Tuesday, February 08, 2005

What's in a name?

Now that the hostilities between the Israelis and Palestinians are officially (if not practically – a completely different matter) over, the Jerusalem Post has opened to the public a question it posed to Israeli thinkers a couple of years ago: What should we call the past four years of violence?
The Al Aksa Intifada is, of course, the name the Palestinians gave it and reflects only their own propaganda, that this war was sparked by Ariel Sharon’s visit to Temple Mount in September 2000. To use this name would simply perpetuate the mistaken idea that the Israelis were to blame for its outbreak.
As the Post points out, any name involving the word ‘intifada’ also serves to further the Palestinian agenda, by making it seem that the past four years were an uprising against Israeli occupation – which we know could have been solved peacefully in the summer of 2000.
Popular suggestions on the Post website include ‘the Oslo War,’ ‘Arafat’s War’ and ‘The Terror War.’
Of the three, I would go for ‘Arafat’s War,’ as I believe the conflict was driven by and masterminded personally by him. But since we’re being asked to be creative here, I also have another suggestion: ‘The Second War of Attrition.’
After all, that was the grand Palestinian plan: to wear Israel down with ongoing guerrilla warfare, undermining the Israeli economy and morale until at last, in sheer fatigue, the country caved to Palestinian demands (or collapsed altogether). This was their aim and strategy, what the last four years were really about; terror was simply their method.
What would you call it?

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