January 8, 2009

Peace at the Smallest of Prices

Daniel Finkelstein in the Times of London on the hideous truth few are willing to face:

The poverty and the death and the despair among the Palestinians in Gaza moves me to tears. How can it not? Who can see pictures of children in a war zone or a slum street and not be angry and bewildered and driven to protest? And what is so appalling is that it is so unnecessary. For there can be peace and prosperity at the smallest of prices. The Palestinians need only say that they will allow Israel to exist in peace. They need only say this tiny thing, and mean it, and there is pretty much nothing they cannot have.

Yet they will not say it. And they will not mean it. For they do not want the Jews. Again and again - again and again - the Palestinians have been offered a nation state in a divided Palestine. And again and again they have turned the offer down, for it has always been more important to drive out the Jews than to have a Palestinian state. It is difficult sometimes to avoid the feeling that Hamas and Hezbollah don't want to kill Jews because they hate Israel. They hate Israel because they want to kill Jews.
Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 8, 2009 6:40 PM
Comments

It seems it must be so. Tragic, senseless, and evil. There is no other reason for it but blind hatred.

Posted by: lynne Author Profile Page at January 8, 2009 8:04 PM

It's just like Benjamin Netanyahu said "they'll be peace if the Palestinians will stop attacking." For all this time they've put their futures into the hands of evil and terrible leadership. I guess the only time they'll stop is when all their children are dead.

Posted by: PeteDawg Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 1:24 AM

"And what is so appalling is that it is so unnecessary."

This is exactly why so few Americans rally to the Palestinian cause. We care as much about their lives as they do themselves. Which is to say, not a lot.

Posted by: Bennett Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 4:53 AM

If 'the world' really wants to help the Palestinians it has to stop propping them up. The Palestinians recieve more aid per capita than any other people in the world. By now they should all be living in suburban villas with their kids' college degrees hanging on the walls. Instead the place is a slum full of vile and destructive ideologies. Cut off the aid and services. They'll be forced to develop some political maturity and a self sufficient economy that provides them with jobs and a decent standard of living. Then they'll be less interested in provoking their neighbor to bomb all they've built.

Posted by: Boojum Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 8:29 AM

Between October 2000 and December of 2008 Israeli civilians and security forces killed 4897 Palestinians, while Palestinians killed 1062 Israelis. Source.

How can you explain a 5:1 fatality ratio by stating that only the losing faction has any desire to kill the other? This does not seem very intuitive to me. Do you think that the Palestinians have a monopoly on hatred?

The above figures do not include the latest Israeli adventure in Gaza that is sure to skew the statistics even more in favor of the point I am trying to raise here.

Posted by: Persephone Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 8:31 AM

Source above is this. Sorry for broken link earlier.

Great comment by Boojum on
the Palestinians recieve more aid per capita than any other people in the world.

I am sure this is 100% correct but would like to verify this statement independently. Care to name your source?

Posted by: Persephone Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 8:48 AM

Persephone, I have a lapel button, from an old science fiction convention. It reads:

I DON'T LIKE VIOLENCE
but i'm very good at it

Apparently, the Pals like violence but are not as good at it as the Israelis are. If their skills were the equal of their appetites, I should be very sorry indeed.

And if the Israeli response in Gaza is an "adventure" what do you call the chronic rocketing by Hamas? A quest? A pleasure cruise?

Stupid or evil, pomegranate lover - which one are you?

Posted by: Nichevo Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 8:52 AM

Oh, I dunno, maybe that was unfair. But I do wonder how you can both say these things and mean them; and why. It seems pretty clear that if Israel wanted all the Palestinians dead, they'd be dead. Whereas it seems pretty clear that the Pals want all the Jews dead, but just can't pull it off.

If you are into the Greek mythos perhaps you will remember Daphne and Apollo? Your notion of proportionality seems to be, "If you run slower, I will run slower."

Posted by: Nichevo Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 9:08 AM

Persephone,

The casualty ratios are out of whack because Israel has a professional military while Hamas is a largely incompetent terrorist gang.

It's also worth noting that Hamas overwhelmingly murders civilians while Israel overwhelmingly kills terrorists and spares civilians.

Israel adheres to the laws of war, while Hamas commits war crimes as a matter of course.

If you want to side with a violent fascist terrorist regime instead of aliberal democracy, go right ahead, but don't expect much respect around here.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 9:23 AM

Nichevo:

Apparently, the Pals like violence but are not as good at it as the Israelis are. If their skills were the equal of their appetites, I should be very sorry indeed.

If I understand you correctly it is somehow apparent to you that Palestinians are intrinsically more violent than Israelis and that in order to defend themselves, it is necessary for the Israelis to kill 5 Palestinians for every Israeli that is killed. Does that make sense to you?

Also you asked me this..But I do wonder how you can both say these things and mean them; and why.

What exactly did I say that offended you? I am sorry if I did, but would like to know what my exact words were that caused such anguish in you. Are any of my facts wrong, maybe?

Posted by: Persephone Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 9:40 AM

Michael, you write

It's also worth noting that Hamas overwhelmingly murders civilians while Israel overwhelmingly kills terrorists and spares civilians.

Between 2000 and 2008 this happened:
Palestinian minors killed by Israeli security forces: 955
Israeli minors killed by Palestinians: 123

Kill ratio among minors (anyone under 18) about 8:1 in favor of Israel. Source here.

Do you think this is consistent with you statement above? If so, I'd like to hear why.

Posted by: Persephone Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 9:55 AM

They need only say this tiny thing, and mean it, and there is pretty much nothing they cannot have.

Except the one thing they want - their land back. You can't understand the Palestinians if you forget that simple fact - Israelis are living on land that used to belong to the Palestinians. Did the Israelis create a prosperous, fairly democratic country out of what had been a fairly poor Ottoman backwater? Yes they did. 60 years later is it time for the Palestinians to give up and move on? Yes, that would be the logical choice. But unfortunately Palestinians have legitimate grievances. The Palestinian response to those grievances is wrong and counterproductive, but it is misleading of people like Finkelstein to act like Israel is a complete innocent whom Palestinans just hate for no apparent reason. Finkelstein has it backwards - Hamas and Hizbullah do hate Jews because they hate Israel, not vice versa. Modern anti-Semitism in the Arab world was caused primarily by the creation of Israel and 20th century Western colonialism in the Middle East. Until the 20th century anti-Semitism in the Islamic world was fairly mild, especially compared to attitudes in Russia, Spain, Austria or France.

Posted by: Dyadya Vanya Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 9:58 AM

The Palestinian Christians are being driven out of all the Palestinian held territories and they are the only industrious Palestinians. I bought a beautiful necklace carved from camel bones in Bethlehem from a street vendor. I'm sure that $10 bill is still feeding his family. The Muslim Palestinians know only how to kill Jews and park their missiles near Christian homes! I saw homes belonging to Palestinian Christians surrounded by iron fences topped with razor wire!

Posted by: DagneyT Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 10:08 AM

"Do you think that the Palestinians have a monopoly on hatred?

The above figures do not include the latest Israeli adventure in Gaza that is sure to skew the statistics even more in favor of the point I am trying to raise here."

Persephone, you really need to take a trip to Israel. You have absolutely no clue! There are plenty of Palestinians and Arabs who live in Israel, and enjoy a typically western standard of living. Israelis hate no one. They warn the people in Gaza when they are going to strike, and tell them to leave. Get a grip, Persie!

Posted by: DagneyT Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 10:13 AM

If I understand you correctly it is somehow apparent to you that Palestinians are intrinsically more violent than Israelis and that in order to defend themselves, it is necessary for the Israelis to kill 5 Palestinians for every Israeli that is killed. Does that make sense to you?

Persephone, it is not a racial thing, but an ideological one (or sociocultural, or religious, take your pick of any combination of these terms). There is nothing in the Talmud that commands Jews to kill Palestinians, or all nonJews, but there are plenty of exhortations in the Quran that command Muslims to kill all Jews, and to convert, enslave or kill all infidels. This vicious bloodthirstiness is indoctrinated in the minds of Palestinian children by their parents, their teachers, their clerics, and their media, including childrens' programs and popular songs. It is violent virulent memetic imprinting gone insane.

Israelis try to kill only jihadis, and do a damn good job of it, considering, while Palestinians had out sweets to their children when one of their number explodes in a bus or school or mall or cafe and kills Jewish women and children. The fact that Israels have killed so many Palestinian jihadis is simply an unfortunate reflection of how many Palestinian jihadis there actually are.

Yoy might also consider where the cutoff point for children is in the statistics you site. With jihadi indoctrination so extreme and so pervasive and terror training beginning so young, many Palestinian males are hardened jihadis before their 18th birthday. Btw: what you are pointing out is not a kill ratio (comparing deaths of minors to overall deaths), but giving absolute numbers of both Palestinian and Israeli minors killed. The actual ratio of Palestinian minors killed to all Palestinians killed is 955/4850, or less than 1 in 5, while the ratio of Israeli minors killed to all Israelis is 123/727, or around 1 in 6 - not that great a difference.

Posted by: Salamantis Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 10:21 AM

One other thing has to be remembered; Israeli parents love life and their children, and shelter and protect them from harm, while many Palestinian jihadis love death and jihad, and launch attacks upon Israelis while using their own civilians, including woman and children, as (in many, perhaps most, cases willing) human shields. If Israel responds and kills the attackers in order to protect its own citizens, as any responsible government must, but civilian Palestinian collateral damage occurs, this is quickly put to propaganda use. Dead Palestinian children are worth their weight in jihadi propaganda gold.

Posted by: Salamantis Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 10:35 AM

Sorry about this, but when someone makes me laugh like this I have to report it...

DagneyT writes, apparently in defense of the current Israeli operation in Gaza that
"They warn the people in Gaza when they are going to strike, and tell them to leave".

Don't get me wrong, I think it is very kind and human of the IDF to give advance notice to civilians before they destroy their homes and everything in them. The IDF deserves to be commended. I am sure that if, oh say, Mr. Michael J. Totten were to receive a phone call tonight telling him that his house will be bombed in 30 minutes and the he better leave now, he'll be happy to oblige and later thank whoever blew his house up for the advance notice...no hard feelings.

DagneyT, you have a career in stand-up comedy.

Posted by: Persephone Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 10:52 AM

I'm quite certain that the Israelis in the border towns would love to have 30 minutes warning before the Qassams fall, rather than 30 seconds. And the Israelis in buses, malls, schools and cafes would have loved to have had any warning at all before the serenely smiling mujaheds pushed their bomb vest buttons.

Posted by: Salamantis Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 11:26 AM

Perephone,

If terrorists ever seize my house and neighborhood and use it to launch missiles at the downtown city center, I'd expect the military to go in and fight them. And yes I'd appreciate a heads-up if they need to shoot at a target near my house.

If I ever use my own house to shoot rockets at the downtown city center, I'd expect the military to blow up me and my house without warning.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 11:40 AM

"If you want to side with a violent fascist terrorist regime instead of a liberal democracy, go right ahead, but don't expect much respect around here."---MJT

Pretty much sums things up. There really is a World where there is Black and there is White. I know it's not located on the distinctly grayish Upper West Side, or in the tonier aspects of the West Coast, but it's a LOT more real than the one the 'nuancers' live within. Theirs is a wish-fulfillment reality.

And in THAT World, Hamas and its droogies are as Black as Black can be. Always HAVE been---- always WILL be. If Israel could somehow manage to eliminate every member of this noxious thugocracy, it would be a VERY GOOD THING. And worth a very high cost indeed.

Posted by: dougf Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 12:03 PM

"Except the one thing they want - their land back. You can't understand the Palestinians if you forget that simple fact - Israelis are living on land that used to belong to the Palestinians."
Posted by: Dyadya Vanya

Do we really want to get into a "whose land is whose" battle? It is my belief that Isreal belongs to Isreal and the Palestinians are/were intruders. It seems from what you've said that we should expect the Native Americans to rocket our cities and in return we should all packup and move back where we belong.

Posted by: mac0352 Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 12:12 PM

"The Palestinians need only say that they will allow Israel to exist in peace. They need only say this tiny thing, and mean it, and there is pretty much nothing they cannot have."

Don't most Palestinians want to live in peace side by side with Israel? Is it fair to blame most Palestinians for the actions of some crazy terrorists that most Palestinians disagree with?

On Hamas. Hamas is not a monolith. There are some Hamas who want to finish what Hitler started. There are other Hamas who support a two state solution. Can't Israel reach out to the moderate Hamas and work with them to resist the extremists Hamas?

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 12:34 PM

Where is the Hamas that is willing to accept a two-state solution? I don't know of any. Their very founding charter rejects such an option, and demands the utter destruction of Israel, the murder or expulsion of all Jews from the land, and the establishment of a single sharia law Muslim state on it.

Posted by: Salamantis Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 12:40 PM

"DagneyT, you have a career in stand-up comedy."

Percie, I love it when I can make someone laugh. However if I am a Christian with a Hamas missile launcher in my front yard, I'll be eternally grateful! And who am I going to blame?

As I suggested earlier, take a trip to Israel. You really need to open your horizons.

Posted by: DagneyT Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 2:49 PM

anand,
"moderate" and "Hamas" doesn't compute.

Salamantis,
Your patience is admirable! Best wishes.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at January 9, 2009 5:33 PM

We need to stay focused on who the enemy really is in Palestine. As with WW I and WW II, it is not with the ones who are doing the actual fighting. It is their leaders.

These people grew up in a closed society, just like the ones we fought in WW I and WW II. They have been brainwashed from birth to hate who their leaders tell them. We have been blessed with a free society that lets us get information from anywhere in the world. So, when we go after our enemies, or support a country in their fight, lets not loose sight that these people are like sheep led by their shepherd, and go after the shepherd.

Hopefully, after the shepherd has been removed, the sheep will listen to information from others and decide for themselves what to believe.

Posted by: Smorgasbord Author Profile Page at January 11, 2009 3:31 PM
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