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Friday, May 05, 2006

More Land, Less Peace

The American Thinker reports that Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick has written a position paper for the Washington-based Center for Security Policy.

I haven't read Ms. Glick's paper yet (I just downloaded it), but Richard Baehr, chief political correspondent of the American Thinker, has read it. Here's the key part of his analysis:
In essence, Glick is hoping that Bush will protect Israel from its own leader’s misguided plan. Since Olmert is coming to seek significant US financial support, as well as political support from the President, the issue is not as straightforward as the Gaza withdrawal last summer. The Olmert mission also comes at a time when the issue of the power of the pro-Israel lobby to influence US policy has been very publicly raised by a noxious and dishonest paper prepared by two prominent academics from Harvard and the University of Chicago.

Glick argues forcefully, that it is also in America’s national interest to have the Olmert plan shelved. For one thing, the withdrawal will threaten both Egypt and Jordan, two countries in which the US has invested substantial political support and foreign aid. And behind the scenes, both Egypt and Jordan are trying to kill the Olmert plan. Neither of them wants a more powerful Hamas-run government operating freely in the West Bank, motivating and facilitating the efforts by Islamic radicals and Palestinian terrorists in both countries to step up the pressure on their regimes.

Olmert will try to sell Washington that the Muslim world’s ill will directed at America can be reduced by a further separation of the Israeli and Palestinian populations. This seems naïve.

There can be no moderation of Hamas, just as there can be no moderation of al Qaeda. And Glick argues that another disengagement will be viewed by the enemies of Israel and America as further evidence of the West in retreat, which will inspire the jihadist movement to take on America and the West more broadly. So it will likely encourage more terrorism in more places, rather than serve to placate the jihadists. Hamas and its terror allies, running freely in the West Bank, will certainly not help the American effort to stem the tide of foreign jihadists entering Iraq.


The existence of Israel and the corresponding desire to destroy it have always been the focus of Palestinian politics and terror efforts. Since 1967, the occupation and the settlements have been a sideshow that has masked the underlying and steadfast opposition by Arabs to Israel’s existence. The occupation that Palestinians have sought to end has always included Haifa and Tel Aviv.

We are now almost 60 years since the founding of the modern state of Israel, and the Palestinians and their allies are no more reconciled to its existence today than they were at the beginning of the state. Those who speak of needing another generation to come of age before resolution to the conflict is possible, badly misread the younger generation of Palestinians, steeped in the constant incitement to destroy Israel, and kill the Jews, and defeat America and the fervent attachment to martyrdom.

The current younger generation of Palestinians, regrettably, is more irreconcilable with Israel than their elders. And unlike Camp David in 2000, the stars are not aligned for substantive progress. The Olmert plan in essence is that after the second disengagement, “we” (the Israelis) will be here, and “they” (the Palestinians) will be there, and so the conflict becomes less heated. Glick’s paper deconstructs the logic of this optimistic reading and the potential danger of Olmert’s plan to both Israel and the US.

The reality is that the Palestinians are not going away, even if they are on the other side of a fence. Their grievance, which is pretty much all they have chosen to hang onto, will remain and intensify, if they think they are being ignored. Their economy will be more of a basket case after disengagement than before, which is what happened already after the Gaza withdrawal. I do not believe the conflict is resolvable at the moment (and maybe never), but it does need to be managed. It is hard, however, to see how the Olmert plan makes managing it any easier.
Read the whole thing.


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