October 05, 2003

Baathists Whine at the UN

Syria demands that the UN Security Council condemn Israel for defending itself by striking an Islamic Jihad training camp across the border. Israelis, naturally enough, think that's preposterous.

Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman, speaking after Mekdad, accused Syria of providing "safe harbor, training facilities, funding, logistical support" to terrorist organizations.

He said the strike was a "measured defensive response" and an act of self defense that did not violate international law.

He said it was ironic that Syria which Israel accuses of harboring terrorists, should call for a meeting to condemn the attack and compared it to Osama bin Laden demanding a Security Council meeting after the Sept. 11 attacks.

It will be interesting to see how the UN responds to this. Who will take the side of the Middle East's only liberal democracy? And who will take the side of the terror-sponsoring Baath Party regime in Damascus?

Posted by Michael J. Totten at October 5, 2003 10:18 PM
Comments

Yeah, intresting and who'll responce for all this violations happening in the world?!

Posted by: Lucy at October 6, 2003 02:02 AM

Yeah, that's the reasonable question!

Posted by: Michael at October 6, 2003 02:03 AM

"Who will take the side of the Middle East's only liberal democracy?"

Is that a joke? The United States is the only country to take Israel's side, and even we side with the Arabs more often than we should just to play that even-handedness game.

Why would you possibly expect the U.N. to judge an issue on its merits?

Posted by: Anne at October 6, 2003 03:30 AM

Who'll support Israel?

Why, Micronesia, of course.

Posted by: Joshua Harris at October 6, 2003 06:02 AM

It would be interesting, if only the outcome were uncertain. If a resolution is proposed in the Security Council, the US will veto. Instead, the General Assembly will surely pass a strongly worded condemnation of Israel and a warning not to threaten the sovereignty of Syria or any other Arab nation again. The joke is, of course, that in so passing a General Assembly resolution, the UN is acting to threaten the sovereignty of Israel, which should have the right to defend herself.

Posted by: Glenn at October 6, 2003 06:18 AM

The United States is the only country to take Israel's side

True. But it is only the military might, collective security and "Persian Gulf doctrine" imposed by the evil unilateralist hegemon that allows the kleptocracies to keep pumping and those high-minded Europeans to play the collaboratist part and dredge in the local sewers for what may turn out to be merely fool's gold. On the Syria question, the mix of incentives and disincentives in this game lead to only one possible response from the U.N.: more hypocrisy.

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at October 6, 2003 06:32 AM

I was hoping you'd have something to say about this today. As almost always is the case, you and I have a similar take on it. When I read on CNN this morning that Syria had taken the issue to the U.N., I said to my wife, "the U.N. will seek to actively oppose Israel on this one." That's my prediction. I'm sure many "stongly-worded" condemnations are already pouring out of the Euro leadership, effectively taking the side of terror over freedom.

Posted by: scotty the body at October 6, 2003 06:45 AM

I've no problem with the Syrian attack. I doubt it will do much good, but at least it probably won't create recruit more bombers to replace the dead one, which seem to be the main result of most Israeli reprisals.

The attached article, from today's Washington Post, describes what prompted the suicide bomber (a recent law school graduate) to undertake her mission. I hope some people question the efficacy of attempts to kill known or suspected lower level members of terrorist groups living within the territories. Does anybody see any strategic value in the killing the brother and the cousin of this woman back in June?

from "For 2 Families in Haifa, 3 Generations of Victims" by John Ward Anderson and Molly Moore

...on a day when the Israeli military had imposed its highest levels of closures on the West Bank because of the approaching Yom Kippur holy day, Jaradat made her way from Jenin to the coastal city of Haifa determined to seek revenge for the deaths of her brother, Fadi, and her cousin, Salah Jaradat, according to interviews with family members and neighbors.

Jaradat was the fourth female Palestinian to carry out a suicide bombing from among more than 100 bombers who have launched successful attacks in the three years since the Palestinians launched the current uprising against Israel.

At 9 p.m. on June 12, Fadi Jaradat, 23, a produce vendor who supported his ailing father, his mother and his siblings, stepped out the front door of his house with cups of thick, black Arabic coffee for his sister, Hanadi, his cousin, Salah, and Salah's wife, according to Thair Jaradat, Hanadi's 15-year-old brother.

Suddenly a Nissan truck approached the house on the dusty, narrow street in eastern Jenin. Israeli security forces wearing civilian clothing bolted out of the truck and opened fire, hitting Salah in the throat and Fadi in the abdomen, Thair said.

The security troops then dragged the two men into their jeeps, dumped their bodies at a checkpoint on the edge of town and told neighbors where to find the bodies, said Assad Zahi Zarour, 33, the Jaradats' next-door neighbor and owner of the house the family had rented for the last 18 years.

The Israeli military said the two men were Islamic Jihad activists.

Hanadi fainted and was hospitalized after the shooting, neighbors said.

When she returned home, "She had so much anger and was so bitter at the Jews, she couldn't even cry," said Anas Mohammed Jaradat, the woman's 14-year-old cousin.

"She recited the entire Koran four times for her brother," he said. "The night before she left, her sisters told me she spent most of the night reciting the Koran."

As soon as Hanadi Jaradat's family heard about the suicide bombing in Haifa on Saturday afternoon, they began calling her cell phone, according to Anas.

"When they heard it was a woman from Jenin, and Hanadi was still not answering her phone, the family suspected it was her," Anas said. "Before then, nobody suspected."

"She was a reason for pride for the whole neighborhood," said Mohammad Zarour, 20, also a neighbor. "Everyone was happy and proud of her."

THE ISRAELI HARDLINER'S BIGGEST LIE IS THAT PALESTINIANS (OR ARABS) "FEAR AND RESPECT ISRAELI FORCE". THEY DON'T. THEY LOATHE ISRAEL, BUT "THE FACTS ON THE GROUND" SHOW NO EVIDENCE THAT THEY FEAR OR RESPECT IT.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 6, 2003 07:03 AM

We should set up some sort of game of UN Lingo Bingo. You know, a grid of clichees such as "cycle of violence", "international law", "Arab street", "Hezbollah activists", "occupation/occupied territories" etc. Maybe the head of each each column would be a news source, in keeping with traditional bingo. This might be necessary, otherwise you might get BINGO by a single Reuter's dispatch that reads "The cycle of violence escalated today as the IDF, in violation of international law, attacked Hamas activists in the occupied territores setting off the Arab Street.

Posted by: George at October 6, 2003 07:06 AM

THE ISRAELI HARDLINER'S BIGGEST LIE IS THAT PALESTINIANS (OR ARABS) "FEAR AND RESPECT ISRAELI FORCE". THEY DON'T. THEY LOATHE ISRAEL, BUT "THE FACTS ON THE GROUND" SHOW NO EVIDENCE THAT THEY FEAR OR RESPECT IT.

That is not entirely correct.

Arab states certainly fear and respect Israel's military and its (formerly) realist foreign policy. Or else they would not consign themselves to coexisting with Israel, after expending extremely significant military assets in multiple attempts to eliminate the state. The only reason that the Arab league has given up on destroying Israel is because they do not want to be devastated by Israeli military supremacy. Instead, they employ terrorism. Terrorism is nearly as effective as direct military intervention, but without the risks of an Israeli victory. International opinion has prevented Israel from excising these terrorists from their harbors and safe-havens, and continues to constrain Israel from launching major combined arms operations against their national enemies (i.e. Syria, Iran, etc.). Syria would never, ever, even consider invading Israel. Why? Not because they no longer despise Israel, but because they would be totally annihilated by Israel's superior armed forces.

Many terrorist leaders also respect and fear Israel's military. Not the publicized ones, mind you, since anti-Israeli sentiment keeps them relatively safe, but the middle and upper level management. Israel is very consistent in launching decapitation attacks whenever possible, so they work hard to evade Israeli forces and protect themselves. Countless times Israel launches an airborne strike that knocks out a vehicle or a home, only to learn later that the terrorist was not present at that location. If they weren't afraid of Israel's military capabilities, why would they use decoys, rarely be at home, and work to evade assassination? They wouldn't. They work hard to protect themselves because they understand how effective Israel's assassination teams are, and respect the dominance of the Israeli military. By forcing them to keep their head down, Jerusalem hampers the terrorists' ability to organize against and attack Israel.

Finally we come to your typical Palestinian. I believe that it is self evident that they respect Israel's military - anyone would after seeing it in action. However, respect and fear are two different states of mind entirely. These young men and women have been indoctrinated into supporting terrorism. They are not scared because they have been manipulated into believing they will go to heaven once they die. They consider themselves martyrs making the ultimate, altruistic, benevolent sacrifice. Reality (the fact that they are nothing but pawns being slaughtered to advance the interests of the terrorist leaders) has been removed from them. So long as they see themselves as heaven-bound freedom fighters who are fighting for the purest of causes, nothing Israel does will stop them from rabidly and irrationally waging war against their "enemy."

If Israel stops using the military to eliminate any and all terrorists, they will simply be giving the terrorists free reign to increase the potency and frequency of their attacks tremendously. At least, by using the military, Israel forces the terrorists' heads down, and prevents countless attacks. And, frankly, I think the choice between fewer terrorist attacks or more terrorist attacks is clear.

Posted by: Joshua Harris at October 6, 2003 07:37 AM

It is true that Arab states respect Israeli military strength. My comments were directed at the Palestinian Arabs.

The test of whether "Israeli assasination teams" are effective is if their operations against "upper and middle level management" lead to organizational recruitment problems, and lead to the West Bank citizens directing their anger at their terrorist countrymen for endangering their lives. (Not all Palestinians are Islamists who believe in martyrdom. Not all terrorists are either -- for instance, the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigade and the Popular Front are both non-Islamic)

The alternative to "using the military to eliminate any and all terrorists" is not giving the terrorists "free reign", but rather continuing to use and improve Israeli intelligence which has in fact stopped many many attacks, while giving the Palestinian majority that does not belong to terrorist groups tangible incentives and rewards to reject terrorism.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 6, 2003 08:03 AM

It is nearly irrelevant what the near-irrelevant debating society may or may not do in this case.

Posted by: d-rod at October 6, 2003 08:16 AM

The test of whether "Israeli assasination teams" are effective is if their operations against "upper and middle level management" lead to organizational recruitment problems, and lead to the West Bank citizens directing their anger at their terrorist countrymen for endangering their lives.

No, it is not. There are two wars going on here - a war of ideas, and a war of destruction. Alienating the terrorists from regular Palestinians and hampering recruitment are fronts in the war of ideas. Assassinating terrorist leaders is a front in war of destruction. The primary goal of the assassinations is to degrade the ability of the terrorists to organize and launch terrorist attacks. It is also designed to cripple the effectiveness of the organizations through eliminating the cohesive forces that are able to channel the raw power of the group's assets into devastating attacks. In this respect, it has been successful. Israel has succeeding in disrupting terrorist attacks, and reducing the overall frequency of the attacks.

(Not all Palestinians are Islamists who believe in martyrdom. Not all terrorists are either -- for instance, the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigade and the Popular Front are both non-Islamic)

True. However, in both cases, it is not the root issue that is different, but its manifestation. Instead of using the Koran and martyrdom to cultivate and employ recruits, they use feelings of nationalism and the desire to improve life for their compatriots. The root cause is the same, but the method of getting the desired results in slightly different.

The alternative to "using the military to eliminate any and all terrorists" is not giving the terrorists "free reign", but rather continuing to use and improve Israeli intelligence which has in fact stopped many many attacks, while giving the Palestinian majority that does not belong to terrorist groups tangible incentives and rewards to reject terrorism.

I'm afraid I don't understand. Do you propose that Israel simply retreats from the occupied territories, and tries to stop terrorism internally? If so, than you must realize that without having to worry about Israeli attacks, the terrorists can easily build up a large and even more effective infrastructure. They can plan attacks and acquire material support without inhibition, and will be able to wage an offensive war without fear of retaliation. Furthermore, Israel cannot hope to stop all attacks internally. Even with the services of the Mossad (one of the finest intel outfits in the world, and one that can hardly be "improved"), they can only stop so many. Allowing the terrorists to plan out and execute more and more sophisticated and well supported attacks will drive Israel's economy into the ground. The only way Israel can stem the flow of terrorism is to attack the source.

Second, what incentives do you propose Israel offer? No incentives that I can think of will quell the tide of Palestinians joining terrorist organizations.

Posted by: Joshua Harris at October 6, 2003 08:27 AM

I wonder whether the woman's brother really was just a peaceful vegetable vendor. I suspect that Israelis have on accasion murdered (not just accidentally shot, but murdered) innocent Plaestinians -- the soldiers are wired up, people have been shooting at them, they decide to sow a little terror of their own and thereby cross over the line -- but becuase the Palestinian Authority is a corrupt dictatorship, there is no way to know for sure.

Remember the "atrocity" in Jenin? Remeber all of the lies from Arafat et al.? Because of this history, I tend to discount stories like "X was driven to martyrdom after seeing Israeli soldiers murder innocent civillians..." For all we know, she was driven to it by hearing some ranting mullah spew an unending stream of hatred and vile.

In the end, it all boils down to the argument that one side is no better than the other, and that Palestinian terrorism is counterbalanced by Israeli "terrorism." While I don't always agree with Israel's actions, I know which side is behaving in a civilized manner and which one isn't.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 6, 2003 08:38 AM

In the end, it all boils down to the argument that one side is no better than the other, and that Palestinian terrorism is counterbalanced by Israeli "terrorism."

Ahh! I see! Extensive, organized, premeditated, institutional terrorism against innocent civilians is morally equivalent to an individual soldier breaking down in a stressful combat situation. Right...

Posted by: Joshua Harris at October 6, 2003 08:51 AM

Joshua-

I pretty clearly pointed out that the two are not equivalent. You might want to re-read my post.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 6, 2003 08:58 AM

Joe,

Sorry - I read everything and then just skimmed the last sentence. I rescind my previous comment.

Posted by: Joshua Harris at October 6, 2003 09:04 AM

Of course the two sides are roughly morally equivalent. One side deliberately targets civilians in terrorist attacks. The other side oppresses millions of civilians by denying them basic civil and human rights.

There are no white hats in this conflict. Instead, what Israel shows us is that liberal democracies can be brutal conquerors when it suits their national interests. Something which may be relevant to US actions.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 6, 2003 09:14 AM

The other side oppresses millions of civilians by denying them basic civil and human rights.

Israel does not oppress civilians at all. The civilians have a choice: leave the country, or accept Israeli law. They voluntarily accept Israeli treatment - if they don't like it, they can leave.

brutal conquerors when it suits their national interests.

On the contrary, I don't think you understand what Israel is doing. Imperialism and conquests are NOT in Israel's national interests. They are ultimately self-destructive, and trying to take over a group of extremely hostile and dangerous people is something no country wants to do. The initiation of force is almost never an option in realism, and certainly not in this case.

Posted by: Joshua Harris at October 6, 2003 09:25 AM

Israel shows us is that liberal democracies can be brutal conquerors when it suits their national interests.

Their national interest is survival. And they have already offered to leave the territories, abandon the settlements, and recognize a sovereign Palestinian state. The Palestinians then said "no" and started this war. Let's not pretend that didn't happen.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 6, 2003 09:34 AM

"The primary goal of the assassinations is to degrade the ability of the terrorists to organize and launch terrorist attacks."

What has reduced the frequency of attacks are the other Israeli tactics that have been employed -- the reoccupation of certain towns, the security barriers, the checkpoints.

"There are two wars going on here - a war of ideas, and a war of destruction..."

...but unfortunatly, Israel can win a million battles and still lose this war of destruction. There are simply too many Palestinians to kill, and each Israeli "victory" in the form of an assasination and its attendent collateral damage recruits more people for the terrorist's cause.

"The only way Israel can stem the flow of terrorism is to attack the source."

Yes, and where is this mythical source?

"...what incentives do you propose Israel offer?"

Offer to resume final status negotiations with Yasser Arafat, begun in July 2000 at Camp David. Announce that once a final agreement occurs, a permanent security wall will be built at those borders, and Palestinians seeking entry in Israel will be subject to the same procedures presently faced by Arabs seeking to board El Al.

Or just dismiss these ideas as naive or worse, keep building settlements, keep assasinating "senior leaders", keep marching toward the abyss...

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 6, 2003 09:54 AM

Michael,

I think it will be instructive to see how the Syrian Bathists react to the attack with a militarily superior Israel on one flank and the U.S. Army on the other.

If there ever were a time for Israel to do real damage to the Syrian terrorist infestructure it is right now. It needs to be made perfectly clear that support for terrorisim is not a cost free option for the Syrians.

They need to realize that they hold a losing hand and that their survival depends on much better behavior. The guy next door was an excellent object lesson in the cost of intransigence.

Matthew King

Posted by: Matthew King at October 6, 2003 10:10 AM

Markus,

1. Concerning the effectiveness and pitfalls of Israeli assassinations.

http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/watch/peacewatch/peacewatch2001/342.htm

2. Every terrorist killed is one less terrorist that can attack or work against the interests of Israel. Not killing terrorists before they strikes will result in more successful and more devastating terrorist strikes. The benefits of the policy far outweigh the costs.

3. The sources I was referring to are the operating and staging bases for the terrorists, and various other support infrastructure.

4. Negotiations have been tried over and over again, with absolutely no success. Arafat and his minions don't want peace - they want the wealth and power that come from leading their people against Israel. Just like other despots and dictators, Arafat enjoys the power and riches he acquires through the Palestinian cause. The only way to achieve a lasting peace is to get rid of those who do not want it. The Israelis can do that through free and fair elections, but the Palestinians cannot.

Posted by: Joshua Harris at October 6, 2003 10:13 AM

Joshua -- I'll check out the report from the Washington Institute. Maybe there are some tangible benefits. I'm not opposed to Israeli action against terrorist groups if it is demonstrably effective in reducing terror and if it encourages both sides to elect leaders willing to negotiate seriously. The fact is that Arafat and Barak and Clinton were moving toward an agreement and negotiating seriously with each other when Barak was voted out of office and Clinton left. The only one of those three still in power is Arafat. I am so sick of people talking about what Arafat rejected at Camp David when the same people making this charge were themselves vociferously opposed to Barak and Clinton's willingness to make a fair offer.

"The only way to achieve a lasting peace is to get rid of those who do not want it."

...Including those Israelis that support further settlement growth and that offer "painful concessions" in order to facilitate the creation South Arican style Bantustans for the Palestinian majority that will inhabit Eretz Israel beginning about ten years from now.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 6, 2003 10:58 AM

Markus -
I'm not opposed to Israeli action against terrorist groups if it is demonstrably effective in reducing terror and if it encourages both sides to elect leaders willing to negotiate seriously.

And encourages both sides to elect peaceful leaders? Are you kidding me. It reduces terrorist organizations effectiveness and ability no doubt about it. Encourage people to elect 'peaceful leaders'? No, those Palestinians are mainly all hanging upside down with bullet holes and knives in them in the center of Ramallah and Bethlehem or have now decided to shut up for health reasons, like Zohair Hamdan. The PLO is in a win win situation. They incite violence and perpetrate forcing Israel to respond and try to prevent it which does hinder for future attacks at least short term, they can then cry to the world about the "HARSH ISRAELIS" and can then further propagandize and radicalize their people while continuing to pad their Millions and Billions Bank Accounts. Its all a big puppet show with the Israelis blamed no matter what happens. Its a perfection of the KGB/Vietcong strategy, because its Jews they're fighting.

The fact is that Arafat and Barak and Clinton were moving toward an agreement and negotiating seriously with each other when Barak was voted out of office and Clinton left.

IF you really believe that recitation of events, then there is NO HOPE for you.

The only one of those three still in power is Arafat.

GEE, I wonder why? He was also in power during Woodstock and when Pink Floyd was really big?hmmmmm.

I am so sick of people talking about what Arafat rejected at Camp David when the same people making this charge were themselves vociferously opposed to Barak and Clinton's willingness to make a fair offer.

A majority of Israelis supported it at the time. Many of those vociferous supporters have now realized the errors of their blind hopes. There is no peace when your opponents don't really seek real peace and co-existence.

...Including those Israelis that support further settlement growth and that offer "painful concessions" in order to facilitate the creation South Arican style Bantustans for the Palestinian majority that will inhabit Eretz Israel beginning about ten years from now.

Arafat brought Sharon into power and as Saffire pointed out is single handedly responsible in persuading both left and right, especially the Right who were fervently opposed) to building a fence. Now that the fence encompasses Ariel, which by all accounts was included in Camp David and Taba and was not even 1 of the 5 issues separating the sides, should be an issue is TOUGH SHIT! The one responsible for the fence going up is Arafat and the PLO itself. Let it rot in hell without jobs in Israel and complete separation and deal with its own people. Though, I personally believe the people will still blame Israel and won't wake up to how much has been brought on by their own "beloved" Thief-Murdering "leader". Maybe they'll finally get it?

From 1948-1967 there were no not yet named "Palestinians" working in Israel, and they want to states, so Israel will give them their separation, which means no interaction and no killing Jews. LOTS OF LUCK TO THEM.

Mike

Posted by: Mike at October 6, 2003 11:38 AM

Mike -
as you say, after years of fierce Israeli military action against Arab terrorism, today, "the PLO is in a win win situation."

Good luck with your unwinnable war.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 6, 2003 11:56 AM

Markus,

I don't think this is rocket science. The tragic reality in the Middle East is really not that hard to decipher in terms of which side yearns for peace and which side doesn't, on some reasonable terms (and sadly for a majority of Palestinians, no solution other than a final one may be satisfactory). No one here is saying that in principle the Palestinians are not entitled to a homeland/state. That being said, an observation and a question:

1- The Palestinian cause - and conflict - exists, at least in its current form with its current cast of characters and EU states lining up behind Arafat, because of Mid-East oil. The Palestinians are proxies in a war fought by Arab States that don't want to get their hands dirty, or blown to pieces, but have the financial and other resources to keep it alive. The Israelis are proxies in the more limited sense that the West, including the United States, is pressuring them to make sacrifices, bloody sacrifices, for our economic benefit. Maybe that's just the way of the world...

2- Why is it that Europeans are obsessed with a conflict pitting three million Palestians against six million Israelis, Jewish and Arab? Why not Tibet? Why not Iran? Ivory Coast? Congo?

Hint: The two may be related.

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at October 6, 2003 01:05 PM

Let's not pretend that didn't happen.

Okay, hang on. I was watching for the Oslo Accords and other suchlike, and one hangup was, among other things, the perfidy of the Israelis. That is, Israel repeatedly sponsored the construction of new settlements after pledging to cease expansion and dismantle existing ones. Let us keep in mind that a sizable minority of the Israeli people oppose any cession of any West Bank land, instead viewing the current occupation and oppression of civilians as Israel's duty and right under Biblical law; these persons have political power and get the things they want.

Further, what groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad want more than anything is for the Israelis to stop the peace process; they view Israel as illegitimate and are willing to sacrifice the hopes and dreams of millions of Palestinians if they provide even a small chance of ending the Israeli state. Why in the world does Israel consistently give Hamas what it wants? Hamas hates the idea of an independent, contiguous Palestinian state (or pair of states); it likely will lead to long-term normalization of relations in the region.

Israel is in the business of denying basic human rights to millions of Palestinians, in service not of its national survival -- which has been asssured for some time now -- but of its Biblical ambitions. Palestinian terror groups are in the business of killing hundreds of Israeli civilians in the service of the cause of destroying the Israeli state at some point in the future, a simply impossible goal. There just aren't any white hats to be found here, and it is the powerless who suffer most.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 6, 2003 01:14 PM

Kimmitt: Let me concede the general accuracy of your analysis. But it's hardly a fair one. Both sides have ambitions, biblical or otherwise. And a "sizable minority" seeking to keep settlements is not quite the same a significant majority seeking extermination. If the settlements must go, it's primarily for reasons of political reality, not necessarily principle, although I can see a case either way. After all, a million and half Arabs live in Israel without threat to their very existence. How many Jews do you imagine live - or ever could live - in the territories in that way (not to mention Cairo, Damascus or Baghdad)?

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at October 6, 2003 01:43 PM

"The tragic reality in the Middle East is really not that hard to decipher in terms of which side yearns for peace and which side doesn't, on some reasonable terms (and sadly for a majority of Palestinians, no solution other than a final one may be satisfactory)."

Of course, the Israelis want peace more than Palestinians: they want to consolidate their present advantage of 78%+ of the land, and the third or forth most powerful Army in the world versus suicide bombers.

I don't give a damn who you or Edward Said or anyone thinks has the moral high ground in this conflict. I happen to think there are two sides of the story and that both sides are "righteous victims" that have also behaved reprehensibily on many occasions. The point is that partisans on both sides lack the ability to convince the other side of the rightness of their perspective, nor to convince the rest of the world, and they lack the means to eliminate or force the surrender of each other by means of force or terrorism. What is needed is a recognition that reconcilliation is necessary.

Palestinians need to admit that Israel is here to stay, and the refugees and their descendents need to move on, and accept resettlement in the West Bank, Gaza, or some other Arab state, rather than Israel proper. They also need to learn that every attempt to remove "the zionist entity" from Palestine has left the Israelis in a more advantageous position.

Israelis need to admit that hundreds of thousands of Arab refugees in 1947-48 were deeply wronged by the founders of the state of Israel, when during a war with NON-PALESTINIAN Arab states, those Arabs who lived in the Israeli side of the partition and who were promised citizenship and political rights in the new Isreali state, were instead deprived of those rights and forced to become refugees, in order to improve the demographic balance of the new Jewish state.

STOP ARGUING OVER WHO HAS TO MAKE THE COMPROMISES. BOTH SIDES DO, and with the present Israeli government in power, it can be accurately said that neither side is presently willing to do that.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 6, 2003 02:07 PM

Mike -
as you say, after years of fierce Israeli military action against Arab terrorism, today, "the PLO is in a win win situation."

Posted by Markus Rose at October 6, 2003 11:56 AM

CORRECTION
"After years of Oslo which sadly brought in the Corrupt Mafia PLO from Tunisia, to rob Palestinan businesses, take bribe and graft money from Palestinians (particularly Christians) and more importantly of unending brainwashing of schoolchildren in elementary textbooks, Mosques and PLO run television and newspapers, the PLO now entrenched into the conflict finds itself the main cause and main benefactor of any conflict and thus, in a a win win situation."

If Arafat's popularity wanes they can ramp up the propaganda and let loose the violence on Israel. No matter what Israel does it will be condemned.

It wasn't until recently that the EU finally declared Hamas a completely terrorist organization and is still sending tens of millions to Arafat to build terrorist bombs and mortars.

Oslo has sown the seeds permanently of unending conflict and always being on the cusp of hot violence and now the only possible way for Israel to secure any security is to take the road that offers the best of the choices they have, none of which offer them anything resembling true peace and security.

That there are either "useful fools" or "propagandists" like Markus that can't see the true forest behind the trees is part and parcel of the problem and the reason why the Vietcong advice to Arafat 30 years ago works. Separate yourself loosely and pose as being in the middle really seeking peace while still actively behind the scenes making war.

Arafat barely even hides this. Imagine if we had 24 hour English translation of PLO TV and Mosque sermons. I think even I would be amazed!!

Posted by: Mike at October 6, 2003 02:08 PM

In a point that I believe has been made by Alan Dershowitz, the reason why Israel is the victim of terrorism is precisely because it is a liberal democracy and actually has some concern for the human rights of its enemies. Thus Islamic terrorists are more inclined to attack nations like Israel because they don't fear the consequences of their actions.

Case in point is Assad Sr. and the city of Hama. He was having a problem there. Did he send his ground troops in an attempt to carefully separate civilian from militant/terrorist- at least from his point of view? No, he had his tanks and artillery surround the city and level much of it the ground killing about 15 to 20000 people. Guess what; militant/terrorism problem solved. Hussein Sr. of Jordan did the same thing.
http://rwor.org/a/v20/990-99/995/hussein.htm (Go to the bottom of the article).

It's one thing to be suicide bomber sacrificing your own life and maybe having your family's home destroyed by the IDF (which is usually made up for in the bounty provided by Hamas and others). It's quite another thing to know that the entire city you live in will be destroyed along with most of the people living there.

So long as Israel continues to be a liberal democracy that refuses to expel or kill all the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza (two options that any decent human being rejects categorically) Israel will continue to be a victim of terrorism. A complete withdrawal from the West Bank will not stop it. The statement of Palestinian leaders since 1948 (terrorist and PA authorities alike- if such a distinction makes sense) that their goal is to drive the Jews into the sea makes this clear. Israel's war against the terrorists will go on forever, the only thing they can do is "fine-tune" their strategy so as to get the best out of painful alternatives.

Posted by: Daniel at October 6, 2003 02:11 PM

"A complete withdrawal from the West Bank will not stop it...Israel's war against the terrorists will go on forever"

No one can predict the future, and there are reasons to believe this is not true (such as the many formal and informal efforts involving Arab-Jewish cooperation made during the nineties). But if you insist, and are correct, and if you still want to live in such a crappy god forsaken neighborhood, then at least leave US out of it.

Posted by: Useful Fool at October 6, 2003 02:20 PM

There will be no lasting peace for Israel or the world until jihadism is defeated. It can't be reasoned with or controlled diplomatically, but must be rooted out and destroyed like Nazism. Arafat and Saddam along with other radical Arab jihadists are betting that neither America nor Israel will have the staying power to do what must be done. Israel is not in the business of denying basic human rights - they are protecting themselves from mass murdering baby killers.

Posted by: d-rod at October 6, 2003 02:50 PM

How many Jews do you imagine live - or ever could live - in the territories in that way (not to mention Cairo, Damascus or Baghdad)?

Before 1900 or so? Plenty of them did. This conflict has generated ethnic and religious dimensions, but its core is a power grab (however justified) by immigrants into the area of Palestine. The way to eventually find peace is to declare the grab over at some point -- either by ejecting the remaining population of the West Bank and Gaza and taking it over properly or by cutting loose the vast majority of that area and dismantling the settlements which currently hold it.

I talk about Israel's responsibility because Israel is a unified state with a real military; in short, it has both power and the werewithal to make policy with that power. It has the initiative, and so it has the power to extend or end the conflict.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 6, 2003 03:03 PM

Kimmitt: "The other side oppresses millions of civilians by denying them basic civil and human rights."
Millions?????
In Israel, Arabs can vote. Can anybody say that about the other side?

Posted by: Mike at October 6, 2003 03:09 PM

My problem with the Israel-bashers (or the Sharon bashers) is that they seem to be concerned with who has the strategic advantage - "they want to consolidate their present advantage of 78%+ of the land, and the third or forth most powerful Army in the world versus suicide bombers" - without a closer examination of the actual claims and conduct of both sides. My fear is that twenty years down the road, rather than having a constructive solution, the Israelis will have lost and we'll still be hearing chants of "no more war!" "stop the oppression!" by the same crowd trying to save the Jews this time from genocide at the hands of the Arabs.

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at October 6, 2003 03:28 PM

Have no fear, Gabriel.
The crowd that is chanting against violence when Israel takes defensive measures against terrorism today will be completely, utterly silent if, twenty years from now, Israelis will be slaughtered by Arabs. So don't worry about hearing chants of "stop the oppression!" from them.

As for Markus' point that Israel wants to consolidate its hold over 78+% of "the land", and that its hold originated in a war against "NON-PALESTINIAN Arab states" -
1. Israel, including the West Bank and Gaza, is still only 20-25% of Palestine (i.e. of the territory named "Palestine" that was given to the British to administer after WW1).
2. The 1948-49 war, that Markus refers to, included trans-Jordan, which was, and is, a PALESTINIAN Arab state, both by reference to the geography of the British mandate referred to above, and by reference to its demographics.
3. The 1948-49 war was preceded by a war of genocide perpetrated by left-bank Palestinian Arabs against left-bank Palestinian Jews for decades. Markus' implicit suggestion that the Palestinian Arabs were made to "pay" for a conflict they had no hand in is, at best, disingenuous.

-Michael

Posted by: Michael Gray at October 6, 2003 03:54 PM

Markus, the following is absolute bullshit:

"Of course, the Israelis want peace more than Palestinians: they want to consolidate their present advantage of 78%+ of the land...."

Were you on this planet when the negotiations were taking place at Camp David and Tabe a scant three years ago? At that point the Israelis offered 97% of the West Bank to the Palestinians (according to the ISraelis) and 85% of the West Bank (according to he Palestinians). Even accepting the Palestinian numbers, your premise is from Pluto.

Posted by: Roger L. Simon at October 6, 2003 04:14 PM

In Israel, Arabs can vote. Can anybody say that about the other side?

And in Palestine, while they can vote for a completely ineffective pseudo-government, they cannot control their own destinies, a fact which Israel has engendered, then continued for over thirty-five years.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 6, 2003 04:30 PM

Kimmitt,

Arabs in no country can control their own destinies right now because every single one of them is run by a dictator. Iraq is in a transition stage, and will soon be the freest. But don't you go blaming the Jews for this. It's not like the Palestinians had a democracy that Israel took away from them. But Israel did offer them sovereignty in 2000, which is the best Israelis can do for them.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 6, 2003 04:33 PM

And the band rolls on and will keep on rolling on... nothing will change.........

Referring to Markus's statement that "of course Israel wants peace so they can consolidate their hold on 78% of the land"

is just the statement you need to hear to realize that the war is not about anything other than Israel's existence, plain and simple.

If anyone looked at a Map of the entire world and than of the Middle East and then of the ENTIRE British Mandate (Western and Eastern Palestine) you would think what the hell is wrong that the entire world is calling a country that is a spec that is 12 miles wide next to its biggest cities a colonial power because it wants to extend it boarders a mere 15 miles after it was repeatedly attacked there???

SHIT I DRIVE 15 MILES TO THE GYM EVERY DAM NIGHT!!

Its so insane and it will N-E-V-E-R stop. There will always be minions of Markus's recanting the same tired bullshit lines...... 20 years from now.

Also, there were NO Palestinians in 48 or 67. THEY DIDN'T EXIST. They were Arabs formerly under TTurkish and Syrian control and then considered Jordanians. Does that simple truth matter anymore?

Mike

Posted by: Mike at October 6, 2003 06:02 PM

I think in a concession to political, and I think, social reality you have to grant the Palestinians some form of identity, even if the former generations were Egyptians, Jordanians or merely Arabs. It's true that in other circumstances - eg, if Jordan or Egypty had actually provided refuge for Arabs from Palestine as Israel did for Jewish refugees from Arab countries - there would be no Palestinian people. The same is true, I think it bears repeating, if the Middle East were, say, like the Congo, not surrounded by Oil rich Arab states. If that were the case, this discussion would not be occurring. But that's not the current state of play.

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at October 6, 2003 07:56 PM

This entire situation fills me with sadness more than anything else. I do not believe that there is any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem in the near term. Based upon the response to recent peace initiatives, it appears that the Palestinians will accept nothing short of the extermination of the state of Israel. Of course, this is not acceptable.

I fear that the only solution in the short term is the much despised wall. Perhaps if the warring sides are separated, a peaceful solution can be found given the passage of time.

Posted by: Ben at October 6, 2003 08:08 PM

I'm not supposed to blame Israel for denying basic civil rights to its Palestinian conquered, simply because Israel's neighbors also deny their citizens basic civil rights?

Actually, come to think of it, thank you. I now know how far along the "moral relativism" train track I have to go to back Israel in the conflict.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 6, 2003 08:43 PM

Kimmitt,

Israel offered to recognize Palestinian sovereignty in 2000. The Palestinians said "no" and started a war instead. Are you aware of this, or are you denying it? That is my question for you at this point.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 6, 2003 09:02 PM

Michael,

I remember when Nancy Reagan told young, poor, uneducated and generally hopeless kids to "Just say no" while her husband pulled every program available that they could say "YES" to.

What have the Israeli's offered to young Palestinian kid's that would make them say "YES" to something other than renewed cycles of terrorisim and violence.

Whatever it is that they might want to say Yes to it cannot be more settlements and more fragmentation of their future country.

Posted by: Matthew King at October 6, 2003 09:20 PM

Kimmitt -

'And in Palestine, while they can vote for a completely ineffective pseudo-government, they cannot control their own destinies, a fact which Israel has engendered, then continued for over thirty-five years.'

As Michael said, Israel would have granted sovereignty to the Palestinians if they had chosen to accept it. Even now, Palestinians could control their own destinies soon - all they need do is rid themselves of their current leadership and cease the murder of innocents.

Earlier you said:

"Of course the two sides are roughly morally equivalent. One side deliberately targets civilians in terrorist attacks. The other side oppresses millions of civilians by denying them basic civil and human rights."

The Palestinian population is complicit in the murder of Israeli civilians. Given that they are abetting murder it is remarkable that they have any freedoms whatsoever. It is common, no matter the jurisdiction, for civil rights (or hands, heads, etc.) to be removed from murderers and those who aid and protect them.

Keith Johnson

Posted by: Keith Johnson at October 6, 2003 10:25 PM

What have the Israeli's offered to young Palestinian kid's that would make them say "YES" to something other than renewed cycles of terrorisim and violence.

Don't you think that the Palestinians themselves might have some obligation to find something to do with their young men and women besides teach them to aspire to murder Jews?

Exactly what are you proposing? The Jenin JCC?

Who's going to sign up for that? What kind of a day do you think a seventeen year old kid from Ramallah is going to have after his buddies spot him walking out of the local Israeli after-school program?

You are right to suggest that Palestinians are not going to accept more settlement activity, nor should they. But to place on Israel the onus of directing their frustration away from the murder of innocents is to absolve the Palestinians themselves, and especially their governmental, community and religious organizations, of any responsibilty for minding their own house. It's also a complete dead end as far as workable solutions to the problem.

There is a very simple math to this problem, and I challenge you, Michael Kimmitt or anyone else to deny it:

1. If Palestinian attacks cease, Israeli retaliation will cease.
2. If Israeli retaliation ceases, Palestinian attacks will continue.

I do wonder, though, that Israel continues with comparatively measured response attacks. I wonder if they don't know a lot more than we do about how effective these strikes have actually been in deterring future attacks. Still, I doubt we'd be as patient.

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at October 6, 2003 10:38 PM

What kind of a day do you think a seventeen year old kid from Ramallah is going to have after his buddies spot him walking out of the local Israeli after-school program?

I know this is a rhetorical question, Christopher, but they would of course be summarily executed.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 6, 2003 10:52 PM

Yes; rather a non-starter, isn't it?

(Sorry, been reading Neil Gaiman and the Britishisms rub of on me a bit too easily.)

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at October 6, 2003 11:29 PM

Kimmitt its real easy to walk down the moral relativism train and say they are both equally responsible. That also alleviates the pit in your stomach when you think how sickening it is how the entire world, every feckless bureaucrat has a know it all advice about how Israel shouldn't do this or that and that would simply solve the problem and then some pat on the head advice for the PLO.

I mean what should I, a pretty level headed average American guy, think when the entire UN and world rushes and I mean rushes in 2 days on Monday morning to pass an immediate Resolution not for -
Tibetans being summarily slaughtered and oppressed
Sudanese Slavery trade right now
Rwandans mass murder
Zimbabwe farmers being raped, beaten and murdered

NO to pass a Resolution condemning Israel for even thinking of expelling the main party responsible for escalating hate, conflict and brainwashing, and violence in Israel not to mention a mass murdering Billionair Thief?

WHAT THE F SHOULD I THINK? I MEAN HOW THE HELL CAN THIS BE? I'D LOVE TO JUST THINK THAT THE ISRAELIS ARE AT THE LEAST EQUALLY TO BLAME AS THE PLO AND ARAFAT BUT I KNOW BETTER AND EVEN IF THAT WERE THE CASE, THE DISGUSTING DISPLAY OF THE SO-CALLED NEW WORLD GOVERNEMENT (run by the very people it was supposed to be against, despots!!) and especially the high-brow full of shit Europeans, responsible for 2 World Wars, in regards to Israel.

I don't need a freeking roadmap or a sign or some full of shit far left wing "academic" or "Peace Activist" to explain to me how black is really white or at least a very whitish grey, and how up is really down.

I always ask the brave peace activists why they aren't on the front lines in Tibet, or Iran, or Sudan?

BECAUSE THEY'D BE FING DEAD!!
That's the fact, this way they can scream about Israel because they know its not really a despotic repressive Nazi Dictatorship they like to call it. OTHERWISE THEY'D GO THE WAY OF HAMA IN SYRIA - a not so horrible thought I must regrettfully admit.

Mike

Posted by: Mike at October 6, 2003 11:48 PM

My wife is a friend of a Slovak MP, who went to Israel, again, to visit, and reported: This time, almost no tourists. Temples, shrines, empty. She was in a coffee shop, actively guarded by an armed Israeli soldier. A young man with a backpack came in. Everybody froze. Hands with coffee held them, motionless, while the eyes followed the young man. It was clear that everybody was thinking, wondering, fearing, could this guy be a suicide bomber?

Pali mothers do not want to send their children to school. Because, in school, a bus will drive up, the kids will get on and get sent to a place where they will be told to throw rocks at Israelis. Behind them will be fighters with guns, who fire on the Israelis, but the Pali kids with rocks will be in front, will be in the news pictures.

---
This Slovak MP is now strongly supporting Israel. Kimmit has a reasonable point about "no white hats", but primarily with the initial creation of Israel (countenanced because of the Euro-Shoah). But historically, under the Turks before 1917, there were few of the ancestors of the Pali refugees living in that area. These Arabs began settling in parallel with the Zionist Jews (who bought only about 8% of the land of 1948 Israel). In probable fact, because of the successful Jewish economic revival around Jerusalem.

Israel fought for, and created, their own state. The Palis have to find a way to do it, too. Terrorism is NOT it.

Alternatives (independent):
1) International funding -- can be redirected AWAY from Arafat or any PA, and directly to the Pali people. For instance, in loans to start businesses and to build houses. The need for a program that Palis can say Yes to is very important.

2) Israel should do martial law occupation on a Pali city, in retaliation for suicide bombings. Night curfew. Eliminate Pali weapons, and the PA presence, and even expensive, house to house searching for weapons. (b) Those Palis with weapons/ bomb making material should become prisoners? or something. Israelis would have to be, temporarily, police. But very local home-owner associations, and neighborhood security forces could be reformed, and Palis need to be responsible for their own security.

3) Israel should start Arab free news, including both pro- and anti- Arafat opinions. Possibly anonymous. The Palis need to have a more democratic culture; that means, first, a more free press. Meaning it has to be safe to disagree with Pali Big Terrorist Arafat. And not be murdered by other Palis.

4) Pali textbooks should be translated into English, and selections read out loud in the UN. And publicized in the US. [Maybe they already exist? help please] Israel could use much better true publicizing of their situation, despite most anti-Israel folk not hearing anything anti-Pali.

(Great conversation!)

Posted by: Tom Grey at October 7, 2003 12:36 AM

One more meta-argument about Israel? Sigh. Has anyone ever managed to change someone's mind about this? How futile!

Let's get back to the bombing in Syria and the bombing in Haifa. Some claim this woman was motivated solely by revenge (proof for the ever-popular "cycle of violence" cliche). But even the sympathetic reports paint her as reciting the Koran which seems to indicate that there was definite religious and ideological motives as well (i.e., brainwashing). These things are not acts of nature that cannot be averted, as so many people unfortunately believe. The deception of terrorism is we start to believe the apologists that they cannot be deterred by force. Cherie Blair even thinks they're jsut some spontaneous, individual act of desperation, like teen suicide. Wrong!

Who were the the terrorist Imams who persuaded this woman Jaradat that she should kill herself and many others in a cafe in Haifa? More importantly, who gave her the bomb-belt and picked her target and coached her on infiltrating public spots in Israel? Who promised her that her surviving family will be taken care (harder now that Uncle Saddam is gone, but not impossible). Islamic Jihad.

How do you damage or eliminate them? Islamic Jihad was getting support from Syria and others. So, bomb Syria, point out that you have a tape from Iran that specifically calls this site a IJ terrorist training camp. Now Syria is in a world of trouble and they've got a reason to crack down on Islamic Jihad. The alternative is to retaliate against Israel, but that is militarily unrealistic. Or they can do nothing but they know they could get stung again if Islamic Jihad pulls of another attack. Lebannon and Hezbollah and Hamas are in the same predicament. Iran and Saudi Arabia are not as vulnerable but they will have to start thinking twice too.

In any event, anger and the desire to save face will push Syria towards more terrorism but their common sense and survival instincts must be telling them that they'd better have a good long talk with the terror masters. We shall see what develops.

Posted by: Tokyo Taro at October 7, 2003 12:37 AM

Richard Cohen in his column in today's Washington Post Op-Ed page entitled "Israel is losing" says much better than I could what I was trying to say crudely in some of the above posts. The relevant part, which echoes a point that someone above quoted Deshowitz as making:

"The only places where a Western culture has successfully transplanted itself are those where great population pressure and genocidal methods were used to extirpate the indigenous peoples. This is what happened in the United States.

Genocide is out of the question. Neither the world nor Israeli morality would permit it. Yet Israel keeps lengthening the odds against itself. Instead of withdrawing to where Jews are a clear majority, it continues to cling to settlements where Jews are outnumbered. Every settlement, every day of occupation, puts Israel in greater and greater danger. Each settlement is a provocation. The deportation or killing of Arafat will do nothing but make him a martyr and exacerbate the chaos. The man himself is only a symptom of Israel's problem."

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 7, 2003 06:18 AM

I think Israel should knock off the settlements for their own good, but they are hardly a provocation. The Palestinians are already as enraged as they could be. There is a point when you can no longer say "Don't make me mad," and the Palestinians have reached that point.

Dismantling the settlements now might help, but it also might embolden the Palestinians and teach them that terrorism works.

Instead, Israel should freeze the settlements and then withdraw them when the security wall is complete.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 7, 2003 08:19 AM

I disagree with Cohen's take on settlements. He overlooks an important fact. Everything in this conflict becomes a bargaining chip, the settlements included. Every concession Israel has made changes the status quo, and you then start from a new set of facts from which to argue that Israel should give up something else. Israel has already transferred to the Palestinians governing authority (and that, btw, was a major concession in the process). The bargaining away of this chip has only brought the Israelis more violence. Now we want Israel to bargain away the settlements. That may be understandable as an ultimate outcome, but is anyone under the illusion that this is going to reduce Palestinian violence and encourage the "peace process"? It will only result in a new status quo, Israel will continue to be blamed by noises coming out of the same quarters, and then asked to bargain away something else. Israel has no incentive, based on past Palestinian responses, to bargain away this chip.

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at October 7, 2003 08:32 AM

I haven't read Cohen's article yet, but in general he's a full of himself full of shit self-important Bruce Cutler wannabe.

The best writer at the Washington Post was unfortunately killed in Iraq.

Of course Israel can't withdraw arbitrarily from the settlements. This is suicide and yet they can't hold on to them? The bottom line the ball is not in Israel's court, and there is NOTHING they can do about it! Even a Meretz/Labor government actively withdrawing in the face of terror would do NOTHING! except maybe? provide a temporary lull!

Lebanon's withdrawal is proof of this.

Israel is boxed in on options and people like Cohen just want to make themselves sound wise like they have something intelligent to add.

THE ONLY SOLUTION IS ISRAEL'S DISSOLUTION OR COMPLETE AND TOTAL DEFEAT, EXPELLATION OF THE PLO, HAMAS, ISLAMIC JIHAD and A REOCCUPATION OF THE TERRITORIES BY ISRAEL LIKE THE US DID IN GERMANY.

Then the pundits stating that Israel must only be there not to expand settlements but to foster real free press, fair play and killing of the thugs, while bringing in real democracy would have a leg to stand on.

Everything else is just a circular nonsense path.

Mike N

Posted by: Mike at October 7, 2003 12:42 PM

Liberty Dad

DO YOU HAVE A LINK TO THAT SLOVAKIAN DIPLOMAT?
IS IT LINKED AT YOUR SITE?

Mike

Posted by: Mike at October 7, 2003 12:45 PM

If I understand the attribution, Cohen says this:

"The only places where a Western culture has successfully transplanted itself are those where great population pressure and genocidal methods were used to extirpate the indigenous peoples. This is what happened in the United States."

Even if that were true to date, I see no reason to automatically assume that it would be true in the future. To base our actions on the idea that it would be always true in the future would be pure folly.

Besides, the liberal values of freedom, self-determination, rule of law, etc. are the parts of western culture we're talking about in this analysis. One doesn't need to think about them being 'transplanted' to another culture if one believes that the seeds of those values are present in the heart of every man - I certainly hold that belief. Only water is necessary.

Keith Johnson

Posted by: Keith Johnson at October 7, 2003 08:54 PM

Are you aware of this, or are you denying it?

I am denying it. Not only did Israel decline to offer the pre-1967 borders (with some good reasons), but the terms of the settlement prohibited the new Palestinian state from fielding a military or retaining sovereignity of any sort over its internal affairs -- Palestine was to become a permanent Warsaw Pact to Israel's Soviet Union. Further, the Israelis had proven that they simply could not be trusted to withdraw their settlements from the Occupied Territories, and their suicidal insistence on continued expansion only underlines their commitment to colonization.

This was not the offer you describe. It was something far less, and it was not something which Arafat or any other Palestinian leader could sell to his people. Yes, it was the farthest Israel ever came. It was not as far as you say it was.

1. If Palestinian attacks cease, Israeli retaliation will cease.
2. If Israeli retaliation ceases, Palestinian attacks will continue.

Israeli retaliation is not the point. Israel systematically oppresses millions of Palestinian civilians. This isn't about Israel's summary executions without trial (and with collateral damage to civilians), horrific as they are. This is about the day-to-day denial of basic human rights which Israel forces onto the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Every single Palestinian alive today has a legitimate grievance against the state of Israel as an institution.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 7, 2003 11:42 PM

What's the Pal's grievance against their leadership then that has come in and made their lives hell. They were better off under Israeli full military occupation and running of their government and civil functions. Many have even admitted this! Of course the youth generation Arafat has successfully brainwashed to a degree Goerbells couldn't achieve in Germany, don't understand this now.

As far as the state being a declawed state without a military? Well, would Tibet take that right now!! HELL YES!

A military terrorist state in the West Bank assures Armageddon and full regional war in the Middle East!! ASK JORDAN OR LEBANON if they want a militarized PLO in the West Bank.

That's the way it will be, and if the Pal's make real peace with Israel they'll be the best off Arabs in the Middle East by far!!!

They still today have by far more rights than any Arab in another Arab country.

Under Oslo their per capita income was double and triple of almost every other Arab country due to the only ecnomic superpower in the area being next door. THOSE DAM JOOOOOOOOOS!!

Mike

Posted by: Mike at October 8, 2003 12:12 AM

Kimmitt -

"Every single Palestinian alive today has a legitimate grievance against the state of Israel as an institution."

Why, then, do they accept being led by those who seek redress in an illegitimate fashion? Are they inept? Do they secretly not wish an end to these grievances? Is it not their choice, and their self-determination is limited not by Israel but their own leaders?

"Israeli retaliation is not the point. Israel systematically oppresses millions of Palestinian civilians."

It is intellectually dishonest to discouple the reaction of one party to the action of another. Any state that the Palestinians find themselves in is determined in large part by the Israeli's reaction to their continued use of terror as a means of seeking redress (and that's as charitable a characterization of their actions as you're ever likely to hear me use) and the Palestinian leadership complete refusal to bargain in good faith. THAT, sir, is the point.

Keith Johnson

Posted by: Keith Johnson at October 8, 2003 12:33 AM

The key point about Camp David and Taba is not that Arafat negotiated honorably, or that Barak made an unfair initial offer. The contrary is true in both cases. The point is that Israeli voters voted overwhelmingly to break off peace talks by electing Sharon. And to anticipate an objection to this, I recall that Barak was far behind in the polls before the Temple Mount incident and the beginning of the second intifada.

The other point is that this DOES NOT absolve Palestinians of their responsibility in the breakdown of talks. The points is: who will have the courage and the intelligence to point fingers at BOTH sides.

Posted by: Markus at October 8, 2003 09:02 AM

Are they inept?

Yes. The Palestinians have prosecuted their grievances ineptly. That is, they have made poor decisions. This is hardly surprising, as the Palestinian people are poor, badly-schooled, and endure constant fear for their lives and livelihoods. People in those situations make worse decisions than well-educated middle-class persons who have the leisure to think in a comfortable climate.

(Please note that by "ineptly," I do not exclude the fact that the Palestinians have also prosecuted their grievances violently, immorally, and inexcusably.)

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 8, 2003 12:34 PM

Kimmitt -

They may be poor, badly-schooled and live in fear. However, living in fear and deprivation tends to focus ones attention on survival. I think assuming that they are too ignorant to make proper decisions is merely Orientalism, or paternalism.

I tend to believe that people act in ways that basically serve their needs and goals. Often, when it seems that this is not so, an observer finds that it is he that does not understand the goals or needs of the actor. I submit to you that the Palestinians are acting in a way that is perfectly attuned (though doomed to failure) towards addressing their true grievance - the continued existence of Israel, not the curtailment of their civil rights as you stated above.

They can not achieve these aims at the negotiating table. Their actions there, and their continued use of terrorism (sometimes to thwart the negotiation process) proves this to me.
We can speak of just or moral actions that the Israeli's should or should not take. But when we speak of things that Israel should or should not do that would fix the problem (unless you count all Israeli's jumping into the sea) then we are not understanding the problem.

Keith Johnson

Posted by: Keith Johnson at October 8, 2003 11:43 PM

Palestinian rejectionists -- those who want no jewish state of any size in the area -- are not inept, they aptly recognize that their cause in the long run is well served by the status quo. Another generation of Palestinian population growth at its current rate, dwarfing the Jewish total, hundreds (maybe thousands) more terrorist attacks against Israel which will encourage many Jews to move away from Israel, more calls for a binational state...this is what Arafat is counting on.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 9, 2003 06:17 AM

I agree that those who wish to destroy the Israeli state (and do not care for the suffering of the Palestinian people in the meantime) are following a very rational path. What I continue to contend is that the persons who are committed to that path are a very small minority of the overall population, which would settle fairly happily for a Palestinian state -- those persons have not prosecuted their case well.

And I'll thank "Mike" for refraining from insinuating that I am anti-Semitic for disagreeing with Israeli policy. My opinions have nothing to do with the respective majority religions of the two parties (Let's keep in mind that the state of Israel is a democratic body with Muslim Arab members). My interest is fairly straightforward -- we send Israel $4 billion or more a year, and I'd prefer it if they did not spend it on actions which I do not find to be either sensible or morally defensible.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 9, 2003 08:59 AM

Kimmitt like I said previously. I don't care if your anti-semitic or not. Everyone's prejudice to a degree, but accusing you of it somehow indicates that I am weak and you are strong. Since I am sure this is not the case and it is pointless, than I would never state it. Further, while European anti-semitism and certainly Arab and Muslim anti-semitism is quite obvious though, the people I do hear screaming false prejudice at every turn more often than not are the terror supporting hucksters and marauders at CAIR, AMC and their wonderful ilk. You should watch Al Jazeera sometime and you'd think that the sky was falling for Arabs and Muslims in America, LOL!!
That's a good one huh? the only country that realizes first hand how full of shit Al Jazeera is is IRAQ.

Posted by: Mike at October 9, 2003 09:32 AM

Let me state I don't think nor care whether or not you harbor some anti-Jewish feelings, but certainly never gave it any thought to be honest.

Posted by: Mike at October 9, 2003 09:34 AM

Markus -
The point is that Israeli voters voted overwhelmingly to break off peace talks by electing Sharon. And to anticipate an objection to this, I recall that Barak was far behind in the polls before the Temple Mount incident and the beginning of the second intifada.

Markus, let me correct this a bit.
1) many times? does the "MYTH" of Sharon's trip to the Mount starting the "spontaneous" Intifada have to be completely shredded? Not to mention that it was pre-approved by his more liberal son, Omri with the PLO and not to mention that NO JEW OR CHRISTIAN, should have to ask for permission to go there!!

2)Sure Barak was behind already because Israelis were infuriated because they realize their dream was a sham that was being shoved up their ass and Barak was doing NOTHING about the violence that was ALREADY taking place. Your implication that he was losing popularity due to negotiating peace fervently is laughable at best!

Yasser Arafat, Faisal Husseini, Marwan Barghouti and the rest of the thugs personally elected Ariel Sharon, that and their 8 yrs of brainwashing in the context of "peace" and the real engineered event that set off the Intifada, Mohammed al-Dura's set up death, if he is even dead?

Posted by: Mike at October 9, 2003 09:43 AM

KIMMITT -
Are they inept?
This is hardly surprising, as the Palestinian people are poor, badly-schooled, and endure constant fear for their lives and livelihoods. People in those situations make worse decisions than well-educated middle-class persons who have the leisure to think in a comfortable climate.

1) This identifies the Iraqi people and they have made the majority of them, a very wise decision in embracing who they know are the 'good guys' and it ain't the French or Russians.

2) The Palestinianss are in fact the best educated Arabs in the entire region by far!! Thanks to the Israeli occupation by the way! Since Oslo they have been in fact very educated with a relentless campaign of brainwashing that is to their and the Israelis detriment. On the contrary they have very good education in rejectionism, martyrdom and preparation for war.

3) As far as being poor. How many more studies need to be done proving that poverty has no correlation to terrorism or violence? And they are again, better off even now, than most Arabs in any other part of the Middle East? So why no terrorism there? Lebanon is occupied as well. SIMPLE. Because Israel is a democracy which won't act like Hafez Assad did, or King Hussein did etc.... That and the world media enables the terrorist strategy.

MARKUS -
Palestinian rejectionists -- those who want no jewish state of any size in the area -- are not inept, they aptly recognize that their cause in the long run is well served by the status quo. Another generation of Palestinian population growth at its current rate, dwarfing the Jewish total, hundreds (maybe thousands) more terrorist attacks against Israel which will encourage many Jews to move away from Israel, more calls for a binational state...this is what Arafat is counting on.

THUS, as long as they see potential gain from terrorism, they will continue it! As soon as Arafat thought there was ANY CHANCE that he could be booted by Israel, even though he knows this won't happen, the terrorism subsided for 3 weeks? Hmmmmmmmmm Then he went right back to testing the limits again. A constant repeat. But hey the EU just declared that Hamas is in fact a terrorist organization. WOW....... those guys are amazing!!

Posted by: Mike at October 9, 2003 09:54 AM

Poverty doesn't have jack to do with this. Saudi Arabia is a very rich state, and is also the most pro-terrorist. Morrocco is vastly poorer, is also Arab and Muslim, and there were huge protests in Casablanca recently against terrorism and fascism.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 9, 2003 10:37 PM

Poverty does not engender a particular poor decision. Poverty does, in general, engender poorer decisions than middle-class status.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 9, 2003 11:33 PM

How martyrs are made
By MARGARET WENTE
Saturday, October 11, 2003 - Page A27
Globe and Mail

http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20031011.cowent11/BNStory/International/

Posted by: Mike at October 12, 2003 11:41 AM

How martyrs are made
By MARGARET WENTE
Saturday, October 11, 2003 - Page A27
Globe and Mail

Posted by: Mike at October 12, 2003 11:44 AM



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Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn