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War Watch
First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
By Orson Scott Card April 1, 2002

According to Arabicnews.com, "The Saudi Arabian minister of defense, prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz," says that what "Israel is doing is a violation to international norms and resolutions, while it Israel is carrying out the ugliest crimes in the life of humanity and therefore the whole world should take a united position towards this barbaric onslaught."

Let's see. In the "life of humanity" we've had death camps. Can't recall hearing about Israeli death camps where they slaughter Palestinians.

In the "life of humanity" we've had the deliberate starvation of millions of freeholding kulaks in Ukraine by Stalin's government. But I've never heard of any Israeli campaign to starve Palestinians.

In the "life of humanity" we've had Serbs and Croats driving out their native-born citizens who have suddenly been declared "foreigners" in programs of ethnic cleansing. But the Israelis have not been expelling West Bank and Gaza Strip residents.

In the "life of humanity" we've had Hutus take machetes and slaughter men, women, and children of the Tutsi tribe in an effort to exterminate them completely.

We do have that sort of thing going on in Israel -- but it's being done by Palestinians against Israelis, where suicide bombers have killed babies in strollers, guests at a bar mitzvah, elderly people out shopping for food, solely for the "crime" of being Jews in the land that everyone on God's green Earth knows is the homeland of the Jewish people and has been since long before the Arabic language was ever spoken on that soil.

But the Saudi minister of defense -- all of whose weapons come from the United States -- says that "Israel is carrying out the ugliest crimes in the life of humanity."

Saudi Arabia is our "friend."

Saudi Arabia gives special treatment to the families of suicide bombers when they come on pilgrimage to Mecca.

How is that different from Saddam's payment of blood money -- ten thousand dollars to the families of suicide bombers?

And how does that square with President Bush's statement that any nation that harbors or aids or supports terrorism is our enemy in this war?

Palestinians have been offered many chances to have peace and a sovereign nation, but they have refused those chances because they don't want anything less than all the land of Palestine from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. And they wouldn't mind having all the Jews' dead bodies to carpet that land for them when they take it back.

What the Palestinians have shown is race hatred and a program of genocide. But throughout this process, they have constantly accused Israel of precisely the things that the Palestinians are doing.

When Palestinians slaughter civilians, they accuse Israelis of slaughtering civilians.

When Palestinians plan genocide against Jews, they introduce resolutions in the U.N. declaring Zionism to be a form of genocide.

And the Arab world supports the Palestinian program.

My question is: What happened to all our resolution after we discovered Hitler's hideous attempt at genocide? Never again! we cried.

But it happened again in Bosnia, and we did nothing. In Rwanda, too, and we did nothing.

And it's happening today in Canaan, with Palestinians carrying out a genocidal assault against Jews. President Bush had the decency to stop trying to keep Sharon from protecting his own people -- but the American press and the American Left are still blaming America and Israel for the crimes of Palestinians.

There were alternatives, you know. Peaceful demonstrations, strikes, non-cooperation -- the tools Gandhi used to win Indian independence -- would have worked on the Israeli conscience and the Palestinians would have had a state long ago (as pointed out by NYTimes columnist Tom Friedman).

But they don't want a state, they want a victory.

And so the only thing that will stop them is not negotiation, but utter and absolute defeat.

We seem grimly determined not to remember any of the lessons of World War II.

British Prime Minister Chamberlain sought peace by handing Hitler Austria, then Czechoslovakia.

So likewise the Western nations, along with the peace-loving majority of the Israeli people, have tried for thirty years to appease Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian terrorists by giving them concession after concession.

We now know that whenever the British appeased Hitler, he became furious, because they were depriving him of the war he craved so much.

Apparently, Yasser Arafat feels the same way.


A group of forty pro-Palestinian foreigners got inside Arafat's headquarters on Sunday, and most of them have stayed, apparently to create a human shield, so that if Israel does storm his office, there will be plenty of dead bodies of "non-combatants" to create hideously bad press for Israel.

I don't think they realized what they were confessing about Arafat and Israel by taking that action.

We Westerners are surprised and outraged when Israeli action kills civilians because we expect better of them. We know that they recognize our standards of civilized behavior and we are upset when it even appears that they haven't followed them.

Those foreign supporters of Arafat are counting on that. That's what they are offering to die for -- the outrage of the world, and of Israeli public opinion, if it can be made to seem that Israel killed noncombatants.

But nobody expects civilized behavior from Muslim Arabs. After all these years of terrorism by people who supposedly serve Allah and obey the Qur'an, we have been trained to accept this as "business as usual."

Nobody is stupid enough to go over to Israel and stand around among crowds of Jews as a human shield daring a Muslim suicide bomber to come and blow them up -- because the world press wouldn't be shocked and outraged when it happened.

That is one of the ghastly side effects of what the Muslim people have been doing to themselves. The world already regards them as uncivilized barbarians -- even their supporters! Even those who argue in favor of their cause already hold them to the lowest of all possible standards and believe them incapable of any better behavior.

No one is surprised any more when Palestinians murder babies and old women, even though their survival as human beings is not being threatened by any enemy. But even the Palestinians and their supporters expect that Israelis will act like civilized people even as they fight for their very lives.

If I were a Muslim, in or out of the Arab world, I would be horrified and ashamed that this is how even their friends see Muslims now.


I'm not a Muslim, of course, but I'm a Christian who believed for many years that Israel had to perform the experiment and give the West Bank Palestinians the self-government that Jordan had refused to give them.

Well, Israel did it. Arafat was given the reins of government.

We've seen now what he does when he has power.

I believe the Israeli obligation is completely fulfilled. They have done everything that anyone could rationally expect them to do to bring peace.

On Fox News Monday morning I heard a pro-Palestinian DJ from some radio station say, "I don't know why they don't just give them back their land. That's all they want."

What an odd thing to say. Because, in fact, that statement could be made in favor of Israel, as well. Why don't the Palestinians just let them live in peace on land that is historically their own, from which they were expelled by a foreign conqueror? That's all they want.


Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian terrorist organizations have now declared that American citizens throughout the world are legitimate targets of murder and maiming.

That means your family and mine. Our children at school or at McDonald's or at soccer practice. Our elderly parents at the grocery store.

Please, let's not hear any more nonsense about appeasing these people. They have a taste for murder now. They like it. They're proud of it. And if their murders end up getting them what they want, why in the world do you think they would stop?

Instead, they would be imitated by every other group that thought they had a grievance against us.

Murdering civilians cannot be allowed to succeed, in Israel or anywhere else, because if it does lead to victory, it will become the main weapon of war used against us by everyone who thinks they have something to gain by attacking us.

If we support Israel now, and act decisively to crush terrorism wherever it is supported, we will, in the long run, be saving American lives.

But if we appease terrorism in Israel, we are, in the long run, encouraging the murder of American civilians in the future.

Civilization itself is at stake. This is not an alarmist thing to say, it's a simple and obvious fact. Even more obviously than in 1939, civilization is at stake.

And we're still wringing our hands and telling Ariel Sharon to show "restraint" in his defense of his people against monsters.

Copyright © 2002 by Orson Scott Card.

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