Monday, October 17, 2005
If I were anywhere in the vicinity of Mr. Beilin and a microphone when a terrorist attack occurs, I would immediately seek shelter before being trampled. The ironic and Pavlovian jerk of Mr. Beilin's knee is as powerful as it is predictable:
Meretz-Yahad Chairman MK Yossi Beilin lambasted on Monday the government's reaction to the shooting attack in Gush Etzion that killed three and wounded another seven on Sunday, saying it was playing into the hands of the Palestinian terrorists.
'The government's reaction is the Pavlovian reaction, the much expected reaction which plays exactly to the tune of the Palestinian terror groups,' Beilin told Israel Radio.
It must be frustrating to stand in Mr. Beilin's shoes, seeing so clearly all that uncoddled terrorism yet unable to spoon-feed it anything but his own weak complaints.
Instead of tightening cooperation, Beilin said, "[Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon cancels meeting with [PA Chairman] Mahmoud Abbas, [Defense Minister Shaul] Mofaz ends all defense cooperation with the Palestinians, we're bringing back the curfews and the roadblocks."
This in turn, Beilin said, increases hatred and will for revenge among Palestinians." The Hamas and Islamic Jihad are rubbing their hands with delight - this is exactly what they wanted to happen as a result of yesterday's attack."
"We are returning to 2002 2003 with eyes open wide before the mistake," he said, referring to the height of the second Palestinian intifada.
Mr. Beilin, should ask himself if Osama Bin Laden was merely enraged into a 9-11 frenzy by those few retaliatory, sand-thumping cruise missiles of the late 90's. Or whether he was instead more emboldened by the West's weak and ineffectual response. He might say it's just a difference in world-view, with the wise on one side and fools on the other; I wouldn't disagree. But he should notice there isn't a society in the world that prospers by rewarding violent and criminal behavior.
He might be confused by the political games he mistakes for the real world, where obstreperous and misbehaving parties torpedo each other's initiatives, only to be bribed into the opposing camp the next time. Terrorists aren't playing that game, so neither can we. At least not until they've been defeated at their deadly game.
Doubtless, Mr. Beilin could take the cheap way out by simply characterizing my criticism of his knee-jerk as further Pavlovianism. But I would of course reserve the right to respond in kind.