The stalemate that followed Israel’s convincing victory in the Six Day War produced a new Arab organization, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Its leader, Yasser Arafat, represented a radicalization of the Arab position. Since the Arab countries no longer believed that they could outright win a war with Israel, the PLO would fight the war with its own tactics in its own way. The Israelis did not, initially at least, take the PLO very seriously.
However, Arafat and his cohorts embarked on a campaign of terror that made sure everyone knew of their existence.
The most highly publicized event took place in September 1970 when armed Arab terrorists simultaneously took over three commercial airliners and brought them to Jordan. They then separated the Israelis and Jews from the non-Jews and kept them hostage in the hot desert for many days. It only ended when King Hussein of Jordan moved against the PLO because he was convinced they were going to dethrone him. Fighting between PLO forces and Jordanians broke out in the streets of Jordan.
The Jordanians finally drove the terrorists out of Jordan, and the PLO called it “Black September.” Nevertheless, the genie of terrorism was let out of the bottle, and no one has been able to put it back in again.
The Israelis retaliated, of course. However, the nature of a war on terror is that no matter how much one retaliates the war is never won. The most one can do is try to contain it and control to the extent one can, to minimize the casualties. After it seems over a new act of terror hits the headlines.
It seemed like every day the newspapers reported on fresh horror stories. Hijackings of planes, as well as buses in Israel, along with attacks on Israelis around the world became almost common occurrences. The prospect of gangsterism, the likes of which the world had imagined was a thing of the past, shattered the illusion that civilization had moved beyond the Middle Ages, with its kidnappings, random terror and cruelty. People in the 20th century somehow believed that the world had improved. Now, faced with the reality of modern terror, people understood that the world had really not advanced very far, if at all.
On September 11, 2001, America and the West were rudely introduced to this type of war — a war not about conquest, territory, trade or national honor (the time-honored usual reasons for war in the past), but a war for the preservation of the values of Western civilization. Until then, Israel had borne the brunt of this struggle against Arab-Islamic fundamentalism and terror.
It is true that there have been and there still are other terrorist groups operating in the world that are non-Muslim. Yet, in today’s world they are to a great extent, students and heirs of the Arab terror networks that have made unrelenting war against Jews and the State of Israel over the past century. It was Arafat and the PLO that brought to the world’s attention the gifts of plane hijackings, suicide bombers and random, indiscriminate terror against innocent civilians.
No amount of currently politically correct whitewashing and moral equivalency hand wringing can change those bald facts of history and life. The world needs to be reeducated to accepting the truth and seeing the real facts.
The world changed when Yasser Arafat became the father of modern terrorism, and today the specter of terrorism is now part and parcel of our lifestyle.