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June 23rd, 2017

Insight

Beyond belief

Paul Greenberg

By Paul Greenberg

Published May 9, 2016

 Beyond belief

"War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."

--George Orwell, "1984"

Nothing changes except the date on the calendar, as an old buddy of ours used to say. For how many times by now have we been told that, if only the Israelis would let up, so would their Arab neighbors?

Again and again. Except this time those are not Arab armies threatening to overrun the Jewish state's indefensible borders but a newer, younger breed of fanatics who call themselves jihadis and give their bloodthirsty cause a religious coloration, namely blood-red. Now it's Islam they claim to be representing, not some secular cause or another. They call themselves martyrs instead of soldiers and proudly go to their deaths in Allah's name -- when they're not filling Israeli jails.

Remember that these are just kids who have been recruited, trained and dispatched to kill themselves and as many others they can take with them. Even if our president dares not even use the term Islamism but prefers to talk about Overseas Contingency Operations. It's all enough to make one wonder just who's out of touch with reality here.

These Arab teens may be bent on suicide/homicide, but they know the meaning of simple words. Like life and death, and rather than disguise their murderous intentions behind word games, they but do their best (or worst) to carry them out -- and succeed at an appalling rate, invading one Israeli town after another to terrorize and be terrorized.

No, this time the killers aren't reporting to Big Brother, but following their own twisted consciences. They've gone from throwing stones at Israeli soldiers and settlers to donning suicide vests and blowing up themselves and all around them. It is not an improvement.

According to the Israeli police, a good third of the Arab teens who struck targets in Israel or on the West Bank during the past few months were only 16 to 20 years old, and a tenth were 15 or even younger.

Cambodia's killing fields had nothing on these juvenile marauders. The question, one Israeli official asks, and he knew the answer full well, is "why are so many Palestinian children being dispatched to murder Israelis? The answer is they are being brainwashed by their leaders." Simple enough, devastating enough.

Consider the case of 12-year-old Dima, who was diagnosed as hyperactive in school, but didn't need a shrink so much as an exorcism. For she grew obsessed with the Palestinian attackers she saw on Al-Aqsa television, an arm of Hamas, and became determined to imitate them. And did. So she stuffed a butcher knife under her long school skirt -- modest dress is still an unbreakable commandment in the Middle East -- and off she went to gaily slaughter the innocent.

Young Dima strolled from her home in Halhoul to nearby Karmi Tzur, where she was hoping, she said, that a guard would stop and search her -- so she could stab him up close and personal. Instead, she claimed, all he did was tell her to sit down, and so she did. Obedient as a schoolgirl. Child killers are no novelty in this terrorizing and terrorized world, but seldom are they said to be the product of a "peace" movement. She dreamed of being a martyr, but only got herself arrested.

When she got home, Dima was hailed as a heroine in the Palestinian resistance and given a reception in the governor's office at Tulkarm (a notorious center of guerrilla attacks for years before and after Fatah took root on the West Bank). Balloons were released in her honor. And an elaborate convoy of honking cars and troops, usually reserved for wedding ceremonies and other festive occasions, circled through the town square.

Hip, hip, hooray! En route round and round, Princess Dima posed like a beauty queen and held up the same photograph of herself she'd posted on all the usual social media sites, saying she'd gone to the Israeli settlement with no object in mind except to kill Jews.

If you have a problem keeping up with all this -- and what sane, civilized observer wouldn't? -- just remember that war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.

After that, you should have no problem avoiding the Thought Police or thought crime in general. Once you've had a little training, or rather a lot, none of this will be foreign to you. For when words lose all meaning, meaning loses all words. Then you'll be right at home in this topsy-turvy world where all is reversed, as in a fun-house mirror.

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Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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