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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Watching this video of a lynching of the Fatah thug in Gaza (you can go to the link and read -- the disturbing video has to be clicked on to play), I couldn't help but think about all those naive fools like Presbyterian Minister Arthur Suggs. Remember him? He's the guy who sat around having "the best day of his life" talking politics, sipping tea and swallowing up the fantasy stories of evil Israelis dragging Arabs around behind jeeps.

In fact, of course, it was all pure projection. It was, and now is, on tape, Suggs' noble savages tossing people off buildings and dragging them out into the street to literally stomp their heads into jelly. It always was so.

Sixty years ago Palestinian Arabs were under old rules where tribal and clan loyalties governed, not Western-style nationhood. Arab Nationalists like Haj Amin were peddling something (in part) the rest of the Arabs have never seriously bought into, but the wishful-thinking West has swallowed. They never had and have never in all these years built a Western style civil society, and sixty years of non-productivity, unaccountability and life on the dole have made them meaner than ever. This is the bitter fruit. The language of representative democracy and Human Rights is for export only.

Tim Butcher in The Telegraph gets a bit right, here:

...What went wrong was that the outside world for too long fell for Fatah propaganda. Under the charismatic but ruthless leadership of Arafat, Fatah came to dominate the Palestinian political scene.

This domination led inexorably to complacency, most notoriously displayed in the financial corruption of Arafat and his cronies, siphoning off millions from aid grants meant to alleviate Palestinian hardship...

The Arabs have wrought this chaos, the UN and the Suggs' of the world have aided and abetted it. Butcher goes immediately off the rails:

...To head off Hamas's success, the international community - America and the European Union, principally - could have put more pressure on Israel to deliver "goodies" such as easing travel restrictions in the West Bank or ending military operations in Gaza. But its failure meant Hamas was able to tell Palestinian constituents that supporting Fatah gained them no tangible benefits and radical change was required.

Israel's continued military operations against Palestinian militants in the late 1990s, which inevitably led to Palestinian civilian deaths and hardship, played straight into the hands of Hamas which won a comfortable parliamentary majority in the 2006 general election...

Read: Israel should have sacrificed even more of its civilians in a vain attempt to appease a monster ever more bent and organized toward its destruction, not its own good governance. Butcher's is a dangerous nonsense. Since Hamas helped create the misery and has built itself to swim, thrive and propagate in a culture of death and destruction, of course it thrived and prospered. Self defense will always "play into the hands" of those bent on your destruction, especially when your own values tie your hands from destroying them back.

Gazans like "Samara" my be saying...

“I’m afraid to say this out loud, they may execute me for it, but there are a lot of people, including myself, who think it would be better if Israel came back here. Things would be much better than they are now,” said Samara (alias), a graduate of the Islamic University living in the Gaza Strip.

...but it's an Arab problem first and only an Israeli problem once removed. Israel has no particular responsibility to "solve" anything, and neither does the United States. I can only laugh at the predictable commentators in places like the Boston Globe who think that we can't do anything and should get out of Iraq, but that it's all up to us to take more action to effect change in Gaza and the West Bank.

Butcher again:

...The challenge will be to find moderate voices within Hamas with whom Western diplomats can do business.

Hamas is not a jihadist movement such as al-Qa'eda. It is a militant Islamic movement predicated on one thing - winning control of Palestinian land lost to Israel in 1948. The central issue is how much land. Israel insists Hamas will not be happy until it gets "all" the land. Skilful diplomats will seek to persuade Hamas to accept "some".

Diplomats with that kind of skill don't exist. They never have. The Keynesians will just make this worse. They need to work it out and then the rest of us need to treat the result as appropriate to our interests. Israelis should laugh at the idea of boots on the ground to create (not maintain) order. Too late for that, sorry. The first concern of Israelis and Westerners should be in minimizing losses and protecting themselves from this growing beast. I'm all for seeking change in the name of enlightened self-interest (a prosperous, peaceful "Palestine" is good for both Arabs and others), but we're so far from being able to do anything about it that the only thing to do is see it doesn't swallow the rest of us as well.

And stop listening to the voices of people who simply want to kick the can of the consequences of Arab choices down the road another year.

7 Comments

"Naive fools," useful fools, willful and obdurate fools; moral simpletons who imagine themselves to be wise, profound and deeply caring.

I don't think there is any conceivable scenario in which people like Butcher would hold palestinians accountable for their own dreadful behavior.

They are throwing each other off buildings, and somehow it's Israel's fault. Ridiculous.

Butcher's right of course in that the world refused to recognize the murder of Israelis as "terrorism", in fact they gave Arafat a medal even after the depredations in Jordan and Lebanon - nobody should now be surprised that people who've been incited and trained to be violent for decades should now be turning on each other.

What surprises me more though, is the fact that even the so-called intelligentsia can't connect the dots to the 1930's and 1940's, when internecine warfare among Mandate Arabs killed thousands: the so-called Arab Rebellion didn't just victimize Brits and Jews but also moderate and progressive Arabs, many of whom fled or were assassinated.

The Brits amaze me because they were in charge at the time. Do they have selective amnesia? Or what?

Moreover, why hasn't anybody asked why King Abdullah I of Jordan, among others, might have been reluctant to empower a Palestinian state featuring al Husseini as its leader? Surprisingly the BRITS might have been sensitive to this because they recognized the Jordanian annexation of Judea and Samaria - yet - seem strangely silent as to their reasons - though now they lead the band against Israel. Somebody really ought to ask why. From what I've read the BBC is doing its utmost to spin even this bloodthirsty episode in Gaza as Israel's fault.

I think there's another point to this: the world should look at Gaza, then ask themselves what they think would happen should Israel's defenses fail? And why do Israelis want "secure borders"? And why the settlements were originally planned as a first line of defense?

Maybe it will be a little more obvious now?

It should be more obvious; but then it should have been obvious after October 2000 (or even 1993, as Oslo was unfolding, for the truly wise).

So don't count on anything changing....

...Since the only line that gets traction is that the Israelis (and its supporters) are responsible---as this view nourishes the world's analytic propensities, salves its collective conscience and sustains the necessary illusion that the problem can be solved (if only Israel would...).

So one can count on even more animus towards the Jewish state and those who dare to continue to support it.

Keeping in mind that for those of us relatively young'uns (boomers...) who for the lives of us couldn't understand the insanity of the '30s, this will continue to be about as "good" an education as one could ever hope to get....

Sadly, I agree with Barry. The situation "over there" is only going to get worse.

BHG

The question of Israeli responsibility for the Gaza strip is not clearcut either way. From the legal point of view, the territory was a part of Mandatory Palestine. It was then occupied and administered by Egypt from 1948-67, then by Israel until 1993, when it was handed over to the Palestinian Authority. But the Palestinian Authority does not have the status of a state under international law, and that, together with the geographic peculiarities of the strip and its dependence on Israel for many basic services leaves Israel with significant residual responsibilities.

Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin once said "I wish Gaza would sink into the sea". Yet the territory has much potential, sporting fine beaches, fragrant orange and palm tree groves, and many productive farms. Its inhabitants are hard-working and industrious, and given decent leaderhip it could thrive and flourish.

The greenhouse industry alone could have provided millions of dollars of annual income. All the infrastructure was there, it wasn't destroyed by the Israelis when they abandoned it (the greenhourses and related bldgs/material), it only needed Palestinian management. But as with other forms of destruction, within hours of Gaza being handed over to the Palestinians, the destruction of those greenhouses commenced.

A microcosm only though, as the following Terrorism Awareness video strongly testifies:

http://www.terrorismawareness.org/what-really-happened/

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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