For years, political scientists and anthropologists have contemplated, analyzed and debated whether there is a ‘clash of civilizations’ between the ‘developed world’ and the fundamentalist ‘Islamic world’ or whether the clash is ‘within the civilizations’ of Islamic states that suffer from an internal dissonance between those that want peace with the West and those that want war with the West.
The recent footage shown in Ramallah and Gaza of political leaders and their mobs, rejoicing the release of 26 convicted murderers, leads to the conclusion that it is neither the case of a ‘clash of civilizations’, nor a ‘clash within civilizations’, but rather a horrific case of lack in civilization.
Beyond being legally and morally despicable, the release of these murderers and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ demand to release additional child slayers, illustrates more than anything else that we are dealing with crude and uncivilized people. Surely, not partners for peace.
Abbas, who laid a wreath at Yasser Arafat’s grave immediately after the release of the terrorists, gave us an indication of who he truly is and what he really represents as he said he vowed to release all the incarcerated terrorists. What a shame that a generation of talks has been wasted with the PLO, instead of finding grassroots genuine representatives that do not have innocent blood on their hands. Those that think Palestinians cannot generate such leadership, or that it won’t be worth the wait, are wrong.
The early release of remorseless terrorists has proven time and again that it invites more terror. The Jibril terrorists released in 1985 formed the foundation for the first intifada in 1987, the PLO terrorists released after the ill-fated Oslo Accords of 1993 became the backbone of the bloody 2000 intifada and even some of those released in the recent Shalit Swap have returned to their old ways. It is only a matter of time, some signs show it to be a very short time, before some of the 26 terrorists released last week, will also return to terrorist activities.
Why would anyone truly interested in peace demand the early release of radical terrorists?
Abbas is not alone in his lack of civilization. State authorized slaying of citizens on the streets of Cairo is not a clash within civilizations – it’s a lack of civilization - even if the demise of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood is in the short-term interest of peace seekers.
The use of chemical agents by the Syrian army against its own citizens, and the killing of nearly 100,000 civilians, is not a clash within civilizations – it’s a lack of civilization - even if Syria’s preoccupation with al-Qaeda affiliates and Hezbollah’s involvement in the chaos leaves Israel’s Northern front relatively quiet.
Cynics will say that violence, persecution and terror are in the region’s DNA. That is nonsense at best or bigotry at worst. The Middle East needs civilized leaders. Until that happens, true peace will remain a forged dream.