ahmadinejad mashaal 248 88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
The story of Samson, the great Israelite judge and hero, has delighted, inspired - and even shocked - readers for 3,000 years. Upon closer inspection of the text, there appear to be two Samsons in the legend. The first Samson is a brave and fearless warrior, able to slay 1,000 of his enemies with only the jawbone of an ass. The second Samson is desperate and weak, a prisoner of the Philistines, robbed by them of his strength and his sight, shackled and only able to take vengeance by toppling the temple of Dagon in Gaza and destroying himself in what could be labeled an ancient version of a suicide bombing.
In these days, Israelis represent the powerful and heroic Samson, while Hamas in Gaza represents the pathetic, desperate weakling of the Bible story.
Let us be honest and not blame the Jews of Israel for the desperate acts of Hamas. The Palestinians in Gaza today are desperate because they are prisoners of their own delusions and their own self-imposed culture of victimization. We all know that the issue for Hamas is not to end the occupation of Gaza - that ended a few years ago with unilateral withdrawal from the territory legitimately captured in the Six Day War. No, Hamas does not want to end the occupation. Hamas wants to end Israel's existence.
The Islamic fundamentalism that fuels Palestinian hatred of the State of Israel is based on the principle that Jews are inferior to Muslims because the infidels rejected Muhammad as the final prophet of God. A thriving State of Israel reminds Hamas every day that its existence has been a reality for 60 years and will remain a reality for another 600. The Palestinians do not want to return to the pre-1967 borders. Their demand and their actions indicate that their wish is to return to the 1867 borders - that is, a Middle East without Israel in a Muslim empire ruled by Shari'a.
The Palestinian leadership has never made it a secret that it wants the land "between the river and the sea" - that is, the Jewish state itself. On January 11, 2001, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, the mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine appointed by the Palestinian Authority, stated on Palestinian television that when his followers speak about Jerusalem, it does not mean they "have forgotten about Hebron or about Jaffa or about Acre... We have announced a number of times that from a religious point of view Palestine from the sea to the river is Islamic."
Did he speak for all Palestinians? Do all Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank dream of a Middle East without a State of Israel? We know that the Palestinian religious and political leadership - and Hizbullah and the president of Iran - envision a day when "the Zionist entity" will magically disappear.
YET, THEY live under a dangerous delusion. The Jews in the State of Israel, despite being victims of war and terror, do not seem to be leaving their homes in droves. Israel has the economy of a small European nation and is thriving as a democracy despite the corruption of its leaders.
Hamas's leaders must be blind. They do not have the eyes to see that the sustained bombing of Sderot has only produced human misery for Jews and for themselves. The Jews are fighting in Gaza. Innocent civilians die when Israel targets the terrorist infrastructure. Who is to blame for this crisis? Israel left Gaza long ago. This territory belongs to the Palestinians. Why in the world did Hamas fire rockets into Israel after it left?
The hate of Israel that results from their understanding of Islam blinds Hamas terrorists to a reality that must trouble them, gnaw away at their confidence and overturn their sacred understanding of history's rights and wrongs. Samson was seduced by the delusion of love and paid a high cost. The followers of Hamas are driven by the delusion of erasing the shame of 1948, and they cannot move beyond that.
I FIND it amazing and exhilarating that the Knesset could recently invite a leader of today's Germany to speak only 65 years after the Nazis destroyed two-thirds of European Jewry. The message of the invitation was not one of forgetting the Holocaust or forgiving the perpetrators and their collaborators. Rather, the Jewish state understood that it needed to overcome the psychology of the victim and display the dignity of a victor. The Arab world and the Islamic populations in the Middle East are, for the most part, still living in a 60-year-old world that they have not been able to surmount. For more than half a century the anti-Israel rhetoric in the Middle East has remained the same.
The Palestinians claim the moral high ground as the world's victims. They equate themselves with the powerless Jews of Nazi Europe to legitimize an anti-Semitic agenda. How pathetic these Samsons are, the Samsons clutching onto the pillar of the edifice with the sole yearning to bring the whole structure tumbling down on themselves and their enemies. It is a portrait of a people that is truly sad.
It is also a portrait of danger. If Sderot were the only issue in the war in Gaza, it would be disturbing but not alarming. But the alarm must be sounded. With Iran's pursuing the development of nuclear weapons, with Hizbullah dominating the government of Lebanon, with Hamas targeting larger cities in Israel's interior - this blindness to the reality of a thriving Israel poses a disaster to the world. Israel's enemies delude themselves into thinking it is on its last legs and about to topple into the sea. But as the war in Gaza has proven, Israel is ready to fight back and defend its sovereignty and its reality in history.
Let the Palestinians have their culture of victimization. We Jews have had enough of that. The time has come for all parties in the Middle East to open their eyes, assess the realities and move ahead toward a bright future.
The writer is on the faculty of Nova Southeastern University's Lifelong Learning Institute in Davie, Florida.