What Does “Peace” Mean to a Terrorist?

This is one of the fundamental asymmetries that have persisted for decades in the Middle East: to Israelis, “peace” means what it does here, in the U.S. A time to relax, to raise a family, to focus on one’s job; to take up a hobby or two. A time that one hopes will last forever. But for Islamic terrorists, “peace” means something quite different–more like a time out in a football game, if football were fatal. A time to prepare for war.

A Reuters reporter got a tour of a Hamas tunnel in Gaza. Hamas organized the tour in order to show that Israel hadn’t demolished all of its tunnels. The whole account is interesting, but what struck me forcibly was the conclusion:

In the tunnel, a Hamas fighter said the group would press on with restocking its arsenal or rockets and other weaponry and shoring up its underground network.

“In peace we make preparations, and in war we use what we have readied,” he said.

It is, of course, impossible to make peace with people for whom “peace” is merely an opportunity to get a jump on the next war.


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