(New Republic) Martin Peretz - The mutilation of the bodies of people who have been murdered in Allah's cause, like the four American civilians killed in an ambush in Fallujah last week, seemed to be a quite popular act. The onlookers, young and middle-aged, were ecstatic. In their blind sacred hatred, the killers, calling themselves the Brigade of the Martyr Ahmed Yassin, announced that this human debris of the slaughtered Americans was their "present to the Palestinian people." Yes, Hamas has made petrifying noises in the streets of Gaza proclaiming that the threshold of every Jewish home, in Israel and abroad, will be smeared with Jewish blood. But this is one of the ways Hamas and its supporters keep up their morale. Fantasy plays a role in every irredenta but never as large as the role it plays in the Palestinian irredenta. I know there would be much ululating from Palestinian women and even more firing in the air from Palestinian men if, by any chance, the Israelis decided to take Arafat out or, better yet, deposit him in France which richly deserves his presence. The Palestinians have had proposed to them over eight decades at least five partition plans, and, as it happens when you lose wars, each of them is worse for you than the last.

2004-04-09 00:00:00

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