Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blinded In Gaza : Can Israel Face Reality?

`Samson Destroys The Temple' - Marc Chagall

Nothing changes in the Middle East.

The Book of Judges in the Bible relates how Samson, the mighty warrior was seduced and betrayed by Delilah, and then blinded and enslaved by the Philistines, the ancestors of todays' `Palestinians'. It also relates how Samson regained his strength and broke his chains to bring down the pillars of the pagan temple of Dagon in Gaza to destroy his tormentors and himself in a last act of defiance.

Israel is likewise on the verge of being seduced and betrayed in the same fashion by the beautiful vision of Delilah...the chimera of peace and acceptance of Israel as a `normal ' country.

Much is being made of Olmert's negotiations with PA president Abbas and the coming Middle East peace conference in November, midwifed by the Bush Administration and Condi Rice at which Israel will be heavily pressured to repeat exactly the same mistake made in Gaza and Oslo all over again...leaving strategic territory in a vacuum and disenfranchising thousands of its own citizens in exchange for meaningless 'guarantees of peace' from its enemies.

The simple fact is that no matter what concessions Israel makes, no matter how much territory it gives up,no matter what cheerful photo-ops emerge with Olmert and Abbas shaking hands, it will, in the end amount to nothing - because the Arab objection is Israel's existence, not its borders.

When Condi Rice emphasizes that' Now is time for Palestinian state', and that a second Arab Palestinian state next to Israel is essential to peace in the Middle East and to US interests, I frankly wonder whom this very intelligent woman thinks she's kidding.In fact, the opposite is true.

As long as the `Palestinian' issue exists, the Arab nations have an excuse not to deal with the idea of accepting Israel's existence, and confronting their own dysfunctional societies. They might accept one-sided territorial concessions as an aid to the ultimate goal of destroying Israel, but giving up the struggle at anything less than that is simply not possible. Israel and the Jews are simply too good of a diversion for the Arab masses to give up `the struggle'. That's exactly why the Saudi `peace' ultimatum was so hardline and rejectionist - because the Saudis could never have imagined that the US or Israel would actually take it as a serious basis for an actual end to hostilities. Arafat understood this quite well, which is why he consistently refused any offers of peace - if the war ended and Israel and the Arabs had peace, why would anyone need Arafat, or put up with his corruption?

That, by the way is also why Condi Rice is pushing for final status talks and moving directly to Phase III of the Roadmap - because it's obvious that the Palestinians have no intention of fulfilling their original commitments in Phases I and II. And why should they? They have yet to pay any kind of diplomatic price for cheerfully pocketing Israeli concessions and Israeli land while blatantly breaking every agreement they've ever signed.

Even less sensible is the idea of Israel or the US making any sort of deal with Abbas, a man who is seen as a corrupt relic of the old Fatah regime by his own people, has little if any strength on the ground and who would have been deposed long ago if it wasn't for American dollars and, believe or not, the IDF and the Shin Bet keeping a tight rein on security in Judea and Samaria ( the West Bank). The whole rationale that Rice is selling to the American foreign policy establishment and Olmert is attempting to sell to the Israeli people is that they had better make a deal with Abbas now if they don't want to end up having to deal with Hamas later.

This is an absurd fantasy. Abbas is already giving Hamas a decent share of US and Israeli cash, to go along with the millions of dollars worth of US arms and equipment Hamas obtained when Fatah retreated from Gaza without a fight. And as I write this, Fatah and Hamas are already engaged in negotiations for a sulwah, a reconciliation midwifed by none other than the Saudis and the Arab League.

Look for that reconciliation to occur as soon as the maximum in strategic concessions is extorted out of Israel.

Israel, thanks to its own farcical leadership and pressure from outside sources to make dangerous strategic concessions is now faced with genocidal enemies on three sides, with missiles supplied by Iran that can reach any part of the country. Back before the Six Day War, when their enemies were only armed with conventional weapons Abba Eban famously referred to the pre-1967 borders as the `Auschwitz lines'. Eban's words are more true today then they were then, if anything...especially with a nuclear armed Iran on the horizon. The last thing they can afford is a bunch of genocidal Palestinians even closer to their main population centers.

The United States will not benefit from a second Arab Palestinian state - one only needs to look at whom these people are and whom they've been allied with. Nor will America or the west benefit from Israel's destruction or neutralization as a US ally. Israel remains one of the few allies we have with a significant military, among other things...not to mention the loss of Israeli high tech to the US and the benefits the US military receives from it.

And there's also this; should Israel be destroyed, should Iran's mullahs decide that the time is right for a nuclear strike on what's left of Israel, it's not impossible for me to imagine a scenario where, like Samson, Israel unleashes its second strike capability on the Arab world and pulls the whole temple down with it as it is destroyed. Facing a second Holocaust, with the world dragging its feet about taking in the only moderately radiated handful of survivors, it would be hard to blame the Jews for not accepting annihilation peacefully for the second time in sixty years.

This can all still be avoided, but the Israelis may have to do most of it themselves. Frankly, the Bush Administration is too connected to the Saudis and to interested in having an Oslo-type charade enacted as its `legacy' to be of much assistance, unless the Israelis began to force the Bush administration to make some hard choices. And it is, after all, their country and their problem.

First of all, Israel needs to politely inform Condi Rice and the Bush Administration that the status quo isn't acceptable any more, that they won't be attending the Annapolis summit or indeed any other `peace talks' until the rocket attacks and homicide bombings cease, and that the Saudi/Arab League plan is simply not compatible with Israel's national security...no matter how hard James Baker,the Saudis' main man in America pushes for it. Given Israel's popularity with Congress,there's no question in my mind that they could make a reasonable case for this stance.

They also need to say that if the importation of rockets, heavy weapons and foreign `advisers' into Gaza doesn't cease, Israel would be forced to take all steps necessary to see that it does...up to and including reoccupying Gaza, expelling a fair amount of the locals and annexing the strip to Israel. That would likely cause the administration to put pressure on Egypt to actually police its borders with Gaza. Since Egypt actually wants absolutely nothing to do with its Palestinian `Arab brothers', they'd have an incentive to comply.

Second, Hamas and Islamic Jihad need to be told publicly and without an abundance of rhetoric that the next attack on Israel would be met with deadly force no matter who was responsible, with a protracted strike directed against the Hamas and Islamic Jihad facilities, infrastructure and leadership, without regard for civilian casualties. Making that announcement publicly would put not only Hamas and Islamic Jihad ( and the Palestinian apologists and groupies in the West) on notice, but the civilian population of Gaza as well....so that there would be no question as to whom was responsible for any ensuing violence.

If that statement wasn't enough of a deterrent, Israel would need to follow through on it, the next time a rocket or a mortar shell was launched at Israel. One or two demonstrations would likely be sufficient. And just for the record, this kind of action towards enemy combatants hiding behind a civilian population is permitted by the Geneva Convention's Article 28.

Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah also need to be told in exactly the same matter-of-fact manner that the Israelis have finished with any future `discussions', that Israel has given up all the territory it intends to, that the existing borders are permanent and that they are welcome to form a state out of what they have if they choose to. And that while Israel would prefer to live in peace next to them, attacks on Israel will be treated as acts of war by a hostile state and dealt with accordingly.

This kind of forthright stance would invoke a lot of wailing, threats and angry rhetoric from the Palestinians, the Arabs and their pals in the EU, the UN and the dinosaur media..for about two weeks. And then the media would move on to something else and something interesting would become apparent...the fact that the issue had been settled.

There would be no more speculation about `final status' or a Palestinian state or a `peace deal'. There would only be Israel,with its clearly demarcated borders and the Palestinians with theirs, to do with whatever they felt like doing.Both the Palestinian areas in Gaza and the West Bank might become Hamasistan, or they might stay separate. Or Jordan might decide to incorporate the Palestinian areas of the West Bank back into Jordan, since by Jordanian law the Palestinians on the West Bank are Jordanian citizens anyway.But the lines would be clearly drawn and the Arabs could begin the long process of acceptance.

If this seems far fetched, it isn't. In fact this is exactly how Israel ended hostilities with Egypt and Jordan. Both Anwar Sadat and King Hussein realized after a series of wars that Israel was here to stay and that future hostilities were pointless, no matter what the Arab League or the Saudis had to say about it. So the lines were drawn and it was over. And even if it can be characterized as a `cold peace' it has still endured.

In the Palestinians' case, since they lack (to put it mildly) a Sadat or a King Hussein,the Israelis will have to make this move unilaterally.

If Israel is seduced by the mirage of Delilah and shorn of its strength,it will have happened because they will be playing into the hands of those who want to destroy them. It is the deepest of mocking, hollow ironies that the Bush Administration, with all of President Bush's high flown language about democracy in the Middle East should be playing a role in undermining the one true democracy in the region that actually exists.


Rosey said...

You have a great talent for cutting through the bullshit. As my plumber says, "I think what you think." Thank you for educating me on what I once thought of as a complicated topic.

Freedom Fighter said...

Thanks for the kind words, bro.