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    Missile Defense

Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars" defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an application of science be successful? Is a militarized space inevitable, necessary or impossible?

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lchic - 10:12am Apr 6, 2002 EST (#1142 of 1148)


    If Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon succeeds in murdering Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, as he wants to, the Palestinian leader will remain in the collective memory of his people, and the whole Arab world, like Moses in Jewish memory.
    Moses rebelled against Egyptian oppression, led his people forth from "the house of bondage," led them for 40 years in the desert, made a new people out of them and brought them to the threshold of the Promised Land. He did not enter the land itself God only showed it to him from afar. That will be told about Arafat, too, if he becomes a martyr now.
    Moses is, of course, a mythological figure. No serious scholar in the world believes that the exodus from Egypt really happened. But that is not really important: the mythological Moses shaped the consciousness of the Jewish people more than any flesh-and-blood leader of a nomad tribe in the desert could have done.
    The Haggada, the book read on Passover's eve by almost every Jewish family throughout the world, commands us to feel as if we ourselves had set forth from Egypt.
    The basic Jewish ethos is built on this premise. The text of Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5 explains why on the holy Sabbath the servants and slaves must be allowed to rest, too: "Remember that thou wast a slave in the land of Egypt."
    In the new myth that is being born before our eyes, Sharon is the Pharaoh and we are the ancient Egyptians. In the story about the Exodus, the Bible lets God say: "I have hardened [Pharaoh's] heart and the heart of his servants."
    After every calamity that befell him, Pharaoh broke his promise to free the Israelites. Why? What was God's purpose? He wanted the Israelites to become hardened by the hardship, before they started on their long march. This is what is happening to the Palestinians now.
    So what will happen if an Israeli bullet kills Arafat now? After Moses, no second Moses appeared, but Joshua, the merciless warrior who committed genocide. (This, by the way, is also a myth. Serious scholars do not believe that this holy genocide actually happened.)
    After Arafat, the heir will not be Abu-this or Abu-that. It will be Brother Kalashnikov like the song we used to sing in our youth, during the fight against the British occupation: "Give the floor to Comrade Parabellum, Give the floor to Comrade Tommy-gun." A parabellum was a pistol, a tommy-gun a sub-machine-gun.
    There will be no Palestinian Quisling and if a candidate could be found, he would be killed the next day, like Sharon's Lebanese Quisling, Bashir Gemayel.
    Dozens of local guerrilla leaders will take over, and they will start a campaign of revenge that could go on for many years, not only in the country, but also throughout the world.
    The life of every Israeli will become hell. The entire world will become a Jerusalem-style Ben-Yehuda street. No Israeli embassy, no airplane, no tourist will be safe.
    The dead Arafat will be by far more dangerous than the living Arafat. The living Arafat is able and willing to make peace. The dead Arafat cannot. He will eternalize the conflict.
    In our days, historians wonder what folly took possession of the Jewish people 1,930 years ago, causing them to start a hopeless rebellion against the Roman Empire, bringing utter destruction upon the Jewish commonwealth in Palestine.
    A hundred years from now, historians will ask themselves what folly took possession of this people, causing it to elect Sharon, a bloody person who has not done anything in life apart from shedding blood and establishing settlements.
    What folly took possession of this people, causing it

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