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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

5 Lies About Israel, Fatah, Hamas and the Peace Process

Lie #1: Fatah and Abbas represent a moderate Palestinian faction we must negotiate with while Hamas represent an extreme faction we must alienate.

Since Hamas came to power, the vast majority of terrorist attacks on Israelis have come from Fatah. The last several terrorist attacks including the twin suicide bombing in a cafe in Dimona was carried out by Fatah. Hamas has been shelling Israel from Gaza, but it is Fatah which has been waging a terrorist campaign inside Israel.

Hamas has been concentrating on Egypt meanwhile because it is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood which hopes to come to power in Egypt. That is why America views Hamas as dangerous and extremist, because it represent a regional threat to America's Arab allies, while Fatah is considered to be a threat only to Israel. That is why America has taken a hard line against Hamas but continuously forces Israel to negotiate with Fatah. Hamas is viewed as regional Islamic while Fatah as nationalistic Palestinian, when Israel is told that Fatah must be propped up against Hamas, this is not in Israel's interests, it is in Mubarak's interests.

As far as Israel is concerned, the only substantial difference between Fatah and Hamas is that Fatah is willing to engage in blackmail at the negotiating table while Hamas has no interest in playing the negotiating game at this stage.


Lie #2: Only negotiations can bring peace, even in conflict, negotiations are the best path to bring about an end to the hostilities.

Peace negotiations only work when both sides are prepared to end the fighting because they recognize that it isn't working. But the fighting is working for the Palestinian Arabs and has been since Day 1. The refusal to understand this is at the root of every single lie told about the fraudulent peace process. Terrorism has been the only negotiating tool the Fatah side has ever used and it is the only one that they ever put on the table. There is no reason for them to give up terrorism because it is their best card and it keeps working and they have never been continually penalized for playing it.

Peace works when two weary adversaries decide to give it a rest in their own best interest. But contrary to the media portrayal, this is a struggle between one weary adversary and one deluded and vicious adversary. That is why the negotiations continue to go nowhere. The Palestinian Arab side has never concluded that it is in its own interest to stop the violence. That is why the violence continues, often cloaked by completely implausible denials and self-victimization. The peace process has always led nowhere because Israeli demands for an end to the violence as a precursor to negotiations have been discarded even by Presidents like Bush who once gave lip service to them.

You cannot bring an end to the violence when one part has nothing to lose and plenty to gain by continuing the violence. For 15 years it hasn't worked and it never will work.


Lie #3. A negotiated settlement is possible if we work hard enough to achieve one based on territorial concessions

A negotiated settlement in a zero sum game simply isn't possible. Since 1948 the struggle between Israel and the Arabs has been a zero sum game with the Arab side set on the destruction of Israel. Despite that fact Israel has made repeated territorial concessions, even though Israel's own territory is the smallest piece carved out of the territory of the Palestine Mandate that had been set aside after WW1 for the creation of Israel.

Despite numerical superiority and vaster land and populations and a record of starting wars with Israel, at no point in time has any Arab state ever ceded land to Israel. By contrast Israel has ceded land to Egypt and Jordan, proposed to cede land to Syria and it has ceded a sizable portion of the land within its territorial borders to the terrorists who had been attacking it and it has proposed to cede even more land to them, including portions of its capital.

To gain peace Israel has ceded land equivalent to 3 times its own current size (not counting the Palestine Mandate which was 6 times Israel's current size.) And the Arab world demands that Israel continue giving up land even though over 7 million Israelis live on a piece of land smaller than New Hampshire with a population density that is the 37th largest in the world, barely behind Japan at 32nd, Rwanda at 37th and denser than Haiti at 42nd. When eliminating islands, city states and principalities from the list, Israel actually has the 10th highest population density in the world behind India, Japan and Rwanda.

Twice Israel has expelled its own populations in acts of self-ethnic cleansing virtually unparalleled in history. These precarious withdrawals have put more of Israel's own population on the firing line than ever resulting in Hizbullah and Hamas shelling Israeli towns from Lebanon and Gaza. Rather than bringing peace, these withdrawals have only made the situation more dangerous and unstable and Israel is running out of land to give up. Israel can only carve itself up for so long before nothing is left.

Bush has made it clear that the return of refugees, the classic Arab demand, is now on the agenda, which means forcibly creating an Arab majority in Israel, the ultimate conclusion of the zero sum game.


Lie #4 - A solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict will stabilize the rest of the Middle East

The middle east is a stew of tribal, ethnic, political and religious conflicts, the vast majority of which do not involve Israel. Israel represent an infinitesimal portion of the region in both land and population and has virtually no political influence in the Middle East.

Sunnis are not about to embrace Shias, Islamists will not embrace secularists, tribes will not cease their blood feuds, dictators will not become democrats, Muslims will not learn to tolerate Christians, countries will not cease squabbling over their borders regardless of what happens in Israel. The Middle East has only been stable when it has been ruled by a strong leader or empire.

Israel does not cause the Middle East's instabilities, they predate the modern State of Israel by many centuries. The inherent cause of domestic instability is a lack of strong central governments that can control the instability within their own borders and the cause of regional instability comes from strong central governments with an eye on seizing neighboring countries. This paradox makes the Middle East along with much of the world, inherently unstable. Browbeating Israel will not change human nature of move the Middle East ahead in time by three centuries.


Lie #5 - America's support for Israel has caused resentment and terrorism toward America which Israel is obligated to address

America's role as a superpower is what causes resentment toward America, of which its support for Israel is only a subset. America did not fight Saddam for Israel but for Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, Israel only got the blame for for a war that began when Saddam invaded a bunch of Sheiks with ties to the Bush Administration. At no point in time has America ever fought a war in defense of Israel. It has however fought two major wars in defense of Arabs (three wars in defense of Muslims) as American soldiers continue dying every week to keep Iraqis safe.

Israel cannot make Arabs and Muslims like America, especially when even America can't make them like America. Europe, which is generally hostile toward Israel, is suffering from a terrorist epidemic greater than that suffered by the United States. Dozens of countries are facing serious Muslim terrorist problems, some of which don't even have diplomatic ties to Israel.

Arab hostility toward America is multifold and would exist even if America had never developed close ties with Israel. Instead the reality is that America developed close ties to Israel because it was unable to develop close ties with any major Arab country. Arab government after government that the US has tried to befriend has either been overthrown or like the Saudis have continually stabbed America in the back. None of this is Israel's fault and the diplomatic frustration that is being directed at Israel will not fix the problem until the US takes a long hard look at the Middle East and the Arab nations it is trying to befriend.

As a Non-Muslim superpower unwilling to simply hand out weapons with no questions asked, the way Russia does, the US will never be popular in the Middle East. But Russia's popularity nor even its hostility to Israel has not kept its citizens and cities from being blown up by Muslim terrorists either. It would seem that being popular still won't keep the terrorist wolf away from your door .

6 comments:

Keli Ata said...

Yep, you're right. It's all lies.

The world hates Israel and basically it all amounts to old fashioned anti-Semitism or its modern day equivalent, anti-Zionism.

Part of the problem is that the world expects Israel to be a universal whiping boy, a universal victim.

And sadly, some Israelis and Jews are more than willing to assume the roll.

I find this very confusing. Maybe because I haven't experienced personally a life-time of anti-Semitism, but when Jews tell me suffering, bombs, persecution etc. is all just part of being a Jew it makes my blood boil.

Just because there's been persecution doesn't mean we should tolerate it.

I guess for converts it's different. We haven't been beaten up in the way born Jews have, which is why this attitude of willingly accepting persecution is confusing and frustrating.

Yes. We suffer along with born Jews, of course. That's a given. And it's a given that anti-Semites don't care if you were born a Jew or converted to Judaism.

But the unwillingness to fight back it perplexing. It's like when I think about Sderot and how the majority of Jewish federations don't want to exercise their political muscles to put pressure on the US to force Olmert to do something.

No Apology said...

Wow. S.Knish, it's as if Israel will simply atrophy from within it's own borders, unless strong leaders step up. Is that possible - will there be any strong leaders applying for the job, you think?

What do the Israeli businessmen, the students, the "average" Israeli, think about the apparent demise of their country?

Or has Israel, as a nation, simply lost the will to prevail?

Sultan Knish said...

so far the strong leaders aren't getting there, but basically it's the same core phenomenon as in europe and america, atrophy at the top, an upper class who don't take patriotism or national defense seriously and find appeasement to be a better sell

people who remain patriotic and for national defense are marginalized as extremists and demonized as bigots

Shiloh said...

Strong leaders cannot get there in Israel. The powers to be will demonize them instantly, dig up dirt and then kindly blackmail them with a smile at best, at worst, G-d forbid the unthinkable. We are living just like the days of the second Temple. Israeli Jews do not know who to trust as Shabbak Shalom have infiltrated every patriotic group out there, especially in Judea and Samaria. This is all backwards today. As far as will to survive, we here are so fragmented as a nation. No one admits we are committing suicide here, one side say's we need to appease the enemy, the other side says we need to fight them. Each side thinks the other will be committing suicide for Israel. We today as Jews don't know who we are. We have lost our identity and common goal. Whether its secular zionism to the ultra-Orthodox, we cant agree what or who is a Jew. We are defined by Torah and cannot even agree to what extent. It's a complex problem that at this point in history will be incredibly difficult for any man or group to solve. In my humble opinion, we have gone so far off the path that until haShem steps in we are heading for the bottom. I want to be more optimistic but the reality is far from good. I hope the prophecies are accurate is my only hope.
One note, what give Jews the freedom to pray, gives every other group the same, whether that group is truth or lies. Since we have recognized that all religion is 'truth', then we unfortunatly have created a huge mess for ourselves.

Husbandhood said...

Came here via Naomi Regan.

Its amazing. You spend years studying the conflict thinking you know all the answers and then you read something like this post.

Lies 4 & 5 are very good points that I never thought of.

You have these Sunnis and Shias killing eachother and the world wants Israel and the Palestinians to be friends.

Good point about the resentment of america being attributed to the fact that its a superpower. And the comment about other countries without ties to Israel, being attacked by terrorists.

Its the simple points we often overlook.

Sultan Knish said...

thank you, I've tried to set things out as clearly as I could

via naomi ragen, a mailing list?

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