ARLINGTON, Va. -- In the Bible's chronicle of the number of armed warriors who joined David at Hebron, there is this exquisite line: "All these men understood the temper of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take" (1 Chronicles 12:32).
For roughly 4,000 years there has been "unrest" and war in the Middle East. It possibly began when the ancient Israelites drove out the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. Modern Israel is attempting to drive out Hezbollah-ites, Hamas-ites, Islamic Jihad-ites and the rest.
Nothing has changed, except Israel may be in greater peril today than at any time in its modern history. That is because Israel, often under pressure from the United States, has bought into the fiction that says giving Israel's declared enemies the land they demand will cause those enemies to suddenly beat their swords into plowshares and study war no more. The more Israel gives, the more its enemies feel emboldened to take away. It's called appeasement, and it never works.
When Israel pulled out of Gaza, I predicted terrorists would move in and begin firing rockets into Israeli towns. It doesn't take someone with the vision of a biblical prophet to forecast the obvious. The rockets hitting Israel from Lebanon are coming from territory previously occupied by the Israel Defense Forces, which the IDF had entered in response to earlier shelling. Too many, whether in Europe, the worthless U.N., or the U.S. State Department - even many Israelis - do not understand the temper of the times.
Israel's enemies are all of the same piece by whatever name they call themselves. There are no "moderates," at least none who have the power to make peace. The idea of a "two-state solution" with a Palestinian state alongside Israel is a pipe dream concocted by secular Westerners. They accept a false doctrine that says the enemies of Israel (and America) can be placated by people they regard as "infidels."
Hezbollah runs a television station in Lebanon. A visit to the Middle East Media Research Institute's Web site found a number of interesting clips. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says, "We prefer death and martyrdom over American guarantees." Mr. Nasrallah survived an Israeli airstrike on his headquarters in southern Lebanon. He declared "all-out war" against Israel. There's a film for children that speaks of Jews turning into apes and pigs. Lebanese students at a Hezbollah TV symposium say, "we should fight the Jews and burn them like Hitler. Israel should be wiped off the map." The head of Radio Islam in Sweden said, on Hezbollah TV, "The Muslims' war is with the Jews." In Europe, Islamic influence is growing because of the spinelessness of government leaders.
There is another danger: the fantasy that elections will produce leaders within Islamic fanaticism who will be committed to real democracy, pluralism and tolerance. Last Friday, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman wrote: "What we are seeing in Iraq, the Palestinian territories and Lebanon is an effort by Islamist parties to use elections to pursue their long-term aim of Islamizing the Arab-Muslim world. This is not a conflict about Palestinian or Lebanese prisoners in Israel. This is a power struggle within Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq over who will call the shots in their newly elected 'democratic' governments and whether they will be real democracies."
It's not about "Islamizing" the Arab-Muslim world, but the entire world.
The turmoil in the Middle East will not stay in the Middle East. This is a world war, and the first shots have been fired in Europe and America.
The latest upheaval in the Middle East may subside, but the objectives of those whose aim is Israel's destruction will not. The enemies of Israel, Europe and America believe this is all-out war. The question is, do we understand the temper of the times?
Cal Thomas' syndicated column appears Wednesdays in The Sun. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.