On Sunday, Tarazi circulated her thoughts on this most recent exchange, engaging in even more moral equivalence between accepted methods of warfare between nation-states and terrorist activities by Palestinians. She responds by stating that these terrorist organizations are “guerrilla groups” and are engaged in legitimate resistance. The letter to the editor she is responding to, “Israel within rights to protect itself”, said:
I respond to the Aug. 20 letter “Authorities should not advocate violence,” from [CAIR national vice chairman] Ahmad Al-Akhras. He seems to have a double standard: It’s OK for Hamas to throw rockets into Israel at civilian targets, but not OK for Israel to retaliate against that terrorist group, whose aim is to destroy the Jewish state. . .In his authoritative book on guerrilla warfare, Insurgency and Terrorism: Inside Modern Revolutionary Warfare, Bard O’Neill distinguishes guerrilla campaigns from terrorist activity in that “its primary targets are the government’s armed forces, police, or their superior units, and in some cases, key economic targets, rather than unarmed civilians.” (p. 26)
When HAMAS and Palestinian Islamic Jihad sends suicide bombers into a crowded pizza parlor or a city bus; or as we saw this past weekend, fires a missile into a day care center compound; they are not engaging in guerrilla tactics but terrorism. It is profoundly troubling that CAIR officials continue to miss this crucial difference and attempt to paint terrorism as legitimate resistance. Isn’t this unqualified equivalence between warfare and terrorism that CAIR officials desperately profess they don’t make, and yet resort to almost constantly when pressed on this point?
Tarazi also fails to acknowledge that Palestinians have repeatedly tried to unsuccessfully use military means to destroy Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973, which is slightly more than the “ethnic group” conflict she describes. In her message reprinted below she leaves open the question of whether Israel is a nation-state at all, and also characterizes Palestinian terror attacks as “minuscule”:
Asalaam alaikum to all,We are seeing a pattern develop amongst these extremists: what they say publicly (e.g. peddling themselves as “interfaith” or “human rights” activists”) is entirely different from what they say amongst themselves privately.
We now have a response to Ahmad’s article two weeks ago, Monday letter. Points to note: Ahmad was using facts to demonstrate that there are extremists advocating violence against civilians on both sides of the Palestine/Isreal [sic] conflict. The writer of this response does not see that he had a balanced article. The concern is not which region has a better government, Ghaza or Isreal [sic], or that Isreal [sic] has the right to protect itself. I will make a few points. I hope someone can write effectively to respond to this letter.
If Isreal [sic] is a sovereign state, for almost 60 years it has not been accepted or recognized by the people it surplanted [sic], no matter how harshly it has implimented [sic] ethnic intimidation, ethnic cleansing of areas, and massive retaliation against civilians in response to the attacks by guerrilla groups. Shock and awe campaigns like Hiroshima and Dresden are only good as war tactics for the immediate psychological impact and, if they do not create quick capitulation of the enemy, they are worthless. (I’m ignoring the whole argument of the morality of these campaigns.) Though they could theoretically be repeated over and over, if the enemy refuses to give in, they would eventually result in genocide, an unacceptable outcome.
If Isreal [sic] has the right to self defense, so do the Palestinians. They do not have the weapons of Isreal [sic], but there is no peace treaty or agreement. It is a double standard to claim that Israel has the right to conduct war and cite Hiroshima as justification for killing civilians among the enemy fighters, and cry foul when Palestinians attack in what ever miniscule [sic] way they find available.
World War II was a large conflict involving nation states and armies in uniform. The Palestinian/Israeli conflict is about two ethnic groups fighting over the same land. The Israelis have created a state and army but the Palestinians have yet to truely [sic] do so. Palestinian fighters are guerrilla groups. This is a different kind of warfare and takes different methods.
While in history we can find examples where ethnic cleansing and genocide took place, the modern world does not accept these methods of warfare any more. Where populations were willing to accept any sacrifice and not give up their fight, these are the only tools available to the military to end the conflict permanently. Examples are Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kurdistan, and others.
Since these two tools are no longer available to civilized countries, the only true means of achieving peace is through diplomacy. With entrenched positions on both sides of the Palestinian/Israeli conflicts, the moderates of both sides need to come together. Each side must work to silence or ignore its own extremist elements if peace is to be achieved, and a win/win compromise must be reached, where each side feels it is giving up the crown jewels perhaps, but where the solution to the conflict is finally seen as worth the sacrifice.
Since Palestinians have been suffering the most throughout the 60 years, they will have the most to gain in a peace settlement, if it gives them enough to ensure that the majority will accept it, and may be seen as “the winners” because of this, but Israelis will have to look at the long term challenges of water shortages, increasing Arab-Israeli population and the long term gains to be made by coming to peace with its neighbors.
The psychological scaring of people that has already occured [sic] will take a few generations to overcome. We have only to see the psychological scaring [sic] of African Americans and Native Americans that still exists because of the history of oppression these groups have undergone in history. It is inevitable that both Jews, with the scars of oppression brought from Europe, and Palestinians, with the scars of oppression from Israeli occupation, will have a hard road to learn to live together in peace.
Again, my continued thanks to members of the local Muslim community who are willing to pass along these messages in concern for the extremist elements that have falsely claimed leadership as spokesmen for all Muslims in our area. It is only through the cooperation of Muslims and non-Muslims alike that we will be able to confront Islamist extremism in Central Ohio.