus in an attack that left 38 passengers, including 13 children, dead. The Palestinians were protesting Anwar Sadat’s peace talks with Menachem Begin that focused partly on how to address their grievances. In October 1985, Palestinians hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean and murdered a disabled Jewish passenger.



IF TRUTH be told, the Palestinian war against Israel is waged worldwide on land, sea and in the air.

Starting in the late 1960s, Palestinian terrorists began hijacking or shooting at Israeli airliners; in 1972 they slaughtered Israel’s Olympic team in Munich; they have bombed Israeli embassies and plotted against our diplomats.



The Palestinians’ strategic partners have also pitched in. The Japanese Red Army carried out the Lod Airport massacre in May 1972, killing 26 people. Iran and Hizbullah were behind the March 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and the July 1994 bombing of that city’s Jewish center, which took 85 lives.

The Palestinians and their partners have targeted ordinary Israelis from Mombasa to Mumbai.

So we were puzzled by speculation that the January 20 liquidation of senior Hamas operative Mahmoud Mabhough in Dubai could open a “new front” – especially given informed speculation that Israel had nothing to do with his unlamented demise.



ONE WAY to know that the Palestinians view their war with Israel in zero-sum terms is that winner-take-all conflicts tend to be fought on a global scale; whereas wars that have limited goals, where some compromise is the desired outcome, are fought within tighter geographical parameters.

Moreover, zero-sum struggles tend to take place between competing ideological or theological worldviews. In WWII, fascism and racism teamed up to fight the combined forces of capitalism and communism; during the Cold War it was democracies with market economies versus centrally planned totalitarian states. Both these ideological clashes were waged on a sweeping scale.

In contrast, the Irish fought the British inside the United Kingdom, mostly within Ireland itself. The Basques battle the Spaniards in Spain and mostly within the Basque country. The Kurds have waged their struggle mostly within Turkey, Iraq and Iran, in the areas they claim as Kurdistan. In all three cases, efforts to extend the field of combat have been the exception.

Interestingly, none of these struggles are zero-sum. The Irish did not seek to overthrow the British monarchy; the Basques do not want to dismantle Spain, and the Kurds do not crave control over all of Iran, Iraq and Turkey. They are not fighting about worldviews. And all three movements have shown a readiness for compromise.



IN CONTRAST, even comparatively moderate Palestinians affiliated with Mahmoud Abbas have staked out rigid negotiating positions underpinned by their commitment to zero-sum struggle. That is why Abbas has not compromised on recognizing Israel as a Jewish state or abandoned claims for the “right of return.”

Long before al-Qaida come on the scene, Palestinian terror groups specialized in airplane hijackings and other forms of anti-civilian warfare. Ideologically, a chauvinistic Palestinian nationalism has combined with Islamist fanaticism to oppose the right of Jews to enjoy sovereignty anywhere in this land.

This bleak picture will change only when the Palestinian leadership acknowledges and internalizes Israel’s legitimacy and re-educates its people toward the idea of coexistence – the sooner the better for their sake and ours.


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