June 15, 2007

Iran's Victory

By Noah Pollak

"The era of justice and Islamic rule has arrived."
-Islam Shahawan, Hamas spokesman

Gaza has fallen to Hamas, but not just to Hamas: the group is the newest member of Iran’s growing portfolio of allies, clients, and proxies, and thus its victory was also a triumph for Iran’s policy of manifest destiny in the Middle East. This should not be surprising, as Hamas has never been shy about explaining where its loyalties lie. In 2005 while visiting Tehran, Khaled Meshaal said, "Just as Islamic Iran defends the rights of the Palestinians, we defend the rights of Islamic Iran....We are part of a united front against the enemies of Islam." In 2006, Sa'id Siyam, the Hamas interior minister, told Al-Jazeera that

Iran is an Islamic state, which is being targeted by the USA and Israel. Syria is an Arab state that is targeted. Hezbollah is also targeted and so is Hamas. Therefore, we can call this the axis of resistance and defiance. What unites them is the fact that they are all targeted. Therefore, we have the right to establish ties with states that open their doors for us.

Fair enough. The collaboration between Iran, Syria, and Hamas, and the millions of dollars that Iran has poured into Gaza, have indeed paid dividends. America and its allies in the Middle East are being surrounded: There are now two Iranian clients, Hamas and Hezbollah, on Israel’s borders; Syria and Iran bracket Iraq and provide money, training, leadership, and manpower to the insurgents fighting there; and Lebanon is once again being subjected to Syrian bombings, assassinations, and terrorism in an attempt to wrest the country from its westward-looking citizens.

Does the “international community” recognize these realities? Not so much. While masked Hamas gunmen were sport-killing people in Gaza hospitals, the European Commission declared, “We call on President Abbas, the legitimate president of all Palestinians, to do his utmost to resolve the situation through dialogue and to work towards national unity and reconciliation.” In a rock-paper-scissors match between a Kalashnikov and dialogue, who wins? Indeed, is there a problem in the world that the European Commission thinks can’t be resolved by dialogue?

While Hamas was executing members of Fatah by throwing them off the roofs of tall buildings, Jan Egeland, special adviser to the UN Secretary General, said, “This is the product of failed Palestinian policies, failed Israeli policies, failed international policy.” That’s right: the rise of Hamas is because of some vague policy problems. Maybe a UN committee could investigate them?

Margaret Beckett, the UK foreign secretary, said “Once again, extremists carrying guns have prevented progress against the wishes of the majority who seek a peaceful two-state solution.” No, Margaret, the majority of Gazans do not seek a peaceful two-state solution, and we know they don’t because of how they voted: Turnout in the 2006 election that brought Hamas to power was 82.66 percent, and a majority of those voters cast their ballots for Hamas’ Change and Reform party. Public opinion polls have confirmed the fact that a majority of Gazans are against the existence of Israel. People like Beckett are the great Rousseauians of the modern age, convinced despite all evidence to the contrary that peace and goodwill fill hearts in Gaza.

Martin Jaegar, the German foreign ministry spokesman, said “We are extremely concerned about the humanitarian consequences and call on all sides to make the supply of aid to the Palestinian population in Gaza possible.” Catch the logic at work here: A group of people votes a terrorist organization into power; the terrorist organization fulfills its campaign promises and sets out waging war on everyone in sight, both Palestinian and Israeli; the warfare causes economic and political crisis; and the Germans, whose lavish foreign aid has for decades helped enable rule over the Palestinian territories by sinister and corrupt thugs, now propose to supply the very terrorists who caused the crisis in the first place…with more aid, to placate the citizens of Gaza and thereby stabilize Hamas’ rule. Simply amazing. Such aid would reinforce a lesson that has long been taught to the Palestinians: the West will reward your embrace of terrorism with more aid; we will never make it contingent on political or cultural moderation; no matter how large a majority votes for Hamas, we will never turn off the spigots of cash irrigating your extremist culture.

There isn’t much good news in all of this for Israel, the U.S., and Lebanon. The only advantage that will come from Gaza -- and this is not a minor advantage -- is that Hamas will finally have the opportunity to throw itself, along with the people who brought it to power, as fanatically as it wishes into the abyss. There are no more controls now: no Arafat, no occupation, no Fatah. There is only Hamas’ fevered ambition, which has long since discarded any pretense of concern with the social service work that was the source of so much hopeful excuse-making among Hamas' western apologists. Israel should do everything it can to help Hamas down the rabbit hole, and that includes permanently shutting off the water and electricity it supplies to Gaza. Can it possibly be true that Israel has an obligation to continue providing utilities to Hamastan? Should Israel send its nuclear scientists on a pro bono mission to Iran, too? Shutting off the power and water it supplies to Gaza would be more than an act of spite for Israel: it would be an important imposition of the idea that actions have consequences, and that Israel will cease being an enabler of Palestinian radicalism.

I am hardly qualified to make national security recommendations, but it seems clear that Israel must revive one of the tactics that decisively helped win the second intifada. It is time to resume assassinating terrorists. And by terrorists, I mean every member of Hamas. There should be no distinction made between “regular” members of Hamas and those from the “military wing" -- a dichotomy that has always been a self-serving fiction. The people who comprise Hamas are dedicated to the annihilation of Israel and the slaughter of every Jew who lives there; the IDF should reciprocally dedicate itself to the annihilation of every member of Hamas, and it should start with its leadership, so that the surviving subordinates can make informed decisions about their career prospects.

Iran has won several victories in the past few years. It is time for the push-back to begin.

Posted by Noah Pollak at June 15, 2007 02:14 PM
Comments

Israel should do everything it can to help Hamas down the rabbit hole, and that includes permanently shutting off the water and electricity it supplies to Gaza.

Oh yeah, that'll fix the problem.

It is time to resume assassinating terrorists. And by terrorists, I mean every member of Hamas.

And this, too, will calm down the situation.

Sheesh.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 15, 2007 02:39 PM

No, DPU, it won't calm down the situation. Neither will anything else.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2007 02:47 PM

I'm hoping that the opinions posted here about this are vented frustration rather than serious policy suggestions. Because they display even less of the analytic skills than the supporting arguments for invading Iraq, although in the same emotional vein.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 15, 2007 02:55 PM

Wishful thinking won't solve the problem.

Thinking good thoughts about Hamas and Palestine won't solve the problem.

In fact, nothing will solve the problem until the problem is identified (and agreed-upon). Until that moment, everyone's just talking and spending money.

Posted by: steve miller at June 15, 2007 02:56 PM

Hi -

DPU: the policy of calming things down, of forcing a pseudo-stability of the Arab status quo, of avoiding conflict (rather than resolving it) has brought us to this point, where Iran and its proxies are going to try and resolve the Palestinian problem because apparently no one else is willing to do so.

But things are going to get much, much worse before they can even begin to get better, and the people suffering will be those living in Gaza.

The UN created the problem by building the camps and refusing to pressure a solution, as it didn't want to take the only weapon that the Arabs had against Israel, the political weapon of the refugee status of the Palestinians, an artificial construct that has been yielded to great effect by both cynical power mongers and by the thugs that run Iran just as cynically in the name of Allah, but see no problem in condemning the entire population of Gaza into abject poverty in the name of their religious fantasies.

What has to happen before the veil is raised from your eyes? How many must die?

The status quo is rotten, shot through with corruption and the most basest, cynical manipulation of public opinion by so-called journalists who are themselves laughably manipulated by that organized thugocracy that calls itself the Islamic Republic of Iran.

All you want to do is maintain that status quo. Despicable.

Posted by: John F. Opie at June 15, 2007 02:58 PM

Imagine there's a Hamas terrorist whose admitted reason for existence is to participate in the genocide of the Jews.

Are Israel's citizens safer if this Hamas terrorist is:

A) left free to pursue his murderous agenda

or

B) terminated before he can kill any (or more) Israeli children?

You can sling all the usual, tired arguments you want about Israel exacerbating the problem by "escalating" the conflict by choosing Option B.

B is still better than A.

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 15, 2007 03:02 PM

DPU, what interest does Israel or the
United States have in calming-down the situation in Hamastan?

I think Gaza is a really nice target rich environment. Hamas is trapped there for the slaughter. Militaries have always sought to put their enemies in exactly the situation that Hamas is in. I say, "Have at it!"

Posted by: Brian at June 15, 2007 03:03 PM

Having spent enough time in Israel (and also Lebanon), I can't help but to feel that this is nothing but just more of the same but worse.

Here are some random scenario thoughts:

Hamas consolidates power in Gaza, and before people realize how lousy life in an Islamic Utopia ™ is, they slam Israel with missiles. I think they'll do a very limited low-end chemical attack (not nerve gas, maybe something like chlorine). It's happening occasionally in Iraq and I wonder if they (and Iran) want to see what sort of reaction they'll get from this escalation. It seems like these testing escalations have been happening for some time.

Israel may or may not respond hard, and if it does, it'll probably accomplish little. There is very little Israel can do. Hamas basically has all the initiative here. Everyone else loses, especially the citizens of Gaza.

Posted by: Eric at June 15, 2007 03:12 PM

double-plus-ungood:

I'm hoping that the opinions posted here about this are vented frustration rather than serious policy suggestions.

The Palestinian Arab war against Israel continues unabated. If Israel is to win this war, she must exact a cost the enemy is unwilling to bear.

Killing the combatants and their commanders and paymasters is a good way to do that.

Unleash the dogs, Olmert.

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 15, 2007 03:16 PM

The only argument I can think of to leave Hamas alone is so that Palestinian civilians realize how absolutely monstrous they are.

That means no aid to Hamas, though, at the absolute minimum.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2007 03:19 PM

The collaboration between Iran, Syria, and Hamas, the millions of dollars that Iran has poured into Gaza, has indeed paid dividends. America and its allies in the Middle East are being surrounded: There are now two Iranian clients, Hamas and Hezbollah, on Israel’s borders

It's early days but my analysis is a little different. If we assume Hamastan in Gaza and Fatah running the West Bank, then Fatah seem to have the best deal. Hamas is dependent on Egypt to allow a supply of arms and Mubarak's fear of a strong Hamas-Muslim Brotherhood bond means that Egypt is unlikely to be too cooperative. Hamas is, as stated, also dependent on Israel for its water and electricity. It seems that rather than America and its allies being surrounded, it's Gaza that will be under seige.

In fact, in the light of the recent rumours about Jordan participating in the administration of the West Bank, I'm wondering...

Have Hamas been stitched up?

Posted by: Steve M at June 15, 2007 03:28 PM

Michael,

You are failing to conform to the basic meta-narrative of the Progressives: Stability at any cost. Peace at any cost.

It doesn't matter if 'peace or stability' is brought about the the actions of a genocidal group like Hamas, or the oppression of an entire nation via action of a Tyrant and his Cult of Personality (Quick quiz: Why was Iraq 'secular' under Hussein? Answer: There is no room for a competing religion under a Cult of Personality aka God King. See Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, etc).

All that matters is there is no icky war on the TV. Especially an icky war caused by the Designated Oppressor Identity Group against the Designated Victim Identity Group.

Posted by: Michael in Seattle at June 15, 2007 03:48 PM

Inside of a week humanitarian convoys will be bringing supplies into Hamastan, and the Hamasians will crow over their victory. The world will be unable to see suffering women and children, and so it will break the blockage. It will also willingly be used to ferry in non-humanitarian supplies. The UN and the Red Cross will be the first of these global services to let the Hamasians walk over them.

What Hamas learns from this is that nothing succeeds like success. And they will use their captives (the Palestinians) as bait for the world to bite down harder on their hook.

The Palestinians will also learn nothing about cause and effect, other than voting for Hamas leads eventually to the world accepting Hamas. Outside of some powerless victims who will suffer tremendously, the Palestinians will have lost little and gained much.

Hamas is win-win on this already. Already they're seen as "moderating" their stance because they're offering to help find and release the BBC reporter. And they (Hamas) will use every tearful woman and crying child as a way to make the West feel guilty for "oppression"; Hamas, the Palestinians, and the world will never connect the dots that electing outright terrorists has any negative results.

Lenin said the capitalists would sell him the rope he needed to hang them all; the Hamasians are finding that they don't even need rope: the world is willingly putting its neck down for the Hamasians to crush.

Posted by: steve miller at June 15, 2007 03:52 PM

All that matters is there is no icky war on the TV.

There is a considerable difference between not wanting icky war on the TV screen, and disgust at repeated failed foreign policy efforts that strengthen enemies and put allies at risk, and a concerted insistence to not learn from past mistakes.

The Middle East is a mess, and I see nothing coming from Washington that will improve the mess. Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, and Ahmadinejad need to start paying the Bush administration for the job they're doing.

This is beyond incompetence, and I'm dropping out of the thread before I say something that strains our host's hospitality further.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 15, 2007 03:59 PM

So the essence of Hamasian argument is "You made me do this bad thing."

Right. I'll see how that flies with my kids. They might recognize the lucridity of that.

Posted by: steve miller at June 15, 2007 04:06 PM

I have a somewhat tangential question: if Hamas is so confident in their triumph and victory, and so thoroughly in control of Gaza, why don't they take off their masks?

Seriously, is it a cultural thing? Do the masks have some mythic, symbolic power? Or are they fully expecting Israeli gunships any day now?

Posted by: Eric J at June 15, 2007 04:06 PM

DPU,

I agree that our foreign policy is a catastrophe, but I don't see you offering up a Plan B. I'm genuinely curious what you think Plan B should be.

Criticizing Noah's Plan B is easy, but let's see what yours is.

I don't always agree that a hawkish response is the right one, so I'll listen even if no one else will.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2007 04:09 PM

Eric J,

Hamas uses the masks to hide their identities from Fatah and Israel. Fatah members didn't wear masks, and were hunted at home by Hamas.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2007 04:10 PM

Michael J. Totten:

I don't always agree that a hawkish response is the right one, so I'll listen even if no one else will.

Michael, you've been over there many times and have a better handle on the players. Is there any language that Hamas will understand other than force?

I don't believe there is, but it would be interesting to hear a reasoned argument to the contrary.

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 15, 2007 04:16 PM

I wonder if we're presuming that Hamas acts in the same manner as we do. That is, we think that give and take, shame, fair play, and other elements of Western civilization can be used in negotiations. Hamas is showing that its beliefs in Islamic superiority and domination are the way to bet. They have little reason to "negotiate"; they've seen how the West will give into them if they just wait a bit.

Posted by: steve miller at June 15, 2007 04:22 PM

Criticizing Noah's Plan B is easy, but let's see what yours is.

Remove the conditions that drive support for Hamas, poverty, ignorance, oppression, and misery. Provide a hope for a way forward toward a two-state solution. Negotiate with Hamas (yes, despite their intentions toward Israel). Start investing heavily in the economies of Gaza and the West Bank. Improve civil service and infrastructure so that one of Hamas' main sources of support is eliminated. Stop funding Fatah, specialliy with weapons in the hope of a coup, it's the losing horse in this race and seem to be widely rejected as corrupt collaborationists by the majority of Palestinians.

And above all, find a permanent solution to the Palestinian issue that doesn't involve genocide or inflicting more misery. All that does is generate another generation of fanatics and makes those defending themselves into monsters.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 15, 2007 04:29 PM

double-plus-ungood:

Remove the conditions that drive support for Hamas, poverty, ignorance, oppression, and misery

Remove the cultural desire for Islamic supremacy and Jihad? Not possible. More money pours into Gaza per capita than anywhere. What they do with the money is up to them. Who has been forcing Fatah to keep printing anti-Israel school textbooks with foreign aid dollars? Oppression and misery are part of the Hamas program. What part of that don't you understand?
=============

Provide a hope for a way forward toward a two-state solution.

Now that's a squirrelly statement. Israel has unilaterally ethnically-cleansed Jews from Gaza and left behind high-tech greenhouses. Trashed immediately by the Paleos. Autonomy granted to West Bank, whose Arabs used as cover to make bomb-factories to slaughter Israelis. You are really asking Israel just to commit suicide, right?
==============

Negotiate with Hamas (yes, despite their intentions toward Israel)

Negotiate with a maximalist, irrational, Jihadist, genocidal cult? Yeah, that'll work. Their word is their bond.
=============

Start investing heavily in the economies of Gaza and the West Bank.

Been done. Why don't you drain your personal bank account and consider it an investment? Then forget about ever retiring. Good money after bad.
=============

And above all, find a permanent solution to the Palestinian issue that doesn't involve genocide or inflicting more misery. All that does is generate another generation of fanatics and makes those defending themselves into monsters.

You offer nothing practical or new. Israel defends herself but has not nor is now "turning into monsters". What a hateful and blinded thing to say.

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 15, 2007 04:42 PM

DPU,

The lynchpin of that whole strategy, is, of course, the "negotiate with Hamas" part.

What could Israel possibly hope to attain by doing so? And an even better question: what could they achieve with Hamas that they were unable to achieved with a (relatively) more moderate PLO?

Let's give Hamas the benefit of the doubt. Let's say they're not really genocidal maniacs. Even still, their MINIMUM demand would be a full withdrawal to the 1967 lines AND a the right of return for million of refugees to Israel proper.

Posted by: Edgar at June 15, 2007 04:43 PM

DPU, that is not a Plan B. That is the failed Plan A.

Palestine gets more aid money than anywhere else in the world.

Hamas deliberately destroyed Palestine's economy.

And Hamas says negotiation is treason.

We need a Plan B here.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2007 04:50 PM

Israel defends herself but has not nor is now "turning into monsters"

You have read something into my comment that I did not say. I said that a solution that involved genocide does that.

Let's give Hamas the benefit of the doubt. Let's say they're not really genocidal maniacs.

Did I make such a claim?

Any negotiations with Hamas would obviously provide Hamas with an opportunity to try and further their goals. That's a given, and Hamas meeting their stated goals is obviously undesirable. But nothing can be done without such negotiation, so it's necessary. In the meantime, that allows other things to be done that weaken Hamas' sources of political support (investment in Palestinian economies being crucial, to my mind). It also allows them time to become less idealistic and corrupt in their own right, and eventually be rejected in turn by the Palestinian electorate.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 15, 2007 04:51 PM

DPU,

Remove the conditions that drive support for Hamas, poverty, ignorance, oppression, and misery.

I won't bother to recycle the debunkings I'm sure you've read of this stuff.

But how exactly does one 'remove' poverty? You don't have to believe in the 'undeserving poor' to see that turning Gaza in to something other than what it is will be expensive, dangerous and probably impossible.

And ignorance. It isn't like they don't have schools or universities in Gaza. Unfortunately, those facilities are run by terrorists and teach and support jihadist thought and violent antisemitism. The West asked Fatah to change things, and nothing happened. There's no reason at all to think Hamas will be more accomodating.

I notice that on the one hand you want to remove oppression, but on the other hand you want to leave Hamas in power. No contradiction?

Start investing heavily in the economies of Gaza and the West Bank.

What economies? Just about the only established 'industry' there is agriculture, and there is not enough farmland to make a nation of farmers (assuming they'd want to be farmers).

Improve civil service and infrastructure so that one of Hamas' main sources of support is eliminated.

That only works if Hamas isn't the government. Improving state services (run by Hamas) as an alternative to charities (run by Hamas) isn't going to work.

Stop funding Fatah, specialliy with weapons in the hope of a coup, it's the losing horse in this race and seem to be widely rejected as corrupt collaborationists by the majority of Palestinians.

Agreed.

In other words, you propose a highly interventionist, quasi-imperialist state of affairs in which we fund private and public sectors run by Hamas, educate their children and maintain their quality of life. And you plan to do this with Hamas's permission? If you think Hamas gains support because the Arabs are poor, dumb and ign'ant, surely you think Hamas knows that too? Are they likely to enrich and educate their supporters if it will lower their support?

Posted by: MattW at June 15, 2007 04:53 PM

DPU: Remove the conditions that drive support for Hamas, poverty, ignorance, oppression, and misery.

Hamas is the cause of all those things, not the other way round.

You can't be rid of oppression while the oppressor is in place, you can't eradicate ignorance while the ignorant control education, you can't build an economy when the powers-that-be sabotage the economy, and you can't soothe misery while eternal warmongers wage war.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2007 04:54 PM

We need a Plan B here.

No, plan A has always been to kill the terrorists. It isn't working.

And wasn't aid cut off when Hamas was elected? Hasn't this directly increased the popularity of Hamas and created this political crisis? Hasn't Iran been able to step in to provide illicit aid that has improved their standing in the Palestinian community?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 15, 2007 04:55 PM

double-plus-ungood:

You have read something into my comment that I did not say. I said that a solution that involved genocide does that.

No, you said: And above all, find a permanent solution to the Palestinian issue that doesn't involve genocide or inflicting more misery.
Israel resisting the Paleo terror war will necessarily involve misery on the other side. That is a given in war. Would you have Israel stripped of her right to resist and defend herself then?
===============

But nothing can be done without such negotiation, so it's necessary.

Nothing can be done without negotiating with Hamas? That's just absurd.

Nothing could have been done with Nazi Germany other than negotiating with Hitler?

Same difference.

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 15, 2007 04:57 PM

Hamas is the cause of all those things, not the other way round.

Extremists political groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, the Nazi Party, and the Bolsheviks do not create conditions for their support, they gain support from extreme political conditions and a hope in their supporters that they will do something about them.

Do you think that an extremist party like these can get support in a comfortable economy with political stability?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 15, 2007 04:59 PM

Oh, I know! Let's do what DPU says! More negotiation! More talk! Send Pelosi Galore again! Let's try to reason with Iran and it's jihadi allies in the region, like Hesbollah, Hamas, Syria, et al. I'm sure we'd see tangible results in no time at all! After all, that's how Iran makes so many inroads-- by talking! Right?

Posted by: Carlos at June 15, 2007 05:01 PM

lilmamzer, I have explained my statement. If you want to insist that you know my mind better than I do or that I'm a liar then we have no basis for further discussion.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 15, 2007 05:01 PM
And wasn't aid cut off when Hamas was elected?

No, it wasn't.

Direct aid to the PA treasury by Western countries was stopped. Iran and Arab countries continued to send money. The West actually increased aid - 'humanitarian', and later in money given to Fatah ostensibly to pay civil servants - in order to make up for the lack of, um, aid.

Hasn't Iran been able to step in to provide illicit aid that has improved their standing in the Palestinian community?

Iran has given maybe $200 million to Hamas over the years, mostly in the last 18 months or so. You say that bought them popular support? The West has given many billions and got nothing.

Maybe something else is at play here besides money?

No, plan A has always been to kill the terrorists.

That is ridiculous.

Posted by: MattW at June 15, 2007 05:02 PM

double-plus-ungood, you wrote:

No, plan A has always been to kill the terrorists. It isn't working.

It does work. It reduces their ability to mount attacks against Israelis. It makes their leadership more risk-averse. We've just seen it with Israel's response to the recent barrage of Kassam rockets against Sderot. Meshaal in Damascus started to cry uncle and ask for cease-fires. They have pressure points. Israel has never really let loose and gone for the jugular. I think they should. If it saves the life of a single Israeli, targeted removals of hamas leaders and other terrorists are worth it.
==============

And wasn't aid cut off when Hamas was elected? Hasn't this directly increased the popularity of Hamas and created this political crisis?

That was a joke. Much of the aid is coming from Norway and indirectly from the EU. Even the US provides aid through other channels that, even though is supposedly by-passing Hamas, relieves Hamas of some of the burdens of governance. In effect, subsidizing the Hamas reign of terror.

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 15, 2007 05:03 PM

double-plus-ungood, you wrote:

lilmamzer, I have explained my statement. If you want to insist that you know my mind better than I do or that I'm a liar then we have no basis for further discussion.

I don't claim to know your mind better than you, but I know what you wrote, and I know what part of what you wrote you defended, and what part you seem to have blithely ignored in your self-defense.

I'll say it again, another way: When you wrote, And above all, find a permanent solution to the Palestinian issue that doesn't involve genocide or inflicting more misery., I can think of no other interpretation than denying Israel the right and means to defend her citizens in a war that is neither of her choosing nor desire to continue.

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 15, 2007 05:09 PM

DPU, for what it's worth, I do agree that your resolution strategy was the right place to start. I agreed with that strategy myself for many years. The problem is, it didn't work out.

The current muddled strategy, which is somewhere between hawkishness and dovishness, doesn't work either.

Nor will blindly lashing out as Israel did last year in Lebanon.

Nothing that has been tried has been effective.

So we don't need Plan B. We need plan E.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2007 05:09 PM

Hamas is the cause of all those things, not the other way round.

You can't be rid of oppression while the oppressor is in place, you can't eradicate ignorance while the ignorant control education, you can't build an economy when the powers-that-be sabotage the economy, and you can't soothe misery while eternal warmongers wage war.

That's what I would have said, but of course DP is too good to listen to the likes of me. I would also have mentioned the fact that terrorists don't tend to come from the poorest, they come from relatively privileged backgrounds - yet another sign that ideology, not misery is the cause.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 15, 2007 05:12 PM

DPU: Do you think that an extremist party like these can get support in a comfortable economy with political stability?

No, but you can't have a comfortable economy and political stabilty with Hamas ruling the roost either.

Hamas deliberately sabotaged the economy of Gaza, just as Hezbollah deliberately prevents their region of Lebanon from acquiring what Beirut has.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2007 05:12 PM
Do you think that an extremist party like these can get support in a comfortable economy with political stability?

Your question does not apply to the territories. Fatah/PLO were inflicted on the palestinians by Israel and Fatah/PLO. Immediately after they arrived, Fatah/PLO made things worse. Fatah radicalised the current generation, destroyed the economy and murdered dissidents and opponents. Prior to 2000, the palestinians enjoyed a quality of life second to only one group in the Middle East: Israelis.

I suppose the terrorists/'causes' feed off of one another. But before the terrorists came, there was a comfortable economy with political stability.

Posted by: MattW at June 15, 2007 05:14 PM

"...yet another sign that ideology, not misery is the cause."

Bingo. Otherwise Africa-- not the middle East-- would have been the cradle of modern terrorism. And how come nobody asks why it's the paleostinian MUSLIMS who are the suicide bombers and terrorists, rather than christian paleos? Is that not relevant? Or does the politically incorrect answer not compute with Leftards. Are christian paleos not as miserable as the mooslim brethren? The answer seems pretty obvious to me. This is about IDEOLOGY, not misery. Israel is a problem only because the islamic world cannot allow empowered Jews living in their midst. It's a Koran thing.

Posted by: Carlos at June 15, 2007 05:20 PM

before the terrorists came, there was a comfortable economy with political stability.

Yep. Israel should have left the Palestinians alone and recognized their statehood back then. Instead they brought in Yasser Arafat.

It was probably the dumbest thing they ever did aside from building settlements.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2007 05:21 PM

When Hitler came to power in Germany, the economy actually improved, because of all his deficit spending on his war machine, and its trickle into the wider economy. If we help the Gazan economy, Hamas will just take credit for it, and use it to fuel their neverending jihad. So I am in favor of keeping payments to Gaza cut off, cutting off their utilities as well unless they pay a fair market price for them, and letting the Gazan people stew in the jihadist juice they elected, until they tire of it and opt at the ballot box for sane coexistence, or until the region implodes and we have a version of the Anbar Awakening ensue, where they pull a Howard Beale and scrub their own territorial toilet bowl clean of the extremist crap they've blessed themselves with. They voted for the Hamasian albatross; let them wear it around their necks for a while, and see how their shoulders stand up under the burden.

Posted by: Salamantis at June 15, 2007 05:22 PM

Carlos: Israel is a problem only because the islamic world cannot allow empowered Jews living in their midst.

They also don't want empowered Kurds, and Kurds are Muslims. Kurdistan has called the Second Israel since the 1960s.

This is as much because of racist Arab Nationalism as it is Islamism.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2007 05:25 PM

Let's not forget Turkish Nationalism while we're at it, which is secular and also not pretty. And I say that as an otherwise big fan of Turkey.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2007 05:27 PM

There is also rampant discrimination between different segments of the Arab world.

The Arabs that call themselves Palestinians are at the bottom of that totem pole. They are stacked up in refugee camps throughout the rest of the Arab world, and not allowed to integrate themselves into the broader population (not that they seem predisposed to do so, anyway). If the Middle East were India, Palestinians would be the Untouchables.

Posted by: Salamantis at June 15, 2007 05:31 PM

This is as much because of racist Arab Nationalism as it is Islamism.

And Iran has signed on to "Arab" nationalism? I'm not mocking, I'm asking.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 15, 2007 05:32 PM

If the Middle East were India, Palestinians would be the Untouchables.

Ah, so part of the "poor abused Palestinian" meme is actually Arabs projecting their own guilt onto the Jews. That's in character.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 15, 2007 05:36 PM

Persians in general tend to view Arabs as ignorant and unsophisticated rubes, so I doubt that they would enthusiastically sign on to an agenda of Arab nationalism, except insofar as it serves Persian rather than Arab interests. As soon as Persians perceive that such support no longer served Persian interests, it would evaporate faster than dry ice on a skillet.

Posted by: Salamantis at June 15, 2007 05:36 PM

They also don't want empowered Kurds, and Kurds are Muslims.

Or black Africans either, apparently (Darfur). Arabs are a tribal people, and they'll find the fault lines wherever they may exist, whether it be race or religion. But let's not pretend Leftard solutions like land for peace, or low income housing is going to solve any problems. Arabs only understand the Hama way. They understand strenghth. It's what they respect. Israel tucking tail and runnning and Pelosi going over there offering them free ipods is seen as nothing more than a precursor to capitulation. They are emboldened by it. Period.

Posted by: Carlos at June 15, 2007 05:42 PM

Josh Scholar: And Iran has signed on to "Arab" nationalism? I'm not mocking, I'm asking.

Have you noticed that Arab countries threaten to get the bomb if Iran gets the bomb, and that none of those Arab states broke a sweat when Israel got the bomb?

There is much here that does not meet the eye.

Read Fouad Ajami. He's a Shia from South Lebanon, and a neoconservative American history professor. He explains, convincingly, that part of what Hezbollah is doing is trying to out-Sunni the Sunnis so they will be permitted to live.

Iran is doing the same, which is one reason they threaten to nuke Israel. They are trying to calm down hostile Sunni Arabs. It is better to have Israel as an enemy. Much of this has nothing to do with Israel or anti-Semitism whatsoever.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2007 05:43 PM

Actually, except for Hamas, all the most strident enemies of Israel are not Sunni Arabs. They are Shia Arabs, Persians, and Alawites.

They are trying to ride the strong horse so it won't trample them.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2007 05:47 PM

It is not as much nationalism as it is tribalism. With a thick veneer of religion.

The shared Islamism can paper over some of the cracks in the tribalism for a while when there are common enemies (aka Jews) to fight. As soon as the common enemy is no longer available the tribes fracture and fight each other.

See Sunni v. Shia, Fatah v. Hamas, Balochis v. Iran, Iraq v. Iran, etc. etc.

These are all primitive people that do not have the culture or civilization capable of dealing with modern technology / globalism and the speed with which the world now works to accomplish anything worthwhile. They can appropriate and use some levels of technology to wage tribal raids and barbarian slaughter, but that's about it.

Posted by: AlanC at June 15, 2007 05:55 PM

So we don't need Plan B. We need plan E.

Agreed. But I think that collectively punishing Gaza by cutting off its power and water, and executing every Hamas member may be, uh, counterproductive in a number of ways.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at June 15, 2007 06:10 PM

MJT: Israel should have left the Palestinians alone and recognized their statehood back then. Instead they brought in Yasser Arafat.

Remember that the Oslo process came into existence in the wake of the first intifada, which itself started back in the 80's when Arafat and his gangsters were still cooling their heels in Tunis. The whole purpose of Oslo had exactly the intention of recognizing Palestinian statehood, and most everyone involved at the time, in Israel, among the Palestinians, and in the U.S., believed that Arafat was the guy who had to be brought in to make it happen. By the early 90's he had long since been crowned the sole representative of the Palestinians -- it would have been unthinkable not to buy him a one-way ticket to Jericho. That of course doesn't mean it wasn't a really stupid decision.

One interesting fact that most people don't know about the early days of Oslo is that the PA elections were supposed to happen within a couple of months of Arafat's return, explicitly to ensure that Arafat wouldn't have time to destroy the Palestinian civil society and kill off (yes, literally) his internal opponents before the vote was held. Everyone knew that once Arafat arrived he would turn into a busy beaver and start building his gangster state around the expansion of his own power (and nothing else). And during the horrible occupation, the reality of the West Bank was that the economy grew rapidly and there was a legitimately free press. To make a very long story short, Arafat quickly managed to secure a delay in the election, which bought him enough time to efficiently crush his internal opponents, shut down the newspapers, and rebuild Palestinian society around his own rule. In 1996 when the election finally happened it was no surprise that Arafat won a Saddam Hussein-like victory. Another big score for western idiocy, which consented both to Arafat's return and to the election delay.

Posted by: Noah Pollak at June 15, 2007 06:12 PM

Why don't they just block all food, water and press from the West Bank for a couple of months and be done with the whole thing for good?

Posted by: mikek at June 15, 2007 06:30 PM

These are all primitive people that do not have the culture or civilization capable of dealing with modern technology / globalism and the speed with which the world now works to accomplish anything worthwhile. They can appropriate and use some levels of technology to wage tribal raids and barbarian slaughter, but that's about it.

Look, just because they're hateful and malevolent doesn't mean that they will forever be incapable of slaughtering you.

Don't fool yourself that the word "primitive" means anything. These people live right now, in the same world you do and may find a way to use the same advance technology everyone else has.

There's no principle that proves that hated filled and malevolent people will forever be incapable of using electronics, biology, nuclear technology or of winning battles or even wars.

Frankly I think we make a mistake when ascribe these problems to "tribalism". The 7/7 bombers were not from a tribal society, but they had the supposedly "tribal" attitude that infidels lives are worth less than nothing. Islam creates tribalism worse than tribalism, and I think that it's an insult to tribal people everywhere to call Muslims tribal.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 15, 2007 06:40 PM

Why not just wall them off on the Israeli side and let Egypt take care of them? After all, it's a problem they created-- intentionally. Let them solve it. Surely the Arabs aren't going to let their Arab brethren starve? LOL. Or maybe they would. They know Israel would get the blame-- which is the only reason why the Arab world has kept the paleos in their current state of misery. As a weapon. Low-intensity warfare by attrition to secure a victory against Israel they couldn't achieve on the battlefield. F#ck them. Starving Gazans aren't Israel's problem. They're Arabia's problem. They caused it, let them solve it. My solution? Make Egyptians and Jordanians out of them. After all, that's where most of them came from.

Posted by: Carlos at June 15, 2007 06:46 PM

You offer nothing practical or new.
-lilmamzer

It is nice to see someone else recognizes this.

-----

We need a Plan B here.
-MJT

Give Gaza back to Egypt. Mubarak's an oppressive ruthless SOB, but he's proven he can keep militant Islamists on a leash.

After seeing the 'progressives' crap all over the effort to bring democracy to Iraq, I've decided it's not worth it. So it's back to Realism and 'our bastards', only now we can laugh at the 'progressives' when they criticize us for supporting authoritarian bastards because they did nothing but criticize, condemn, and complain when we tried freedom and liberty instead.

Fuck it.

If the Palestinians aren't smart enough to live peacefully in a free and democratic society, they can live as best they can manage in an oppressive authoritarian society.

They had their chance, and the USA has more important things to deal with.

Posted by: rosignol at June 15, 2007 06:56 PM

Fine, let Egypt have Gaza. That sounds terrific, especially if Gazans can leave and move to Cairo or whereever else and move to a slightly less oppressive prison.

But why would Egypt want Gaza? It has negative value, and no one can make them take it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2007 07:19 PM

Islam creates tribalism worse than tribalism, and I think that it's an insult to tribal people everywhere to call Muslims tribal

Now that's gotta be the most confusing sentence in this post... huh?

Posted by: mertel at June 15, 2007 07:24 PM

But why would Egypt want Gaza?

Because they care? That's why the Arab world is so anti-Israel, right? Because they care? Or is it something else. LOL.

Letting Gaza stew in it's juices has too much positive value for the Arabs. It's their most effective weapon against Israel. Gaza ain't going nowhere.

After seeing the 'progressives' crap all over the effort to bring democracy to Iraq, I've decided it's not worth it.

Same. I was once very pleased about the prospect of a free and democratic Iraq. Now I couldn't care less. Leftards were right, Bush was wrong. Arabs aren't ready for democracy. Paleos another case in point.

Posted by: Carlos at June 15, 2007 07:28 PM

Leftards were right

I don't think our neo-left (which is actually more nihilist than left) was trying to say that Arabs aren't ready for democracy. I think they were trying to say that freedom is for us and that no one in the world is worth doing anything for except MEEEE. They were against killing only because Americans can be blamed for that killing. As long as no one is responsible that makes them look bad, slaughter isn't wrong at all.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 15, 2007 07:35 PM

Also, I note that DPU has quietly retracted his grand plan for the liberation of Gaza and replaced it with a simple note stating that he doesn't think their water and electricity should be cut off.

To be fair, the idea that economic stimulation could help alleviate the situation there may have been accurate about 30 or 40 years ago. Just as better economic conditions in Germany may have prevented Hitler's rise to power, better conditions in Gaza MAY have helped stem the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. (Why is Hamas more powerful in Gaza than the West Bank?)

However, that's all for the history books. The fact is, now that Hamas has slaughtered their opposition (and their opposition's families) and taken full control, handing them more money makes no more sense now than it would have in Germany in 1939.

I think MJT's idea is best. Sit back and watch the situation implode. Only trouble is we may get an explosion rather than implosion. The political reality is that if Hamas now succeeds in launching any sort of major terrorist attack, the Israeli gloves will come off. And I think the first punch should land in Iran.

Posted by: mertel at June 15, 2007 07:35 PM

not just slaughtered, but lynched.

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=25868_Video-_A_Lynching_in_Gaza&only

if you have the strength, watch this and then tell me it's possible to talk to hamas, or solve the problem by "engaging" them.

but hey, the jews makes them do it.

Posted by: fp at June 15, 2007 07:58 PM

Funny thing, for, I don't know, 1 1/2 or 2 years whenever there has been the slightest criticism of Iran on the left blogs I visit, no matter how tangential - say someone wants improvements in women's schools or better treatment for gays, there has always been people trolling along to call all criticism of Iran defacto support for an invasion. Apparently all criticism of Iran, no matter how mild or on what subject was to be banned, and an hysteria built up about this impending invasion.

Of course on the internet, you never know if a poster is a paid propagandist etc...

Since these people went so far you might suspect that their purpose was less to build up a movement against attacking Iran than it was to end all criticism of Iran. But they may have accomplished something of the former among the nutcase left.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 15, 2007 08:02 PM

Why don't the pali's move to greenland? Nobody lives there, global warming is going to make it a nice place to live again and they can slaughter each other without causing problems for anyone else. Problem solved.

Posted by: mikek at June 15, 2007 08:14 PM

because they survive only by causing problems for others. if they didn't, who'd care about them?
they're shakedown artists.

Posted by: fp at June 15, 2007 08:22 PM

Listening to Hamas' bizarre statements now, one gets the feeling they didn't expect to win so handily, just as they didn't expect to really get elected. They are clearly startled by the (obvious) idea of splitting off the WB from Gaza and declaring IT the PA -- and their blustering, placating, threatening reactions suggest panic.

Mashal is saying "we had to do it -- there was 'an outside presence' trying to take over us, Fatah, the PA, Gaza..." Then he says "We had to do it to bring order and security from the chaos. We owed it to the people we represent."

It will be interesting to see if any rockets are fired on Sderot in the next couple weeks. Actually, I bet not many. Perhaps there'll be more problems from the WB, though? I think Hamas wants to show it can deliver, to tempt Israel to deal with them and not weak Abbas and corrupt Fatah.

If there is a 'testing' escalation involving any kind of toxic gas or long-range missile towards TA or what have you, I can't imagine Israel not just wiping out Gaza.

Posted by: Pam at June 15, 2007 08:31 PM

MJT: Let Egypt have Gaza.

I gather you're not exactly in favor of a Palestinian state?

Posted by: Edgar at June 15, 2007 08:33 PM

I have a silly idea that I'm only half-kidding about. Given the absurdity of what appears to be a no-win situation, what else do we have?

No hawkish solution, or really ANY solution that does not essentially give Iran/Syria/Hamas/Hezb everything they want--complete withdrawal of the U.S. from the ME, plus relocation of the entire Jewish population of Israel to Baja California or New Jersey--is likely to succeed unless the West is actually united behind a single strategy (stop laughing). I mean everyone, including those who think like DPU: a huge portion of the West's media, academic community, Western European governments, the EU, parts of the U.S. Democratic party, and massive numbers of ordinary people in Western countries. There's nothing unusual, or really even that far outside the mainstream, about DPU's prescriptions, such as they are, for this situation. (And DPU, I'm really not picking on you, even though I usually don't agree with you, because the attitudes you express are so very common--and "DPU" is a nice shorthand that's easy to type. In a LOT of crowds your thoughts reflect the consensus.)

Obviously, that crowd is going to require something pretty overwhelming to change its mind; positions are hardened on all sides, hence the frequent bitterness in these comments.

So plan B is to launch a new Middle East "Peace Process," this time with a 21st-century twist: Make it the world's most dangerous reality TV show.

Engage the BBC to put together a list of DPU's co-thinkers from the ranks of bureaucrats, pundits, journalists, politicians, academics, UN functionaries, NGOs, labor unions, billionaire philanthropists, and think tanks from Europe, North America, Africa, you name it. Then TURN OVER THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT TO THEM for a period of 1 year. Rely on the BBC for live 24/7 coverage and professional production values.

Time to put your rhetoric and credibility on the line, folks. Let's give "peace," or at least a dovish approach to the pursuit of same, a real chance. If it works, well ... we'll have what we all want, although DPU will be acclaimed as the King of Middle East Bloggers in perpetuity and us hawks will have to eat a shitload of crow. It'll hurt like hell, but I'll be happy to do it. And if it doesn't ... we'll have proof of that approach's failure in a nice DVD boxed set plus UN-sponsored downloads for all to see, and a firmer solution can be attempted, probably with the acquiesence if not the outright encouragement of the chastened doves.

Whaddya think?

Posted by: Gene at June 15, 2007 08:37 PM

pam,

imagine.

Posted by: fp at June 15, 2007 08:39 PM

I gather you're not exactly in favor of a Palestinian state?

Everyone is in favor of a Palestinian state except the Palestinians who want Israel instead, so it's a moot point.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 15, 2007 08:56 PM

gene,

i always thought how nice it would be to make those live with the consequences of their solutions and see how they like it.

problem is even if they accepted -- which they won't -- failure would make israel and the jews live with the consequences, which are not likely to be correctible, let alone reversible.

Posted by: fp at June 15, 2007 09:07 PM

Make Egypt take Gaza by making it the new contingency for their US$1B. a year.

Posted by: Eric J at June 15, 2007 09:12 PM

Gene, there won't be any Jews left (alive) in Israel at the end of that year, but the inflated egos of the self-adoring left will have been thoroughly fallated, so it will all have been worth it.

No, seriously, they're not capable of learning from experience because they don't care enough to notice what's going on in reality. If they were "reality-based" as they like to call it, they wouldn't have based their entire foreign policy stance on assumptions rather than actual knowledge of the real world.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 15, 2007 09:18 PM

Edgar: I gather you're not exactly in favor of a Palestinian state?

In theory, of course I am.

I am not, however, in favor of a terrorist state. Nor am I in favor of forcing people to live under Hamas rule if they do not want to.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 15, 2007 09:33 PM

Not only does Egypt not want the Gaza Strip, Jordan doesn't want the West Bank. That many Palestinians joining Jordan would endanger the monarchy of King Abdullah II as much as a Palestinian right of return would endanger Israel's existence.

But, there is a much greater desire among the Israelis, I believe, for Egypt to take Gaza than there is for Jordan to take the West Bank. Israel believes that they may be able to work with Abbas, who publicly embraces the principles of acceptance of Israel's existence and renunciation of terrorist violence. The most crushing blow that could take place to the jihadist ideology in the region would be for the west bank to begin to do well, while Gaza collapses and implodes. If this happens, as I believe that it will, expect more attacks on Israel from Gaza, hoping to provoke a response; it's their tried and true method of getting the populace to line up behind them in support rather than with a back stab in mind, and they really lack any other effective method of rallying support.

At least they'll have that $60 million bucks worth of brand new weapons (AK-47's, M-16's, grenades, mortars) that we paid to have Egypt ship to Fatah; Hamas has seized the lion's share of them, and Israel will, sooner or later, be seeing the business ends of them. It was a major fubar to ship those weapons to Fatah, and a major CIA intelligence failure not to have seen the possibility of this coup coming and to have warned against arranging such shipments.

If Israel DOES respond to such eventual attacks, and I don't believe that they would be able to avoid rsponding for long, they should, I believe, first target both the particular attackers and the Hamas leadership (including Meshaal in Syria), and if that doesn't work, then they need to man up their military might and clean the cockroaches out of the entire Gazan kitchen in a major, decisive, house-to-house way, and not to stop until there are no more living enemies left fighting them. One lesson that I hope Israel learned from the summer war in Lebanon is that, when you are facing jihadis, half-measures are worse than useless, and in fact end up being counterproductive.

Posted by: Salamantis at June 15, 2007 11:14 PM

Keeley's book, "War Before Civilization" makes note of how tribal warfare is so brutal. A chief may have some authority, but hawks can act independently at any time to restart a war with the neighboring tribe by killing some of them.

Thus these wars drag on and cost according to some estimates as much as 40% of men through attrition. A few men here, a few there, every month, it adds up.

I think the analogy holds quite well, Hamasistan lacks the command and control of a modern state. Arafat knew his people and never tried to act like a European or Asian ruler, asserting monopoly of force. He was a tribal chief and acted like one.

What Israel has now is a great advantage. Western journalists have FLED Hamasistan. They are throwing people off buildings. Seen as thugs.

Mr. Totten the Israelis should NOT merely cut off water/power etc. They should use the Army and Air Force to pound Gaza like Assad Senior did Hama. With the aim to destroy everything and force the people into Egypt, reclaiming Gaza. Create "facts on the ground" and make Israel seem dangerous again. One that Syria would prefer not to engage. Hezbollahistan also, and their masters in Iran.

Assad Senior held off coups for generations with Hama as the awful example. Saddam with his mass graves. That was the logic of a tribal people.

Historians criticize the brutality towards the Plains Indians, the Apaches, Navajo, etc. Yet as a tribal people there could be no treaty. Always hawks within the tribe would restart the war because that's how tribes work: they can't like a modern state kill the potential hawks. Leaving Crook and Sherman and the others with no choice but to shoot the Buffalo, and starve the Indians to near annihilation.

ONLY a totally defeated people facing complete destruction would surrender. It's why Geronimo though perhaps the most gifted warrior ever was faced down by Crook.

Israel does not like, as most small, tiny population, Western Societies, do not like, War with lots of death, killing, destruction, which is generally horrible and vile, disgusting, and revolting to all people. HOWEVER, the world is what it is. Faced with a tribal people backed by a hostile power and dangerous enemies all around, Israel cannot afford to be seen as less than strong, dangerous, and predictable: able to destroy pre-emptively ala 1967 any threats but preferring to be left alone.

As always the path to peace is winning wars decisively. It's disgusting but that's life, often.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at June 16, 2007 12:00 AM

In my opinion, plan E should be for Israel to take out Iran's nuclear facilities. Not only would it remove the main EXISTENTIAL threat to Israel from its main adversary (Gaza, Lebanon or Syria don't qualify as existential threats), it would strike a great moral blow at Iran and its satellites.
In 1981 under Menachem Begin, Israel bombed Iraq's nuclear reactors. That provoked great outrage in the West at the time, and almost no one remembered ten years later. Now, instead of a secular dictator pursuing his nuclear program in secrecy, we have a fundamentalist power advertising it throughout the world - what more do we need?
The leadership in Israel is by far not as gutsy as it was 26 years ago. Let's hope, however, that they'll come to their senses before it's too late, and strike at the source.

Posted by: zmen at June 16, 2007 12:30 AM

Jim Rockford, as always, is a nutcase. Syria committed the Hama massacre not in order to win a war with an external enemy, but because it is a dictatorship that is faced with an internal enemy (that also has external support). Not the situation that Israel faces at all.

I should add that just as Hama style massacres of tens of thousands in a single attack aren't necessary for Israel to win against the Palestinians, neither would death camps be appropriate, nor nukes, nor smallpox on blankets. I just want to head off any future incursions by Jim

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 16, 2007 01:16 AM

Hi all, Observations.
Last thursday when a real war was going on Israel moved to Gaza, among other goods, between 50 - 100 blood bags, about 5-10 gasoline-disel 20 ton trucks, and several thusands cubic meters of drinking water, some Hamas people are having Jewish blood in their boody.
Poverty can be defined numerically. There is no more poverty in Gaza than in most slums in India, Egypt, Brasil ect. Probably there is much less.
Hunger is a clinically defined syndrome, blood chem. skin color, eyes, lips, ect. If there were such signs you would have seen them on the 1st pg. of all western papers, daily on the TV and in discussions in the UN. NO HUNGER IN GAZA, DO NOT USE THIS WORD !!!!
"Condition" have nothing to do with the occurances in Gaza. If it was so people in Leningrad in WW II and in many others populations centers who were beseiged during wars would been dropping each other from roof tops. In Leningrad it was patriotism and the pistols of the KGB, all in most other beseiged places it must have been the same combinations, in diff. proportions. None existed in Gaza.
The facts show that this was a very well planned war, down to the very minute details. The planning probably started long time ago before the elections. The war was planned and conducted by numerous very capable and knowledgeable soldiers. Cynically speaking if Israel would have prepared for the last Leb. war in such way and if it would have executed said plan with such dedication thing in the whole ME would have looked differently.
A proposed solution? Turn Judea and Sameria into paradise and Gaza into living hell. Take good care that all monetary aid, economic transactions, paper works, all supplies all all all; water, flour, med. ect. will go through through Ramalla -Israel. Let every gram of food, water, anything entering Gaza go through Dahlan and his friends with a minute supervision by some Europen accountants. Let these in the Palestinian authority whos relatives, friends and family were tortured, killed and humilited in Gaza run Gaza from the out side. BUT remembering all the time that everybody there, even these who has blood accounts, is always on sale to the highest bidder. And last but not list kill selectively, very selectively the "bad people".

Posted by: hazbani at June 16, 2007 02:53 AM

There is one thing that could convince mubarak to take Gaza, and that would be for anti-Egyptian militants, such as the military wing of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, to take root there. Sooner or later, and probably sooner, this will begin to happen, as I cannot see any way that Hamas can turn them away, nor can I see any reason that they would not want to establish a presence in Gaza, and a good reason for it (being out of Mubarak's reach for a while). When their presence there becomes obvious and growing, that is when Mubarak will reluctantly say "okay" to accepting Gaza, for then he will have his own rats' nest that he will need to clean out there.

Posted by: Salamantis at June 16, 2007 04:34 AM

Michael: I second (or fifth) your suggestions about cutting off water and electricity and taking many other strong measures against Hamas and Gaza.

What I don't understand, considering the rain of rockets falling on Israel from Gaza, is why they haven't done any of this before.

I don't think it's entirely due to Olmert and his crew acting still like deer caught in headlights. For years, the Israelis have decided (as national policy) to permit weapons and money smuggling; rocket attacks; allow violent terrorist groups free rein, and so on. I don't understand why.

If this happened on America's border, say, with Canada, we would have eliminated the problem (I think, anyway) a long time ago.

Is Israel a nation of masochists?

Posted by: Seymour Paine at June 16, 2007 05:27 AM

MJT,

Yep. Israel should have left the Palestinians alone and recognized their statehood back then. Instead they brought in Yasser Arafat. It was probably the dumbest thing they ever did aside from building settlements.

As an unashamed supporter of settling Israel, I'd dispute that anyway. But even if I opposed it, Oslo has cost perhaps 10,000 lives, led to poverty for millions, and left two million children and young adults radicalised and bent on Islamic jihad.

Settlement, at worst, has left Israel with roots in the territories that (a) cost the state resources and (b) will be hard/impossible to pull up in any peace agreement. The former has not come close to causing significant economic harm to Israel. The latter? If a time comes when Palestinian statehood is plausible and viable, there should be no reason why Israelis living outside the Green Line cannot become 'Palestinian Jews', the flipside of 'Israeli Arabs'.

Posted by: MattW at June 16, 2007 06:43 AM
There is one thing that could convince mubarak to take Gaza, and that would be for anti-Egyptian militants, such as the military wing of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, to take root there.

Palestinians from Gaza have already tried several times in the last year to carry out suicide bombings in Egypt. They were involved with at least two of the Sinai bombings against hotels. Hamas members have are known to have conducted reconnaissance of Israeli and Western tourist sites in Egypt. In early 2006, a small Egyptian jihadi group set up shop in Gaza. Nevermind al-Qaeda and Iran operating there.

Etc.

I don't understand why exactly Egypt hasn't put two moats, a two-hundred foot wall and a minefield between Gaza and Egypt, but waiting for them to realise it is in their interest is not an option.

Posted by: MattW at June 16, 2007 06:55 AM

Israel is a country that is (far too?) concerned about public opinion in the West. If that makes them masochists, so be it. But that, in my opinion, explains Israel's reticence.

History has shown that any military action taken by Israel, no matter how legitimate and defensive, is spun as aggressive and "disproportionate" in the MSM, particularly in Europe. With the US hanging on to its Iraq policy by its fingernails, Israel believes it can't afford to do anything to further increase the ire of the Islamic world and the Europeans, because that will put America, Israel's greatest supporter, into a more more difficult situation. Anything Israel does is spun as being an arm of American influence.

Israel strikes Gaza. Muslims cry that's its more proof of America and the West's hostility against Islam. The feckless Europeans pressure Israel to stop, and they put pressure on America to reign in the Israelis. Israel ends up in no better a place than before it started, perhaps worse because now there are UN Resolutions and Robert Fisk-esque reporting making Israel look terrible.

The result of all this is that Israel keeps taking it on the chin. This process happens over and over every few months or years, but currently it's even more difficult for Israel because of the pressure the US is under in its Middle Eastern policy. It will take an incredible strike(s) on Israel before it acts.

So, even though Israel should absolutely turn off the water and electricity to Gaza, it won't. Nobody ever blames the Palestinians for their lot, just Israel. When there are pictures of a wailing mother and her little dehydrated baby, everybody will know who to blame. Everybody knows that without energy and water the Gazans will be forced to keep fighting, who can blame them? Maybe even Israel will get what it deserves?

Israel is damned if she does, damned if she doesn't. We can thank people like DPU and their mindset for this situation.

Thanks DPU and your fellow travelers.

Posted by: Zak at June 16, 2007 06:58 AM
Is Israel a nation of masochists?

One gets the impression that the primary constituency of Israeli governments is Western diplomats, rather than Israeli voters.

Posted by: MattW at June 16, 2007 07:01 AM

Well put, Matt.

Posted by: Zak at June 16, 2007 07:12 AM

Pam: Listening to Hamas' bizarre statements now, one gets the feeling they didn't expect to win so handily, just as they didn't expect to really get elected. They are clearly startled by the (obvious) idea of splitting off the WB from Gaza and declaring IT the PA -- and their blustering, placating, threatening reactions suggest panic.

Now that the dust is settling over Gaza, and Hamas looks over their spoils, they are slowly realising that all they have won is one great big pile of shit. A pile of shit so big, you'd have to pay anyone else to go near it. And for that they've paid in blood and found themselves more isolated, derided and hated than ever. No wonder they're panicking.

Posted by: mertel at June 16, 2007 07:14 AM

Of course it was dumb to let Arafat in. Just ask all his previous neighbors/hosts: the Jordanians, the Lebanese, the Palestinians of the occ. terr, and later the Israelis. The guy was just the luckiest SOB on the planet (UNFORTUANTELY) because everything he touched turned to crap.

On Gaza, here's Amir Taheri in the NYP today:

"Hamas, having pushed the Palestinians to the brink of civil war, must be left to assume the consequences of its strategy of alliance with Tehran and Damascus in a broader conflict that has little do with Palestine, as either a cause or a political project."

Arabs and westerners butt the hell out. (I can dream)

Posted by: JoseyWales at June 16, 2007 07:16 AM

It's intractable. There is no solution. There are (at least) two groups of people who are irrevocably opposed to each other.

Who knows what the Arabs/Palestinians really "want"? It appears they just want whatever will make Israel lose.

But yeah, the first picture of the crying mother and wailing baby will cause the West to instantly back down.

Posted by: steve miller at June 16, 2007 07:22 AM

Michael;

"The collaboration between Iran, Syria, and Hamas, and the millions of dollars that Iran has poured into Gaza, have indeed paid dividends. America and its allies in the Middle East are being surrounded:"

If you could speculate on a primary catalyst for this synthesis, what would that be?

Posted by: semanticleo at June 16, 2007 08:28 AM

Mr. Totten,

Indeed, is there a problem in the world that the European Commission thinks can’t be resolved by dialogue?

And just what, pray tell, has violence accomplished? Anything positive? Anything towards peace?

Posted by: Dan at June 16, 2007 08:32 AM

Wow, comments proliferate quickly in just a few hours.

Here's a strategy we might consider pursuing:

First, Hamas no longer has Fatah and, to a lesser degree, Israel to blame for the despair and economic disaster of Gaza. It's been milking the "honest" opposition for a long time. We need to exploit the fact that they are now responsible for everything that happens in Gaza and ensure the "you broke it, you bought it" theory applies to them.

There are probably only two ways to forward - overthrow Hamas or get Hamas to moderate. Either strategy will require that Hamas fails in the eyes of Palestinians. So it seems to me the goal should be to help Hamas along that path where possible, even if that means giving them some rope with which to hang themselves.

Although I'm sure it's already happening to some extent, control of what flows into Gaza must be increased. US pressure on Egypt may help here.

Other than that, I believe pretty much anything else would be counter-productive, particularly another intervention or significant military action by Israel. The best thing at this point in time is to wait.

Posted by: Andy at June 16, 2007 09:00 AM

Sorry, but starving 1.5 million souls seems excessive to me.

Shame.

Posted by: Grumpy Old Man at June 16, 2007 09:02 AM
And just what, pray tell, has violence accomplished? Anything positive? Anything towards peace?

I'd call the establishment (and continued existence) of Israel a positive accomplishment. Given that Israel is indisputably in a state of war, actions should be judged on whether they advance victory rather than peace.

Israel's enemies obviously work on the same basis.

Why is this so difficult? There are two sides with positions completely irreconcilable. 'Peace' is impossible until one or more sides give up on those positions. As hard as it may be to accept, violence historically has a far greater effect on changing (or forcing a change) of such positions.

Posted by: MattW at June 16, 2007 09:07 AM

And just what, pray tell, has violence accomplished?

It only ended slavery, nazism and fascism to quote that old bumper sticker.

And, if you were in a Darfur village right now, waiting to be killed or kicked out of your home, you'd be praying for "violent armed" men to come protect you.

But I could be wrong, you may be the rare saint who'd be praying for UN negotiations to bear fruit 15 years from now.

Posted by: JoseyWales at June 16, 2007 09:08 AM
Sorry, but starving 1.5 million souls seems excessive to me.

There is absolutely no reason why the trucks that carry food, water and supplies in to Gaza cannot travel from Egypt rather than Israel.

Posted by: MattW at June 16, 2007 09:09 AM

MattW:

There is absolutely no reason why the trucks that carry food, water and supplies in to Gaza cannot travel from Egypt rather than Israel.

Arabs taking care of other Arabs would set a bad precedent for the 'Arab Cause'.

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 16, 2007 09:17 AM

"There is absolutely no reason why the trucks that carry food, water and supplies in to Gaza cannot travel from Egypt rather than Israel."

Let them eat cake.

Right now, as we speak, the State Dept. is apparently working on a DIPLOMATIC solution,
to the dismay of Cheney and Lieberman. 'Carrot and Stick' strategy is simple but effective. But the war drums on Iran might be destabilized if Fatah gets the people's pocketbook vote. Pity, that.

Posted by: semanticleo at June 16, 2007 09:23 AM

Good news. Egypt has finally stepped up security along its border with Gaza. Although apparently its only to stop more Palestinians leaving. Brilliant

Posted by: mertel at June 16, 2007 09:24 AM


Jim Rockford's suggestions may be Strangelovian, but I appreciated his review of tribal 'hierarchy' because that part can't just be ignored. You can deal with flabby Abbas, or even a muzzled Hamas if such a thing ever exists, but that won't stop the young bucks in the tribe from acting out, because the tribe will protect them before it protects you -- and they are motivated more readily by ideology and scalps than the older chiefs. Even now in the WB, despite Abbas' public calls NOT to stir things up in the WB, the Fatah jihadis are running amok.

Israel's terminal foolishness, it seems to me, is to desperately want to be liked, to put superficial international approval over self-respect. I cannot get Sally Fields out of my head when I watch the Israeli government's excitement at any morsel of praise or respect or bone of acceptance from the West, or even from Arab nations.

Whatever approach Israel does take with Gaza, they mustn't calculate it on international PR grounds, because they cannot ever succeed on that battlefield. They will never win over the MSM or the UN, so stop adjusting security decisions in the vain attempt. Israel has to go for respect, not fondness; think of itself once more as lean and hard, not starving.

The only government more incoherent and fumbling than Olmert's is our WH -- and our State Dept could be regarded as a bastard child of the Saudis and the MSM. Was it just last week they were coercing Olmert to accept lowered security control as part of their 'benchmarks'? Weren't they the ones insisting on shipping all those shiny new weapons to Fatah?

Plan B is the opposite of whatever comes out of Condi's mouth.

Posted by: Pam at June 16, 2007 09:50 AM

What is happening places the League of Nations in perspective. These Europeans and the UN just want to talk.

They will talk themselves into the grave, but not before Israel, Iraq and Lebanon have been destoyed.

Posted by: davod at June 16, 2007 09:59 AM

What is happening places the League of Nations in perspective. These Europeans and the UN just want to talk.

They will talk themselves into the grave, but not before Israel, Iraq and Lebanon have been destoyed.

Posted by: davod at June 16, 2007 09:59 AM

Of course there is one weapon that could bring a non-violent end to the Arab/Israeli dispute.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 16, 2007 10:00 AM

Very well written and I am glad you show not just Israel/Palestine/Hamas, but also mention the Iran/Syria connection.

as I wrote about yesterday, we, as a world, are sitting back and watching this as if it is a bad horror movie but no one is doing anything to help Israel.

We sat back once before and watched the Jews get slaughtered and by the time we stepped in, too much damage had already been done.

Are we going to repeat this history?

Are we going to watch a madman, the thug from Iran, create conditions for a World War III, A WAR THAT WILL INCLUDE NUCLEAR WEAPONS,a war that will make Iraq look like a childs game or is the international community, going to step in and say ENOUGH?

Posted by: Spree at June 16, 2007 10:22 AM

It seems like a bit of a leap to assume that the people of Gaza support terrorism just because they voted for Hamas. Perhaps that is why they voted as they did. Then again, perhaps they were simply totally fed up with Fatah, and Hamas was the only alternative on offer. (Not to mention having actually managed to run programs which aided people, rather than just enriching themselves.)

Posted by: wj at June 16, 2007 10:44 AM

zak,

the world has always been antagonistic to the jews and israel -- that's one of the natural laws. the difference is that during its inception years israel had LEADERS: vision, committed, smart, incorruptible and used the gullibility of the world as well as the islamists do now.

what's different now is that

(a) israel has a leadership crisis -- its elite lacks vision, is incompetent, confused and corrupt

(b) israel is almost entirely dependent on a superpower that is in the same stage as the roman empire was before the barbarians attacked.

ever since israel has become dependent on the US i've been worried. and when the USSR fell, i knew serious trouble was ahead, because as americans should have known, lack of competition is destructive. it invites arrogance and incompetence. allies of an empire in decline are in the worst possible place and will be dumped just like that.

that's why you have all the dump israel now in the us, and the hatred in the west, who are losing their US shield and have to fend for themselves. the barbarians are at the gates (as well as inside) because they smell collapse and the west is scared shitless and wants to save itself by appeasing the barbarians by throwing israel to them.

and we know only too well from history how the rome situation ended. it's sheer denial not to see the parallels.

Posted by: fp at June 16, 2007 11:20 AM

You do not get water to 1.5 million souls by trucks. Laying a water pipe from Ismaelia (fresh water cannal) or Port Said to Rapha is a major job, few months?. The water system in Sinai (to El-Arish?) can not cope with such demand. As for electricy ? Electricity line can be run from the canal in about three month, easy. By USA, Europen and by a privet contructors. What is the generating capacity in Sinai or East of the canal, I have no idea. Gasolin and other fractions can be trucked from Egy. to Gaza, Egy. has the trucks. All the rest can be trucked. The old rairoad is gone long time ago, too bad.

Posted by: Hazbani at June 16, 2007 11:50 AM

Egyptian blogger Big Pharoh is back and has a little post on Lebanon

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 16, 2007 12:11 PM

It seems like a bit of a leap to assume that the people of Gaza support terrorism just because they voted for Hamas.

No leap at all. You see, the paleostinians don't actually come out and SAY they "support terrorism." Of course not. Not even Osama SAYS that. LOL. That's because they don't consider what they DO to be terrorism. It's "resistance." But the simple fact that they voted for Hamas and support Osama means that in effect they DO support terrorism-- whether they admit it or not, whether they even consciously know it or not.

Posted by: Carlos at June 16, 2007 12:30 PM

That's because they don't consider what they DO to be terrorism. It's "resistance."

Jihad is only called "resistance" because of the law that you can't have conquest without a caliph and because playing the victim makes better propaganda.

If they ever have a new Caliphate look out, the "resistance" crap will fall away.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 16, 2007 12:41 PM

Voting for Hamas IS voting for terrorism. It's not like they've hid their objectives.

What the Palestinians seem to want is an escape from the results of their decision to empower Hamas: they want to break the cause-effect cycle.

And they have millions of willing people in the West who are going to excuse every depraved action of Hamas because "Israel is bad, too."

If Hamas wants to run a country, well, then, have at it. I don't think the West should lift a finger to help them UNTIL they agree to recognize the state of Israel. That's not even a negotiable position. No recognition, then no aid whatsoever.

If 1.5 million people want to do something very, very, foolish, then maybe they need to see the results of their decision? I'm just thinking out loud, of course. Maybe the West needs to step in and give Hamas more money to spend on guns and ammo so they can properly govern Gaza in the rich tradition of Sharia.

Posted by: steve miller at June 16, 2007 12:46 PM

steve,

to be honest, recognition is valueless; israel doe not need recognition to exist, and even if it were given, it would not be worth one cent, coming from people who practice taqiyya as a way of life. how many agreements did the pals fail to violate?

what should be demanded is an overhaul of their education system, acceptance of genuinely verifiable arms control and 2-3 generations wait for this to take effect. anything short of that is a delusion and an invitation to slow jihad.

as long as they refuse to accept that they give a clear indication of their intention.

Posted by: fp at June 16, 2007 01:09 PM

With every rocket that gets sent into Israel from Gaza, electricity and water should be reduced.
It can get hot, dark, and thirsty there real quick.
Maybe eventually the people in Gaza will put pressure on their new Bosses and find out how well they react to their needs.
It is easy to want to rule.
However, it is much harder to stay the ruler.

Posted by: Tim C. USA at June 16, 2007 01:21 PM

General Problem: Jihad is incompatible with western civilization.

Specific Problem for Israel: Too many Arabs for neighbors.

Solution: Anti-Terrorism. Terrorism is mass murder combined with television coverage. A type of guerilla war where perception of threat is more important than actual damage. Anti-Terrorism is deadly effective guerilla war fought in the shadows and, on purpose, too boring for television coverage.

For the Gaza Strip, the Anti-Terrorism solution would be a de-facto blockade and siege with plausible deniability for Israel. For example, electricity could be "accidentially" disrupted in the fighting vs. Israel shutting it off. No electricity and water pumps don't work so well. Shortage of clean water and disease starts to quietly spread, perhaps with some outside help. Keep up the process long enough and one can greatly reduce the problem of too many Arab neighbors without military "fireworks" to attract television.

Posted by: George B at June 16, 2007 01:22 PM

fp:

to be honest, recognition is valueless; israel does not need recognition to exist

It is the "Palestinian Arabs" who need recognition as anything other than local Egyptian and Jordanian holdovers.

One look at the PLO covenant will tell you that their self-defining charter is more about destroying Israel than it is about how they see themselves as a people.

Very telling.

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 16, 2007 01:25 PM

tim,

in the arab world seemingly not that hard, as all arab dictators have managed for decades. saddam did it for a while with his hands half tied behind his back.

mamzer,

correct.

the concept of "palestinian people" is an invention of the arabs to eliminate israel. i suggest some research to locate the first time the term appeared anywhere and let me know if it precedes 1948.

the so-called occupied territories were under jordan and egypt before 1967 and i did not see them create a palestinian state between 1948-67. and neither would they have created it had they won the war.

Posted by: fp at June 16, 2007 01:46 PM

"Shortage of clean water and disease starts to quietly spread, perhaps with some outside help."

Yes, and they can use the blood of dead babies for their matzah too.

Go away George and don't come back!

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 16, 2007 01:59 PM

http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/40008.html

Posted by: fp at June 16, 2007 02:21 PM

I apologize for the previous post suggesting death to the residents of Gaza as a solution. Wish I could edit it. It's an expression of extreme frustration with the insanity of that part of the world.

What I would prefer to see happen is for Gaza to have western style property rights, a functional legal system, and economic prosperity. They have access to the rest of the world via the Mediterranean, so one would think that some form of economic activity is possible independent of Israel or foreign aid. It's not like the Gaza Strip is geographically isolated from the rest of the world, floods every spring, or is covered by ice half the year.

If other countries in the Middle East were not providing financial support for Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza, would people in Gaza quit shooting rockets into Israel?

Posted by: George B at June 16, 2007 04:05 PM
It seems like a bit of a leap to assume that the people of Gaza support terrorism just because they voted for Hamas. Perhaps that is why they voted as they did. Then again, perhaps they were simply totally fed up with Fatah, and Hamas was the only alternative on offer. (Not to mention having actually managed to run programs which aided people, rather than just enriching themselves.)

Okay, consider that: Hamas was indisputably committed to destroying Israel and carried out terrorism to do it. Fatah was ostensibly committed to a two state solution.

A vote for Hamas might have been a vote against Fatah corruption, but it was inevitably a vote against Fatah's diplomatic position. Meanwhile, a vote for Fatah was a vote to ignore the corruption, but in favour of their diplomatic position.

Taking those two different issues (war with Israel, internal corruption) and assuming the absolute best of the voters, they decided that internal corruption was a more important issue than war with Israel. If that is your position, fine, but the obvious implication of that is palestinians consider Fatah mismanagement to be a more important issue than being at war with Israel.

Posted by: MattW at June 16, 2007 04:33 PM
If that is your position, fine, but the obvious implication of that is palestinians consider Fatah mismanagement to be a more important issue than being at war with Israel.

The implications of this would be serious. It would mean that they think of the nearly two decades of Fatah/PLO rule as worse than a war with Israel that hast cost them thousands of lives, not to mention their livelihoods.

Yes, Fatah/PLO started that war, but if the Arabs wanted it to stop, they probably wouldn't vote for Hamas over Mahmoud Abbas.

The corruption over war argument is not realistic.

Posted by: MattW at June 16, 2007 04:39 PM

I'm not Israeli, so maybe I am missing a subtle point, but "recognition of Israel" to me means "admit that Israel is not going away, and fix your own damned problems. Stop killing Jews and start building a society."

The endless whining and posturing of Palestinians over Israel makes me sick. Just get over it. Go on with your lives, and do something with what you have. The Jews made a desert bloom. Is all you Palestinian can do is blow things up and kill people?

Posted by: steve miller at June 16, 2007 05:16 PM

Its a very interesting turn of events. I wonder if Hamas will stop fighting Fatah now that they have thrown them out of Gaza (where they never had much power anyway).

Even more importantly I wonder how accomodating Fatah will become towards the Israelis. They need to consolidate their power. They could do that by attacking Israel or "collaborating" with Israel.

(Of course the term colloboration is used whenever Palestinians treat the Jews like human beings.)

Posted by: Freedom Now at June 16, 2007 06:30 PM

Is all you Palestinian can do is blow things up and kill people?

You noticed. They'll get around to actually doing something once Israel is gone (which is never).

Posted by: Carlos at June 17, 2007 04:46 AM

The corruption over war argument is not realistic.

Of course not Matt.

Look at Hezbollah in Lebanon, in and out of gvmnt.

They (rightly) rant against the corruption of the other side and the answer is: armed resistance and war with Israel.

Posted by: JoseyWales at June 17, 2007 05:27 AM

Cut off Hamas's water and power: Sure.
Assassinate Hamas members: Nope.

Why lift a finger to kill Hamas if Fatah will do it for you? Plus, open aggression could mend the rift between the two factions, something Israel cannot see as a good thing.

"Hands off" is the best policy for Israel now. Palestinians have made this bed and can now lie in it.

Posted by: Allan at June 17, 2007 06:06 AM

Sometimes a solution requires thinking outside the box.

When Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic party announced the US has lost in Iraq the question asked in the Middle East is "who won? Who gets to accept the surrender? Who can claim they drove the US out?"

The Syrian assassinations, the Nahr-al-Bared, the Hamas anschluss im Gaza, the return of Sadr, the increased and overt supply of weapons, bombs, and cash into Iraq , are all actions by Iran (with perhaps some Chinese support) to enable Iran to claim victory over the US when the democrats cut off funding for the war. Al Qaida has also stepped up its actions in hope of getting credit and so has the Taliban.

Because US has already unconditionally surrendered negotiations are impossible. We are now in the fourth phase of Mao's 16 characters: "Enemy retreats, we follow".

Solution: regime changes in Iran and Syria which cuts off funding and support to the terrorists. Secretly, let Russian take Iran as a protectorate. Nihil obstat. They need a warm water port. Move the UN from New York to Damascus and place the government of Syria and its territory under the direct control of the UN. After all almost all the world's problem are in a 1500 mile circle centered in Damascus. The UN caused most of the problems; now let the UN live intimately with them.

Posted by: sol vason at June 17, 2007 07:38 AM

When Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic party announced the US has lost in Iraq the question asked in the Middle East is "who won? Who gets to accept the surrender? Who can claim they drove the US out?"

"Success has a thousand fathers..."

If the US has lost, there will be no shortage of people claiming responsibility... but this is barely the beginning of Act II, and the play is a long way from being over.

As convenient as it is to have the UN in NYC, it would be interesting to make Jerusalem an 'international' city under UN administration and move the General Assembly there (the UNSC can stay in New York).

I see no good reason to let the Russians make Iran a puppet.... I'm not that cruel.

Posted by: rosignol at June 17, 2007 07:55 PM
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