Unless you either despise American television programming as much as I do, or have been hibernating in a cave for the past few years, you must have noticed a renewed interest in Seventies’ nostalgia in the entertainment besotted United States. From Watergate to Lava lamps to bell-bottom jeans, Boomers and their unaccomplished offspring have been wolfing down this garbage in the same voracious manner by which millions consume high sodium, high cholesterol, and polyunsaturated fats-laden hamburgers. But there is another part of the Seventies that Fox TV and other purveyors of cathode-ray eye candy tend to ignore: the wave of retail terrorism and the subsequent use of wholesale State terrorism to combat it that marked the “decade of terrorism.” If recent reports* emanating from the Middle East are credible, and there is no reason to assume they are not, we appear headed backwards to a period when oppressed national minorities were left no recourse but the smoking end of a gun barrel. If Israel launches a threatened Blitzkrieg to crush the Palestinian Authority and drive its military and civilian leadership into exile, then a new generation of Palestinian activists will absorb the lesson that armed struggle succeeds only when you are in a position of strength.
The history of previous efforts at national liberation all bear out this sobering fact: The oppressors will not negotiate away power unless to do otherwise will result in a prolonged, never ending war of attrition.
The French, Americans, and Afrikaner South Africans did not abandon their respective counterrevolutions in Algeria, Indochina, and Namibia and Angola because of a collective “change of heart.” Neither did the fascist oriented Argentine military junta surrender power to an internal democratic process after a military triumph. No, they did so after a military defeat in the Falklands/Malvinas’ War in 1982 convinced Argentina’s elites that they could not continue with generals who botched both the economy and war effort. In all cases, the dominant power could not defeat the rebels or win the war; “peace talks” were the only way out.
El Salvador’s US-trained and equipped army, noted more for its massacres at El Mozote and San Salvador, and its linkage to the Manos Blanco and similar death squads, arrived at the peace table after its overblown sense of power was tabled by a powerful FMLN rebel offensive in October 1989. And the Soviets’ withdrawal from Afghanistan was the result of one too many MI-124 helicopter gunships brought down by the Afghan resistance’s Stinger missiles than because of newfound wisdom by Gorbachev.
A new generation of Palestinian resistance fighters will emerge from the ashes of Israel’s soon-to-be launched Blitzkrieg. And they will absorb the bitter lesson that a famous revolutionary learned as a firsthand witness to the CIA-orchestrated coup that overthrew Guatemala’s social democratic government of Jacobo Arbenz in 1954. A young Argentine doctor and idealist sojourner for the poor named Ernesto “Che” Guevara was in Guatemala in 1954 when the Eisenhower administration, led by anti-communist stalwarts like Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and Vice President Richard Milhouse Nixon, urged the President to stem the “Red tide” in Central America (read Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer’s “Bitter Fruit”) The net result was a coup that overthrew that nation’s only democratically-elected President, and the creation of a succession of Central America’s most ruthless and murderous regimes as one Guatemalan military leader after another led their country into the funeral pyre. Over 250,000 Guatemalans lost their lives from 1954-1999. “Che” Guevara took with him the firm belief that social revolutionary movements could not achieve their goals and safeguard whatever gains they made unless they were willing to fight. In 1958, Che took this lesson with him to an island called Cuba and hooked up with a guy named Fidel. The rest is history.
What lessons will our present Palestinian neophyte activists take with them as they depart into yet another exile? Israel is about to spread the Palestinian rebellion into all corners of the Mediterranean, Southern European, and Middle Eastern regions. By kicking the hornet’s nest, Israel will destabilize this entire region. And with such an act, we will see the return to those days in the 1970s when airlines, sporting events, airport terminals, and any number of public venues became center stage for the Israel-Palestine conflict. Jewish schools, community centers, and institutions throughout Europe and perhaps even in the United States, will undoubtedly become targets for the next generation of utterly disillusioned and embittered Palestinian rebels. And the United States and European nations that essentially sat on their collective hands while Israel prepared and then launched Nakba III will bear the bloody costs as they once did in places like Munich, Rome, and Vienna, the latter two hit in 1986 but make no mistake that these were legacies of the 1970s. Israel will again face cross border attacks from Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan ï¿½ the Palestinian people of Jordan will not stand for a prostrate King who suckles the US she-wolf while selling out their cause ï¿½ so that the days of Ma’alot, Tel Aviv, and Lod airport massacres can once again be relived.
And what of the Western world’s next wave of anti-terrorist responses? We have already seen a preview in the manner by which Italian police reacted to the anti-Globalization protesters in Genoa, Italy this past week. Will we be subjected to another round of “anti-terrorism” campaigns that do nothing but further erode our democratic liberties? Will counter-terrorism pundits in the mold of the late Claire Sterling, the fraudulent Michael Ledeen, the ubiquitous Robert Kupperman and Brian Jenkins show their mugs again on Nightline and elsewhere? Will airline passengers once again have to worry about more than lost luggage and delayed flights?
Will we have assorted pro-Palestinian Leftists and Anarchists running wildly through airport terminals, guns blazing and grenades flying everywhere? Or airliner planes, emptied of their passengers and crews, being blown up on a runway as what happened in Jordan in 1970? Is this what Israel wants?
Go ahead Israel, kick the hornet’s nest, disperse the Palestinians once again, and destroy any chances for a real peace, not the fraud of Oslo, and see if you and everybody else who waxes nostalgically for the Seventies will not soon be watching re-runs of that other Seventies’ show.
* A number of reports indicate that Israel is about to launch a major attack on the PA in the event of one more major suicide bombing. Other reports have the Israeli Army opening up recruitment offices throughout the United States.
Mr. Michael Lopez-Calderon taught High School Social Studies in Miami, Florida for seven years until March 2, 2001, when he was asked to leave the Jewish Day school where he had taught for the past five years. Michael was asked to leave for having posted pro-Palestinian comments on Palestine Media Watch’s subscriber-only e-mail. He remains an activist in the Miami area.