Articles

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Israel's Folly

The State of Israel spent the first 30 years of its modern existence reclaiming its territory, and the next 33 years negotiating the terms on which it would be returned to the neighboring countries which had made war on it, as well as an entirely new terrorist state created in the name of peace and maintained in the name of war.

33 years after the country's first 'hawkish' conservative PM allowed himself to be browbeaten by Jimmy Carter into turning over territory three times its own present size to an Egypt whose new leaders are now disavowing the accords-- its current 'hawkish' conservative PM is readying himself to offer a whole new raft of concessions in the hopes of preempting a unilateral solution by Obama or Abbas.

For all the furious New York Times articles, there is little to distinguish Israel's hawks from its doves once they take up their residence in Beit Aghion on the corner of Lord Balfour's street. Like their American counterparts, they rapidly trade in the rhetoric about an "Undivided Jerusalem" and "War on Terror" for the burden of realpolitik built on a copy of the Art of Appeasement.

The governing mandate of every Israeli PM since 1992 (and perhaps even earlier) has been to try and make a deal with the Palestinian Arabs work. The folly of this has been amply demonstrated time and time again, filling Israel's cemeteries and hospitals, destroying its security and international standing, and dividing its people against themselves. And yet all these factors have only spurred on the perception that the deal must be somehow made to work. Somehow.

The doves have tried multilateral negotiations. The hawks tried unilateral concessions. The sum total of their efforts is the creation of two terrorist states, one recognized by the international community, one by the far left, and both at war with Israel inside its own borders.

The first state is run by the KGB trained funder of the Munich Massacre and backed by the international community. The second state is run by the local affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood and funded by the Muslim world. These two states, popularly known as the Palestinian Authority and Hamas run Gaza, differ only in their tactics, not their aims. Neither are anything but unelected leaders of terrorist groups dedicated to Israel's destruction.

Almost two decades of negotiations have led to nothing but eighteen years of terror. A state of affairs ignored by everyone except the people living on the firing line, their family sedans scarred by bullets, their kindergartens equipped with bomb shelters and their children equipped with emergency cell phones to check in after every attack. As the international community, the media and the government push forward for more concessions and negotiations, they have no way to push back except through the occasional unheard protest.

Year after year, and leader after leader, the Israeli response has been to push forward in the hopes of finding light at the end of the tunnel. But the tunnel has only gotten darker and narrower. And it is growing obvious to even the dimmest observer that the tunnel of peace is really a dead end. Talk of a 'breakthrough' keeps alive the hope that Israel can slim down enough to squeeze through a pinhole that simply doesn't exist.

Israeli leaders are surrounded by technocrats and diplomats who favor retreating from territory, rather than from bad policies. So the land goes, the people die and the bad policies remain.

Though Rabin had remained dubious about the illegally negotiated Oslo Accords, the inevitability of an agreement has been adopted by the entire political establishment. Even the 'hawks' spend most of their time moving border lines on a map to find some acceptable formula for a Palestinian state. No one asks anymore whether there should be a Palestinian state. Only how big it should be. And how many Israelis should be evicted from their homes in the name of a lasting peace.

But few Israelis believe in a lasting peace anymore. Instead they expect that some form of negotiated separation will keep their sons at home and away from the firefights in Gaza and the West Bank. Never mind that such a separation is even more of an illusion. Barak's unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon and Sharon's unilateral pullout from Gaza put Hezbollah and Hamas into power and brought on the Second Lebanon War and the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit.

Caught between Israelis who want security and an international community that demands passivity, the government has innovated Passive-Aggressive Warfare. Israel's security barriers meant to stop suicide bombers, traded in the bombings for constant shelling instead, now its new Iron Dome defense system is meant to stop the shelling, which doesn't mean an end to terror, but the beginning of another form of terror. From security measures to drones to counter-missile defenses, Israel is revolutionizing the passive-aggressive war on terror. And minimizing the pain of its self-destructive policies with new technological feats that address the symptoms, not the problem.

Even fewer in Israel's political establishment believe that terrorism will ever end. The obligatory Rabin festivals and video clips have taken on the air of a hippie festival, charmingly idealistic and completely unrealistic. Not even the left believes anymore. Whatever idealism it ever possessed has been replaced by a dedicated climate of hate. The New New Left is no longer interested in peace, but in assigning blame for the war. Haaretz columnists drag forward everyone from Netanyahu's wife to the settler boogeyman, while their grandchildren don keffiyahs and stone Israeli soldiers in the company of protest tourists from Norway and Scotland.

The logic of pushing forward to an agreement has little to do with stopping terrorism anymore. Not when all it takes to make your own terrorist group is a dozen friends and a Dubai bank account. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas are umbrella groups supported by numberless militias, any of whom can form their own terrorist group at any time, or moonlight between working as police, running a protection racket and their own splinter terrorist organization for which the official leadership claims plausible deniability.

Israel's culture minister said this week that her nephew was murdered by a terrorist disguised as a security officer. But the difference between terrorists and security officers in the Palestinian Authority is that they're called security officers when they draw paychecks from the US and the EU, and terrorists when they murder Israeli civilians. This formal distinction allows Western diplomats their own plausible deniability, pretending that they aren't funding terrorism. When that's exactly what they're doing and have been doing since Arafat got his first aid package. But if they were to admit that Palestinian security forces are nothing more than terrorists in uniforms, they would also have to admit that the Palestinian Authority government is nothing more than terrorists in suits.

At stake is Israel's legitimacy, or at least that's how the politicians see it. To maintain its legitimacy in the international community, its relations with the United States and Europe, it must continue working toward an agreement. But the more it has labored over an agreement, the more the boycotts and the culture war have grown. The withdrawal from Gaza has done far more to feed hate against Israel, than any combination of checkpoints and security measures. Every effort to preserve Israel's legitimacy endangers it further.

Israeli leaders search for some magic formula that will either achieve a peace agreement or convince the world that the gangs of suit decked Palestinian Muslim terrorists are not serious about peace. This futile brand of alchemy, with the goal of turning hate into gold, is futilely perverse. No amount of negotiated failures will ever convince international diplomats that the Palestinian Arabs aren't serious about peace.

For Western diplomats, a Palestinian state isn't the goal, but the means of convincing the Muslim world that they are serious about their concerns. For Muslim leaders, a Palestinian state isn't the goal either, it's only a means of diverting attention from their domestic misery. It isn't even the goal for Palestinian leaders who have shown no ability or interest in running a state.

If a Palestinian state were declared tomorrow, regardless of what papers were or weren't signed, this state would still be economically dependent on Israel and on Western aid, and it would still be full of terrorists taking potshots at Israelis.

The 1967 borders are as legally and demographically random as any other. The 'Green Line' is nothing but a convenient talking point. With all the territory back to the 1967 borders in terrorist hands, their attention would turn to the territory beyond it. 1967 would give way to 1948. New terrorist attacks would be carried out in the name of claiming even more land for the 'refugees'. Israeli Arabs whose MK's already preach terrorism and align themselves as Palestinians would quickly scramble on board. And the international community would demand new concessions. And eventually a One State Solution.

Israelis have learned not to think about the future to avoid confronting this reality. The discredited leader of the last decade becomes the savior of the next, only to be discredited yet again. Peres, Barak and Netanyahu rise from the ashes of their failures. The discredited plans of the last government become the template for the failures of the next. Each leader denounces the past, but refuses to part ways with it. As a dog returns to its vomit, so Israeli leaders repeat the folly of the past.

Netanyahu's proposal will take the position of the kid who punches himself in the face half as hard as the bully would, in the hopes of dissuading the bully from beating on him. Or in the even fainter hope of gaining the sympathy of some well meaning observer. And every time Israeli leaders have tried this, the bully hits them twice as hard anyway, while the observers cheer on the bully. The observers hope that cheering on the bully will save them from his wrath. And Israel's leaders still think that they can minimize the pain, and outmaneuver the bully and the observers through some clever dealmaking.

The bully is Islam. His shouts about historical justice are motivated by a violent inferiority complex. Despite his belligerence, he is weak. But America, Europe and Israel suffer from national inferiority complexes that prevent them from standing up to him. So the bully rampages about the global playground. There is no use bargaining with him. Even less use appeasing him. You can either stand up to him, or keep getting beaten by him. For all the idealistic songs and images of flowers in gun barrels, there has never been a third way.

The Israeli flag is the symbol of the House of David, a lad who built a nation by standing up to Goliath. To be worthy of the flag, is to be worthy of the act. Israel survived by standing up to the armies of Islam. Not willingly, but reluctantly. After all other options had been exhausted. Not it faces a political war in which all the diplomatic options will never be exhausted, until its enemies overreach themselves with a full invasion. And by then Israel may no longer be capable of defending itself.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent. I wish more Jewish people would realize their folly.

thank you for this.

Donna Schoenhals said...

Psalms 83 (KJV)
1 A Song or Psalm of Asaph. Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.
2 For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.
3 They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.
4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:
6 The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;
7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.
9 Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:
10 Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:
12 Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.
13 O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.
14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;
15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.
16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.
17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:
18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth

Lemon said...

Gaza should never have been left to these people.

Anonymous said...

The security fence has worked, don;t downgrade its achievment. Without a security fence 50 - 100 Israelis would be murdered every week in suicide bombings (go check the Jerusalem Post archives for Feb, March, and April 2002). Iron Dome is working too. The problem is that Israel fights its wars with one hand tied behind its back. Gaza is at war with Israel but Israel is not at war with Gaza, Israel continues to supply water, fuel, electricity to the terror enclave.

Cheryl S. said...

Yet again, Daniel nails it!!!!

Rita said...

"...The bully is Islam. His shouts about historical justice are motivated by a violent inferiority complex..."

An inferiority complex as justified as it is violent. Another jewish pioneer, Freud, might have had something to say about the root of this evil laying in its childhood. What chance had Islam ever with a "father" like Mohamed. (I couldn't be bothered to look up the spelling).

I agree fully with Cheryl above: you nailed it once again, with the analysis and the offered solution.

Do you see any one in the present Israeli leadership who would/could emulate David? (what about the former foreign minister?)

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

They're 'working' in the sense of preventing some attacks, not in the sense of dealing with the overall threat

it's symptom management that covers up some of the pain just enough to keep it going

Barry said...

Border is the wrong word to describe the 1949 armistice lines which only lasted until 1967 when war broke out again.
Unfortunately the Israelis never challenged the reneging of facts even those of the San Remo Conference and UNSC resolution 242.
If memory serves I think that some states want the UN to repeal 242.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with you Mr. Knish. It saves Jewish lives, and nothing is more important then that. You seem blase about that fact. When was the last time a suicide bomber from the West Bank struck in Israel? I recall back in 2002 all the Leftists and a lot of Rightists (such as Caroline Glick) saying that the security fence would not work. Well they were wrong and people like me were right. Israel was on the verge of mental collapse from late 2001 to April 2002 while Ariel Sharon had his finger up his butt trying to figure out what to do. Only by adopting a defense(security fence)/offense strategy (nightly raids, arrests and assassinations) did Israel free herself from the scourge of suicide bombings. Had the fence been built earlier, how many hundreds of Jewish lives would have been saved?

Paul said...

All true, Danial and well said with a few exceptions and typos, I think.

First, the Iron Dome is not an anti artillary system and so does not defend against "shelling". This is not a true statement:

"... its new Iron Dome defense system is meant to stop the shelling, ..."

This must include a typo somewhere:

"... Not it faces a political war in which all the diplomatic options will never be exhausted, until its enemies overreach themselves with a full invasion. ..."

Mulsim hostility to Israel is due to its basic anti-semitism. Anti-semitism in Islam is scriptual, dictated by the Koran. Muslims do not suffer from an inferiority complex, they suffer from a superiority complex. Their sense of superiority and general self esteem is a necessary delusion that props up their baseless beliefs.

Until the world powers acknowledge that anti-semitism has no rational foundations, Israel and Jews everywhere will risk inflamming their persecution in the simple act of self defense. Over the centuries, Jews have been conditioned into not defending themselves against low level persecution in the hopes that this prevent more violent hysteria. The refoundation of Israel has one of its best justification in the end of this compromising over what should be natural to any people; the right to stand up to lies.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Anonymous,

it doesn't save Jewish lives, it reduces the number of deaths from particular types of attacks, while creating support for keeping the terrorists in business.

It shifts to new types of attacks, some people breathe a sigh of relief, others run to the bunkers.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Paul, Kassam attacks are described as shelling

Anonymous said...

Very astute analysis. We so much want to be part of the world, to belong, be like them but we will never be allowed, we are a people that dwells alone. If we had responded to terrorism from the beginning as needed we would not be facing the catastrophe of today. Weakness brings more weakness. Interesting that the hero who saved us in wars (Sharon) resurrected Arafat after the fiasco in Lebanon and brought upon us Hamas after the retreat from Gush.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great analysis !

I am not of the literary clan, however :
Appeasement led to the 2nd WW.

Appeasement towards Islam will bring Armageddon ?

Eliezer.

Anonymous said...

It is clear to me that this analysis is written by somebody who does not live in Israel and does not understand the danger of the present situation. Controlling territories with so many hostile people is a constant drain of resources, energy and legitimacy.
The present situation is tolerated by most only as a temporary solution and only because of the security fence. Nobody believes in peace but everybody believes in separation. Those who object to separation besides the Sultan Knish are Raad Salach and Hanin Zoobi. They want Israel to drown in the sea of Palestinians

Paul said...

Daniel. "Shelling" by definition includes artillary and morter fire. Iron Dome does not protect against these projectiles and was never intended to. It is strictly an anti-missile defense system.

This is not a true statement:

"... its new Iron Dome defense system is meant to stop the shelling, ..."

In that context, it is also worthwhile to point out that Iron Dome has limited usefulness as a civil defense system precisely because it is not intended to defend against projectiles, just missiles. Once the missile propulsion stops, it is just another projectile with its "shell" intact.

Israel’s Iron Dome is Not a Direct Solution

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Anon,

by that logic, it's time to move out of the middle east altogether. You can either control those territories or face constant attack from them. It will take less resources to control them, than it will to face escalating warfare from them.

Paul,

the term I used is correct. Kassams are artillery rockets.

Lemon said...

Israel has been giving its enemies control for a long while.
Just like the USA, it has lost pride in its power and its strength is used in vain.
No wars are finished nor is a decent goal accomplished.
Both nations are putting a band-aid on gaping gushing wounds.
As tanakh says, the whole head is sick.
When G-d gives you a gift, you protect it to the utmost.

Paul said...

Daniel, I am corrected, although perhaps you didn't know either.

Wikipedia's entry on Iron Dome

The Iron Dome is specifically designed to intercept both missiles and artillary shells.

I also am obliged to at least modify my little essay on the limitations of the Iron Dome. Although I wonder exactly what effect Iron Dome is supposed to have on an artillary shell.

ron said...

The bully isn't Islam, the bully is the fake friend that we shouldn't be relying on. The same "friend" whose aid has allowed us to ignore our own defense industry, whose "advice" has led to us castrating ourselves, whose "friendship" comes with the hatred of all his enemies, and whose "shared burdens" means that we have no way of pursuing any policy that does not first and foremost benefit him.

Time to move on Jews. Time to get our lives back and stand or fall on our own.

Raymond in DC said...

There's a discussion about disputed property in the Mishna Baba Metzia 1:1 that sheds an interesting light on this conflict. If two disputants both assert full claim to a found article, absent supporting evidence, they're both granted half the value. But if one claims all of it is his, while the second claims half of it is his, the first gets 3/4 of the value, while the latter gets only 1/4. Why? Because the second has already conceded that half belongs to the first claimant!

Now put this in the Arab-Israeli context. The Palestinians claim that all the land is theirs - from the River to the Sea - while Israel has effectively conceded that "half" belongs to the Palestinians. And the world is mad at Israel because it hasn't yet turned over that "half". But even after that's done, the dispute over the second half remains.

Which gets me to my biggest gripe with Israel's leadership. Following Peres' lead, Israel's argument is "Ve vant piss!", which wins Israel no friends who see that Israel hasn't delivered what it cedes as a Palestinian entitlement. What Israel *should* be doing is make clear that they have their *own* claims, and they trump those of the Palestinians. As several international legal scholars have noted over the years, Israel has a *greater* claim on the so-called "disputed territories" than anyone else. Yet on this Israel remains silent. When was the last time Peres, Netanyahu, Barak or Livni referenced San Remo, the League of Nations Mandate, UNSC 242's insistence on secure and recognized borders, or the rights of a victor in a defensive war, not to mention that which the Palestinians themselves have agreed to but not fulfilled?

Rita said...

Do you see any one in the present Israeli leadership who would/could emulate David the Goliath slayer? (what about the former foreign minister?)

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

there are plenty of davids, what they need is a saul to get over his vacillation and give the word

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