The Prime Minister of Israel has not resigned. He has not even offered to resign. He is opposed to any form of serious commission of inquiry regarding this war against Hizbullah. He is also about to be seriously investigated for possibly having received a gift of an apartment at 30% below market value, a $500,000 savings. Listening to his public comments, one would think Israel has gained some achievements diplomatically and while the war had some problems, overall it went well.

The Minister of Defense of Israel, who had no relevant training for his role as Minister of Defense but was appointed by the Prime Minister of Israel due to political considerations, namely keeping the Treasury out of the hands of a Socialist leaning unionist with a Stalinist moustache, also has no intention of resigning. Reluctantly, he has appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the functioning of the IDF, but will not have his own or the Prime Minister’s actions and decisions investigated. Of course, he appointed a crony who is a supporter and who assisted in programming the Minister of Defense’s decisions in this war to head this commission, and then has given it a limited scope of investigation and a very long time frame (six months) to come to its conclusions. Needless to say, the commission will destroy whomever the Minister of Defense feels like destroying but will not likely discover the true nature of the significant errors in this war. Fortunately, the Minister of Defense has no police investigation hanging over his head. This makes him a man who is a saint in Israel’s higher echelons as we shall see.

The Chief of Staff, a man who is known as a brave and exceptional pilot in the exceptional Israeli Air Force, is also not offering to resign and in fact opposes the idea. His first action at the end of the war was to send a memo to the IDF officer class not to speak to the media. His next action was to take the trouble to inform his fellow generals that he has requested their phone records showing all incoming and outgoing phone numbers from Army Intelligence. The Chief of Staff is also busy coming up with new ways of brushing off questions as to why he liquidated his entire stock portfolio a couple of hours after Hizbullah killed several soldiers, kidnapped two and attacked civilian targets in Israel’s North. He is fortunate because the Prime Minister has told the public that he believes this is a non-issue, since, after all, the Chief of Staff is a good person and a worthy leader.

The Minister of Transportation, a man who was the former Minister of Defense and before that the Chief of Staff, and therefore to a large degree responsible for any screw-ups related to this war, somehow had evaded all responsibility because the Prime Minister saw him as a rival and cut him down to size by giving him the Transportation Ministry to head. Little did he know that had he given him the Defense portfolio again, he would be able to shift all the blame over to the Minister of Transportation. However, the Minister of Transportation has not forgotten all those years of being a player and was recently stopped by police, after a very long chase in which his limo was ordered – and promptly ignored those orders – to stop numerous times because of speeding and other driving infractions. Once the police realized who was in the car, they backed off, of course. After all, the Minister of Transportation need not be held to laws that he oversees.

The Minister of Justice has not yet offered to resign. He is about to be indicted for an indecent sexual act. It seems that while soldiers were being killed and others kidnapped by Hizbullah, he was apparently seeking to explore the upper palate of a new female assistant with his tongue. He has spent many days during the course of this war deeply embroiled in the serious and heavy decisions that defined life and death for IDF soldiers figuring out how to deny charges against him and avoid criminal charges.

The former Minister of Justice and current Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee
chairman is now charged by Israel’s AG for apparently having used his previous positions of power to hand out plum jobs and other goodies to cronies and people whose support might be worthwhile. The charges are serious. Although he is giving up his post as chairman of this critical committee, he has not yet resigned from the Knesset and was more than glad to speak publicly about the fine qualities of the Chief of Staff whose stock selling activities should not, according to this former Minister of Justice, be held against him. He did not mention, during the press conference, whether the pending charges against him had any form of impact upon his service as Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee chairman.

The President of Israel is also not resigning. He is currently being investigated for coercing a female underling to have sex with him. After her story became public, several other women have come forth with similar stories regarding his alleged misuse of his powerful position and previous positions in Israeli politics to take liberties that amount to sexual harrassment. He has been seen in a key photo op during this war with the Prime Minister who clearly believes that sexual harrassment or rape rumors are not the same as charges or indictment, and anyway who is to say a President of the Jewish State who uses his ceremonial position as the figurehead of the state to harrass women for sex can’t give clever war-management advice?

As I write, Iran has announced that a huge military exercise is about to be launched by its army; Israeli reservists are returning from the war with stories of confusing orders, lack of fighting supplies, shortage of food and water; the world, Hizbullah and Lebanon are well on the way to breaching the terms of the cease fire dictated by UNSCR 1701; the recently retired head of IDF Intelligence claimed in a public interview that there were no surprises in this war and everything was known in advance by the IDF; the recently retired head of IDF Intelligence claimed in the same public interview that the IDF had no idea that Hizbullah had 802C missiles in its possession such as the one that severely damaged the Israeli warship that was so unconcerned that it didn’t even turn on its multi-million dollar state of the art anti-missile system; it has become clear that Russian supplied anti-tank missiles delivered to Syria with a promise to the world, the US and Israel that they would not be forwarded to Hizbullah, were a significant part of Hizbullah’s arsenal and destroyed numerous Israeli tanks; none of the three kidnapped Israeli soldiers have come home and the terms asked by the Palestinians for Shalit are little different than before any of this mess started.

About the author

themiddle

33 Comments

  • The Hebrew-language press has been doing a fabulous job taking a frank look at the corruption, cronyism, and operational and logistical failures which led to Israel’s lackluster showing in the war.
    Since the cease fire took effect and the nation realized that there were no provisions in it from which Israel stood to gain (including no provision for the return of the kidnapped soldiers), there have been calls for resignations and new elections. It will take a vote of no-confidence to bring about the latter, and most political analysts forcast it for the near future.

  • In light of the last paragraph, perhaps Olmert should remain to insure continuity– besides, the UN resolutions embody his policies. Maybe his feet should remain at the fire to see those policies through.

    Meanwhile, how about the Lebanese Army’s heroic efforts to disarm H? The really critical mistakes could be being made right now, as H regroups apace.

  • The thing that must be done is a pre-emptive nuke of Iran.
    Until this is done, we will have no real peace.

    If this doesn’t do the trick we must unfortunately sever ties w/ muslims. This means they must be deported from relatively civilized countries like the USA and western Europe.
    They should not be allowed on airplanes.
    I realize that there are many many nice and normal muslims, but you cannot distinguish them from the vermin.

  • But…!

    Israel’s actions and this war have REVEALED the presence of Iranian and Russian weapons there, which was being denied.(The Russian ones were known but their importance has been seen now.)

    Making Nasrallah the new Arab hope is great. It’s not a problem. Because when he goes down, there goes the Arab hope. He is just one man. and if Saddam Hussein can be taken, why can’t he?

    The Israeli public was united, and the Israeli Left has taken some big hits, even though they are not completely silenced, but their nonsense has been revealed for the nonsense it is.

    American Jews have gotten involved, and been shaken out of their complacency that Israel is “so last year”. Their Left has also taken big hits from this. The Americans Jews know what Jewish blood is. They have now seen it flowing and that is new for them. Their grandparents – Holocaust survivors all, in one way or another – are not all dead yet, and they are not going to let Israel disappear. The American people, too, know who is giving them a problem worldwide, and it is not the Israelis.

    The Israelis have experienced that they can live through this kind of thing. They are alive and kicking. Yes, they have taken some hits, and have pain and problems, but they have responded well. That will give them strength, after they catch their breath. They lost very few people compared to the number of rockets thrown at them. It seems to take five hundred rockets to kill one Israeli. The religious are going to be cheered by that, and the non religious are going to get more religious. It’s an obvious miracle.

    The lies of the media and the whole media manipulation process is coming brutally to light, entirely because of the war photos, and that is extremely useful. The holiness of the media position is now being questioned as it never had been, and that may be crucial to everything in the future, as public opinion is everything.

    This was has not been a futile or useless experience at all!!!

    IMHO.

    I am not speaking for any organization at all and anybody can use what I say in any way and please do not credit me.

  • Steves Rick, what good exactly would nuking Iran do? (Except give you a hard-on, we already know that)

  • Tom, we can only hope the Lebanese army comes through. The problem is that they are bound by the decisions of the politicians. The politicians have thus far given Hizbullah a green light to keep a low profile but not to remove arms or change their hostile posture. In fact, some Lebanese politicians are proudly calling this a victory over Israel (while, of course, also demanding reparations for damage and assistance with reconstruction). I am pessimistic about this but really hope this is one of those situations where I’m wrong and all the contrarians are wrong and in a few months Hizbullah is weakened enough to lose their role in that society. The buckets of cash they are handing out suggests otherwise.

    About Olmert, I think Israel is in a crisis and it has been precipitated by this government as well as previous governments and members of the IDF leadership. Clearly they are misreading the situation and clearly they have left the IDF unprepared for war. Letting these folks conduct the repairs is to allow more of the same. I don’t live there and this will have to come from Israeli citizens, but this is a problem where new leadership is required.

    Here is an analysis where I agree with a great deal of what the writer says.

  • Thanks for the link. One hopes that Iran doesn’t get nearly this far with its fantasies of eliminating Israel. I’m hopeful that Iran’s intentions are now indubitably clear to everyone– perhaps the US will now succeed in reining it in.

    Meanwhile– if ever there were an example of what makes the French the French, it’s their welching on committing troops to Lebanon.

    The UN will soon face a choice between insisting on its own resolutions, or acquiescing in renewed fighting. Who knows– maybe Israel gets a chance to learn from its errors of the past month.

  • Israel is not ready to learn from its mistakes and as I write it seems all the leading lights are simply figuring out how to take care of their own careers. But there’s no question that your last two paragraphs are on the mark.

  • Middle, you are unbelievably naiive. The Hizzies are planning their next attack. The IDF was outclassed here, it was not just Olmert. Yeah fire the dufus but that is not the only problem. Israel was too damm prissy. I been saying this for years. When will they wake up? When the Arabs have pushed them into the sea? By nuking Iran you reduce the weapons that the Hizzies get, you reduce the threat bec. Iran is the major supporter of all terrorists.
    What a stupid question Finnish.

  • Finnish,

    I admire your optimism, but I’m not sure what could possibly inspire your belief that the ravings of Ricks and those like him have anything to do with an expectation of rational consequences, any more than they do for the followers of Ahmadinejad, Nasrallah, and other Muslim extremists whom they resemble so closely. What I find far more interesting is, with rare exceptions, the almost complete absence of disgust or incredulity among the Jewlicious readership at these expressions of race hatred and calls for mass murder. Of course, if some brainless troll posts some triumphant anti-Semitic slur, Jewlicious readers swarm him like maggots on a shit pile. But rote calls for the extermination or mass deportations of Muslims elicit nothing but silence. Oh well, I’m sure – as I was assured last time I raised the issue – that the Jewlicious regulars are thoroughly repelled by such comments, but have simply given up from sheer exhaustion after years of forcefully denouncing such views in the past.

    In any case, the phenomenon is significant and instructive, though it strikes me as pointless to seek its meaning from the horse’s own ass, so to speak. Specifically, it’s interesting that anyone could seriously posit a distinction between the Islamofascists in the Muslim world, and the combined Jewish movement of rabid nationalists squatting in the West Bank and the theocratic religious fanatics that give their ugly dreams of empire an imprimatur of divine sanctification. Just like their Muslim counterparts, they have nothing but seething contempt for the fundamental values of a democratic society, and are as inveterately opposed to territorial compromise and a two-state solution as the most extremist elements of Hamas and Hexbollah. It’s hardly debatable that the single Muslim country in the Middle East with a tradition of religious tolerance, cultural sophistication, and at least a modest commitment to freedom of conscience is Turkey, a circumstance wholly attributable to the imposition of Ataturk’s uncompromising laicity by at the birth of the Turkish Republic. It’s a lesson Israel disregards at its own peril. As with the religious fanatics’ recent “death curse” against Olmert, it’s all too easy – and tragically short-sighted – to underestimate such antics as the superstitious incantations of murderous savages, rather than an authentic branch of the Jewish religion practiced by millions of Jews all over the world. This is clearly demonstrated by the fanatics’ triumph at successfully inciting the murder of one of the great Jewish patriots of modern history.

    Now that the war has ended, Israel finds itself in about the same strategic position it was immediately prior to the latest incursion by Hezbollah, except for the profoundly elevated station of Nasrallah in the Arab world, and a newly radicalized generation of Muslims implacably opposed to Israel’s continued existence. As was the case before, there remains exactly one meaningful solution to this endlessly futile cycle of violence and retaliation, which is an end to the Occupation and establishment of a Palestinian State. Moreover, this is so notwithstanding the idiotic crowing by the ultra-nationalists that the Hezbollah war has somehow vindicated their imperialist ambitions. The insistence upon a withdrawal from the West Bank was never based on some naïve fantasy that the Occupation is the root cause of Palestinian militancy, or that its end would induce the Palestinians to beat their swords into ploughshares. Indeed, the realistic Left recognizes that a substantial portion of the Palestinian population continues to nourish fantasies of reclaiming of Israel by pushing the Jews into the Sea. Nonetheless, an end to the Occupation is precisely the condition the Palestinians have repeatedly identified as the contingency they’d be willing to accept as the basis of a permanent peace. In other words, Israel has the exclusive power to impose a state of peace in the Middle East, depriving Arab despots of the ability to exploit worldwide sympathy for the Palestinian cause.

    In order to take advantage of this opportunity for peace, Israel must acknowledge that rightwing nationalism and religious fanaticism are a festering malignancy in the body of its political institutions, one that must be thoroughly excised in order to preserve the continued viability of Israeli democracy. That is precisely what Israel did with the odious and racist Kach, and what it must be prepared to do once again with those fanatics who would sacrifice the security interests of Israel for the goal of maintaining a Biblical empire in the West Bank.

  • Um, david, Steves Rick is a new incarnation of Jobber, a visitor we’ve had here for a long time. You shouldn’t make too much out of the fact that some of us don’t respond to or remark about his comments.

    You write:
    Nonetheless, an end to the Occupation is precisely the condition the Palestinians have repeatedly identified as the contingency they’d be willing to accept as the basis of a permanent peace.

    That is untrue. Some Palestinians, not including the ones who currently run the PA after winning an election, have identified an end to the “occupation” of lands beyond the Green Line – that is, 1949 or “pre-’67” lines – as one of a number of contingencies that would provide them with a reason to offer a permanent peace. Among the other contingencies are the “right of return” and control over east Jerusalem along with complete and sole sovereignty over the Temple Mount.

    In other words, Israel has the exclusive power to impose a state of peace in the Middle East, depriving Arab despots of the ability to exploit worldwide sympathy for the Palestinian cause.

    That is quite a naive statement. First, it isn’t the Arab despots who are exploiting sympathy for the Palestinians. It’s the Palestinians and the far Left who are doing it (and very well, I might add). Second, Israel has now been taught by two different situations, one in Lebanon and one in Gaza, that even when it leaves an area so that its inhabitants can govern themselves without any Israelis around, they continue to address Israel as a current enemy, attack it when they can, and refuse to allow any decline in their state of belligerence.

    Third, while you could argue that Israel needs to give back 100% of everything they’ve won with the blood of its sons, in truth there is little justice or morality in returning to aggressors land they lost in wars they began. Thousands of Israeli soldiers have died to win wars defending their country and in these wars were made some significant land gains. Israel has been willing to trade land for peace when it has made sense, but there have been attempts that have failed along the way as well.

    Fourth, it is utter foolishness from the perspective of strategic defensive needs. The Arabs attacked more than once and may attack again, after all. It’s one thing to give Egypt the Sinai when the Sinai itself is a huge buffer between Egyptian forces and Israel, but the Golan Heights overlook key Israeli areas and the Syrians were content to fire at Israeli civilians from up there prior to 1967. They also showed, in 1973, how critical those heights are in terms of buying Israel time to mount a counter-offensive once attacked from there. These are not small matters. What if the Assad or Mubarak regimes are overthrown tomorrow and theocracies take the place with ideas that resemble Iran’s? Will you be there to defend Israel or its civilians? Will you criticize when they fight back but kill civilians because the enemy uses them as shields? In the case of the Palestinians, the problem is worse. We now know what will happen if Israel leaves the West Bank unilaterally. They should expect rocket and missile attacks. If those attacks aren’t forthcoming, they should expect a defensive system that resembles what we’ve just seen in Lebanon. The distances are so small that there will be no safe place left in Israel. I know, I know, somehow if Israel gives everything back then there won’t be wars. Well, they gave everything back in Lebanon and the army that attacked it doesn’t consider it a viable state that is permitted to survive.

    Fifth, there are forces far stronger than Israel in the Middle East. Israel didn’t create Iranian theocracy but has to watch as Iranian theocracy and Saudi theology end up affecting its war and peace.

    That’s not to say that Israel shouldn’t strive to make peace or expect to make concessions in peace. Barak won election on the premise that he would end the wars with the Lebanese and close the peace with the Palestinians. Barak then did negotiate deals that offered a substantial amount of what the Arabs desired. Hell, even some refugees were to be allowed to move to Israel! Olmert was elected on the premise of unilateral withdrawal from 90% of the West Bank less than a year after the Gaza withdrawal and despite the rain of rockets on towns outside of Gaza. These aren’t substantive enough? What is? Leaving Lebanon and having the UN declare the withdrawal meets its standards wasn’t enough? The world actually, as part of its cease fire resolution, was willing to reopen the pretext over the war (Shebaa Farms) thereby rewarding the belligerent side that launched the war despite Israel having cleared all of this up just a few years ago. It’s much more complex with the Palestinians because Jerusalem is in question.

    In order to take advantage of this opportunity for peace, Israel must acknowledge that rightwing nationalism and religious fanaticism are a festering malignancy in the body of its political institutions, one that must be thoroughly excised in order to preserve the continued viability of Israeli democracy. That is precisely what Israel did with the odious and racist Kach, and what it must be prepared to do once again with those fanatics who would sacrifice the security interests of Israel for the goal of maintaining a Biblical empire in the West Bank.

    I write this as someone who wants to see Israel out of the territories. The fanatics are a small part of the Israeli population and electorate. I wrote about Emanuel Morano above, an incredible soldier who was also a kind, and humble individual in his life. He was also an Orthodox Jew whose brother lived in a settlement in Gush Katif and whom he supported last year. He had a wife, three kids and when the time came, put his life on the line in countless missions to defend Israel. There is nothing about this man that suggests fanaticism, racism or anything of the sort. In fact, there is a good chance that he would have participated in the evacuation of his own family had he survived and had Olmert’s plan survived. There is nothing malignant about him or people like him and most settlers are like him. The minority who aren’t and are more extreme do not have the influence you describe. In fact, the settlers gain their power not because of the extremists among them but because centrist parties like Likud and even Labor have assisted them over the years. Having said that, the real fanatics should have no role to play in Israeli government.

  • The notion that Israel can unilaterally bring peace and harmony in the entire Middle East is quite a fantasy. Would that it were true! David Smith is right about the need to end the occupation. The tragedy is the Palestinians will not give Israel recognition and security in return, so there’s no way to get there from here, at least for now.

    Especially with a Shiite-Iranian-led radicalism that’s rapidly gaining velocity: it may make all of us pine soon for the good old days of the Assad regime and the House of Saud.

    At least the Assads could be (largely) deterred. Ahmadinejad is something qualitatively new.

  • Ahmadinejad is something relatively scary and new. Seriously, other than an unlikely change of the Khomeini-style regime, I don’t know what is going to prevent a huge inevitable war. I don’t know whether this will happen soon, but it seems to be a part of the world’s near-term future. Of course, we are so traumatized and divided because of the Iraq War that I’m not sure whether we’ll be ready to tackle this issue before they become much more powerful and dangerous.

  • We’ll see if the UN can perform vis-a-vis Iran, both on the Lebanon and Iran nuclear fronts. Short of highly effective sanctions– a seeming unlikelihood– Bush’s rhetoric puts us on a path toward war. This time, perhaps, without the Brits.

    Seymour Hersh had an interesting piece on Israel, Lebanon, Iran, and Dick Cheney in last week’s New Yorker. Our VP seems quite intent on bringing Ahmadinejad down.

    btw, good to have David Smith contributing. He adds a distinctive point of view, and states it well.

  • “…puts us on a path toward war.”

    You are so right. We could always take a different path. There are too many of us anyway. So what if we lost more than 3,000 people on 9-11-2001. And we have so many airplanes it isn’t so terrible if they take a few down occasionally. Even 10. It only sounds like a lot. But when you consider there must be hundreds and even thousands of them flitting around full of silly people most of whom won’t be missed by more than a few close relatives anyway, really, why do we have to go down the warpath? We should get a little perspective. Darn.

  • Hardly. I think its quite the opposite. I seem to get him all riled up on a regular basis. Other than that though, his “contribution” is nil. He also does not seem to have commented in a few days. Maybe I’ll write a post about another distraught Israeli mother and then he can reply with an offended comment likening her to the mother of a suicide bomber.

  • (Tom M and David S sound very, very, very similar to each other, both in language and tone.)

  • TM and TM:

    Thanks very much. Though I don’t regard myself as all that delicate – indeed, I take a good deal of pride in my designation as a stupid, turgid, self-righteous asshole by their Highnesses, the King and Queen of Jewlicious – it’s nice to know the assessment isn’t universal. I’m particularly gratified by that circumstance given the fact that there seems to be a fair distance between us politically, perhaps to a smaller degree with Middle and a somewhat greater one with Tom. It’s not hard to cultivate the respect of someone who sees his own reflected brilliance in the mirror of your beliefs, but more gratifying to obtain the respect of those who, as often as not, tend to reach different conclusions.

    Middle, you note that withdrawal is not the sole contingency the Palestinians have identified as the basis of a peace agreement, and, further, that the conflict has not only been exploited by Arab despots, but by the anti-Semitic Left and the Palestinians themselves. Quite right on both counts. I wasn’t actually unaware of these facts, but it was a sloppy argument on my part. The right of return, for example, is an especially pernicious bit of absurdity, and a per se repudiation of Zionism itself. Indeed, I’ve always believed the Israelis should thank God the Palestinians were never disciplined or smart enough to have embraced a policy of civil disobedience and non-violent resistance since ’67, peaceably insisting upon the right of return as their only condition for peace.
    For these reasons, you and Tom both suggest that my proposal for withdrawal is fatally idealistic and naïve.

    Here I disagree. While I may, indeed, be wrong, I don’t believe it’s the result of naiveté.
    Specifically, I harbor no illusions that the Occupation is the root cause of the conflict, and recognize that a substantial portion of the Palestinians still nurse fantasies of reclaiming all of Israel. Nonetheless, I stand by the belief that while withdrawal may not be the Palestinians’ only condition for peace, it is the one on which their supporters have rhetorically placed so much of their moral authority (perhaps precisely because they believed it would never be met), that its rejection now becomes hopelessly untenable. Even if ending the Occupation doesn’t eradicate Palestinian anti-Semitism or result in an immediate cessation of terrorist activities, I believe internal and external political pressures will ultimately render continued Palestinian rejectionism unsustainable.

    “[Unilateral withdrawal] is utter foolishness from the perspective of strategic defensive needs.”

    Though we’ve reached different conclusions to date, I frankly suspect this is the most salient area of agreement between us, as we both embrace the assumption that the disposition of the territories should be decided on the basis of strategic security considerations, not the nationalist aspirations of messianic religious fanatics. On reflection, your arguments have persuaded me that there are legitimate and compelling security risks involved with unilateral withdrawal, and that essentially transferring sovereignty to the Palestinians under the present circumstances is unduly hazardous. As importantly, I also think it’s unnecessary. What I think Israel should do, instead, is dismantle the last visible trace of every single settlement and settler in the West Bank, announce that it has no interest whatever in permanent annexation of the territory, and embrace a policy that sovereignty will be transferred only upon the realization of a permanent negotiated peace. Such a policy would obviously satisfy all legitimate security concerns associated with ending the Occupation, while offering even greater strategic incentives for Palestinian cooperation than actual withdrawal. In short, there’s not a damn thing to lose.

    the settlers gain their power not because of the extremists among them but because centrist parties like Likud and even Labor have assisted them over the years. Having said that, the real fanatics should have no role to play in Israeli government.

    This is something I look forward to discussing with you in further detail, because, frankly, I just don’t believe it. First I find it wildly implausible that the incidence of rabid extremists among the settlers is as small as you’ve described, or that the scope of their influence on Israeli national policy is as marginal. After all, they can count among their proud accomplishments inciting the assassination of one of the greatest national heroes in modern Jewish history. Finally, the Likud strikes me as being about as “centrist” as the Republicans, with the truly execrable Netanyahu is as decent and honorable as “Snarling Savage” Cheney.

    while you could argue that Israel needs to give back 100% of everything they’ve won with the blood of its sons, in truth there is little justice or morality in returning to aggressors land they lost in wars they began.

    This is the only statement with which I disagree rather violently, and which sounds – inadvertently, I’m sure – as though it could have come from one of the more extreme of the West Bank’s ultra-nationalist religious fanatics. What Israel “won” with the blood of its sons was not some piece of barren desert in the Gaza Strip, or dominion over an entire population to whom it has no intention of granting political self-determination or civil rights, but the right to fulfillment of the Zionist dream and to exist in peace. Yes, Israel was the victim of aggression in the wars in which it captured the occupied territories, but that doesn’t mean geopolitics is a game of Risk, in which victorious countries get to keep captured territories because they “won” them The reason Israel was able to establish a state of peace with Egypt is that the government completely suppressed the demands for tribute by its stupid, bloodthirsty irredentists. That is a policy the government must continue to ruthlessly enforce.

  • Note that I supported and still support the withdrawal from Gaza, and did support the Olmert/Sharon “convergence” plan. It just seems that this is not a strategy that works for the West Bank/Judea and Samaria because of what we’ve seen in Lebanon and because of the size of the area, its immediate border with Jordan and therefore many other Arab and Muslim states, and the physical proximity to Israel’s key population centers including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

    As to the last paragraph where you strongly disagree with my comment about returning land hard-won in war, the key to my comment is the “100%.” You were speaking about “returning” all the “occupied” territory in order to achieve peace. Some of that land which you would return has strategic value while some has far greater import in its relevance to Israel’s raison d’etre. Having control over the Temple Mount is not a small matter, but it is precisely what is spoken about by those who would have Israel give east Jerusalem to the Palestinians. Heck, I didn’t even oppose the notion of horizontal sovereignty that Clinton and Barak proposed to the Palestinians, but even that was already bordering on the inconceivable. When Israeli soldiers risked their lives and lost their lives to regain east Jerusalem in a war launched by an enemy, it is hard to justify giving up that particular piece of land to anybody. There are some key neighborhoods surrounding Jerusalem that are there to strengthen Israel’s hold over that land. I also reject the notion that they need to be given up. Ultimately, these issues were addressed by Israel at the Taba talks following the Clinton Initiative. The Palestinians would have ended up with 100% of Gaza, 97% of the West Bank/Judea and Samaria. land inside Israel in exchange for the remaining 3%, not to mention $30 billion in reparations, sovereignty over the first-ever country to be called Palestine, etc., etc. The Palestinians did not budge from their demands such as “right of return.” At this point, the equation has changed considerably considering the war the Palestinians launched, the post-disengagement Palestinian elections and attacks on Israel, and the use of the terrain by Hizbullah in a manner that could be emulated in Judea and Samaria.

  • Further to the david smith love fest:

    rabid nationalists – rabid like dogs?

    squatting in the West Bank – in places like Hebron, Gush Etzion, the Kotel, french Hill etc.?

    theocratic religious fanatics with ugly dreams of an empire possessed of nothing but seething contempt for the fundamental values of a democratic society – like those men who, under the orders of their democratically elected leaders, went off to fight and die in defence of the country?

    You, from the comfort of your shaded lawn in North American Suburbia, have the audacity to compare these boys and their families to Hamas and Hizballah? Shame on you david smith and shame on anyone who agrees with you.

    And then you talk of a “newly radicalized generation of Muslims” as if prior to this war, they were well on their way to becoming liberal, cosmopolitan and peace loving, ready to accept the existence of State of Israel.

    As was the case before, there remains exactly one meaningful solution to this endlessly futile cycle of violence and retaliation, which is an end to the Occupation and establishment of a Palestinian State – Oh like the end of the occupation in Gaza has created a fantastic peace dividend!

    Nonetheless, an end to the Occupation is precisely the condition the Palestinians have repeatedly identified as the contingency they’d be willing to accept as the basis of a permanent peace – Yeah, that depends on who the audience is. The Palestinian leadership has also expressly stated that they want nothing less than the complete annihilation of the State of Israel as we know it. Look at their logos, listen to what they say to their children and constituents. If only it were as easy as you say. But what the hell, your life and livelihood are not at stake. I’m glad you’re so comfortable putting the necks of others on the line.

    Israel must acknowledge that right wing nationalism and religious fanaticism are a festering malignancy in the body of its political institutions, one that must be thoroughly excised in order to preserve the continued viability of Israeli democracy – except what do you do about right wing nationalists and religious fundamentalists that were duly elected? What of this democracy you keep talking about? And you call these people a malignancy? You liken them to cancer? Man, I haven’t heard such dehumanizing language since the Nuremberg laws of 1934.

    So yes, you are self-righteous and hateful. Your prose is indeed turgid. You insist that all the Palestinians want is an end to the occupation but then you admit that it’s not true. They also want the right of return. The difference between you and the most right wing settler is simply a matter of one more concession. You say that the occupation is the basis of our critics’ moral authority but then you concede that they have placed so much capital on ending the occupation simply because they don’t think it will happen. You admit that if it does happen, they’ll just find some other made up injustice to crow about.

    What I think Israel should do, instead, is dismantle the last visible trace of every single settlement and settler in the West Bank, announce that it has no interest whatever in permanent annexation of the territory, and embrace a policy that sovereignty will be transferred only upon the realization of a permanent negotiated peace. Such a policy would obviously satisfy all legitimate security concerns associated with ending the Occupation, while offering even greater strategic incentives for Palestinian cooperation than actual withdrawal. In short, there’s not a damn thing to lose.

    Problems with this suggestion? What to do with occupied territory like… the kotel and the rest of east Jerusalem, French Hill, Talpiot, Ramot etc. etc. All the Jews that live there are technically settlers living in settlements.

    The reason Israel was able to establish a state of peace with Egypt is that the government completely suppressed the demands for tribute by its stupid, bloodthirsty irredentists. That is a policy the government must continue to ruthlessly enforce.

    Uh… the reason Israel was able to establish a state of peace with Egypt is that the Egyptians recognized that it was (at least in the foreseeable future) impossible to defeat Israel militarily. And this was occasioned by the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War. You may want to contemplate that. Our government is also a democracy based on civil rights and the force of law. Unllike the Egyptians, we can’t really, as a matter of course, ruthlessly suppress the expression of opinions we disagree with. david smith, please make up your mind already!

  • Middle,

    I’m not sure, but it looks to me as though your last response might have been truncated, as it seems to start rather abruptly. With respect to what was included, I agree with the principles you’ve outlined, but perhaps not as much with their execution.

    the key to my comment is the “100%.” You were speaking about “returning” all the “occupied” territory in order to achieve peace. Some of that land which you would return has strategic value while some has far greater import in its relevance to Israel’s raison d’etre.

    Ultimately, these issues were addressed by Israel at the Taba talks following the Clinton Initiative. The Palestinians would have ended up with 100% of Gaza, 97% of the West Bank/Judea and Samaria, land inside Israel in exchange for the remaining 3%, not to mention $30 billion in reparations, sovereignty over the first-ever country to be called Palestine, etc.

    Fair enough; I don’t believe Israel needs to give back every inch of the captured territories in order to achieve a just peace. As you note, it would seem to contradict the principles of Zionism itself for Israel to be required to relinquish all control over the Temple Mount. Sovereignty should be based upon some variation of the horizontal model you reference as having been offered as part of the Clinton/Barak proposals. Likewise, Israel should insist upon at least maintaining some kind of military presence in the various other narrowly circumscribed locations that are deemed genuinely indispensable to Israel’s long-term security. The point, though, is that whatever parts of the West Bank are to be held back as part of a two-state solution, the decision must be made on the basis of legitimate security considerations, not as a pretext for the nationalists’ ongoing campaign to subvert the possibility of a Palestinian state. Thus, Israel will need to eschew such breathlessly cynical policies such as the current design of the “security wall,” or the prohibition against granting residency to the Palestinian spouses of Israeli Arabs, neither one of which has a damn thing to do with security, but with assuring continued Jewish demographic superiority while perpetuating the Occupation. Similarly, the seemingly innocuous 3% of the West Bank selected for retention must not be chosen – as has been proposed previously – in order to disrupt the geographical contiguity and political viability of a potential Palestinian state, with the intent of keeping it dependent, weak, and impoverished.

    Note that I supported and still support the withdrawal from Gaza, and did support the Olmert/Sharon “convergence” plan. It just seems that this is not a strategy that works for the West Bank.

    I’m not sure exactly what this refers to. If you mean that returning the West Bank is inappropriate in the absence of a permanent negotiated settlement, then, as already indicated, I’d have no objection to holding off on withdrawal until such a settlement is implemented. On the other hand, if you’re suggesting that Israel needs to retain control of the West Bank in perpetuity (beyond those limited exceptions discussed above), then, for the reasons discussed in greater detail below, I believe you’re sounding the death knell for Israel’s long-term survival.

    On a side note, the single most cynical diversion offered by the ultra-nationalists, one repeated ad nauseum in recent weeks, is “Look what happened when Israel withdrew from Gaza,” as though the Palestinians’ lack of gratitude justifies their Torah empire in the West Bank. Bullshit. That fact is completely irrelevant with respect to my position, since my argument is that ending the Occupation will force the Palestinians to accept peace, not cause the scales of anti-Semitism and inhumanity to fall from their eyes. Even for those who believe in the good intentions of the Palestinians, however, the notion that the return of Gaza should have caused them to break down in tears of gratitude is preposterous. Gaza was nothing but an albatross around Israel’s neck, and there’s not a single Israeli – much less any Palestinians – stupid or gullible enough to imagine that dumping it revealed a goddamn thing about Israel’s intentions in the West Bank.

    At this point, the equation has changed considerably considering the war the Palestinians launched, the post-disengagement Palestinian elections and attacks on Israel, and the use of the terrain by Hizbullah in a manner that could be emulated in Judea and Samaria.

    When Israeli soldiers risked their lives and lost their lives to regain east Jerusalem in a war launched by an enemy, it is hard to justify giving up that particular piece of land to anybody.

    Here lies the principal point of conflict in our views. My own view is that, strategically, the situation is precisely the same as it was before. The election of Hamas is meaningless, since Israel would retain control of the West Bank pending implementation of a secure peace treaty. Moreover, the potential for the terrain to be used as a base for guerrilla warfare is hardly new. Finally, while it may be “hard to justify” returning captured territory, that, frankly, is tough shit. The lives of Israel’s soldiers weren’t sacrificed in order to “win” additional territory, and the price of peace is disavowal of the temptation to extract a pound of flesh for one’s losses.

    My own view is that Israel must commit itself to offering exactly the same deal that that earlier emerged from the Clinton Initiative. If that is not the case – if Israel is to demand that it is entitled to some specified premium as a result of “winning” its conflict with the Palestinians –how do we calculate that price; where do we draw the line? What does it mean, as a practical matter, that the equation has changed considerably? Does it mean that Israel should retain dominion over the West Bank indefinitely, denying its vast population the fundamental rights of self-determination and political independence? If so, fine, but that will render Israel the very apartheid state its critics claim it to be, ultimately resulting in its complete diplomatic isolation and ostracism as an international pariah. By way of comparison, just as the far Right has howled with indignation at Israel’s restraint in its current war with Hezbollah, they would have become apoplectic at the decision to spare the lives of the trapped Egyptian army at the close of the Yom Kippur War. After all, these Egyptians weren’t civilians, but professional soldiers who had killed a far greater number of Israelis than the Palestinians have even dreamed about. Just like the Palestinians, they were the aggressors; they had lost territory; and they would undoubtedly return to kill more Israelis if their lives were spared. For those bent on vengeance, it was every bit as “hard to justify” sparing the lives of Egyptian soldiers or returning the territory they’d “won” fair and square. The only problem, of course, is that such a policy would have turned Egypt into an implacable enemy for generations, making peace a virtually impossibility. That is precisely what the ultra-nationalists will have accomplished with the Palestinians. Of course, it’s a mistake to believe they’ll regard that circumstance as an unmitigated failure, since continued hostilities would only enhance their goals of establishing a theocracy in Israel, and ridding the country of the decadent values of secularism and democracy, which they and their fanatic Islamic counterparts disdain with equal intensity.

    And on another note:

    ck, I think Middle’s right, you do seem to be a bit riled. But don’t worry; I’m sure that very soon you’ll be the object of a love fest of your very own.

    So yes, you are self-righteous and hateful.

    Hmmm, I’d have to say that’s rather subjective conclusion, don’t you think? After all, Tom and Middle think my contributions are worth something. And they’re much smarter than you.

    Man, I haven’t heard such dehumanizing language since the Nuremberg laws of 1934.

    Tsk, tsk, tsk; I’m very disappointed ck. That’s skirting awfully close to a Nazi allusion, now isn’t it? Of all people, you should know we don’t do that at Jewlicious!

  • david smith: I never claimed to be smarter than anyone. I just make observations. You don’t need to be a genius in order to call a spade a spade. Skirting close to a Nazi allusion is not the same as making a Nazi allusion. I simply quoted your own hateful words and observed the dehumanizing tone you use. And I hate to say it, but I am not the only one who has made that observation about your smug, self-righteous tone (and yes, turgid language). Allow me to quote your own words “self-righteousness, a quality that, along with hypocrisy, lands at about the top of the list of repellent character traits of which human beings are capable.” I couldn’t agree more, perhaps you might want to take your own advice and modify your tone. You don’t have to of course, we allow all kinds of not nice people to spew venom here, but if those are the sorts of people you’d like to be compared to, well then so be it.

    As far as the right goes, it was Menachem Begin who signed the peace treaty with the Egyptians. There were Kachniks who opposed returning the Sinai of course, but those were just a small minority. And it was Ariel Sharon, no left-winger as far as I know, who unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. Don’t try to lump everyone right of center into a single camp. Those rabid fanatics you talk about in such broad sweeping terms are the same people that answered the call of duty and gave their lives on the orders of a government they didn’t necessarily support. So much for Hamas and Hizballah like rabid fundamentalism.

  • ck:

    Well, that works out beautifully; just as you never claimed to be smarter than anyone – btw, damn good policy – I never claimed to be nicer than anyone. And I don’t give a fuck whom you compare me too, because, frankly, I simply don’t respect you enough to try to convince you to do otherwise. Moreover, my job requires a certain amount of mental agility, and sometimes it’s fun to come home after a long day and take a few shots at a big, fat, greasy lox in a barrel. As far as the consensus about my smug, self-righteous tone, I take the source into consideration. Besides you, the only other individual I’m aware of expressing that view is an obnoxious, foul-mouthed bubblehead with an inexhaustible sense of entitlement, and the talent and intellectual capacity of a schnauzer.

    As I said, I make no claims to be particularly nice. On the other hand, unlike you, I do play by certain rules. I leave abandoned, incontinent widows out of the line of fire. I don’t express my disapproval of people’s political views with sneering contempt for their physical shortcomings. I don’t attempt to exploit people’s sympathy by crying big, fat crocodile tears, or demean myself with statements like, “Awww, c’mon, I was just kidding” when someone recoils in disgust at yet another one of my cheap shots.

    All in all, you’re a fraud. A miserable putz. A petulant windbag, a dishonest hack, and a snide, arrogant bully. In short – and excuse the mixed metaphor – you’re stuffed to the gills with more shit than a Christmas turkey.

    Oh, and given this apparent “turgid” fetish of yours, here’s a bit of my advice: when telling someone you despise them, cut out the unctuous declarations of phony concern, such as “I hate to say it, but . . .,” “you might want to take your own advice,” and “I hope he’s been set straight this time,” as well as the wounded indignation shtick, like “You have the audacity . . .” and “Shame on you.” Trust me, you’ll come across as less condescending, and others will be less inclined to laugh at you and call you a clown.

    So please feel free to keep on telling me when I’m being hateful, and compare me to whomever you like. That way, we’ll have some measure of equivalence, because whenever your hypocrisy becomes too much for me to stomach, I’ll continue telling you to take your advice and shove it up your ass.

  • Heh, o david smith. Really, you show the mental agility of a senile bull in a china shop. I hope your little job does not involve anything in the nuclear waste management field. You’ve lowered yourself to the lowest of the low, even by your own high fallutin’ standards – name calling! Others are free to laugh all they like david smith! Do you know how I leave Nazi comments up? I personally never delete them. Do you know why? Because their own words are the greatest testament to their own stupidity and hatefulness. I leave them up so that all readers can witness the bile that emanates from their mouths. The very best argument against hateful little pricks is to be found in their own inane ramblings.

    Now, not that you’re a Nazi or anything, but you are a hateful little man. We can do very well without anymore of your drivel, but, noblesse oblige, I’m leaving this last comment of yours up.

  • I would just like to add, in my capacity as someone with more talent and intelligence than a schnauzer, another voice to the “david smith is smug and self-righteous” chorus. Smug and self-righteous, and guilty of nearly every crime of which he accuses others. Especially the ones about being snide, arrogant, or a windbag.

    But far be it from me to stop Mr. Smith from saving the Jewish world, one long-winded, pissy blog comment at a time. I’m sure the right-wing extremists are trembling in fear of his mighty verbal prowess over in their petty Torah empire.

    אז לך תזדיין, יא שרמוטה

  • In case david smith thinks that only 3 people think he’s a nasty blowhard, I would also add my voice to the chorus here. I don’t always agree with ck, but our differences of opinion hardly merit the sort of response david smith offers. david smith seems to be the sort of guy who believes that he has the answer to everything. Anyone who agrees with him is correct and anyone who doesn’t is contemptible. I really do hope this is his last comment. Jewlicious does not need him around.

  • Okay, well, good! Now that everybody has got whatever they needed out of their system, is it possible to continue with the debates without the personal comments? Let’s assume you’re all both brilliant and idiots in your own special ways and you all have quirks of habit and individual views that ensure that you will not be each other’s spouses or “special” friends in this lifetime. Is it okay then, now that we have cleared all of this up to just stick to the FUCKING TOPIC?

    Thanks!
    The non-managerial part of the Management

  • What about the topic? Israel’s not perfect? That’s spectacular news! Far more interesting is this whole david smith affair. Don’t the kids have a word for people like that? No, not “bitch ass punk” but rather “troll.” Aren’t we also often urged not to “feed” the trolls? I know this comment may be seen as doing just that. I suppose I’m just not hip. You’ll have to forgive me The Middle.

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