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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An intractable problem

Fellow blogger Michael Totten has just returned to the US after a trip to Israel, and I believe he's finally beginning to understand our situation here (Hat Tip: Small Dead Animals).
Americans aren't the only ones who have a hard time grasping the idea of an intractable problem. “Unfortunately we Westerners are impatient,” said an Israeli politician who preferred not to be named. “We want fast food and peace now. But it won't happen. We need a long strategy.” “Most of Israel's serious problems don't have a solution,” said Dr. Dan Schueftan, Director of National Security Studies at the University of Haifa. “Israelis have only recently understood this, and most foreign analysts still don't understand it.”
Sorry Dr. Dan, but some of us understood it a long time ago when you were still promoting 'unilateral withdrawals' and 'disengagements' as a means to ensuring that the Jewish state would not be taken over by those you regarded as backward: Religious Jews (please - those of you who are new to my blog or don't remember it - read that link). Dr. Dan was promoting 'disengagement' from Judea and Samaria as recently as April 2007 as a 'solution' to a demographic problem that is demonstrably a hoax.

But it's heartening to see that Totten gets it even if he didn't always hear it from the best sources.
Far too many Westerners make the mistake of projecting their own views onto Palestinians without really understanding the Palestinian narrative. The “occupation” doesn’t refer to the West Bank and Gaza, and it never has. The “occupation” refers to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. A kibbutz in the center of Israel is “occupied Palestine” according to most. “It makes no sense to a Palestinian to think about a Palestinian state alongside Israel,” Martin Kramer from the Shalem Center in Jerusalem said to me a few days ago. “From the Palestinian perspective, Israel will always exist inside Palestine.”

“Making peace with the Palestinians is harder than making peace with other Arabs,” said Asher Susser, Senior Research Fellow at Tel Aviv University. “With the Palestinians we have a 1948 file as well as a 1967 file. With other Arabs we only have a 1967 file. The 1967 file relates to our size, but the 1948 file relates to our very being. It is nearly impossible to resolve because we cannot compromise on our being.”
Hey Michael, welcome to my world. This conflict is unsolvable and will remain so until one side attains a total victory over the other and imposes its terms. I hope the winning party will be Israel. If Israel wins, some Arabs will likely be allowed to stay here, while the rest will be paid to move to Arab countries. If God forbid the Arabs win, there aren't likely to be too many Israeli Jews left alive. Think Emperor Hirohito or the Third Reich. Had the US and its allies not fought on to victory, some of you might be speaking German or Japanese today. I probably wouldn't be here.

Read the whole thing.

A longer version of Michael's essay appears here. It adds this little nugget for those who think that only Hamas is intractable on the 'Palestinian' side.

Fatah Party leader Mahmoud Abbas is clearly [not so clearly. CiJ] more moderate and reasonable than the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but even he can't compromise on the “right of return,” the so-far non-negotiable demand that all Palestinian refugees and their descendants from the 1948 war be allowed to return to settle in Israel. Israel would become an Arab-majority country if that were to happen, and most of the would-be arrivals have been radicalized in politically toxic refugee camps. The “right of return” would ignite a civil war worse than Lebanon’s.

Listen to Ran Cohen, Member of the Knesset for the left-wing Meretz Party and former leader of the Left Camp of Israel peace movement. “Even I refuse the right of return,” he said. “It's impossible. It's the opposite of a solution. Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] and the others know our position on the right of return. Who are they going [to] negotiate this with? Not me, not Meretz, not Peace Now. Who? The Communist Party? Not even the radical left supports this.”

Are you listening Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Mitchell?


At 6:25 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Think Carthage, Carl. It was one of the great Hebrew-speaking powers of antiquity and yes Phoenician is mutually intelligible with Hebrew, that its fatal mistake was underestimating Rome. Israel cannot afford to underestimate the resolve of her enemies to destroy her and no amount of shrinking her territory will ever slake that resolve on their part. There are just, as you wisely pointed out, some problems that are impervious to a political solution. Israel is going to have to destroy her enemies in the end where Carthage failed to destroy Rome or there won't be an Israel. Let's remember the stakes here. Carthage was turned into a field of salt and its people, language and culture vanquished by the Romans. History is not kind to the losers. If there's not to be a Second Holocaust, Israel is going to have deal with the neighborhood through realism and not wishful thinking. The sooner it happens, the better off the Jewish State will be.

At 7:32 PM, Blogger Robertcw72 said...

Why do so few people see the end game in this situation? It all cant be the same concept as fast food and fast peace - can it?

At 10:04 PM, Blogger Gail said...

He is leaving out a key point, the other Arab nations have refused to allow Palestinians into their countries. That was the initial situation. The Arab community told all Palestinians to leave because Israel would slaughter all of them. Then, they refused entry to their countries, leaving the Palestinians homeless.

The Palestinians who chose to remain in Israel now have the highest standard of living and greatest freedom of the entire muslim world. This is another fact which is hidden from the public.

That is why the problem continues. It is supposed to continue and the Palestinians are nothing but pawns in the greater muslim community's efforts to destroy Israel.

Best regards,
Gail S

At 11:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The “occupation” doesn’t refer to the West Bank and Gaza, and it never has."


It's even in the PLO covenant.

"This Organization [the PLO] does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, [or] on the Gaza Strip..

At 7:29 AM, Blogger ledger said...

I am afraid that Israel is on her own.

You can expect little or no help from Barack Hussein Obama.

In fact, if you look at Barack Hussein’s religious training you may come to the conclusion that he will bury you in the name “restoring America’s image in the Middle East.”

Hillary Clinton is Obama’s secretary of state. I would guess the unfriendly Arab states that surround you will not take another woman from America seriously. They will treat her as a sign of weakness. That was some what true of Rice.

Michael Totten doesn’t mention that it is very handy for Egypt to keep a buffer of killers at her boarder. Further, many who have read the Koran believe that Muslims are in a constant state of war (high, medium, and low but never off). You are basically in a neighborhood of killers and thugs that never quit.

I do believe Totten is correct in concluding the problem is intractable – at least by UN treaties and words on paper.

Totten is somewhat wrong in saying “It was none of Obama’s fault.”

Obama was against the war in Iraq. He took the USA flag off of his private jet. He did not honor the troops. He gave aid and comfort to our mutual enemies.

In short, as he ascended in the political polls he emboldened Hamas to attack Israeli (the same is true for America’s enemies).

My advice to you is to treat Obama as a “fair weather friend” at best. At worst he should be treated a deceiver or a snake in the grass.


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