Thursday, March 28, 2002

PALESTINE WRAPUP: Here's some responses to the Passover murders. Mark Byron:

Last I checked, Palestinians are people, too. If it comes down to a game of kill or be killed, I'll help man the rifles to defeat the jihadistas, but let's not forget they are God's creation as well. I'd also like a shot of some of the Arabs to find Christ (many already have, there's a sizable but dwindling Christian presence in the West Bank) rather than arbitrarily condemning the lot to Satan.

While the US will likely run peace missions in the months and years to come, realists within the administration will understand that such diplomacy will be mere window dressing. A peace treaty assumes that their is a possible union on interests that can be achieved. Israel’s existence is anathema to a plurality of Palestinians and the irredentist element isn't going to go away for a generation at minimum. Israel can't accept the descendants of the refugees of the late 1940s back into Israel, for they will outnumber the Jews. Israel isn't giving up East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount just to see Hamas have a free base in the new Palestine, so the Friedman Plan is a non-starter.

The pre-Oslo paradigm of running the West Bank as a colony won't work in the long haul, as a democracy doesn't handle being a colonial power well. The semi-autonomous PA doesn't work either, as they don't have the ability or will to be an effective government and have become a de-facto guerrilla army. There are two long-term options for the West Bank that Israel can live with. The first is an autonomous, better-organized and demilitarized Palestinian government living behind big walls; the second is ethnically cleansing the area, kicking the Palestinian residents elsewhere.

Given that the second option would bring a pan-Islamic response that would bring nuclear and chemical weapons to bear in the battle, the ethnic cleansing option isn't palatable for now. I expect to see Israel decide what areas it wants to have control of and build an Iron Curtain-level defense perimeter. However, if the Palestinians continue to launch attacks from the areas they control, the ethnic cleansing option could still come into play in a few years, and millions may die in the battle. The eschatology junkies are going to have a field-day in the months to come.

Megan McArdle, who writes from the perspective of a North Irish-American who can still 'work up a towering head of righteous anger on the subject" of the British occupation of Ireland --I'm a quarter Irish and I can do the same thing:

A lot of people, when talking about the Palestinians, seem to forget that they have gotten an immensely raw deal. For reasons that were totally out of their control, they've been forced off their land and herded into camps. The Israelis (be honest) treat them like second-class citizens and can often be caught saying the kinds of things that Ian Paisley says about my kind.

That it is a better deal than they would be getting in Jordan doesn't make them feel any better about being the assigned toilet-cleaners and ditch diggers of Israel. That Israel deserves a homeland is probably not real compelling for the people who were on the land the Israelis are now calling home. That they are stuck in the camps because other Arab nations are playing politics with their lives is true, but they're still sitting in those camps looking at land that used to belong to them. It may be that the descendants of the person actually responsible for the Northern Irish plight are sitting fat and happy in England, and shooting them would produce a satisfactory revenge. But when the protestants are sitting right there, talking smack about me and my family, it's hard not to get justifiably enraged. So I think that when we talk about the Palestinians, we can't just dismiss their rage. What I would like to do to Osama, every Palestinian who's lost a brother or a neighbor or a husband or a son to the intifiada would like to do to the Israelis.

But we can say to them: there are two just claims to this land, and yours lost. We will never, ever allow you to do to Israel what you are planning in your darkest heart. So think of something else you'd like -- money, land elsewhere, citizenship in another Arab country -- because you will not be permitted to push the Jews back into the sea no matter how long you wait. We will not grow weary of standing against barbarity.

Because the flip side of understanding Palestinian's just rage is understanding that it has many unjust manifestations.

They do not have a right to blow up civilians.

They do not have a right to wipe Israel off the map.

They must not be allowed to make a "peace" deal that is only another stage in the fight to push the Jews back into the sea.

No matter how just their rage, it does not justify blowing up children. And as long as they will not accept that Israel, too, has a right to exist, they cannot be treated with. Israel cannot allow a Palestinian state unless that state is genuinely interested in peace. Which they aren't -- the polls showing 2/3 favoring a sort of "final solution" to the Israeli problem may have suspect methodology, but I have seen nothing in the media or otherwise which would suggest that they are wrong. And Arafat's regime is clearly trying to ensure the next generation is just as filled with hate by printing libelous slanders against Jews in the state-sponsored textbooks. We feel bad for the Palestinians because they got a raw deal -- but that doesn't mean we can uproot Israel to comply with the Palestinians' ideas of fair.

UPDATE: Megan wrote in with the above post, saying the previous one was a draft and this is the final version. Just some tweaking, I guess --she added the Osama reference. But substantially it's the same post.

Grasshoppa who points out that Israel's interests are not always American interests (as the Israeli art students story should make clear):

It’s long past the time for the US to take the reigns off Israel, but it won’t happen. The US needs Israel to keep taking in on the chin (more like in the balls) while it continues its Sisyphean mission to garner support for an attack on Iraq. Memo to VP Cheney and the State Department: when Crown Price Abdullah and the Vice President of Iraq are seen kissing hellos at the Arab summit (as shown in the Reuters photo on the Ha’aretz homepage today), you’re not going to get any support from the Arab world for an invasion of Iraq. Besides, the US, like the rest of the world is enamored with the Saudi “peace plan” that was adopted by the Arab league, which is the same tired conditions dragged out like a set of home movies every ten years. I expect the next declaration from the Arab league will be of a really neat invention: it’s round and rolls on the ground, and by Allah, they’ve called it “the Wheel.”

But this grasping at the Saudi plan is just symptomatic of a larger problem of the Western World fooling itself about Arab intentions. The Arabs do not want peace with Israel, they want Israel in pieces until they get all of it. Don’t believe me? Just look at the words of the late so-called moderate, Faisal Husseni who described the Oslo peace process as a Trojan Horse. Take a look at the maps used by the Palestinian Authority that replace Israel behind the green line with “Palestine.” Listen to the words of Hamas and Hezbollah. They all say the same thing: Israel cannot exist.

As usual, Israel stands alone in it’s fight for survival against the Arab world. True, the United States has been a good ally, but the US has its own interests that it must pursue and those interests don’t necessarily align with those of Israel. And unless Israel decides to roll over and die, no country in the world will support her if she does what needs to be done. After a 50+ year hiatus, Jew hunting is in season again. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the debacle that occurred in Durban, the blatant anti-Semitism published throughout the Arab media, the more subtle anti-Semitism in the European media, or most telling, that Islamic Fundamentalists and David Duke can agree with each other. We even have European intellectuals comparing Ramallah to Auschwitz. Moreover, there’s been nary a peep from the Western world concerning Ken Layne ’s story about the $25,000 bounty provided to the families of those glorious suicide bombers by none other than Saddam Hussein. Not one country lifted a finger to counter the anti-Semitic diatribes at the recent UN Human Rights committee in Geneva. So I say to you, Ariel Sharon, do not worry about the reaction of the global community because they will hate you no matter what you do. Do not listen to the likes of those Jews who think that if we only give the terrorists what they want, they’d leave us alone. As yesterday's bombing showed, only the opposite is true. The Palestinians have no respect for the Israelis; they see them as soft and week. The feel they can maim and murder Jews on the holiday that celebrates our freedom. But we are no longer free; we are prisoners of the fear caused by these terrorists, and unless the Israel government (and perhaps Jews all over) do something painful and decisive, we will remain prisoners...that is of course until we are all murdered.

Dr. Weevil:

I don't know that I've ever been particularly pro-Palestinian. I always thought that the refugees ought to be invited to settle in the houses abandoned by the hundreds of thousands of Jews driven out of the Arab countries to Israel. That seemed a fair trade. And I can't recall ever not loathing and despising Yasser Arafat and, well, every other self-appointed leader of the Palestinian cause.

However, I was never entirely hostile to the Palestinians until September 11th. When I saw the crowds cheering on the destruction of the World Trade Center, my immediate reaction was "these people will never have a homeland of their own".

It seems to me that the Palestinians are going down the same path as the 'Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam', and that it may already be too late to turn back. The Sri Lankan Tamils were genuine victims of severe discrimination, and this would have justified quite a lot in the way of resistance, perhaps even armed rebellion. But after so many years of grinding brutality (heartily reciprocated, of course) and mass murder, so many assassinations by suicide bombers who were often young women, the Tamils seem to have lost most of the sympathy they once had from the outside world, and quite rightly.

Even if they win, it is hard to believe that a Palestinian (or Tamil) state built on a stinking heap of corpses of women and children could be anything but a hellhole for centuries to come.

Ken Layne after Dr. Weevil:

Dr. Weevil says he used to be much more sympathetic to the Palestinians. Me too. And I still am to some degree, because the Palestinian people are no longer seen as people but as this thing you move around from Israel to Jordan to Lebanon to Saudi Arabia, because nobody really wants them. They're a cause, like baby seals or whales or whatever. Reading the NYT yesterday, I started laughing over Lebanon's demands for the alleged Saudi peace deal. Lebanon just wants to get rid of the Palestinians. Anything else is gravy.

It's pretty clear that a wrecked people -- the Arabs of the Palestinian areas -- is used by everybody in the region. Saudi Arabia uses them as dishwashers and construction workers while using them as a political cause to keep Saudis from storming the castle. Iraq uses them as a tool of terror, to keep Arab attention away from Saddam's happy invasions and slaughter of any troublesome Arabs and Muslims. Syria has the usual problems with fundamentalist nuts, so Syria destroys the militants and then plays Palestinian footage on the teevee. It's those Jews! They're the problem! Egypt still struggles with its relations with Israel, so Egypt lets its media scream and yell about the Palestinian problem and the wicked Hebrews.

I've known Palestinians in the United States. They don't have a lot of love for Israel, obviously, but they got out of the West Bank and Gaza to live a decent life in a decent country where they can make a living and own a decent house with city services and schools and parks. Give somebody a chance to earn a living and drive a Mustang, and suicide bombing is no longer such a swell option.

This is, of course, the best possible option: make them all Americans. Israel doesn't want them, and they're pawns used by the Arab powers who won't let them inside their borders either. So bring 'em all here and let them enjoy our relatively peaceful economic dynamism, as opposed to the cultural dynamism --where blowing yourself up is the highest reward-- they are trapped in now. This is the least likely solution, of course, but if ever a people were tired and poor, the Palestinians are it.

No comments: