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Monday, August 27, 2007

The man who should be prime minister

Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon was forced out as IDF chief of staff by Ariel Sharon because he opposed the expulsion of Gaza's Jews. After leaving the IDF and letting his 'cooling off' period pass, Yaalon joined the Likud, where he is not even an MK - yet. Yaalon has the kind of fresh thinking that has not been corrupted yet by Israeli politics. He's a straight shooter.

Sunday, in an opinion piece published in the Los Angeles Times, Yaalon laid out what's wrong with the current approaches to the Middle East.

Hat Tip: Stefanie P.
There are four main misconceptions that diplomats bring with them to Israel. Primary among them is the idea that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a prerequisite for stability in the Mideast. The truth is that the region is riven by clashes that have nothing to do with Israel. For instance, the Jewish state plays no role in the conflict between Shiites and Sunnis, between Persians and Arabs or between Arab nationalists and Arab Islamists.

The second misconception is that Israeli territorial concessions are the key to progress. The reality is that an ascendant jihadist Islam believes that it is leading the battle against Israel and the rest of the West. Given this dynamic, Israeli territorial or other concessions simply fill the jihadists' sails, reinforcing their belief that Israel and the West are weak and can be militarily defeated.

True, a majority of Israelis supported Israel's unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon in 2000 and from Gaza in 2005 in the belief that meeting Hezbollah and Palestinian territorial demands would nullify the cause of conflict between them. We now know the results: The Hezbollah and Palestinian reactions -- concerted terror wars, kidnapped Israeli soldiers, rockets fired at Israeli cities -- made clear that the Mideast's central conflict is not territorial but ideological. And ideology cannot be defeated by concessions.

Emissaries also still believe that "the Occupation" blocks agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. In the West, the term usually means the territories Israel conquered in the Six-Day War in 1967. If the problem between Israelis and Palestinians were just the 1967 territories, and the solution were dividing those lands up between the two sides (as proposed, most recently, in 2000 by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak), the conflict would have ended long ago.

Instead, the heart of the problem is that many Palestinians -- Fatah and Hamas, in particular -- and even some Israeli Arabs use "Occupation" to refer to all Israel. They do not recognize the Jewish people's right to an independent state, a right affirmed again and again in the international arena.

Finally, the well-intentioned visiting diplomats believe that the Palestinians want -- and have the ability -- to establish a state that will live in peace alongside Israel. But they are not being clear-eyed. The late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, established a thugocracy that never improved the basic living conditions of his people. Indeed, Palestinian unemployment and poverty are worse today than they were before Arafat and his cronies assumed power in 1994.


A corollary of this fourth misconception is the belief that economic development can neutralize extreme nationalism and religious fanaticism, thus clearing the way toward peace and security. David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, had a term for such believers: "naive Zionists." Those who fit this description should demand that the Palestinians explain what they did with the $7 billion in international aid they received over the years. Seven billion reasons for economic progress -- and yet, why did Palestinian mobs destroy the Erez industrial zone, where Palestinians worked and ran businesses for decades, on the Gaza border? Why do they attack safe roads linking Gaza and the West Bank? Why is the Palestinian economy in shambles?

Shorn of these mistaken assumptions, the picture in the Middle East is disturbing indeed. No wonder emissaries hold on to them. So what to do?

For starters, Western governments and their emissaries must refrain from pressuring Israel for territorial or security concessions, which at best produces only short-term gains and emboldens the Islamist terror groups. Instead, they should try to persuade the Palestinian leaders to commit to a long-term strategy premised on educational, political and economic reforms that would lead to the establishment of a civil society that cherishes life, not death; values human rights and freedom; and develops a middle class, not a corrupt, rich elite. At the same time, these governments should set up an international fund that would offer Palestinian refugee families aid -- say $100,000 to $200,000 a family -- for their resettlement on the condition that their acceptance of the money would signify resolution of their refugee status.

Under no circumstances should emissaries attempt to open a dialogue with Hamas. For the sake of Palestinian society, Hamas and its ideology must be defeated. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the most significant today; it's the battle between jihadist Islam and the West, of which Israel is merely one theater. To defeat jihadist Islam, the West must overcome the regimes, organizations and ideologies that support and feed it -- and Hamas is foremost among them.
Notice several things here: First, Yaalon is against territorial concessions. Second, he agrees with me that the conflict is ideological. It's not about territory! Third, he's suggesting that Shimon Peres and others who believe that if only the 'Palestinians' were given 'economic opportunity' they would give up trying to murder us, ought to be asked what happened to the $7 billion in aid the 'Palestinians' were given until now. And fourth, the international fund for 'Palestinian refugee families' isn't defined by where they are located. With respect to those who are in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (and possibly even Israel proper), they would be paid to leave. In other words, Boogie may be the first 'mainstream' politician to openly favor 'transferring' the 'Palestinians' elsewhere in the world.

Yaalon's fresh thinking and refusal to abide by political correctness are just what this country needs. When Binyamin Netanyahu suddenly called Likud primaries on short notice, everyone assumed that he did so to keep his 'primary opponent' within the Likud - Sylvan Shalom - out of the race. The real reason may have been to keep Boogie Yaalon from being established enough in the party to make a primary run. I have already said that I believe that Netanyahu is trying to lure Shaul Mofaz back to the Likud to be defense minister ahead of Yaalon. Hearing Yaalon's views spelled out so clearly only confirms that belief. Netanyahu may be more afraid of Yaalon than of anyone else in the Likud. Let's hope we all get a chance to vote for Yaalon soon.


At 2:08 PM, Blogger Epaminondas said...

'say $100,000 to $200,000 a family'

Sure, on the day all the arab govts pony up for the 700,000+ jews who were forced out from 48-today, and who were accepted by Israel.

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


I'd be happy to pay the money just to have the 'Palestinians' leave. I don't care - and I don't think most Israelis care - whether we are compensated for taking in all those Jews (although the Jews who were forced out of the Arab countries might care). We've only gained from having those Jews here.

At 5:12 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

"A corollary of this fourth misconception is the belief that economic development can neutralize extreme nationalism and religious fanaticism, thus clearing the way toward peace and security. David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, had a term for such believers: "naive Zionists"

I'll never forget reading official Israeli Govt. propaganda bragging that the arab birhtrate was higher in Israel and the territories than neighboring Arab states. Isn't that wonderful.

At 12:15 AM, Blogger Reliapundit said...

great post.

is he better than bibi?

which party line would he run with, and could he win?

At 7:40 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


Yes, he is better than Bibi. I discussed what's wrong with Bibi at length here.

At 7:41 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


To answer your other two questions, for now, he's likely to run with Likud (which is why he's actually behind Bibi in the lineup), and he could win because Chiefs of Staff here are generally not treated as being extremists regardless of their views.

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Mr Bagel said...

I agree Carl after reading the opinion piece by Moshe Yaalon I came away thinking very similar thoughts.

Its suprising to see just how many people agree with you, he would make an ideal alternative to the current lot of limp wrists with their hands up.

Mr Bagel

Mr Bagel News: Moshe Ya'alon [opinion]


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