"There will be no peace in the Middle East unless freedom rather than despotism becomes the Palestinians' guiding philosophy." So writes Edwin Locke, Ph.D., Professor of Leadership and Motivation at the University of Maryland, and a member of the board of advisors of the Ayn Rand Institute, in an article last week. Excerpts:

"The actions of the two sides [Israel and the Palestinians] are morally opposite. Spontaneous civilian assaults aside, the Palestinians are the initiators of the violence - an indiscriminate violence in which they do not care whom they kill, whether soldier or child. Israel, in contrast, is acting in self-defense, in retaliation for such terrorism. And its response is aimed at those responsible for the violence and at the facilities from which they operate...

"The Palestinians are not seeking to gain their freedom - they are unequivocal enemies of freedom. They, along with the rest of the Arab world, reject the whole concept of rights. Virtually every Arab country is a monarchy, theocracy or military dictatorship. Freedom of speech, property rights, free elections, and the separation of church and state are almost non-existent. Speaking out against the rulers or against the Moslem religion leads to imprisonment or death. All attempts to start competing political parties are ruthlessly crushed.

"Israel is the sole country in that entire region that recognizes individual rights. It is the only Mideast country in which people are free to voice their opinions. The non-violent, non-PLO-supporting Arab who lives in Israel enjoys far greater freedom than he would in an Arab nation. It is an utter perversion for the collectivized, tribalist Palestinians to claim that they are acting in defense of rights, when their aim is to obliterate rights - the rights of Israelis as well as of Arabs.

"The fundamental goal of the Palestinians is destruction. They WANT their terrorist attacks to lead to retaliation, so that more of their people will become terrorists, so that more killing takes place, and so on, in an endless cycle of violence, resulting in death to as many people as possible. For example, the response of a father to the suicide-bombing act of his 23-year-old son, which killed three Israelis and injured 93 in downtown Netanyah last March, was: "I call upon all Palestinian youth to follow in his footsteps."

"...The Palestinians... are guilty of what Ayn Rand called "hatred of the good for being the good." They hate the Israelis not because of their vices, but because of their virtues - their ability to better their lives by embracing reason, science, technology and individual rights... The only way this conflict can be resolved, short of all-out war, is for a radical change in philosophy on the part of the Palestinians. They need to choose individual rights and a free society as their core political principle. If they don't, they will tragically get their death wish, and will bring about only further destruction. Until and unless that change occurs, our Mideast analysts should not ignore the morally antithetical premises governing the two sides of this conflict."