Instapundit on Palestine

Instapundit takes a strong stand on the Palestinian issue, based in no small part on the post below detailing Palestinian hatred and anti-Americanism.

I came out against the immediate creation of a Palestinian state over a year ago because I don’t think the social and political materials for a state are there yet, and because I don’t think we should reward people who talk about peace in English and war in Arabic.

…but…Glenn thinks that the Palestinian people are part of a proxy war against Israel and the U.S., and that by attempting to be ‘evenhanded,’ we’re misleading ourselves. His concrete proposals are pretty reasonable:

I don’t think this means that the Bush Administration should be taking direction action against them — closing off their funding via shutting down Saddam is a good start, and a policy of slow strangulation directed at Arafat and his fellow terrorists is probably the most politic at the moment. We need to try to squeeze off the EU funding, too, especially now that it’s been admitted to be part of a proxy war by the EU not just against Israel, but America.

But let’s stop pretending that what’s going on between Israel and the Palestinians is some sort of family misunderstanding. It’s war, and the Palestinians — and their EU supporters — think it’s a war not just against Israel, but against us. We should tailor our approach accordingly.

But I still think he’s is wrong in this – wrong because I tend to think that while a bloodthirsty cult run by kleptocrats does dominate the Palestinian people today, I continue to believe (based on not much more than optimism and my own view of human nature) that this dominance doesn’t have to last. This implies that the issue is the leadership and dominant culture, and that the average Palestinian hasn’t completely internalized the values of that homicidal leadership; or rather that it is best to proceed as though that’s the case.

That’s a subtle but crucial distinction. It implies that we can be, in the terms of the Marines, both the “best friend and worst enemy” to the Palestinian people, and it builds a door that reasonable Palestinians can follow should they choose to.

Making that choice possible should be the goal of our policies in that area.

The paths are twofold; to openly go to war with the Palestinians (and in doing so, ultimately with the Arab world), or break the problem apart by doing several things: dry up the political and financial incentives being offered the Palestinians and terrorists to fight rather than simply live; find and neutralize the committed fighters; and work to empower (initially by keeping them from being killed by the more radical elements) the majority who I have to believe simply want to raise kinds and lead normal lives.

Note that none of what I’m proposing is easy. And that elements of it do involve the explicit use of force – against terrorist organizations operating in the Occupied territories and judiciously, against states that harbor or sponsor them.

But I think that it’s easier to try the complex solution before we simply sweep the table clean with a war.

Look, so far the Arab states have made it clear that they will fight the war against Israel to the last Palestinian. They have gotten a free ride in that they can send relatively insignificant amounts of cash and aid and so at a low cost have a lot of impact on Israel.

Our goals should be in part to end that free ride, and free the Palestinians from their role – as Glenn describes it – as cannon fodder in order to let them make a conscious choice about whether they want war or peace.

I won’t foreclose on the latter possibility until it’s clear that the Palestinian people have.

56 thoughts on “Instapundit on Palestine”

  1. Several authentic polls were taken in the Palestinian sector which showed a majority of Palestinians just wanted to get on with their lives in peace and safety, above all else. Since they are never heard from in the ‘big media side-shows’ from there, one would think the entire population is made up solely of fanatics, which is just not so.

  2. I am sure that there are polls to prove any position; there always are. But I do not believe that we can get an honest answer from the Palestinians until the terror masters in Damascus, Tehran and Riyadh–who today fund and arm a large part of the terror network–are defeated.

    Once upon a time the PLO leaders might have been able to shut down the terrorism, but no more. So the Palestinian people will not be free to choose until after the terror war is over. Then we can (and should) say to them, “okay, what do you want? If you want to live like normal people in a civilized manner and at peace with your neighbors, we will help. If you want to kill the Jews and drive them into the sea, you’re next.”

    It’s maddening to see so much energy expended on a question that can’t even be addressed right now, and so little energy devoted to the liberation of Syria and Iran, and to the transformation–at a minimum–of the Saudi Kingdom.

    Happy New Year everyone!

  3. So what if they choose death, as in victory or death?

    The Palestinians and Saudis are, with Iraq’s Sunnis, the most likely prospects for genocide in the next ten years. The Saudis will IMO do it to each other, but Palestinians & Iraqi Sunnis will get their neighbors to do it. The latter are forcing us to disarm them, so they’ll have no chance when we leave.

  4. But there is a good reason to set them up as a country. First of all, it removes all doubt that it would be the “cause” of their attacks on Israel. The attacks will continue unabated. But then Israel will be able to take on a state, and defeat it, which they can’t do now under the current state of affairs.

  5. >I won’t foreclose on the latter possibility
    >until it’s clear that the Palestinian people

    A.L., Mr. Ledeen,

    It is far too late.

    Mark Steyn has already commented upon how sick Palestinian culture is here:

    “The Palestinian death cult negates all the assumptions of western sentimental pacifism: If only the vengeful old generals got out of the way, there’d be no war. But such common humanity as one can find on the West Bank resides, if only in their cynicism, in the leadership: old Arafat may shower glory and honor on his youthful martyrs but he’s human enough to keep his own kid in Paris, well away from the suicide-bomber belts. It’s hard to picture Saeb Erekat or Hanan Ashrawi or any of the other aging terror apologists who hog the airwaves at CNN and the BBC celebrating the death of their own loved ones the way Miss Jaradat’s brother did. “We are receiving congratulations from people,” said Thaher Jaradat. “Why should we cry? It is like her wedding day, the happiest day for her.”

    I spent a short time on the West Bank earlier this spring. I would have spent longer, but to be honest it creeped me out, and I was happy to scram across the Allenby Bridge and on through Jordan to Iraq. Say what you like about the Sunni Triangle and RPG Alley, but I never once felt I was in a wholly diseased environment. On the West Bank, almost all the humdrum transactions of daily life take place in a culture that glorifies depravity: you walk down a street named after a suicide bomber to drop your child in a school that celebrates suicide-bombing and then pick up some groceries in a corner store whose walls are plastered with portraits of suicide bombers.

    Nothing good grows in toxic soil. You cannot have a real peace with such people; you cannot even have the cold peace that exists between Israel and Jordan, where King Abdullah, host of the Arab-American-Israeli summit at the start of the road map, did not dare display the flag of the Zionist Entity, lest it provoke his subjects.

    The problem is not the security fence, but the psychological fence a chasm really that separates a sizable proportion of the Palestinian population from all Jews.”

    At this point I would say ‘…what separates Palestinians from most of Humanity,’ not just Jews.

    Some cultures become so depraved and death cult obsessed that they cannot be allowed to live. Things like the Palestinian’s cultural insanity have happened before and universally death cults come to bad ends. Go ask the Indian Thugee, the Assassins and the Imperial Japanese Army. What was visited upon the Imperial Japanese by the USA in 1945 is coming for the Palestinians of the early 21st century.

    Please note that the prediction of the Palestinians ultimate fate is not advocacy. The Palestinians have embraced death as their lover. The bill for that is simply coming due.

    The thing that really angers me in the coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli war, even in NRO, is the complete ignorance of those covering it. History isn’t a series of unconnected names, dates and events that are just one damned thing after another. It is a process that evolves and takes on a character and life of their own. Suicide murdering Palestinians did not spring up full growth from some Greek Goddess’s brow. They are the product of a voluntary social evolution decades in the making.

    The final development of the Palestinian suicide culture happened after Oslo. It was something the Palestinians actively chose when they gained control of their own schools and other social institutions in the West Bank and Gaza. They spent that time propagandizing their youth to turn them into the dehumanized Islamo-Nazi killbots they are today. The texts they used were the same ones they used in U.N. run “Refugee Camps” around the world for decades. The difference was they had the full resources of a mini-state and the advantages of modern telecommunications to overlay on top of their Palestinian “Turner Diaries.”

    Hillary Clinton liked to say, “It takes a village to raise a child.” That may or may not be the case, but it certainly takes a village to makes a suicide-murderer. It takes a support staff of 50 people to recruit train, equip and aim each suicide-murderer.

    There have been dozens of successful suicide attacks, yet for each such attack; there have been between 10 and 20 other attempts stopped by Israeli security forces. Straightforward calculation shows that the Israelis must have stopped hundreds of suicide-murderers so far. The Israeli Defense Ministry isn’t talking because doing so would let the Palestinians know the exact numbers.

    The whole point of the Islamist death-cult is to get its members so dehumanized that none of them care about their own lives more than they do about their spoon-fed hate.

    The really, really, sick thing about this is those who are in charge within the death cult are nothing more than a form of confidence men using their propagandized kill-bot followers as props in their intra-factional, Arab cultural, honor/shame power games.

    That is also why Arafat’s Al-Fahta bought into the suicide-murderer death-cult meme after Hamas started getting a lot of political-cultural manna from it’s successful suicide-murderer attacks. They needed to do so to maintain “honor” AKA power for their faction.

    So what does that make Palestinian culture, since the Israelis have been ruthlessly and successfully breaking up the suicide-murderer support cells? You can find the answer by going to and use variants of the following search term: “Palestinian Baby Suicide Bomber.” The picture and text you find in those links is the state of Palestinian popular culture.

    Some examples I found:

    Palestinian Indoctrination into the Suicidal Death Cult [slideshow]…

    More of the Palestinian Death Cult at worship…

    “Ask for Death!”
    The Indoctrination of Palestinian Children
    to Seek Death for Allah – Shahada

    One need only look into the fish-eyed face of dead 16-year-old Palestinian suicide murders to know that the Palestinians have dehumanized themselves to the point that their time on earth is limited. The history of groups like the Thugee makes that clear. Denying the self-inflicted moral depravity the Palestinians is right up there with denying the Nazi final solution of the Jews.

    The Israelis have shown far more moral restraint in dealing with Palestinians than Americans would have. Make no mistake, if the Palestinians were doing what they have done to Israelis to Americans. They would be extinct.

    My bottom line is similar to Glenn’s. Palestinian culture is a part of the Islamic Death-Cult trying to kill us. Anything that Israel does to stop that depravity from killing them is both justified and moral. Anyone saying different is on the wrong side of the war.

  6. And Trent, I think you’ve neatly identified the difference between your worldview and mine. I think the dominant culture is broken, but underneath – like grass shoots in broken concrete – are people content to just lead decent lives. If we can break up the concrete, they will grow.

    Where I see healthy grass, you see noxious weeds.

    If I shared this core part of your beliefs, I’d be for immediate and total war.

    But I don’t…


  7. From Lee Harris last March:

    “…But in this the Palestinians are not alone. It is a common feature of much of the Arab world to entertain the illusion of viability. In a world that had abandoned the liberal system, they would have long been extirpated, or else – a far happier and more probable outcome – they would have rapidly shed their delusions for a more realistic manner of proceeding.

    This gives a sense of Greek tragedy, with its dialectic of hubris and nemesis, to what has been unfolding in the Islamic world. If they continue to use terror against the West, their very success will destroy them. If they succeed in terrorizing the West, they will discover that they have in fact only ended by brutalizing it. And if subjected to enough stress, the liberal system will be set aside and the Hobbesian world will return – and with its return, the Islamic world will be crushed. Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. And the only way to avoid this horrendous end is to bring the Islamic world back to sanity sooner rather than latter.

    Nothing but force can break them from their illusion. Not because there is something wrong with them as a race, but simply because they are acting like any other individual who has been permitted to live in a dream world – they continue to fantasize. And who can blame them? It is only brute fact that shakes any of us from the single most cherished of our illusions – the myth of our own grandeur and omnipotence. And this is as true of a culture as of an individual …”

    I have Harris’ forthcoming book, _Civilization and Its Enemies_, on pre-order at Amazon.

  8. Tom, I certainly don’t abjure the use of force.

    But I think that we need to do it in a measured, precise way. That doesn’t put me in the ‘law enforcement is the response’ camp. But it keeps me pretty far from the ‘total war’ camp.

    We can always declare total war if my plan doesn’t work out.

    But practically, I think it can; I think it';s the right thing to do; and I think that trying it gives us the moral high ground in the event that it doesn’t suceed.


  9. A.L.,

    We have a moral duty to try to save Iraq’s 15% Sunni Arab minority from the other 85% of Iraqis after we leave, but the Sunnis will determine whether we succeed. Our conquest of the place gives us the responsibility for it, as well as an interest in the outcome, though there is something to be said for letting the Sunnis volunteer to be a horrible example of what not to do concerning American occupation.

    We owe the Palestinians nothing. Trent is right that they’d be only radioactive ash if they had tried that shit on us. Whatever the Israelis do to them is Israel’s call. We should do something only when the Palestinians come after us, which they have generally avoided so far. Hopefully the Israelis won’t give them the chance.

    But I have no hope whatever for the Palestinians, and could care less. They’re the principal Arab death cult, and the world will be a much better place without them.

  10. A.L.,

    Sometimes noxious weeds are noxious weeds. This is one of them.

    In this case, both you and Mr. Ledeen are wrong about the Palestinians ever getting rid of the PLO and reforming their society. It will never happen. As long as there is a large unearned outside income stream, whether from Saudi Arabia or elsewhere, a terrorist supporting faction will be a nominal “government” to get the money and they will continue to make war on Israel (and possibly against America as well).

    Mr. Ledeen thinks eliminating Saudi Arabia as a terrorist sugar daddy will make the difference in the structure of Palestinian society. It won’t. Glenn’s post here [] about the EU’s proxy war with the USA makes that clear. The E.U. wants to hurt American foreign policy by funding PLO terrorists, so they are and they will continue to do so.

    This was forseen a year ago in print. This is what Tom Holsinger had published over on

    Europeans, especially the EU, are quite similar to American Democrats here (with greater aversion to using force), but are noisier and more righteous about it as they don’t have to face American voters or, on the Continent, even their own due to the incestuous nature of their parties and parliamentary systems. This happy freedom from responsibility permits them to act almost entirely for domestic advantage. They need only minimize terrorist use of their countries as sanctuaries to satisfy security requirements, and can otherwise grandstand as desired.

    Europe’s peril arises from different issues. They do not seem to have noticed that America’s new ”National Security Strategy” – – entails pre-emptive regime change there, including the EU’s, albeit by peaceful means. Governments inhibiting Europe’s “return to strong economic growth” threaten “vital” “U.S. national security interests”. Such blunt statements by a hyperpower are ominous.

    That document is a useful guide to what is coming – elimination of terrorist regimes with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in order of threat to America, then elimination of terrorist regimes, then elimination of failing/shaky states possessing WMD if they won’t give those up, elimination of terrorist-supporting regimes (including the EU’s, though the Bush Administration won’t admit this), and finally elimination of such factors fostering terrorism as is feasible, which might include the mere existence of otherwise acceptably behaved tyrannical regimes of Islamic countries. This is a tall order, even for the U.S., and questions are properly raised about American ability and willingness to see this through.

    Tom and I were discussing the points in that article six months before its publication. There has been very little done by the terrorists and their supporters in this war that has surprised us because we know the nature of our enemies.

    It has been watching many of our nominal “friends and allies” fail the audit of war, and the President Bush’s strange refusal to discipline the American national security bureaucracies that are hurting him politically through their disobedience, that has surprised us.

  11. Well, trent, we do have some grounds for agreement. I don’t see anything changing in the OT until the PA is thrown out, and as long as the EU and UN subsidies are spent without oversight…


  12. Joe,
    Your idealistic sentiments about the true feelings of the Palestinian population do you credit. Unfortunately, there is almost no evidence to support your proposition that a majority of the Palestinians really want peace with Israel (or the United States). The myth of the moderate Palestinian majority is supported only by hope. Hope is not the foundation for an effective strategy.

    The reality is that the majority of the Palestinians want to destroy the State of Israel and kill or drive out every Jew between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. A “moderate” minority would permit some Jews to remain as a subordinated dhimmi people without political rights. The other reality is that the Palestinians have been enemies of the United States since the 1970s. They have killed American civilians, American government employees, and American military personnel. They have supported every opponent of the United States and cheered every attack on us. The jubilant celebrations of the September 11 attacks and the sermons from respected Palestinian imams calling for our destruction are not anomalies. They are our enemies, just as they are Israel’s enemies, and they are going to continue to be our enemies until we defeat them or they defeat us.

    Joe, I believe the reason you shy away from accepting this reality is that it leads inevitably to a strategy targeting the Palestinian civilian population. The Palestinians are executing an asymmetric war-fighting strategy that targets the Israeli civilian population and avoids large battles with the Israeli military. Israel’s strategy of targeting the terrorist organizations has not been able to stop the suicide bombings because the Palestinian population generates suicide bombers faster than the Israelis can kill them. Israel can restore symmetry to the conflict only by counter-targeting the Palestinian population. To win, this has to be done on a massive scale. (Taking out a few villages won’t make a big enough dent in the supply of terrorists). The objective must be the elimination or expulsion of all Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. And that’s genocide, which is why I believe you shy away from accepting the realities of the situation and the strategic choices necessary to achieve victory.

    The Palestinians have been committing genocide against the Israelis on the retail installment plan. Supporting Israel in a wholesale response would eliminate one of our enemies in the Middle East and send a graphic message to all the others about the potential costs of using terrorism as a war-fighting strategy. We’re going to have to become a lot harder and more ruthless to win the long-term struggle with militant Islam. A civilization that glorifies suicide bombers is not very frightened by limited precision strikes on some of its jihadis. Destruction of one of the population groups that supports the jihadis should generate a lot more fear of the consequences.

    Best regards and Happy New Year,

  13. Hi.

    Sorry, but I find what you are saying here ambiguous or inconsistent.

    “Our goals should be in part to end that free ride, and free the Palestinians from their role – as Glenn describes it – as cannon fodder in order to let them make a conscious choice about whether they want war or peace.

    I won’t foreclose on the latter possibility until it’s clear that the Palestinian people have.”

    OK, my question here was going to be: when would that be clear?

    But I looked back through what you said in case you had already implied what your test would be, and I read this:

    “This implies that the issue is the leadership and dominant culture, and that the average Palestinian hasn’t completely internalized the values of that homicidal leadership; or rather that it is best to proceed as though that’s the case.”

    It seems to be that the Palestinians already have chosen war. They have a deeply, pervasively pro-terror culture. That might change of course, the Germans and Japanese certainly changed, but in the meantime this is a reality.

    It wasn’t Arafat that had Palestinians on the streets, gloating about 11 September, 2001. On the contrary, his goons were vigorously suppressing both the celebrations and unwelcome-to-him reportage of what Palestinian culture is really all about. The hatred flows from the bottom up. When the Palestinian masses show their unwillingness to let Israel get rid of Arafat, that’s not despite the fact that he coerces these otherwise good people to partake in terror, it’s because he’s enough of a terrorist to be their authentic voice.

    But what you seemed perhaps to say is both: no, that’s not the reality and the natural desire of Palestinians like all normal people to enjoy the fruits that could follow from a normal way of life is the real bottom line; and also we should act as if things were OK, because that will have the best outcome. In this, it seems we would give the Palestinians a free pass till they are proven naughty, and at the same time we would let our eyes drift away from ever testing that, because after all we should be acting on the basis of how we would prefer things to be.

  14. Now, acting as if things are as we want them to be rather than as they are is often a great idea, in limited circumstances. A wife doubts that she is really irresistible to her husband any more, but instead of making her failing charms and possible rival the issues, she acts as if there was no doubt she was still her husband’s Venus, and hey he falls in line so it becomes true. An officer charges without looking behind him, not willing to admit there is great doubt about whether his men will follow, but they do, so retrospectively acting as if all his men were heroes was wise and correct.

    But these situations are nothing like what we face with militant, extremist, fundamentalist Islam on the march.

    I think we had best be clear whether we are trying to create reality by mutual make-believe, which can work great with people with whom you share substantial ties and a mutual willingness to play along, or whether we are reacting to cold, unwelcome facts, which is necessary with real enemies.

  15. A.L.,

    In general, I would endorse your strategy, but I don’t see how you get past certain sticking points. First, let’s assume that we can substantially dry up the external financial support for the Palestinian Authority. I think that once his cash flow disappears, Arafat’s days are numbered, considering that he does not have anything like the tyrant’s grasp on a number of the political factions/terrorist organizations locally.

    Problem is, once you manage to remove Arafat from the situation by strangulation, you probably have a Palestinian civil war between Hamas and Al Asqa Martyr’s Brigade, at the very least–it might be even more multipolar than that. Removing Arafat’s influence without military intervention will not free the Palestinian people to make the choice between civilization and chaos. Whether you decide that the soul of the Palestinian people has been irrevocably corrupted or not, you can’t deny that the various terrorist factions are deeply entwined within the civilian community.

    Basically, assuming you are right and there is something worth saving here, how do we remove the cancer and save the patient? Cutting off the monetary blood supply can only be a first step–we must remove the corrupting power that holds the Palestinians within its grasp, but there must also be another power to replace it, since nature abhors a vacuum.

  16. I agree with Cato the Youngest that no matter what else happens, the job won’t be done till the fountainhead of Wahhabi terror gushes terrorist funding and indoctrination no more. So focus on that. Or on Pakistan, already a nuclear-armed, territorially aggressive, ethnic-cleansing, terror-exporting military dictatorship. Compared to that monster, the Palestinians just don’t deserve our attention. Or focus on Syria, or Iran, or any sensible target, but not on the will-o-the-wisp of Palestinian goodwill.

    Or just keep grinding away in Iraq for a couple more years – an inherently sensible idea, only I have to ask myself Sauron’s question from time to time: “What time do you think we have?

    (As an Australian, when I say “us” and “our” efforts and so on, I mean of course our support for American efforts – I have not entered into a dream-world where Canberra is directing the defense of the West :P )

    Anyway, a Happy 2004 to all! :)

  17. Here’s an alternative that I wrote about originally here under the title Palestine Now!. Palestinian christians don’t do suicide bombing. They resist occupation (can’t blame them) but aren’t part of the death cult. After all, it’s not the resistance that’s ultimately irreconcilable with civilization, it’s the death cult that’s the problem.

    Palestinian christians also are generally members of hierarchical churches which means that there are people in Rome and Istanbul (around the Pope and ecumenical Patriarch respectively) who know who the effective leaders are in that community. The Israelis need to make a separate peace with them and give them as much territory as they think they can defend, putting them in charge of it. They could further offer most of the rest of the occupied territories to be given to this new government at a pace and under conditions that the government of Palestine accepts. The understanding would be that the territories that remained to be occupied would have to detoxify before their fellow arabs accepted them into the new Palestine state. The problem would be well identified as the death cult which is not only unacceptable to international community but is profoundly rejected by judaism, christianity, and islam.

    News flash, going through Arafat and the muslims isn’t the only option. Eventually, due to sheer number imbalances, the christians will end up a minority and they’ll know it so you can bet that they will be sure to create a state with strong pluralistic institutions and a healthy respect for minority rights. After all, the founding fathers know that they’ll need them soon enough.

  18. > So what if they choose death, as in victory or death?

    Then, alas, we can give them what the want. We certainly have the capability.

  19. TM-

    Excellent point. Unfortunately, there are too few Christians left in WB and Gaza to hold much territory at all. If there were significantly more of them, then a region containing Bethlehem (until recently a majority Christian city), the Christian quarter of Old Jerusalem, and the land between them would be a natural location for the separate entity you describe.

  20. What about Christian Arabs in the US and Israel who’d be desirous of their own tiny autonomous area? They’d have to build a fence themselves to keep Hamas out.

    I can’t help but think this would really piss off even more Muslims though. They’d become convinced that world Christianity was conniving with the Jews to make a religious land grab as well.

  21. EU governments, and much of their public, are committed to it largely as a way of funding aggression against the US and our allies (including even EU countries such as Poland). They absolutely love doing this, and the description of it as funding a proxy war against us is right on.

    We have a hand to play by insisting that funding to terrorists be cut off. All we have to do here is document what Arafat and the PLO do with the money, and the message they preach to Palestinians every day.

    This will not be enough, however. We will need to find a lever capable of ending the average EU bureaucrat’s taste for funding killers who hate us.

    It is unfortunately the 1930’s again in Europe. Their governing elites are again appeasing dangerous foreign threats, feeding them resources and victories in order to gain just a couple more summers of indolence and long vacations at the beach.

    The only thing they learned from WWII was that they feel better off doing this if they can maneuver us into the front line instead of them, This is the core of their current policy.

  22. Hey, guys, I didn’t say I was optimistic. I said I didn’t think we knew, and don’t think we CAN know until after we have won the war.

    It may well be that, as Trent says, the Palestinians are hopelessly indoctrinated and have opted for a culture of death. As someone who spent the first fifteen years of my professional life in the archives of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, I know that happens.

    But remember, too, that after their defeat, many former Nazis and Fascists embraced democracy, and also remember that some very smart Americans, notably George F. Kennan, did not believe that could possibly happen. It did, when we imposed freedom on them, and purged their leaders, and hung many of them.

    That may all be necessary in the Palestinian case. I do not think it will be necessary in Iran, by the way, and certainly there has been no shortage of indoctrination there, has there? But the “Islamic Revolution” has run its cycle and burned out and descredited itself.

    I don’t think we’re smart enough to know what will happen. History is full of surprises, we have to be alert to opportunities if they arise.

    But, again, I’m not saying that I think it will work out. I’m only saying that we have to win the war, then look at the Palestinians to see if anything’s changed…



  23. The difference in A.L.’s and Trent’s approaches seems to come from how they would complete this proposition:

    There are some people, currently voiceless, in the Palestinian society who are worth saving,

    I believe A.L. would complete the proposition with something like:

    so we must make every effort to save them, even at the cost of allowing the current mess to continue indefinitely.

    while Trent would complete the proposition with something like:

    but they are powerless, and too few to be powerful, and the only way to save them is to bring the society around them into ruin, so that those who currently control that society would lose their ability to effectively lead (if they hadn’t already lost their life).

    If that is a fair summation of each approach, then I have to say to A.L. that hope springs eternal, but is more often dashed in human affairs than rewarded; and to Trent that there is no guarantee short of genocide that the ones left standing will be the ones who are worth saving.

    In truth, Palestine is way down on the list of everyone except the Israelis and the Arabs. We in the pro-Enlightenment West have an opportunity to change Arab culture overall, and we are attempting to do that. In the process, the Palestinian subculture may or may not change. If it does not change, then eventually it will be destroyed (most likely either by inflicting casualties on Israel so large as to pose a threat to Israel’s existence, or by turning on each other).

  24. Jeff –

    I think your analysis of Trent’s and my position is close but from my POV not quite there; for me it isn’t a matter of ‘make every effort even if it allows the mess to continue,’ but instead ‘we won’t declare war on the society as a whole until we’ve changed the leadership and kept the homicidal nuts from killing the people who want peace’.

    So it’s not benign neglect that I’m suggesting, but leadership change and specific, direct actions to preserve civil order. An occupation, in short.

    But it won’t be by the Israelis or the US. I wouldn’t trust the EU to do it either, so my list of candidates is getting short.

    The Turks? Japanese?

    Not sure, and that’s clearly a defect in my thinking.


  25. My point is not that the christians would initially hold a lot of land, though subsequent posts are right, they might end up drawing a lot of immigrants. The new christian dominated palestinian republic would be a competitor for the hearts and souls of the middle of the roader, quiet muslims. They would also be a funding competitor to Arafat. I can’t imagine the EU being able to sustain the position of support for violent muslims over peaceful christians so this would drain the swamp of EU funding for violence and be a nice win against the proxy warriors.

    Is this a complete, perfect solution? Of course not. But it shows that we are absolutely not at the end of the road as far as peaceful alternatives go.

  26. Dear A. L.:

    Polls that I’ve read suggest that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians consider acts of violence against Jews to be acts of civic virtue. This doesn’t sound much like a peaceful majority to me.

    Even if the majority of Palestinians were to earnestly desire democracy, liberal government, and peace with their neighbors it is, unfortunately, irrelevant. What is relevant is that there is at least a small number of nutcases eager to keep both Israel and the West Bank in a continual state of murderous chaos, and a significantly larger number who know the the nutcases and either actively (by feeding, housing, supplying, or encouraging them) or passively support them (by not turning them in to Israeli authorities).

    A friend of mine once proposed to me the following thought exercise. If the Palestinians stopped “resisting” what would happen? They would live at peace with the Israelis, they would be able to work, come, and go with significantly less distress, and they would become self-governing. If the Israelis withdrew their settlements and stopped “resisting” what would happen? They would be driven into the sea. Does anyone really believe anything different would happen? I doubt it. One’s position is, therefore, dictated not on what would happen but whether it is a good thing or no.

    Under these circumstances there are a limited number of alternatives:

    – the Israelis can commit genocide against the Palestinians
    – the Palestinians can commit genocide against the Israelis
    – the Israelis can keep “tightening security” until attacks stop (this is the path they are taking)
    – the Israelis can somehow talk the Jordanians into taking control of the territories and controlling the nutcases–something they’ve already demonstrated they are willing and able to do

    I support the last of these alternatives. Please note that in this enumeration I have only included credible alternatives. The Palestinians suddenly embracing democracy, liberal values, and tolerance is not one of them.

  27. Wow…I have always found AL fairly reasonable on my infrequent visits (though I usually disagree with him substantively). But in this comments section there are frankly eliminationist/genocidal sentiments being expressed about the Palestinians. I think in Glenn Reynolds post too.

    No sovreign Arab country has ever committed genocide or mass murder against the Jews within their control. (True they have deprived them of rights and made them second class citizens, but frankly the Israelis have done that to the Palestinians as well). Do you now wish the Israelis to commit mass murder against the Palestinian civilian population? No fog of rationalization or excuses would conceal the magnitude of that particular crime.

    Do you really think that the total of something like 500 Israeli casualties over the last three years, bad as it is, even comes close to being a moral justification for what is being talked about here? Murder is murder, even when your side does it.

  28. MS –

    I’m not reading these comments as a call for mass murder of the Palestinian population; I’m seeing four broad alternatives here:

    1) War. Conquest and occupation (of all of the OT along with assumption of civil control) by the Israelis. It’d make our occupation of Iraq look like a beach party;

    2) Semi-war. Removal of the PA, restructuring of the financial and political regime, probable civil affairs occupation by a third party (my position);

    3) Isolation. Build the wall, try and keep the people apart;

    4) Removal. Simply moving the population somewhere else (like where? would be a good first question when this gets raised…)

    I don’t think the present situation justifies 1) or 4), but I do think that it’s untenable.

    I think there are positive changes coming – the Saudi/Iraqi/Libyan financial support is receding. I think we may be able to push the EU into better directing it’s financial support, and requiring real accountability – something I’d make my first and more serious foreign policy focus right now.

    Lowering the temperature on Israel-Palestine is crucial for cleaving the radical Islamists from the moderate Muslims, and as such outght to be a first, rather than last, focus.

    Feel better about this?


  29. MS – good point. I’m also disturbed by what I see as a rather casual attitude towards ethnic cleansing, particularly since there are plenty of options that haven’t been tried yet. Most notable of the untried options is a good strong wall. It’s under construction, and I’ll bet real money it will be effective when it’s finished. The virtual certainy that it will be effective is one of the reasons that it’s been opposed by the extremists among the religious Zionists(*) – they actually *want* ethnic cleansing, so getting rid of the justification is harmful to their cause.

    As to the various points about Palestinian culture – people are failing to distinguish hostile feeling from hostile action. If 100% of Palestinians supported total elimination of all Jews but are unwilling to get off their butts and actually do anything about it (or give money to that end), then Israel would be safe. If 99% of Palestinians supported peaceful coexistence, but the remaining 1% were active terrorists, Israel would be in serious trouble. Israel’s best interest lies in ending active support for terrorism – getting the Palestinians to respect Israel isn’t necessary (and frankly probably isn’t even possible on a timescale less than a few generaions).

    A final note on ethnic cleansing: I support Israel’s right to exist, not just within the 1948 borders, but also within those portions of the occupied territories needed to make the 1948 borders credibly defensible. I vote my support. If Israel was to engage in ethnic cleansing my support would vanish, and I would actively oppose any and all US aid to Israel. I *will*not* be party to genocide.


    (*) I know there are others who oppose the wall, but it’s the religious extremists who do so based on a desire for ethnic cleansing. These people are only barely less evil than the Wahhabis.

  30. Yes, AL, I feel (somewhat) better, not to mention emboldened to drop anonymity…these comments threads can get vicious, on this topic in particular, and but it looks like you do a decent job of maintaining civility here.

    On opinion polls, here is a very good site:

    My own reading after looking through these polls extensively is that the majority of Palestinians support violence (including suicide bombing) against Israeli civilians *given* what they see as large-scale Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians. (It is useful to remember here that more Palestinian civilians than Israeli civilians have been killed during the Intifada, and during Oslo as well). The majority of Palestinians say they favor some form of peaceful coexistence with Israel if what they regard as unjustified Israeli provocations stop, but they do not trust the Israelis and do not feel that what they perceive as Israeli violations of their rights will cease. In other words, they support violence given the cycle of mutual provocation that they are caught up in.

    This is why you so frequently see conflicting citations of these polls — the Israeli right constantly quotes the findings that the majority of the Palestinian population supports violence, while the left cites the findings that the majority believe peaceful coexistence with israel is possible and in fact desirable. But there is a large enough minority that does not believe in peaceful coexistence that it seems likely that at least some terrorist attacks will continue even if genuine progress toward peace is made.

    The whole issue here is of course that there is massive disagreement on what is the level of justified Israeli violence, and massive disagreement on the proper terms of peaceful coexistence. I don’t want to get into that debate here, because it is endless. But re the view that the cycle of violence is unstoppable: it is worth remembering that in the combined years 1998 and 1999 there were a grand total of 16 Israeli casualties (military and civilian) at the hands of the Palestinians ( Not so far in the past. I’m not trying to proffer simplistic answers here, but perhaps there are ways to at least turn down the temperature on the violence.

  31. My point re 1998 and 1999 is of course that this was during a period where there was more political success in getting the Palestinian population to feel that progress was being made…terrorism was still present but at a much reduced level from what it is today. There was also much less Israeli military involvement in that period. The past does not always predict the future, but I’ll take anything that keeps hope alive.

  32. Mr. Ledeen said:

    >But remember, too, that after their defeat, many
    >former Nazis and Fascists embraced democracy,
    >and also remember that some very smart
    >Americans, notably George F. Kennan, did not
    >believe that could possibly happen. It did, when
    >we imposed freedom on them, and purged their
    >leaders, and hung many of them.

    Then you should be well aware that the Nazis and Fascists took pains to hide the full extent of the Holocaust from their populations.

    The Palestinians on the other hand have museums dedicated to the Sbarro suicide bombing complete with Hollywood style fake body parts that they are sending pre-schoolers through.

    The PA has existed for as long as the Nazi regime so the difference between the Nazis and the Palestinians is more than just cultural or religious.

    It was temporal.

    The Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza simply received the educational materials from the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and elsewhere. Those materials are extensions of what every Arab state has been using since 1948. Part of what the Coalition Provisional Authority is doing in replacing Saddamite education materials is as much a job of cleansing them of the anti-Semitism as the personality cult of Saddam.

    There was ~35 years of educational and cultural spade work before the Islamic Death Cult sprang to life among the Shia of Lebanon in the 1980’s. From there it spread to both the Wahhabis and the Palestinians.

    The Islamic Death Cult is not monolithic. The Palestinians and the Shia view killing Jews as a sacrament. So does the Wahhabi branch of the Death Cult, but the Wahhabi Sunnis have the Shia right there next to the Jews on their Jihadi killing is a sacrament list.

    That is where the War on Terrorism will go genocidal. When, not if, the Islamist Death Cult takes power in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the Shia there are going to be genocidally persecuted.

    This is part of the reason why Tom Holsinger keeps hammering away at the importance of our creating an alliance with the Iraqi Shia. That alliance may well be leveraged into creating a situation where America is the protector of the Shia of the Persian Gulf and Pakistan from the Islamic Death cult infected Sunni.

    One other thing related to that. When the Palestinians turn comes, it may well be that very few will notice, let alone care.

    This is why *I* keep hammering away at the process of history. The Israel of today isn’t the Israel of Oslo. Nor will the Israel of tomorrow be constrained by the internal and foreign political limitations of today. The same process applies to the United States. Events will shape all concerned and those events are going to be a horror what ever we do. That is the nature of our Death Cult infected enemy.

  33. Yes your arguments in favor of ‘ethnically cleansing’ the palestinians certainly do give one cause to puase and reflect… on what a bunch of stupid, evil SOB’s you are…

    So the Palestinians have been so oppressed and victimized and whatever that they irrationally cling to whatever small glimmer of hope that they see whether its blood money from sadam, or homicide bombers…yes that certainly is pathetic…and it certainly relieves of Isreal of any obligation under international principals of law as to the treatment of the palestinians.

    Look if Isreal wants to arrest or attack militants, fine. But treating the rest of the palestinian population like a bunch of criminals is not. Israel has to either end its apartheid and grant full citizenship to the palestinians or create a seperate viable country for them. period. As for the formation of a palestinian government- well theyre are going to have to come up with a viable model if that dont want to have their asses blown up on a regular basis.

  34. I just wanted to follow up on my previous comment- The Palestinian issues is the lead recruiting issues/prpaganda piece of Islamic militants that oppose us. George Bush’s failure to aggressively pressure the Isrealis to make progresse on this issue has made Iraq tougher and increased opposition. I believe AMERICANS IN IRAQ ARE DEAD BECOUSE OF BUSH’S FAILURE to press the Isrealis on peace!

    Im not saying all americans are dead or that specific americans are dead- just that if Bush had pushed the peace process, fewer Americans in Iraq would be dead.

  35. ABB… Trent has good historical precedent for his potential futures. Ethnic cleansing is exactly what happened in both Jordan and Kuwait (and to some extent in Lebanon). Furthermore, the idea that factions within Islam, carefully inculcated in a death cult mentality for many years, should turn at last on each other… well, there’s lots of precedent for that too. Some would say a quiet form of that is already underway in many parts of Pakistan, for instance.

    It is not evil to point out possible futures, especially those that follow as consequences of present approaches.

    The present Palestinian leadership – and very significant segments of Palestinian “society” – have committed themselves to a war of extermination with the Jews, and are acting accordingly. The danger here is that if they insist on this long enough and continue to back it by deeds, they may get what they ask for.

    Or, they may be treated as the barbarians they are and separated from Israel via a wall. At which point, they will have to deal with their Arab brethren – whose rulers are always ready to use them, but whose people don’t much like them up close. Throw in Palesatinian status as a successful economic minority (always a precarious position) and what Trent describes isn’t lunacy at all – it’s a very possible future.

    Ask the Jews how fast rulers can find new scapegoats, and how people can turn on you when things aren’t going well.

    The Palestinians are also moral actors in this conflict, and thus far they have an unerring record of bad choices that goes all the way back to alliances with the Nazis by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. If the track record doesn’t improve, the consequences for their future could be grave… and pointing that out, vividly and repeatedly, may be the kindest thing we can do for them.

  36. We really don’t have any good way to determine what the average Palestinian things. Any Palestinians that so much as hint that suicide bombings may not be such a good idea get visits from really rough characters that will do what it takes to get the doubting Thomases to shut up.

    Those rough characters have left us without any data at all as to how many Palestinians really believe in the elimination of Israel and how many just go along to keep their skins intact.

  37. A.L.,

    Of the four scenarios you lay out, what is the exact difference between 1 and 2, other than the Israelis being in charge of the occupation?

    Also, you said that you don’t think an occupation could be successful if it were run by the Israelis or the Americans, but don’t see any real alternatives. I think you have a really nice Point B in mind, and I agree that I’d like to get there as well, but I don’t see a path from our Point A that leads to Point B. Of your list of four alternatives, I don’t think number 2 is viable, and I’d guess that option 3 would be your next preference.

  38. ABB –

    Note that a) I’m trying to find a path that _avoids_ ethnic cleansing; and b) given the level, and most important, _nature_ of the Palestinian violence, no Israeli government can or should simple treat it like traffic accidents.

    And if you think that taking Arab money to perform suicide bombings represents ‘a glimmer of hope,’ I think we’re speaking a different language.


  39. AnyonebutBush2004,

    Your hatred of Bush is blinding you to reality.

    Pretending 9/11 didn’t happen won’t make it so.

    The Palestinian leaders and a majority of their Palestinian population have the morals and intelligence of Tolkien’s Orcs.

    They are going to reap an Orc’s fate.

    Nothing you, I, A.L. or Joe Katsman says is going to change that.

  40. >But it won’t be by the Israelis or the US. I
    >wouldn’t trust the EU to do it either, so my
    list of candidates is getting short.
    >The Turks? Japanese?


    It will be the Israelis or it will be no one.

    Anyone else, including Americans, would simple kill the current generation of Palestinians rather than commit the whole society to what amounts to imprisonment and involuntary psychotherapy.

    Make no mistake, there are a number of technologies combined with changes of policy that would allow the Israelis to effect remote population control and active monitoring to include control of Palestinian fertility via cooercive involuntary contraceptive implants. Not even Sharon’s wildest settler supporters could go for the tyrannical police state come South African ‘Bantustan’ that would entail.

    Besides which, the corrosive long term moral effects on Israelis of a general application of such policies and technologies is such that it would do less injury to the Israeli soul for them to simply kill the Palestinians.

    So instead we are going to get a reverse Berlin wall until the Palestinians start lobbing home brew nerve gas rockets over the wall.

  41. AnyonebutBush2004,

    You said: “they irrationally cling to whatever small glimmer of hope that they see whether its blood money from sadam, or homicide bombers.”

    You and I understand the word “hope” in the same way in this context. But, I want that hope crushed. The perfect way for that to happen would be more disheartening spectacles like the bloodless capture of Saddam Hussein. If the Palestinians would respond to such byproducts of the greater war by despairing, by not caring enough anymore to translate malice into suicide bombers, I would be utterly happy, because I think that’s the only way a lot of lives could be saved, mainly theirs. I want that.

    Now you tell me, which way do you want this to go? Do you want to see Palestinian hopes of victory through terror buoyed up by weakness and appeasement? Or extinguished in humiliating spectacles like the fall of Saddam, and in frustrations such as being on the wrong side of a fence from their intended victims?

    Do you want to see more Palestinian joy? Or less blood and horror? Given how the religion and culture of the Palestinians work, and how far they’ve waded into this now, you cannot have both.

  42. I guess the clearest statement of what the Israeli/ Palistenian issue is is a proxy war. It is a minor part of the West’s greater war with militant islam– the vanbguard as it were. It won’t be solved before the greater conflict is.

    The reason for proxy wars is that the principals can’t afford an all-out war with each other. This was true in the Cold War, and the present war with Militant Islam is but a continuation.

    Often, these wars can get confusing as entities turn from allies to foes. Israel was a Soviet client state until it won the ’67 war. The Social Democrats in Europe and America didn’t turn on Israel until after that. America has been a reluctant ally of Israel’s since. Reluctant because it didn’t want to disrupt the flow of oil from the Middle East. But, America didn’t know it was at war, and had been since world war II.

    Who are the Principals in this Proxy war? America vs Militant Islam are a given, but there are others. Some have not fully declared themselves. The Social Democrats of America (The democratic arm of the Democratic Party, the anti-war protesters, the Bush Haters, etc) and old Europe have lined up with the Arabs, as did anyone who was opposed the Iraqi war, with minor exceptions. Those allied with America will vary; most countries will try to stay neutral and fail.

    We know President Bush’s strategy now: regiem change in the Middle East. Twenty years from now none of the current regiems there will exist. It hardly matter if they are democracies, but none of them will export terror. When the funds dry up in the Middle east then America will have to confront the other principal’s. It will have to confront Europe, but not now– in five to ten years.

    Israel has some choices in this war. It’s policies have drifted because it was too weak, riddled as it was with European Leftists. And its support from America was too hesitant. It won all its wars not because strong, but because the Arabs were ridiculous.

    The propaganda and guerilla war since 1973 has been effective in building Palestinian hate, and useful in collecting donations from the principals, but it cannot win the war. If the Bush administration prevents the Palestinians from getting weapons of mass distruction then the war continues to be stalemated.

    There are major problems with giving the Palestinians their own state. Israel would be cut off from 60-70 percent of its fresh water supply. The Palestinian state could be used to fly in arms to launch a new war. The Arabs would lose, but why risk it?

    Israel could expel the Palestinians into Jordan and Egypt. There is some justification for this. The Palestinians have no more right to the land than the Israelis do. Conquest by arms is the recognized basis of almost every border of every country. But, Europe would scream about it. So, that is out.

    The fence is the best solution, because it changes the political dynamic. “Land for peace” was always a weak position for the Israelis; the israelis were treated as beggers. They delivered the land and begged for peace which the Palestinians never gave. Fencing off the land causes the Palestinians to stew in their own hatred. It turns the Palestinians into beggers, ” You want land, jobs and properity? Prove that I can trust you.”

    Israel cannot win the greater war; it can only wait while America does. This war might take decades, so Isreal is better off slamming shut its borders. So what if it loses cheap Palestinian labor? It can’t forget it is in a war for its existence.

  43. Israel would be cut off from 60-70 percent of its fresh water supply…. It can’t forget it is in a war for its existence.

    Ah, a war for existence is pretty different from a war to plunder natural resources under someone else’s land. Which is it?

    (For the record, I’m a reluctant convert to the “wall”, but it should run along a real boundary, and not along a compromise with millennialist settlers’ fantasies.)

  44. Trent,

    I’d like to know straight out exactly what action you are recommending Israel take right now.

    As far as I can say, you’ve intimated, but not actually been brave enough to say, that Israel *must* eliminate every living Palestinian in the occupied territories. You speak of irrecoverable disease – this can only mean you cannot allow the infected to escape (if I read you right).

    Regardless of the fact that the Palestinians would have brought it on themselves, do you advocate a program of extermination of the entire Palestinian people?

    If not, what exactly do you believe Israel must take?

    Enough hinting – throw open the curtain.

  45. A.L,

    The Palestinians have been used as cannon fodder for proxy wars against America almost forever.

    The current stupidfada was explicitly started because Israeli and stupidstinian economies were integrating and the interest in being cannon fodder was declining. Well fed people not under attack are hard to motivate into suicide squads.

    In that sense (integrating of the two economes) there was hope.

    The fence (wich is a good idea) has destroyed that chance for quite some time.

    Given the stupidstinian level of insanity it may take 20 or 30 years to undo the damage of the last ten.

  46. Lazarus,

    The Palestinians have said explicitly that they intend to see that the Israelis are cut off from thei water supply. The Syrians are already working on such a program as well.

    It would be a pretty good excuse to move the stupidstinians off the land they occupy no?

    The occupation must end.

  47. Andrew,

    Maintaining access to 60-70 percent of their freshwater supply _is_ a matter of survival. Describing this necessity as a plundering of resources is disingenuous. This is especially so because it has been an Israeli (not Palestinian) achievement to cultivate land previously considered non-arable (no pun intended) and to develop advanced irrigation technology which makes optimal use of scarce water resources. The land in dispute is quite poor in natural resources, and Israel has contributed impressively to their value. That isn’t “plundering”.

    The fact that Israel gave up the Sinai in spite of its size, strategic importance, and _oil_ refutes any claim that it seeks to acquire territory for the sake of stealing or exploiting resources, or indeed for any other purpose than securing its viability.

    Finally, describing the water in question as being under someone else’s land begs the question of legitimate ownership. Why do we keep pretending that borders drawn by the European colonial powers to serve their own geopolitical conceptions and interests are sacrosanct? The viability and survival of the only Jewish state is more important than the creation of the 22nd Arab Muslim state. If that survival entails “grabbing” a piece of land so small that it is not visible to the naked eye on a map of the entire Arab world (and yes, that matters), then so be it.

  48. Lazarus,
    I tried to make it clear that the West Bank and Gaza do not belong to the Palestinians. It is conquered territory from a defensive war; by every reasonable measure, it belongs to Israel. There are UN resolutions (224, 338) applying to Gaza and the West bank, but the Arabs have steadfastly refused to abide by them. So, why then should the Israelis?

    The conquered territory could belong to the Palestinians if an agreement is reached with Israel. But, this land was repeatedly offered to them and the Palestinian leadership refused it because they wanted to distroy Israel, kill or expel the jews and occupy all of the Levant. They have not a prayer of doing so; they are delusive.

    What holds the Israeli government back from expelling the Palestinians into Jordan and Egypt is not the Palestinians or the Arab states, but what Europe and the US would think of that. There might come a time when the US will tell them to go ahead. I hope not. These two people need to live together. The Jews already live with a million arabs in their country, but the Palestinians will not live with any jews.

    It is foolish to build the fence along the green line. First, the green line is a poor defensive position. Second, it is a bad negotiating technique to build there; you don’t give the Palestinians everything they demand before you start negotiating. The fence can be moved later. Third, the purpose of the fence is to put the Palestinians on the defensive. Taking some of the land does that.

    If the Palestinians can’t smuggle suicide bombers into Israel then they lose their only means to apply pressure. Israel can wait them out and can offer them inducements to end the war. If the US cuts off the funds to Palestinian terrorists from the Arab states and Europe then the Palestinians will have no choice but end this war.

    Half way measures will not work. Wars end when one side is totally defeated. The Palestinians must give up any hope of defeating the Israelis.

    Why do the Palestinians have to lose? They never stood a chance to begin with.

  49. “No sovreign Arab country has ever committed genocide or mass murder against the Jews within their control.”

    No, but every single one of them has indulged in ethnic cleansing.

    In the process, they handed Israel their greatest weapon… nearly a million Arab Jews who speak, read, and write perfect Arabic, know the Islamic culture inside and out, and have been given every reason to despise Islam forever.

    If Israel was in any way comparable to Palestine, we would be hearing about Israeli suicide bombers on the streets of Tehran now. Instead, Israel put them to much better use: forming a network of spies that has made the Mossad one of the most skilled intelligence networks in the entire world.

  50. Maintaining access to 60-70 percent of their freshwater supply _is_ a matter of survival.

    For a start, I’m not sure where the 60% comes from, as the Kinneret supplies more water to Israel proper than any other source, and it’s fed by sources in the Golan, not the West Bank. [Israeli government LINK on water.] The West Bank and Israel proper share an aquifer, and I suppose either side could drain it maliciously. But let’s leave that aside. What principle allows Country A to invade or to continue to occupy and colonize Country B because it “needs” the natural resources? I do believe Imperial Japan had some such explanation for Pearl Harbor, as FDR’s embargo was crippling their military. Would Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait have been justified if he could show Iraq “needed” the revenue from Kuwaiti oil? Only non-Israeli supporters of Israel would concoct such an argument; advocates for any other country would be laughed at too hard.

    The fact that Israel gave up the Sinai in spite of its size, strategic importance, and _oil_ refutes any claim that it seeks to acquire territory for the sake of stealing or exploiting resources, or indeed for any other purpose than securing its viability.

    Leaving aside the fact you might contradict your own argument here, this is a false dichotomy. Here are somre possible reasons related to neither resources nor survival that Israel retains the West Bank, and not the Sinai: (1) to please a significant part of the population who feel this is commanded by God; (2) while much of the Sinai is almost uninhabitable desert, the West Bank because has agricultural and suburban potential?

    It is conquered territory from a defensive war; by every reasonable measure, it belongs to Israel.

    Like American Okinawa? British Rhineland? I don’t suppose you see how this attitude feeds Palestinian desire to keep playing double or nothing.

  51. “What principle allows Country A to invade or to continue to occupy and colonize Country B because it ‘needs’ the natural resources?”

    This is a crucial fallacy. The Arabs lost the West Bank in two attempts to destroy Israel, so it is an error of fact to characterize Israel’s acquisition of the WB as an (unprovoked, merely self-serving) invasion and colonization.

    Also erroneous is the characterization of the WB as “country B”. As a matter of international law, there is no recognized nation which possesses sovereignty over the West Bank, on the contrary its status is unresolved. Indeed the only other nation which could claim the territory as its own is Jordan, and I dearly wish it would do so, but it does not. Thus the various historical analogies in the previous post are inapt.

  52. Lazarus,
    Where do you think the borders of the United States came from? Wars with Britain, Spain, Mexico and treaties with Mexico, France, Canada and Russia. This process of defining borders by war could be confirmed with every other country in the world. America is unusual in that it takes no possessions from its wars, and has not done so since the Spanish-American war of 1898. This is not true with other countries– even European countries.

    Ending wars of aggression is a good idea, but we have to recognize the old principle: if someone attacks you and you beat them; you get to take away some of their land. UN resolutions 224 and 338 confirm Israel’s right to control the West Bank and Gaza until a peaceful resolution is reached. Since the Palestinians have refused all peaceful proposals in the last thirty years, the land is forfeit. Anyway, who cares about what the UN does? It is a useless organization.

    The Palestinians are just cannon fodder in a proxy war. Not even the Arab states care about them. The Palestinians have no leg to stand on according to the rules of war. But, they have been winning the propaganda war; you are repeating their nonsense. Israel has not been replying to their insurrection with maximal force, because it valued its trade with Europe. But, Israel has less reason to restrain itself as Europe closes off more of that trade each year.

    I don’t want the Palestinians to be massacred or expelled. They can’t become part of Israel, because the Palestinian’s birth rate would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state. Letting the Palestinians to have their own state is a nice idea, but not if they use it to threaten Israel.

    The only solution is that the Palestinians wake up to the fact that they can’t win. The Arabs states and Europe will not come to their aid, because the US will increasingly prevent that. Israel has little reason to give the Palestinians anything. The US is slowly identifying more with Israel. As the US become more hardline in the war on terror, so will the Israelis.

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