Saturday, August 27, 2005

And After Gaza?

Charles Krauthammer looked at the Israeli evacuation of Gaza--how it was done, images from Jewish history, world reaction to the evacuation, and what the future may hold. His view is realistic but not particularly optimistic:

What follows is the world saying, almost in unison, that the Gaza evacuation is just the beginning of a total Israeli retreat, one Dunkirk to be followed by many more. What follows is Condoleezza Rice declaring that "it cannot be Gaza only," a thrilling encouragement to the Palestinians jeering the Israeli withdrawal with chants of "Gaza today, Jerusalem tomorrow."

Is this what the Bush administration wants? More unilateral concessions to an implacable enemy whose "moderate" leader, Mahmoud Abbas, declares that "we will not rest until they leave from all our land" -- when Palestinian maps show "our land" as nothing less than all of British Palestine with Israel totally eradicated?

This is a prescription for Israel's suicide. Or rather murder, because the Israelis are not prepared to march blindly into further unrequited concessions. The final concession will be getting into boats and sailing back to where? Poland?

Krauthammer notes that in June 2002, President Bush explicitly endorsed a Palestinian state. The President said it was up to the Palestinians to take the steps necessary to get there. They've done virtually nothing. Since then, however,

...the Israelis have withdrawn from Gaza, destroyed four West Bank settlements to create geographic contiguity for Palestinian territory in the northern West Bank, and once again repeated their support of a Palestinian state. The Palestinian response has been Katyusha rockets into Sderot, promises of renewed terrorism, and chants for total victory.

I don't understand those who turn a blind eye to the murderous intentions of a large number of Palestinians. Neither do I understand their consistent criticism of Israel. The Palestinians make no secret of their final goal. How is Israel expected to react to years of murderous terrorism and the almost certain prospect of more to come no matter what they do?

I'm disappointed that the Bush Administration hasn't been more aggressive in its support of Israel. However, the situation will be much worse if American foreign policy is ever controlled by people whose ideology prevents them from seeing reality in the Middle East.


Anonymous Kevin said...

Withdrawing from foreign land is now a "concession"? Using that logic then are we to expect that Iraq will one day become the 51st state in the union? Maybe we should go back for the Phillipines as the 52nd state? Gosh... we could have some prime military base locations if we followed Krauthammer's logic.

What I don't understand is why more people don't see this for what it really is. Both sides play up their own points of contention while playing down the other side's. That's how this game has worked for millenia. Why is anybody surprised by it now?

Is Israel's position without fault? No! Does pointing out the murderous intentions of a significant block of the Palestinian population somehow negate the role that Israel has played in creating the present mess? No!

Does that make it all Israel's fault? Of course not! But, neither is it all the Palestinian's fault. Fact is they are being held accountable for the actions of Syria, Jordan and Egypt. Which is patently unfair. Most Palestinians did what noncombatants have done for millenia... they fled the area until the fighting was over. But, Israel refused to allow reentry by any refuges.

As for "the Palestinian's" "final goal", I don't suppose you've heard of the common negotiating tactics of "high balling" or "low balling"?

And you question whether those who don't agree with you are able to see reality in the Middle East? C'mon, Tom...

11:30 AM, August 27, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Kevin, you're ignoring a huge amount of complexity, particularly on such questions as what really is "foreign land" and the true nature of action and reaction.

Did you notice that a Palestinian terrorist attempted to blow up a bus in southern Israel today? His effort was foiled, but he did succeed in killing himself and injuring 20 other people. I'm sure you'll follow the Palestinian line that this was a response to Israel rooting out and killing five militants who were plotting further murders of Israelis. Do you really see this attack on civilians as a legitimate reaction?

It must be really hard to be a Palestinian apologist.

9:52 AM, August 28, 2005  
Anonymous Kevin said...

The definition of "foreign land" is pretty straight forward, Tom. If it's land outside your nation's borders then it is by definition foreign land.

One of the complexities involved is the well known, well established ideological goal at the very core of Zionism.

What's interesting about Zionism is that Jews are descendants of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin who had consituted the southern Kingdom of Judah. Indeed, "Jew" is a somewhat garbled contraction of Judah, which was easily the dominant partner in the Southern Kingdom. Some say that only half of the tribe of Benjamin joined them, with the other half remaining with the larger Northern Kingdom of Israel.

The thing is, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin never controlled geography even equal to the modern borders of Israel, let alone most of the West Bank or Gaza.

If we were to redraw borders in the region to reflect the Jews ancient homeland it would involve giving up Northern Israel and taking back a bit of the Sinai from Egypt. It would be a landlocked nation too. On the flip side... they'd get a good sized chunk of the West Bank right around Jerusalem which is not currently part of the nation of Israel.

1:12 PM, August 28, 2005  
Blogger Amal said...


You might want to take a look at what I wrote about the pullout.

2:15 PM, August 28, 2005  

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