The Deadly Zionists

Rise and Kill First, The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations, Ronen Bergman, 2018

Yasser Arafat; Israeli target or partner?

This is a 600 page history of Israel’s intelligence and defense communities and their covert operations. In its history Israel has carried out more than 2,300 targeted assassination operations. By comparison, George W Bush authorized 48, and Barack Obama, the assassin in chief, authorized 353.

Ariel Sharon Leads Troops into Lebanon 1982

Israel has been involved in several wars: the 1949 Arab attempts to eliminate Israel; the 1956 war; the 1967 war which resulted in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, The Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula; The Yom Kipper War of 1973; the invasion and occupation of Lebanon in 1982. Israel won every contest.
So with all this success, is Israel safer and more secure? No. Occupation leads to resentment leads to terror attacks.

Indeed, in many respects, the story of Israel’s intelligence community as recounted in this book has been one of a long string of impressive tactical successes, but also disastrous strategic failures.

The First Palestinian Intifada (suicide terror attacks against Israeli citizens) started in 1987 and was a spontaneous reaction to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. While the PLO claimed to be leading the uprising they were not in fact. It was a new group of fundamental Sunni Palestinians that called themselves Hamas. A second Palestinian Intifada started in 2000 in reaction to a visit by Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount. This time the reaction and acts of suicidal terror were initiated by Hezbollah, a fundamental Shiite Palestinian group. Both groups would receive arms and other assistance from Egypt, Syria, and Iran to support their terror attacks.

The Israelis that made up the intelligence community and the military leadership were selected and advanced because they were ideological Zionists; believers that Jews have a divine right to create a Jewish religious state in the holy land, formerly known as Palestine. They took two lessons from the Holocaust; first, assimilation of Jews into other societies does not work, Jews will always be outsiders; and second, Jews must never be passive again as they were in Europe under the Nazis; they must be tough, aggressive, and always act first; hence the title of this book “Kill First”. Indeed, with the exception of the war of 1949 and the Yom Kipper war, Israel was the first aggressor, gaining enormous advantages from the surprise attacks.

In their attempts to control and suppress their occupied territories, Israel is now losing international support and approval. Will the international community impose boycotts and sanctions like those that brought down the apartheid regime in South Africa?

One theme of the book deals with Israeli efforts to forestall the development of nuclear weapons by neighboring countries. When Egypt started recruiting German scientists to help them develop a bomb, the Israels responded by killing some and threatening others. It worked and Egypt gave up. Iraq under Saddam Hussein was more persistent. Even when Israel bombed an enrichment facility before it went online, Saddam persisted. Only when an international coalition joined to drive him out of Kuwait and impose sanctions and inspections did Saddam give up his efforts. When Syria got ready to bring its enrichment facility online, Israel destroyed it and Syria gave up its efforts. Israel also destroyed facilities in Iran and used a virus to destroy key equipment. There have been no retaliatory strikes as a result of these acts of war by Israel.

Another central story is the rise of Sunni based Hamas and Shiite based Hezbollah both supported extensively be Syria and Iran.

He concludes that Yasser Arafat, the self proclaimed leader of the Palestinian people and founder of the PLO was primarily concerned with maintaining his position as leader of the Palestinians without regard for the people he supposedly was leading. Israeli leaders alternated between attempts to assassinate him and attempt to negotiate peace with him. He escaped assassination numerous time often by seconds or inches. Like Geronimo, Arafat came to believe himself unkillable. No peace deal was ever struck with Arafat. When he became ill and went to France for treatment, he died of unknown causes. Bergman writes:

If I knew the answer to the question of what killed Yasser Arafat, I wouldn’t be able write it here in this book, or even be able to write that I know the answer. The military censor in Israel forbids me from discussing the subject.

The book is a page turner if you like murders. But with this one sentence, Bergman undermines his entire work. What else will the military censors not let him write?

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