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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Back to the 1930's?

Ron Radosh reviews a lengthy piece in the Tablet by Benny Morris. It's definitely worth it to read the whole thing, but among other things, he comes up with this.
Benny Morris understands that for the Arab mentality, little has changed since 1948 and the creation of the Jewish State. The first reason no peace is possible, he writes, “the one that American and European officials never express and — if impolitely mentioned in their presence — turn away from in distaste, is that Palestinian political elites, of both the so-called ’secular’ and Islamist varieties, are dead set against partitioning the Land of Israel/Palestine with the Jews.” Morris continues:

“They regard all of Palestine as their patrimony and believe that it will eventually be theirs. History, because of demography and the steady empowerment of the Arab and Islamic worlds and the West’s growing alienation from Israel, and because of Allah’s wishes, is, they believe, on their side. They do not want a permanent two-state solution, with a Palestinian Arab state co-existing alongside a (larger) Jewish state; they will not compromise on this core belief and do not believe, on moral or practical grounds, that they should.”

The truth, Morris believes, cannot be mentioned by our statesman, because if the Palestinian and Arab position is accurately stated, it means that “the Israeli-Arab conflict has no resolution apart from the complete victory of one side or the other (with the corollary of expulsion, or annihilation, by one side of the other) — which leaves leaders like President Barack Obama with nowhere realistic to go with regard to the conflict. Philosophically, acceptance of the rock-like unpliability of this reality is extremely problematic, given the ongoing military and philosophical clash between the West and various forces in the Islamic world.”

Instead of facing this truth and trying to decide what is to be done, our leaders continue on with the farce of always trying to resurrect a peace process that always fails, and will continue to do so in the future. Speaking as a historian, Morris argues the similarities with the era before World War II — the age of “appeasement” — are too striking to ignore. He writes:

“In this connection, our age, it may turn out, resembles the classic age of appeasement, the 1930s, when the Western democracies (and the Soviet Union) were ranged against, but preferred not to confront, Nazi Germany and its allies, Fascist Italy, and expansionist Japan. During that decade, Hitler’s inexorable martial, racist, and uncompromising mindset was misread by Western leaders, officials, and intellectuals — and for much the same reasons. Living in unideological societies, they could not fathom the minds and politics of their ideologically driven antagonists. The leaders and intellectuals of the Western democracies, educated and suffused with liberal and relativist values, by and large were unable to comprehend the essential ‘otherness’ of Hitler and ended up fighting him, to the finish, after negotiation and compromise had proved useless.”

History, he clearly fears, might just this time actually repeat itself. Certainly, the comparisons are too striking to be ignored, a point that Pastor Hagee also pointed out in his speech. At this moment, Hamas is pledged to obliterate Israel as its very raison d’etre, and while Fatah claims to be willing to accept a two-state solution, it insists upon the acceptance of what they call “the right to return,” without any exception. For Abbas and his comrades, this is non-negotiable. A few years ago, the group of journalists I traveled to Israel with met with Saeb Erekat, the top Palestinian negotiator. He argued that everyone knows a two-state solution could be accepted overnight. But, he added, they will never — and he emphasized this — accept less than the state of Israel agreeing to the right of return of the Arab refugees who fled at the time of the 1948 war between Israel and the invading armies of six Arab nations.
Like I said, read the whole thing. It's not just on the Iranian front that the Obama administration is trying to return us to 1930's-style appeasement.

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At 5:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“the Israeli-Arab conflict has no resolution apart from the complete victory of one side or the other"

And every time Israel has been in a position to achieve exactly this - in 1967 and again in 1973 - the powers that be have stopped her.


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