Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Creating a state the moral way

....We must no longer put up with the notion - prevalent not only in the Third World but also, unfortunately, in European countries - that the weak and occupied are not subject to any moral restrictions. The Jewish people and the State of Israel possess the utmost moral justification for such a demand: It is doubtful whether in the course of human history there has been another people like the Jewish people in the 20th century for whom achieving sovereignty was not just a matter of national honor and identity, but an existential question.

From a moral standpoint, the Jewish people's struggle for independence could have justified more far-reaching means than those employed by any other people. Despite that, most Jews chose to focus their efforts on constructive building of a nation and its defense, and the pre-state organizations that subscribed to 'armed struggle' (Etzel and Lehi) limited their terror to attacking British soldiers and institutions.

The only period in which the Etzel deviated from that rule was in the waning days of the 1930s 'Arab revolt,' when revenge attacks were launched against Arab civilians following attacks on Jews. Not only was that a strictly reactive policy, but those attacks were condemned by the vast majority of the Jewish public, and the Etzel itself ultimately desisted its attacks after a brief period.

Israel is fully within its moral rights to demand that the Palestinians restrict the methods of their struggle and to insist that the nations of the world address that demand with the Palestinians. Certainly, Israel should require the international community to accept its right to fight terrorism forcefully in line with the world's legitimate demand that Israel stop ruling over millions of Palestinians.