It has been a year since the devastating attacks in Madrid killing almost 200 people in a series of well timed explosions hitting train cars, platforms and passengers.

The attack sent a clear message that the Muslim terror groups, and Al Qaeda took responsibility for this attack, are lashing out at the West in a concerted fashion. It seems to me that there is little difference between a Muslim terrorist attacking an Israeli bus because he believes that Jews may not live on “Muslim” land, and a Muslim terrorist destroying buildings full of innocent Americans in New York because the Americans have placed troops on Saudi soil (with the permission of their Saudi hosts), and a suicide bomber driving an exploding car into a disco in Bali filled with Australians and New Zealanders because they are somehow linked to the West, or an attack in Spain because it’s a European Christian nation that was once a Muslim stronghold.

Today, the Spanish mourn their dead, but I believe that it is the same war that Israelis are fighting and that Americans are fighting. Their dead are our dead as well.

Haaretz and Jerusalem Post picked up an article from AP that is worth a read.

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  • … and the rest of the world mourns the Spanish response to the terror attacks.

  • Geoff and Moral Dullard, just because a new government came in with politics that none of us like, we cannot ignore the fact that the attack was part of a war.

  • I never said it wasn’t part of a war, and even the Spanish government might think it’s part of a war, but they sure don’t see it as the same war the Israelis are fighting.

  • T_M, I don’t understand you. You say the Spanish, the Israelis, and the Americans are all fighing the same war and that the Spanish need to “be educated” that it is the same war. I presume by this that you mean they need to grow a backbone and start resisting, or at least undertand that appeasement will not work.

    How can you say this and at the same time advocate headlong Israeli retreat in reponse to palestinian terrorism? As a “plan” to deal with the intifada, you say evacuate Yesha, redivide Jerusalem and allow foreigners to “guard” the holy places, since Israel is tired and the palestinians show no sign of weakening.

    I would say that the total capitulation the Spanish showed in response to a single terrorist attack is pretty much cut from the same cloth as the policy you advocate for Israel: the terrorists blow up some people and the Spanish say “please don’t hit us anymore, we’ll do whatever you want.”

    Isn’t his exactly what you advocate Israel should do? What exactly is your problem with what Spain is doing?

  • Why is that AP article worth reading? Fine, so the Spanish are sad that they got mudered in cold blood. Great, they planted a bunch of trees. Wonderful, they had a ceremony with a cellist playing a dirge.

    Great. Wonderful. Gotta love that Euro-sensitivity and style, to come up with such a non-confrontational and sensitive tribute.


    When somebody knocks your teeth out and steals your lunch money, and all you do is get up, shrug, and maybe blubber a little, you can be pretty sure that so long as you have lunch money to steal and teeth left to be knocked out, you’re going to have to go without lunch and get used to wearing dentures.

  • Ephraim, I don’t see that what Israel would do under the ideas I’ve (and many others) have proposed is capitulation. I think some of these actions are necessary for our own good. Perhaps the other side might consider them capitulation, but that isn’t a concern of mine. We need to retrench so that our ability to fight will be stronger, our demographics don’t work against us, the difficult moral position of soldiers who have to work among a civilian population can be avoided, so that our resources as a country can be better focused, to dissolve and weaken international pressure against Israel, and to force the Palestinians to deal with their own internal mess.

    None of that has anything to do with capitulation or not fighting terrorism aggressively. The Spaniards allowed terror to change the course of an election. Hmmm, didn’t Israel do the same in 1996 with Peres? They did. However, the Spaniards also removed themselves from the Iraq war as a result of the bombing, and are making all sorts of cooing sounds to terror groups now. That is capitulation and very different than Israel.

    Another key difference is understanding that this is a war and is about much more than Iraq.

  • T_M, I’ve explained before that although I do not believe the palestinians have the right to demand anything from Israel, since they, along with the other Arabs, are the aggressors, some kind of territorial compromise will be necessary. What I object to is the extent to which you are willing to retreat and the way in which you advocate doing it.

    In addition, you seem to be unaware of the dynamics of conflict. You say that it doesn’t matter to you whether the palestinians think Israel is capitulating. On the contrary, it matters a very, very great deal indeed. If the palestinians think they have Israel on the run, they will redouble their attacks. As I have asked before, what do you propose to do when that happens? Respond with massive retaliation (at the risk of killing the international trops behind whom the palestinians will be hiding)? Beg the international guards you want to put in Jerusalem to make the bad palestinians stop? What will you do when the Qassems inevitably start landing on Tel Aviv and Beit Shemesh? Ask the UN to intervene? Explain again to the International Court of “Justice” that the security fence is really, really, really necessary?

    If the palestinians are not fully committed to a genuine peaceful solution before an Israeli withdrawal, they will inevitably conclude that Israel is retreating under fire and that they are winning. How do you propose to disabuse them of that notion?

    The UN, and even the US, does not accept that anything beyond the Green Line, eastern Jerusalem in particular, belongs to Israel. Are you willing to go that far and retreat all the way back to the 1949 armistice lines and accept a situation where the Jews have to beg the Arabs to go to the Kotel?

    A simple yes or no will do.

  • It is not a stupid question. It is the question.

    Why don’t you answer it?

  • The UN, and even the US, does not accept that anything beyond the Green Line, eastern Jerusalem in particular, belongs to Israel. Are you willing to go that far and retreat all the way back to the 1949 armistice lines and accept a situation where the Jews have to beg the Arabs to go to the Kotel?

    Can you point to any place where the US or the UN “does not accept that anything beyond the Green Line, eastern Jerusalem in particular, belongs to Israel.”

    The Clinton Plan, which is probably the most advanced proposal ever made by an American administration regarding their view of peace, does not advocate this. So where are you getting this information?

    The UN still abides by UNSCR 242 which explicitly rejects this view. So when did they modify their position?

    So if those two comments hold no truth, then how did we get to “Are you willing to go that far and retreat all the way back to the 1949 armistice lines and accept a situation where the Jews have to beg the Arabs to go to the Kotel?”

    And then you demand a “yes or no” response.

    You want a serious answer, post a serious question. You disagree with my ideas regarding “retreat,” that’s fine, so do others. There are those who agree. I would say the example of peace with Egypt shows that Israel can enjoy quiet on the basis of “retreat.” Maybe we have lousy relations with the Egyptians, but at least we are not on a war footing with them and their interest remains not to engage us in war because it would harm them, not because they’re afraid of us (or do you forget 1973?).

    According to you, I understand little about dynamics of conflict because unlike you I’m not too concerned with the idea that they forced us out. Look at Lebanon. Aside from a handful of attacks on soldiers and one attack on civilians, has that border been a serious problem for us? No, it hasn’t. They would like to keep Israel out of there, so they’ve put deterrent missiles in place. However, they did not “redouble their attacks.” In fact, they now have to exert their efforts in the territories in order to fight us. So I say, close them off there as well. I will be able to exert my energies in building a better Israel.

    So, Egypt and Lebanon/Hezbollah prove you wrong.

    Will we use massive force to fight back? If necessary. I’m not worried about the international force, they’ll get out of the way. Besides, I believe they will serve our objectives just as much as the Palestinians’. In fact, I’d bet that the Palestinians, once they realize they are in their own territory, will choose not to have international forces present. If they attack, they are attacked right back. I thought you wanted to just go after them with full strength. Here’s your chance.

    Finally, you ask about disabusing them of their sense that they have won. I’m not concerned. My reasons for wanting to be out of there are stronger than my fear of what they will think. Talia Sasson’s report indicates that “outposts” have been built on private Palestinian property. Her report indicates massive shadow government financing of the outposts. These are illegal activities – according to Israeli law – and were enacted by Israeli administrations with the collusion of settlement groups and blocs.

    Think about that for a minute. Money that could have gone to the IDF, to education, to infrastructure, to impoverished towns in the Negev, to poor Israelis, etc. instead went – illegally – to support activities that were ruled illegal by the Israeli Supreme Court.

    That’s the mark of a sick society. And it is only one aspect of what our presence in the territories is doing to us.

    The answer to your question is that I will keep about 3% of the West Bank, which will allow me to keep most of the key towns over the Green Line, and over 80% of the settler population. I will control all of West Jerusalem, many sections of East Jerusalem and about half of the Old City. I will find a way to make the Temple Mount become what it already is – a place where the two parties each maintain control and access to their holy site.

    And I will be happy to be rid of this disease that is, like a cancer, eating away at Israeli society.

    By the way, I reject the Geneva Accords and would have rejected the Palestinian response to what Barak offered at Taba. I also have no problem building the fence out into the 10-15% line of the West Bank and negotiating for peace and only moving back to the 3% line after a deal is struck.

  • Dividing Jerusalem is a non-starter for me. Abdicating Israeli sovereignty over holy sites is retarded given that of all the entities that have controlled Jerusalem, Israel’s has been the most open minded, even handed, fair and liberal. I hardly see how some International force is going to help make things better. I’m also kind of swinging to the side of the equation that is critical of unilateral disengagement. The momentum with respect to Gaza is too advanced to stop and Gaza is a shithole anyway, but absent very real and very serious concessions from the Palestinians, when it comes to the West Bank I say fuck ’em.

    And we’re not a sick society. We’re tired. The Palestinians have time and numbers on their side as well as an endless capacity to withstand deprivation – fuelled by hatred. So we’re getting tired, and weak and we’re turning on ourselves, much to the delight of our enemies.

  • No ck, the business about the illegal funding of the settlements is not a sign of fatigue. There are those who are tired, perhaps, but the settlement enterprise is a vigorous and strong one. It takes some serious mischief to be able to manipulate government ministries to violate laws and that is not a sign of fatigue. Quite the contrary.

    We’re turning on ourselves because there have always been diverging elements within Israeli society. However, we are letting faith get in the way of politics; ideology get in the way of pragmatism; and cynical politicians – like Benjamin Netanyahu playing up the Sephardic/Ashkenazy and religious/secular conflicts – dominate the discourse.

    Beyond that, we have also created a society where certain groups shoulder a far greater personal burden to fight the fight and to help the country win its conflicts than other groups.

    These are issues that can be resolved but must be resolved by politicians and religious leaders who are guides and those wielding economic clout. If anything, however, many of those leaders are simply the wrong men in the wrong place. They use the differences to further their own objectives, or those of their core constituency, instead of thinking of the entirety of Israel and its population.

    With respect to your West Bank comment, I have a feeling that Sharon may feel exactly as you do…

  • OK, now we’re getting somehwere.

    The palestinian situation is not analagous to Lebanon. Israel withdrew completely from Lebanon, which has an internationally recognized border; whatever one may think of the land that is now israel, nobody ever thought it was part of Lebaonon. The PLO and the PA, Hamas, etc., see all of Israel as palestinian land, so I do not believe that a pullback will bring peace with the palestinians unless Israel can do something to convince them, prior to withdrawal that this is the end of the line. I am not exactly sure what that is, but if you want your plan to bring peace, as opposed to another breather before the next war (however long or short it may be) that will have to be done.

    Shortening and tightening up the line of defense and removing a divisive issue while maintaining the majority of Jews within the fence is a good strategic move, provided you are not naive enough to think that this will bring peace. everything you suggest has already been rejected by the palestinians, andy anyone who agrees to it will be shot for a traitor. As far as the palestinians are concerned, what you are proposing is a non-starter.

    So, if it is unilateral, there will not be peace, there will be abuildup to the next war.

    I am aware that 242 does not require Israel to withdraw from all of the territoties. However, the Arabs have done a pretty good job of convincing a lot of people that it does.

    In any case, except for your proposal to redivide Jerusalem, which I cannot accept, your plan may provide israel with a breathing space until the next round of fighting. So long as you understand that, a case can be made for it. But as a peace plan, it will never fly unless the palestinians lose their international backing.

  • Ephraim, the world is tired of this conflict. Why do you think that if a solution is forced into place that meets the goal of a Palestinian state, that the world will remain involved? I don’t think they will. Right now they can claim there is an injustice and perhaps breaches of international law. They can claim that Palestinians have no right to their own freedoms and live under the Israelis’ thumb. They won’t be able to think or say that anymore. Do you think the world will bother Israel over 3 or 7 percent of the West Bank? Do you think this conflict will remain on the front burner for them? No way. That is one of the reasons that Arafat, in my opinion, rejected Camp David and launched his war in 2000.

  • I am not asure that you are right that the world is sick enough of this to let Israel hang on to anything beyond the Green Line. I think also that Europe, France in particular, is so afraid of its Muslims that they will continue to pressure Israel down to the last grain of sand if only to try to stave off the impending European Christian-Muslim civil war, which the Christians have an excellent chance of losing this time.

    However, I believe that Hashem will save us both from the palestinians and from ourselves; I’m convinced that the palestinians will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as is their historical wont. I think that is why Arafat launched his war: he knew that if he signed on to Barak’s deal the world would hold him to it and his real goal, the destruction of Israel, would become impossible.

    There will never be a palestinian state because the palestinians don’t really want one. That is why they will keep attacking no matter what Israel does.

  • Ephraim, if you believe your last paragraph, as you do, why do you want to remain among them? What purpose will be served by living and having our military among the Palestinians? Let’s say they will never have a state. Okay, can you keep your military there indefinitely? Can your economy hold up to the pressure from outside which will only become worse? What will you do about the fact that soon enough they will have a larger population than Jews from the ocean to the river?