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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A realistic peace

Republican Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani has an article in the current issue of Foreign Affairs that Israel's supporters ought to applaud. Entitled "Toward a Realistic Peace," it sets out Giuliani's vision of the key foreign affairs issues and how Giuliani proposes to deal with them. Here's some of what he has to say about Israel and the 'Palestinians.'
Achieving a realistic peace means balancing realism and idealism in our foreign policy. America is a nation that loves peace and hates war. At the core of all Americans is the belief that all human beings have certain inalienable rights that proceed from God but must be protected by the state. Americans believe that to the extent that nations recognize these rights within their own laws and customs, peace with them is achievable. To the extent that they do not, violence and disorder are much more likely. Preserving and extending American ideals must remain the goal of all U.S. policy, foreign and domestic. But unless we pursue our idealistic goals through realistic means, peace will not be achieved.


A realistic peace is not a peace to be achieved by embracing the "realist" school of foreign policy thought. That doctrine defines America's interests too narrowly and avoids attempts to reform the international system according to our values. To rely solely on this type of realism would be to cede the advantage to our enemies in the complex war of ideas and ideals. It would also place too great a hope in the potential for diplomatic accommodation with hostile states. And it would exaggerate America's weaknesses and downplay America's strengths. Our economy is the strongest in the developed world. Our political system is far more stable than those of the world's rising economic giants. And the United States is the world's premier magnet for global talent and capital.


Most of the problems in the world today arise from places where the state system is broken or has never functioned. Much of the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America remains mired in poverty, corruption, anarchy, and terror. But there is nothing inevitable about this. For all these troubled cases, there are many more success stories that deserve to be celebrated. The number of functioning democracies in the world has tripled since the 1970s. The poverty rate in the developing world has been cut by roughly one-third since the end of the Cold War. Millions of people have been liberated from oppression and fear. Progress is not only possible, it is real. And it must continue to be real.

America has a clear interest in helping to establish good governance throughout the world. Democracy is a noble ideal, and promoting it abroad is the right long-term goal of U.S. policy. But democracy cannot be achieved rapidly or sustained unless it is built on sound legal, institutional, and cultural foundations. It can only work if people have a reasonable degree of safety and security. Elections are necessary but not sufficient to establish genuine democracy. Aspiring dictators sometimes win elections, and elected leaders sometimes govern badly and threaten their neighbors. History demonstrates that democracy usually follows good governance, not the reverse. U.S. assistance can do much to set nations on the road to democracy, but we must be realistic about how much we can accomplish alone and how long it will take to achieve lasting progress.

The election of Hamas in the Palestinian-controlled territories is a case in point. The problem there is not the lack of statehood but corrupt and unaccountable governance. The Palestinian people need decent governance first, as a prerequisite for statehood. Too much emphasis has been placed on brokering negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians -- negotiations that bring up the same issues again and again. It is not in the interest of the United States, at a time when it is being threatened by Islamist terrorists, to assist the creation of another state that will support terrorism. Palestinian statehood will have to be earned through sustained good governance, a clear commitment to fighting terrorism, and a willingness to live in peace with Israel. America's commitment to Israel's security is a permanent feature of our foreign policy.
By those standards, Giuliani is unlikely to bring about the creation of a 'Palestinian' state reichlet anytime soon. Case in point, the one place where the 'Palestinians' have now been in charge for two years, the 'Palestinian' state reichlet in the making: Gaza.
A public opinion survey carried out in Gaza should be cause for major concern for the United Nations and other bodies interested in the welfare of private citizens. The poll, published this week by the Palestinian Authority's Wafa news agency, shows the following numbers:

51% of the residents say they do not have the medicines they need (compared with 36% last month).

42% of Gaza's residents suffer from a shortage of food (compared with 34% last month). A clear disparity is found between Fatah and Hamas supporters: Among Fatah supporters, more than half say they do not have enough food, while the rate is 23% among Hamas sympathizers.

Poverty rates continue to rise as well: 71% of Gaza's residents live below the poverty line, and more than half of these are described as living in "severe poverty."

Unemployment stands at 22% - though it is only 14% among those who support Hamas.

Over 4/5 of Gaza's businessmen and shop owners say they face grave difficulties in receiving necessary raw materials.

Freedom of speech is becoming more and more hard to come by in Hamas-controlled Gaza, sometimes known as Hamastan: 53% said they cannot freely express themselves under Hamas rule. Just yesterday (Tuesday), 300 Fatah supporters had to brave beatings and bans by Hamas officials just to conduct a protest demonstration.

And the bottom line: 40% of Gaza's residents say they would like to leave if they could. This is true for more than half of Fatah supporters, who apparently still comprise the majority, and only one-eighth of Hamas sympathizers.


A New York Times article this past February stated, "The Israeli withdrawal [from Gaza in 2005] raised Palestinian hopes for new homes, schools and businesses, and an easing of the overcrowding in the Gaza Strip... But internal Palestinian turmoil, the conflict with Israel and a lack of money have kept the abandoned settlements looking almost exactly as they were the day the Israelis left" - namely, piles of rubble.

The only structures standing in almost all of the former Jewish towns are booths for the armed guards who are there to keep their fellow Arabs out. In addition, the many greenhouses Israel left behind sit ruined or idle, a sad reminder of the thousands of agricultural jobs they once were thought to offer Arabs in Gaza.
Any countries out there want to take some poor 'Palestinian' immigrants and suffer the wrath of the Arab world for redeeming them from their hellhole because it means that there are that many fewer 'Palestinians' who will demand the 'right of return' to non-existent homes in Israel?

Read the whole thing.


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