Thursday, April 17, 2008

Editor's Notes: It was always a jihad

The bleak bottom line, as far as historian Benny Morris is concerned, is that it's us or them.

Benny Morris.
Photo: Courtesy

The bleak emphasis, underlined in the concluding chapter of his new book, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War, is that we should have realized this all along, but are only now, after 60 years, internalizing it.

And Morris's bleak assessment of historical flux is that the odds of the Zionist enterprise prevailing in a region so ruthless, so hostile to Jewish sovereignty, so consumed by the perceived religious imperative to annihilate Israel, are "very poor."

Morris does have an optimistic caveat... if you consider a nuclear strike to offer any conceivable grounds for optimism. His dismal outlook, he says, is based on "the current situation and trends."

If, however, Israel resorts to the use of nuclear weapons to counter Iran's drive toward a nuclear capability, "this could put the fight out of radical Islam for a few generations. The Arab world could soften and move to the West."

But before you get too relieved, Morris adds another reservation: "Of course, it could go either way. It could make them more vengeful and aggressive."

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