June 21, 2004

Good Riddance to the Intifada

Shortly after Ariel Sharon was elected in Israel he cynically demanded a full week of quiet before he would agree to negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. I say “cynically” because most people, not least himself, knew a week of quiet was not going to happen. Hamas and Islamic Jihad were murderously opposed to negotiations. Yasser Arafat was in their pocket. (Or were they in his pocket? Does it make any difference?) So Sharon could come across as a reasonable man willing to talk when we all knew full well he had no intention or desire to talk about the intifada. What was there to talk about? It wasn’t going to stop until it was crushed or Jews fled Israel in boats.

Well, goodbye to all that. Charles Krauthammer notes in The Washington Post:

At the height of the intifada, there were nine suicide attacks in Israel killing 85 Israelis in just one month (March 2002). In the past three months there have been none.
It’s a good idea to teach children that violence does not solve problems. It almost always is true. It certainly hasn’t done much for the Palestinians.

The sad fact of the matter, though, is that violence does sometimes solve problems. It worked for Israelis. Smashing terrorist nests, assasinating terrorist leaders, and implementing the Israeli left’s (non-violent) demand for a separation fence paid off handsomely.

Now it’s time to talk peace. Now it’s time for a “road map” that might actually work.

It’s theoretically possible that Yasser Arafat is tired of living in his bombed out compound in Ramallah (he’s been trapped there by tanks for over two years) and would like to sign a treaty. He can’t be a cheerleader for an intifada that no longer exists.

But I don’t see much point in including the man in any talks. Most likely he’ll drag out the process as long as he's sucking oxygen. If he does decide to cut a deal and stick to it, the Palestinians will have to suffer with him as their dictatorial overlord until he finally keels over or someone speeds up the process and feeds him a bullet.

Better, I think, to keep Arafat marginalized. Start a new “road map.” Have an election in the West Bank and Gaza where Palestinians elect someone to negotiate on their behalf. If they choose a new leader wisely, Israelis will send Ariel Sharon back to his farm and give them their state.

If they prefer to drag this out for several more years, it's their choice and their loss.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at June 21, 2004 12:13 AM
Comments

The Palestinians should start, like Iraqis should, with elected local councils and local mayors. The Palis need elections, and discussion of different possibilities; plus a presentation of different faces.

Actually, almost everything "solved" IS solved by violence, the threat of more violence, and, finally, the acceptance of something considered unjust (compromise) in order to avoid more, worse violence. Gov't borders are a clear example -- I don't think there are any on Earth based on non-violence.

Posted by: Tom Grey at June 21, 2004 01:09 AM

Violence as an exclusive method is "noticably" more effective than non-violence, but flexibility is much more measurably effective than either absolutist doctrine. Violence solves lots of things, but it builds very little. Intifada is dying because it uses up massive resources and builds nothing.

The hardest lesson the US military has ever learned is how to limit the violence it administers.

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at June 21, 2004 01:15 AM

"Actually, almost everything solved IS solved by violence."

Depends. The first intifada was closer to a Ghandian type of passive resistance, although some 170 Israelis were killed, most probably soldiers serving in the territories. This type of controlled violence actually effected an enormous change in Israeli public opinion, and resulted in the election victory of the Labor party under Rabin, and from there to Oslo. The second intifada, with its murderous violence against innocent civilians in Israel proper, killed the peace movement and set the Palestinians back light years. Ultimately, violence is immoral, doesn't always work, and most importantly, should not be allowed to work.

Hopefully, as MJT oberves, we are now at a point where we can turn the page and move forward, though it won't be easy for either side to come up with the necessary goods.

Posted by: MarkC at June 21, 2004 01:20 AM

If violence doesn't work, than the Koran doesn't work, because that's what the Koran is all about: 154 Jihad Verses: www.angelfire.com/moon/yoelnatan/koranwarpassages.htm

Posted by: Will Smythe at June 21, 2004 01:37 AM

"Violence is immoral" -- that's the question for society, isn't it? Totally false, because Justice depends on violence. Police, courts, military; gov't itself (tax collection is NOT peaceful). Everything gov't does is based on violence (one reason I support reducing what gov't does).

Civilization depends on some violence -- AGAINST criminals and violators of the law; those who violate property rights, contracts, and especially prohibitions against hurting (or threatening) innocents.

Bringing it back to the fence, Arafat, and the Palis, making them unable to effectively kill Israelis has increased the peace in the Pali towns on the borders. As the intifadah wanes, which does NOT build anything, the Palis can start building. There's hope for them; more than since Oslo, and the Israeli rejection of the "right of return" means the next, necessary, negotiations will have that issue essentially solved. Leaving mostly Jerusalem and water rights, and maybe a little on the border (WHY were the Jews so stupid? greedy? opportunistic? in the path of the fence?).

Especially if Bush is reelected; though the Palis may also not trust that Kerry could really give them much more than Bush with respect to any offers from Sharon.

Posted by: Tom Grey at June 21, 2004 01:51 AM

If they prefer to drag this out for several more years, it's their choice and their loss.

The Palis have to accept military defeat, the loss of land of Israel as part of Palestine. They must understand that their choices are continued violence or acceptance/ surrender. It's not clear to me that Pali "civilization" is yet ready, but it seems clear that it's getting close.

The problem with just pushing them to an early election is the likely intimidation by Arafat thugs against anybody who opposes Arafat. My own suggestion is more local elections and mayors, who can emphasize local issues w/o being such strong Arafat supporters, or denouncers. Some of these elected Palis would be able to modify Pali demands, and articulate the options more honestly.

Pali society needs preparation for peace, rebuilding, and acceptance of some borders of both states. Peace before acceptance is OK, but I'm not sure Pali negotiators can agree before Pali society shows stronger signals of resignation.

Posted by: Tom Grey at June 21, 2004 02:05 AM

MarcC. writes: "Ultimately, violence is immoral, doesn't always work, and most importantly, should not be allowed to work."

Marc (Cooper?) is as usual, one of the more gifted posters on this blog. However, he just happens to be wrong on this subject. Violence is neither moral nor immoral; it is as the intent of the actor is.

Violence in WWII to defeat the Axis Powers was, is, and ever more shall be imminently moral. Violence at Tiananmen Square to put down the democracy movement was immoral though I doubt that the characters of the leadership of the PRC would think so.

A wise man once said, "All generalities are false, including this one." Violence has no moral label other than the intent of the actor.

Posted by: GMRoper at June 21, 2004 05:21 AM

hi Michael,

Assuming you were in favor of the US invasion of Afghanistan, I don't see how you can hold the position you just stated.

Prior to the invasion the US issued an ultimatum to the Taliban, demanding the surrender of bin Laden. When they failed to comply, the US invaded. The Taliban then, like the PA today, sometimes sponsored and sometimes turned a blind eye to al-Qaeda activities. This put them in the same camp as bin Laden, which of course resulted in military action by the US.

The Israeli government cannot be expected to negotiate with a political entity that supports actions against its citizens. The current quiet is not due to any achievement of the Palestinian security forces, but to military action by the Israeli army.

If you supported the invasion of Afghanistan, where the Taliban denied having any ability to stop al-Qaeda (though it was in fact obvious that they had this ability), while stating that Israel should negotiate with the PA, which acts in much the same way.

Johnny.

Posted by: Johnny at June 21, 2004 06:04 AM

Sorry, that last paragraph should read:

If you supported the invasion of Afghanistan, where the Taliban denied having any ability to stop al-Qaeda (though it was in fact obvious that they had this ability), then how can you state that Israel should negotiate with the PA, which acts in much the same way?

Johnny.

Posted by: Johnny at June 21, 2004 06:05 AM

I don't agree with GMRoper that intent determines whether an action is moral or immoral. Good intentions coupled with reckless ignorance can make the most moral of causes an unmitigated disaster. (Specifically, I'm thinking about honest Communists here. The ones who really think it just hasn't been done right yet.) Also, with violence there is almost always collateral damage and unintended consequences, with variable degrees of associated horror.

Sometimes though violence is the least immoral thing that can be done. WWII is now considered a just war. The period between Gulf War I and Gulf War II will someday be considered an unjust peace. The worlds indifference to what is happening in Sudan is immoral.

Posted by: Mark Poling at June 21, 2004 06:11 AM

Way too soon for any talk of 'peace'. The wall will not be completed until late 2005 at which point I believe Gaza will also be evacuated.
There really seems to be no civil society in the Palestinian areas,just areas of control by the organized warlords including Arafat's clowns.
Arafat is finished anyway.Alive or dead he is still finished thanks to Israel's refusal to deal with him and Sharon's contempt for 'European'opinion.There is no way for Palestinians to have a functioning state given their current social developement which is really why the wall is being built.Politically correct or no,it is intended to keep the barbarians OUT until they stop being barbarians.Elections at this stage would be at best an exercise in futility, and at worse only a propaganda outlet for the Islamic fanatics who would win them.
Having failed at EVERY junction to win their fight by violence(because Israel gave them much more than she received),they are now truly doomed UNLESS a miracle occurs and common sense breaks out in the territories.Care to wager what the odds are on that? You don't build a massive security wall if you feel that the problem is temporary.

Posted by: dougf at June 21, 2004 06:24 AM

OT -

Scaled Composites Space Ship One is climbing to launch altitude on it's mother ship.

A private company dedicated to sustainable space travel. Funded by one of the founders of the information age. Carrying man to space on private money...do we live in a great country, in wondrous times, or what?

In other news, Islamists are preparing to chop off a Korean's head. The Islamists will probably use a knife manufactured from steel forged in a country outside the middle east. They will record the event on equipment manufactured in Japan or China. They will transmit their production via a worldwide computer network created by western scientists. Breaking news says the Korean is not alone in captivity.

Anyone who thinks that violence is immoral on its face doesn't know much about life and less about history.

Posted by: TmjUtah at June 21, 2004 07:12 AM

Hi Michael,

I agree about Arafat. Back when Schultz, Reagan's secretary of state, recognized Arafat, I thought that it was a necessary step in settling the Palestinian issue. Now, I think that it was a tragedy for the Palestinians. Arafat turned out to be corrupt, undemocratic, and inflexible. What looks good at the moment is not always the right thing.

Re violence, I tend to agree that most of political history has been determined by violence, whether for good or for bad. Hitler's final solution did work, there are very few Jews left in Germany, or indeed in the Netherlands and other surrounding countries, and the Jewish contribution to German culture is gone. Not a good thing. On the other hand, the Civil war settled the question of slavery and the Roman and English conquests spread civilization over wide parts of the world.

I think that the natural state of Man is tribal warfare over turf and resources, a point that I make to my Libertarian friends. Some overarching source of violence is required to keep the peace. Civilization depends on violence and supplies peace. We should all celebrate our good luck in living in civilization, but let's not take it for granted.

Posted by: chuck at June 21, 2004 07:46 AM

The Second Intifada is over only in the sense that the Korean War is over, only less so. The Palis apparently discovered that they are not accomplishing much of anything either politically or militarilly, opinion in Israel and the USA has hardened against them, and the "peace process" is on life support. Nevertheless, no formal treaty has been signed, and the Palis are not ready to call it quits yet. Look for periodic attacks on Israel for a long time to come.

Posted by: Ben at June 21, 2004 08:08 AM

I badly wish the problem were this simple. But it just isn't. Three months without a suicide attack is surely wonderful. But suppression of the Palestinians, which has included the destruction of hundreds of homes, the murder of hundreds of innocents, the building a wall with no respect for the green line, the marginalization of Palestinian economy, the denial of adequate access to health care, the walling off of free movement inside the territories, along with the targeted assassinations and arrest of terrorists, has only served to alleviate Israelis most tangible and horrific problem ... the bombings. It has done nothing to address -- and probably exacerbated -- the underlying cause for concern: the violent hatred and distrust of Israeli society. Arafat, indeed any leader that the Palestinians could realistically elect now, would have little constituent support for feeling that the Israelis were ready to make a fair deal on territories. With the Wall moving into the West Bank, why should they? With the stated policy (endorsed by Bush) that many, probably most, of the West Bank settlements becoming permanent, how can they?

Regarding this sentiment,

If they choose a new leader wisely, Israelis will send Ariel Sharon back to his farm and give them their state.

I would certainly hope so. And the massive peace protests in Tel Aviv a few weeks ago demonstrate a strong sentiment for mutual existence. But let's be realistic. The majority of Sharon's party won't even accept a pullout of 7000 settlers from Gaza. If Israel can't reign in its own hardline fundamentalists, if it can't be ready to remove settlements by force, then the Palestinians will never have a reason to sit at a negotiating table.

Frankly, absent a super strong international coalition, dominated by the U.S., the problem is almost certainly intractable. Israelis will continue to live in fear of heartless terrorism and Palestinians will continue to live under state sponsored oppression.

Posted by: harry at June 21, 2004 08:34 AM

Johnny: how can you state that Israel should negotiate with the PA, which acts in much the same way?

I didn't. I said the Palestinians should elect someone to negotiate for them. It shouldn't be Arafat, for the reasons I stated, and also your reasons.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 21, 2004 08:55 AM

By the way, Marc C is not Marc Cooper.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 21, 2004 08:56 AM

Harry: The majority of Sharon's party won't even accept a pullout of 7000 settlers from Gaza.

True. But the only reason Ariel Sharon was even elected in the first place was to beat back the intifada. Before that started Israelis were perfectly willing to dismantle settlements and recognize a Palestinian state. If the Palestinians put up someone who isn't a terror-supporting goon, Ariel Sharon will be shunted aside.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 21, 2004 09:00 AM

Reply to Will Smythe

The post was about Israel and the Palestinians. Not about Islam.

Posted by: Stephen at June 21, 2004 09:19 AM

Oh, and by the way everyone, when I said violence almost never solves problems, I meant in your day to day existence. Because when you teach that lesson to your kids, that's the context. Some people grow up and learn that lesson too well and assume it applies to every single problem in the universe. It doesn't.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 21, 2004 09:27 AM

Harry,

Israel's response may well alienate the Pali people in the long-run (although it is not clear to me how much more alienated you can be than "I want to kill you," a view the Palis held long before this). The problem with your statement: how else can Israel address the short-run problem of its citizens being randomly killed? If I were a doctor (I'm not), and a patient came to me with pneumonia and a heart attack, I would treat the heart attack first, even if in doing so I made the pneumonia worse. Both are potential killers, but I would be more worried about the one that is likely to leave the patient dead 5 minutes from now than the one that may or may not kill him next week.

Posted by: Ben at June 21, 2004 09:43 AM

Before that started Israelis were perfectly willing to dismantle settlements and recognize a Palestinian state.

But this has never been true. Settlements have expanded under liberal and conservative Israeli government alike. Settlements increased by nearly 100% between 1993 and 2000, including during Labor's government 1992-1996 and while Israel and the Palestinains were negotiating. When settlers erect settlements without government support, the IDF defends them. Settlers have received tax breaks for moving into settlements. And hardline Israeli fundamentalists believe that God has given all of Israel and the territories to Israelis. They have never had any intention of giving any land to the Palestinians. Indeed, they have pledged to fight Israeli government attempts to remove them by force. No mainstream Israeli leader has ever moved to aggressively dismantle settlements, whether in Gaza or the West Bank. As both a realist and a Zionist, I'm reluctantly preapred to concede that many settlements will probably never be removed. Realistically, the Palestinians will have to give up land inside the green line. The question is how they will be compensated for this loss.

As you know, there can never be peace in the area until the Palestinians come under the leadership of an honest leader willing to prepare them for the realities of a negotiated peace. Arafat will never be that person. As long as Sharon takes a hardline and violent hand against Gaza, it seems unlikely that new leadership to emerge. I don't want to blame Sharon for the Palestinians failure, but lets be honest: by eviscerating their economy, destroying homes and farm land, acting unilaterally, supporting settlers, etc., he's making it exceptionally hard for a realist network to develop.

Quite simply, I don't see how this can ever resolve itself. Sharon's peace through oppression approach may suceed in bringing a deserved sense of security to Israel. But it will be on the collective backs of the Palestinians. It's not a path to peace for both sides, it's a path to security for one.

Posted by: harry at June 21, 2004 09:51 AM

If I were a doctor (I'm not), and a patient came to me with pneumonia and a heart attack, I would treat the heart attack first, even if in doing so I made the pneumonia worse. Both are potential killers, but I would be more worried about the one that is likely to leave the patient dead 5 minutes from now than the one that may or may not kill him next week.

I think you've got the analogy wrong. How about a patient that shows up with a heart attack and an agressive for of the plague. Treat the heart attack and the patient survives but thousands of others get sick. Treat the plague and you may lose the patient, but you save thousands in the long run.

Look, I'm not trying to ever, ever justify something as morally foul as suicide bombing. But from my same moral center, I can't concede the security of Israel built simply on a policy of state oppression.

Sharon's solution is a stop-gap temporary thing. Millions of Palestinians will not just disappear behind any wall. Israel will have to address their long term relationship with their neighbors eventually.

Posted by: harry at June 21, 2004 09:59 AM

Harry,

I don't see anything oppressive about Israel building a wall to protect itself from the Palestinian madness. It's simple self-defense.

It's certainly far better than Israel's Arab neighbors would do, and have done, with the Palestinians in their own countries.

Israel's best bet is to finish the wall, find someone else to do the guest work, and let the Palestinians find their own way left to themselves.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at June 21, 2004 10:15 AM

Harry,

Hmmm... how about 100 years into the future? Until then let Palestinians find their own means to govern themselves in a rational way without harrasing Israel.

Posted by: marek at June 21, 2004 10:21 AM

Once again, Michael, you're dead-on with this one. Dead-on about Arafat, dead-on about Sharon, dead-on about the Wall, and dead-on about the functional utility of violence in certain situations (violence as a means to a non-violent end).

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at June 21, 2004 11:01 AM

Harry: It's not a path to peace for both sides, it's a path to security for one.

Yes, I know. That's all Ariel Sharon ever intended to accomplish. That was his job.

It will be the job of someone else to cut a deal with the Palestinians, and that person will almost certainly be in the Labor Party.

The settlements, most of them anyway, will have to go. Most Israelis know this. Most Israelis don't care about the settlements.

As far as I'm concerned, any Jew who wants to live in the West Bank surrounded by seething Palestinians is nuts on multiple levels. And settling the West Bank was probably the worst decision Israelis ever made. I don't know how many Israelis agree with that, but I do know the settlers don't poll very well right now. Likud will never dismantle them, I'm sure. But Israel is not a one-party state.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 21, 2004 11:21 AM

It may be that Arafat just isn't in any condition to really issue statements, credible or not. Notice that there hasn't been any photos or videos released of him in over 6 months? And the last time he came out in public he looked like crap. But as long as Arafat is still processing oxygen it is apparent that noone dares step forward to speak authoritively on behalf of the Palestinians.

Posted by: Lola at June 21, 2004 12:22 PM

Well, I'm glad to see no Israelis have died recently. Now if we can just get started on not killing innocent Palestinians (in those same three months, according to B'Tselem, 160 Palestinians of whom 49 were under age 18 have been killed), everything will be all hunky dory. Oh, and I suppose it would be nice to stop the home demolitions, economic strangulation, random arrests, and all that good stuff too. Then we'll really be able to Give Peace a Chance!

Posted by: Mike at June 21, 2004 12:29 PM

I suspect that there is little chance for peace until both sides feel secure. The wall and Sharon's other measures are helping to achieve this for the Israeli's. How can this be achieved for the Palestinians? I think the wall helps here also by making plain a ground truth: there is a border. The other parts of Palestinian security require a working economy and the setting up of a police force. The terrorist enforcers have got to go: what security is there when thugs can point guns at you or bring down the wrath of the IDF without any choice on your part? The settlements have got to go: what security is there when your land can be freely taken? The IDF will have to go at some point: what security is there when foreign troops can knock down your walls? The economy? Boy, I just don't see how the Palestinians are going to have any sort of economy without working with Israel.

This problem will not be solved tomorrow, but at least if the Israelis feel secure, then there is more flexibility on one side of the equation.

Posted by: chuck at June 21, 2004 12:31 PM

Matthew: I don't see anything oppressive about Israel building a wall to protect itself from the Palestinian madness. It's simple self-defense.

Except that the route of the wall goes deeply into the occupied terroritories, and seems to be grabbing a great number of water resources. Which complicates things somewhat.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 21, 2004 12:54 PM

D+UG: Except that the route of the wall goes deeply into the occupied terroritories

Yes, it does. For security reasons.

Let's not forget why the wall is there in the first place. The Palestinians rejected the Clinton-Barak peace deal and decided they wanted a war instead. I'm sorry if it's callous of me, but my reponse to this is boo fucking hoo.

That wall will move or come down when it's safe for Israelis to take it down. And not a day sooner. Israel's first order of business is to protect itself. Giving cookies to people who want them dead is just going to have to be on the back burner until then.

If the Palestinian leadership decides to grow up and act like a normal government they'll get some of that land back. Otherwise they won't and they might lose more. That's just the way it is. They have no one to blame but themselves for the mess they find themselves in today. Don't like Ariel Sharon? Don't start wars with Israel then. They didn't know how good they had it when Barak was in charge. Maybe they'll think about that long and hard on the other side of that wall and do what they need to do to get it taken down.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 21, 2004 01:03 PM

To clear up two points:

I am not Marc Cooper, as MJT pointed out. I am Mark Chais, I work in the high tech field in Israel, I am an atheist and have never been to the west bank, except once, and that was enough.

I didn't mean to sound pollyannish about all violence being immoral. It seemed obvious beyond stating that violence exercised by a legitimate police power, whether domestic or international, is valid. Clearly, terrorist violence of the kind unleashed during the second intifada is immoral. However, asking the Israelis politely for their independance probably wouldn't have gotten them far, which is why the first intifada can claim some legitimacy.

The settlement issue is a little bit of a red herring. I despise the settlement movement, but the growth figures are mostly increasing the density of existing settlements, which exist in large settlement blocks that fit on something like 5-6% of the west bank. This was not a stumbling block at Camp David, even Arafat was willing to annex this to Israel in exchange for additional territory. This doesn't mean the settlements are right, just that they can be dealt with, and are not the real obstacle to peace.

Posted by: MarkC at June 21, 2004 01:28 PM

MJT: Yes, it does. For security reasons.

What security reasons? I mean, I can see running here and there near the green line to take advantage of terrian, etc, but that intrusion to Ariel is pretty impressive. The whole thing resembles a game of Quix (apologies to the younger members of the crowd).

MJT: Let's not forget why the wall is there in the first place. The Palestinians rejected the Clinton-Barak peace deal and decided they wanted a war instead. I'm sorry if it's callous of me, but my reponse to this is boo fucking hoo.

That makes it sound as though the security barrier is punative rather than for security.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 21, 2004 01:35 PM

D+UG,

No, the fence is not punitive. But it is a direct result of terrorism. It would not be there otherwise. And for that reason my sympathy for those who don't like the fence is minimal.

Personally, I do think the fence goes too far into West Bank and I wouldn't gripe for an instant if it were pulled back. My point is that it won't get pulled back if the Palestinians continue to be a threat, and I do support the fence in principle as long as it exists somewhere. It's ugly and it's existence is depressing, but it seems to be both necessary and effective.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 21, 2004 01:57 PM

"Anyone who clings to the historically untrue - and thoroughly immoral - doctrine that 'violence never settles anything' I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms."

Posted by: REH at June 21, 2004 02:29 PM
No, the fence is not punitive.

Indeed it is protection for the Palestinians who refute terrorism. The "Cycle" of violence cannot be claimed to "cycle" if there isn't a suicide bombing. One may argue with the path of the fence, but not its results. Interceptions have increased, "successful" bombings in "'67" have gone down. And that's as good a piece of news for those Palestinians who want to build life as as it is for their Israeli counterparts. The only people who should be seethign at such news is Fatah, Hamas, Tanzim, ISM and Hezbollah.

Posted by: Bill at June 21, 2004 02:59 PM

1. The fence is basically for protection purposes. When it goes deeper it is to widen the Jerusalem corridor. Is it punitive? Yes - the initiator of the war should be punished.

2. Krauthammer might be a bit too optimistic. Palestinians are not relenting in their efforts, it is just that the Israelis are more effective. As of last Suturday ther were 11 intercepted suicide attempts in June. And today Tanzim nabbed in ambulance

3. How soon will Sharon be sent to the green pasture is obviously debatable. Keep in mind that the attitude of average Israeli have hardened significantly - not surprisingly. It will take more than Arafat's interview with Eldar in Haaretz to instill a bit of Palestinian credibility in Israeli society.

Mike,

... of whom 49 were under age 18- have been killed)

Did you read about those under age 18 doning suicide belts, throwing fire bombs at IDF, throwing rocks at travellers, provideing shield for armed terrorists?

If not, then first educate self, but if you did read about that then kindly go and stuff yourself.

Posted by: marek at June 21, 2004 05:40 PM

Lola writes: It may be that Arafat just isn't in any condition to really issue statements, credible or not. Notice that there hasn't been any photos or videos released of him in over 6 months?

There are photos of him released almost every day:

http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=arafat

Posted by: SoCalJustice at June 21, 2004 06:36 PM

When your lack of peace is caused by a people who believe that they must kill you or dominate you, then the only answer is violence and it must be such great violence and so relentless that they know that peace is the only option. Israel, for fifty years, has been consistently prevented from teaching their enemies that lesson and so we have the absurdity of the pathetic palestinians who believe they will prevail over Israel, that violence is the only option. The day the Palestinians realize that living is better than dying a martyr is the day peace will reign and the lion will lay down with the lamb (but the lamb won't get any sleep) (The last part stolen from Woody Allen)

Posted by: Doug at June 21, 2004 08:05 PM

Amen Michael, I have never agreed more, nothing to disagee with, group hug?

Posted by: Samuel at June 21, 2004 08:21 PM

Michael, the ideas are sound but how are you going to get the Palestinians to have elections ?

Should the UN or EU be involved in any of this ? I sure as hell hope not, given their track record and one-sided stance.

Even then, what happens if they elect a Hamas terrorist who is opposed to negotiations ?

Otherwise, I agree with your final statement completely:
If they prefer to drag this out for several more years, it's their choice and their loss.

Posted by: Jono at June 21, 2004 09:16 PM

Jono: Should the UN or EU be involved in any of this ?

Preferably not.

Even then, what happens if they elect a Hamas terrorist who is opposed to negotiations ?

Then they can sit there and stew in misery and occupation until they get sick of it. A vote for Hamas would be a vote for Israeli occupation. If they're dumb enough to go that route I would have zero sympathy for the majority.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 21, 2004 09:24 PM

Michael, I'm pretty sure you're wrong about peace under Labor vs Likud. Precisely because a Likud supported peace would be supported by the opposition, too, ONLY Likud has a real chance to offer peace. If Labor offers (the same) peace, it will be a "sell-out".

Remember your own article(s) about Liberals being unable to support Bush's war. Which, in a reverse psychology way, is the only strong argument for Kerry -- if he gets in, and decides the USA needs to win in the ME, the Leftists will support the same policies. And most Reps will, too.

(But would Kerry really decide to support winning? I don't believe so.)

Posted by: Tom Grey at June 21, 2004 09:27 PM

SAMUEL!!! Where have you been, man?!

As for what you said, ironically and not so ironically, I said the exact same thing. It's been a while, but great minds still think alike. If there's gonna be a group hug, I want in.

Moving on from that accidental quasi-homoerotic moment...yeah, welcome back bro. Stick around for a while. :)

Posted by: Grant McEntire at June 21, 2004 10:53 PM

Grant

I have been working. Of course you can get into a group hug, I am way too heterosexual for a group hug of two anyway.

--

Tom Grey

I tend to agree with you, while I would hope anyone elected would try to win the WOT, I feel that a Clinton style crossing over and implementation of Republican style foreign policy that would parallel similarly what Clinton did with fiscal policy in the 90's is just about as close to wishful thinking one could imagine.

Also I do happen to personally know John Kerry and will just say NO WAY! John could never withstand the cries of failure and armchair criticism that this President thankfully blocks out. This ability is a must at such times. Every successful endeavor that was difficult, especially with War in US history was declared a failure with mistakes making it either not worth it or just a plain disaster. General Grant in the Civil War as pointed out over at Rogers site was considered a failure right up until Appomattox. Lincoln said he was the only one with the stomach to keep trying and risking all to succeed. George Washington personally lost almost every battle he led, he just won the War. There were cries of how we were losing the peace for years after WWII.

The point is as I have said there is only question that matters to me, are we at War or not? If we are at war and making progress we should never change Horses midstream… FOOLISH when has that been done? Oh yeah, Vietnam, a War we basically conceded defeat in. Any people who has ever had the word “Vietnam” and “Quagmire” come out of their mouths concerning Afghanistan and now Iraq is not a person we should have in the Whitehouse, especially in a mid-stream pass off. John Kerry has done this many times for both situations. Of course there are those that want to win at all costs because they see it as a War of Islamo-Fascist that must be won because not winning is out of the question. For those that would consider pulling out because they don’t see this through such a perspective, the cost of pulling out is not worth it, and risking change is not that much of a risk in fact lessoning the risk.

As Roger L. Simon said, changing horses this November just sends the wrong message to the world. They will interpret it in a bad way to bad extremes, both Europeans and Islamo Fascists. Also those that don’t understand the importance of democratization of a rogue state like Iraq as not only a possibility but a must, are never going to feel inspired to see it through. As George H.W. Bush said, it is a “vision thing”, except he didn’t have it, his son does.

It doesn’t matter because Bush is not going to lose anyway, Bush has hit his low and I don’t see Kerry sustaining levels much above 45%. He will never achieve sustained highs above 50%. The economic lag of good news will start to catch up. It hasn’t found its way to conscience levels yet. Iraq is getting better and sovereignty is now being put in place. All I have to say is after four more years of Bush then maybe the WOT policy will be fully embedded into society, then I will be all for open consideration of the candidates, we aren’t there yet. At that time crow will also be an endangered species.

Posted by: Samuel at June 22, 2004 07:57 AM

Marek:

Of course I know about the 18-year-olds who are manipulated into carrying out suicide bombings by the filth that passes for human beings in the leadership of Hamas. However, what do you think they use to convince a teenager to go blow himself up? I promise you, it's not by telling him he has bad acne. It's by pointing at the Israeli tanks churning up roads and firing on apartment buildings, the little kids shot while sitting at a desk in school, the piles of rubble that used to be homes, the bulldozers waiting to create more piles of rubble, and the Apaches hovering overhead to make sure those bulldozers can do their jobs. Israel has to find a better way to deal with the terrorist groups without utterly destroying so many Palestinian lives- and I don't just mean the deaths. I am so tired of saying this it usually has about the same effect as talking to a brick wall but please, just consider what Palestinian life is like. Granted, it can't all be blamed on Israel, but when tanks are plowing through downtown, it's very hard to convince people to look in the mirror. Simple psychology: the presence of a constant external threat overrides self-analysis, particularly when that threat is so pervasive and overwhelming. Any Palestinian at any moment might be shot, arrested, strip-searched, or forced to watch as his home is destroyed. When that stops, Hamas will lose support and be destroyed from within.

Posted by: Mike at June 22, 2004 09:39 AM

Mike,

It wasn't like this before the intifadas. The tanks were not plowing the streets, the schools were not shot at (especially when they were not used as armories or terrorists hideouts), etc.
As a matter of fact it was Israel occupation administration that established 6 universities/colleges in the WB. Palestinian population's living standard increased about 100%. In other words the current misery of Palestinian's daily life is a direct result of the PA rule, the intifadas and the Arab terror which claims mostly civilian's lives and limbs.

Consequently, my sympathy to Palestinians suffering is not measurable. As for their lofty aspirations to push Jews to the sea - well, perhaps you can muster some empathy, but I can't and will not.

Posted by: marek at June 22, 2004 10:09 AM

Saddam Hussein has found it far more difficult in recent months to send his generous payments of support to families of Palestinian suicide bombers. He is very unhappy about the inconvenience, and wishes it would stop.

Simply allow the Sunnis of Iraq to regain power, reinstate Saddam, and resume payments to terrorists in Palestine. This will encourage the resumption of the intifada.

Posted by: Conrad at June 22, 2004 11:23 AM

"Now it’s time to talk peace."

Not yet. The "peaceful week" hasn't happened yet.

I don't agree that Sharon's request was "cynical." It's a perfectly reasonable request, and the fact that it's impossible tells you something important about the situation.

Rubbing peoples' noses in reality is not "cynical," it;s just a demand for honesty.

"If they choose a new leader wisely, Israelis will send Ariel Sharon back to his farm and give them their state."
What makes you think Sharon wouldn't accept a reasonable peace proposal offered in good faith?

That he wouldn't put up with the usual b*&&$#|t is not evidence that he wouldn't. On the contrary, it's evidence that he believes negotiations should be taken seriously.

Posted by: ralph phelan at June 22, 2004 05:52 PM

Harry sez:

"the marginalization of Palestinian economy, the denial of adequate access to health care,"
If the Palestinians are to have their own state, why should Israel be responsible for its economic health or for "maintaining access to health care?"

I suspect many Egyptians and Jordanians also lack "adequate access to health care." Is that Israel's fault too?

Over the past decade the EU has sent the PA sufficient funds to build many fine hospitals. That they have not been used for that purpose is not Israel's fault.

I think the "fence policy" pretty much amounts to giving the Palestinians their own state, whether they want it or not, and making them finally take responsibility for their own fates.

Posted by: ralph phelan at June 22, 2004 06:56 PM

Samuel,

It doesn’t matter because Bush is not going to lose anyway

I disagree. The elite media ABCCBSNBCCNNMSNBCNYTIMESLATIMES and the rest of their ilk are a monolithic propoganda arm of the Democrats and Kerry. Hollywood is churning out anti-Bush films at a faster clip than it churned out anti-Hitler films during WWII. The academic elite in the universities and the teachers union are indoctrinating our youth with socialist theory. All of our opinion forming institutions are controlled by the "Punitive Liberals" who are actively using these institutions to punish us.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/245kubju.asp

I just don't see how the Bush administration - which communicates poorly to begin with - can penetrate this Iron Curtain of propoganda to get the message out. So I think Bush is finished.

But that won't be the end of the world. America will survive a Kerry administration. Like children poking objects into a socket, sometimes we have to learn the hard way. And a Kerry administration will be a painful shock. Kerry will have the shortest honeymoon in history, his administration will be a greater failure than Jimmy Carter's and he will be gone in one term disgraced by a landslide defeat at the hands of whoever wins the Republcian nomination in 2008.

So look at the bright side. By 2008, the Democrats will be finished as a governing party for a generation. At least. And the era of Punitive Liberalism will be over for good.

Posted by: HA at June 23, 2004 04:37 AM
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