Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

How to Appease Muslim Terrorists

The Nazis used to say openly, 'we use democracy in order to destroy democracy.' Muslim terrorists and their international allies do not hesitate to use democracy in order to destroy it. Today, their 'Satan' is the U.S., Israel, or the promoters of the sin, 'The Western Civilization.' In order to stop them we must see reality from their vantage point, to expose their mind. It is the only way by which we can combat, challenge, thwart or prevent their wish to harm us.

Recently, an expert on terrorism who also published a book and worked in the prestigious National Security Council, Dr. Jessica Stern, published an op-ed in the New York Times (Feb. 28, 2001) entitled, Execute Terrorists at Our Own Risk. She called on America not to use the death penalty against any convicted terrorist.

For my point of view it is a call to 'appease' terrorists or potential terrorists. We tell them: "Go ahead, use our democracy, our law and order for your goals. We will never kill you." They who kill children and women, military and civilian people alike, have the right to kill but we, the victims or the potential victims, must obey the law and only put them in jails with the option of their friends blackmailing us. Many people, for a thousand and one reasons or motives, express their objection to the death penalty in principle. But Ms. Stern brings an old notion, an old argument: when you execute a terrorist, you created a martyr. (She said: "a risk") Yes, a martyr! Furthermore, she also argued that we should not have executed the American terrorist, McVeigh, because we create a martyr! Who will admire him as a martyr?

I do not understand why she discussed McVeigh together with the issue of Muslim terrorism. She wants to save, from execution, those terrorists who killed 242 people in Kenya and Tanzania. Some of them are on trial in our courts. There is always an element of revenge. When you punish a terrorist, you know that his comrades might act against you. There is an element of retaliation. But that is life. The legal system must function. Let's assume that these terrorists will be declared martyrs. So what? Furthermore, Ms. Stern, in her speculative op-ed, did not provide the reader with a good 'risk' or an example in which we suffer from 'martyrdom' of a terrorist who were executed or killed by a democratic agency or court. She only told us that Ben Laden is a hero in Pakistan. So what?

We know that many Muslim terrorists were executed in Arab countries. Are they martyrs? If there is a 'risk,' why do these countries not hesitate to execute terrorists? This so-called 'risk' or 'martyrdom' is not even a factor in their decision. Why? Because this 'risk' exists only in Ms. Stern's mind. Ms. Stern, who teaches at Harvard, expressed her feeling as to the recent Israeli policy against terrorism. She defined as 'unwise', Israel's preventive measures against terrorists. She called the targets of Israel's combat suspected terrorists. She did not agree with the Israelis that these terrorists were not just innocent victims. Should we conclude that Ms. Stern is against measures of counter-terrorism? I, by my intuition, feel that she would have answered: "Yes, I am against it." But how could she discuss this issue? Is she familiar with the recent situation in Israel?

First, should we wait until the terrorist attacks us, in Israel or in this country? Second, the recent event in Israel demonstrated her myopic idea. The terrorist is one who knows that he is a martyr. He might die, he might suffer, but he is already a martyr. He is often just a walking bomb. We must combat terrorism by all means. If we can legally execute a terrorist who committed mass murder, a serial killer, we should often use this option according to our law and order, according to our court. The 'risk' is very marginal. If the terrorists would like to retaliate they will with or without martyrdom.

Ms. Stern is not aware, like most of us, about the fact that the Israeli security agency had prevented thousands of potential terror cases in which some of the participants were released from jails and they came back and tried to commit more attacks on civilian targets. According to Ms. Stern, we should act after the bomb has already exploded. Perhaps she has alternatives for preventing terrorism. So the outcome of her op-ed can only contribute to the 'appeasement' of terrorists.

Ms. Stern ignored the reality of life in Israel when she was critical as to the Israeli policies far away from the 'ivory tower' of Harvard. She ignores the fact that the terrorist, like Mr. Arafat, is a genius when using our weakness for his plans. They hate us. They hate our civilization. They admire Iran and its values! They are Muslims, fundamentalist ones! Some of them use terrorism in order to achieve their goals. They do not care about our values or courts. They are willing to die for their belief. But Ms. Stern wrote in her op-ed: "We must use the courts to make clear that terrorism is a criminal act, not Jihad, not heroism, not holy war." Give me a break: Ms. Stern will teach about democracy! She will explain to them: "You are criminals," (Bin Laden does not know that he is not a good boy but a criminal...) Ms. Stern will teach these sophisticated, motivated, tough terrorists about our beautiful values. Their success to 'punish' the 'Satan' - America, the fact that it is so hard to fight against them, their ability to attack targets (the 'Cole' case) demonstrates, first, the fact that they know everything about our life and values. They do not care about our legal systems or democratic courts. Second, it shows how Ms. Stern is unfamiliar with the reality of terrorism today. It shows also that Ms. Stern's 'appeasement' is a mistake, the wrong policy. History taught us that we democrats always pay for our need for 'appeasement' of any non-democratic force.

I am afraid that Ms. Stern represents a new non-violent approach, a moral one, in the field of combating terrorism and Muslim terrorism. By the way, we should praise the F.B.I. because as early as 1972 it established a special section of Arabic speaking experts who developed counter-terrorist measures in this country. As I said in the opening lines of this article, it is hard to combat terrorism in a democracy. But we are willing to pay its price. If we have the death penalty in our court system we should use it if we would like to against those terrorists who are guilty by law. Let us take the 'risk.' We always take 'risks' in our democratic system, the best one!

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