Israel lost 3 soldiers, had a few wounded, lost 8 civilians to a terror attack with an equal number injured severely enough to need hospitalization. Palestinian rockets now reach Ashkelon regularly, not just Sderot and the Western Negev. The rockets falling on Sderot and Ashkelon also have improved accuracy significantly and continue to land on people, homes, hospitals, day care centers and factories.

There are no simple solutions to the terrorism Israeli civilians face, but it feels as if with Ashkelon – a real city of some size and with some facilities of strategic value – in real rocket range, the situation is going to change soon. Hamas’ rocket strategy was to prevent the Israelis from dropping out of Gaza entirely. The idea was to keep the Israelis involved and “responsible” with respect to this territory. Hamas appears to be on the verge of getting their wish, although I don’t believe there will be a big incursion of significant duration.

None of this matters to the families on both sides who have lost their family members this week. Innocent civilians were killed on both sides, even if how they were killed differs greatly. For those shaking their heads and equating the manner in which the innocent civilians were killed, a little reminder: Israel targets terrorists and fighters and the Palestinians almost always target civilians and civilian teenagers.

Regardless, the loss for both sides is great and greatly saddening. One can only wish that the Palestinians would finally get a leader who truly seeks peace and has the authority to actually negotiate a treaty. It seems to me the Israelis are ready to deal.

Rina Castelnuevo, photographing for the NY Times, as always captures the moment in a special way. Look at the grief and quiet rage on the faces of those who attend the funeral for the boys and young men who were murdered yesterday while they were studying in a library of a school. There’s a hollowness, a frustration and deep, deep rage – perhaps what the terrorists were trying to achieve.

Funeral.jpg

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Shabbat shalom.

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About the author

themiddle

86 Comments

  • Just curious…why did Israel take Gaza in first place? And why didn’t they dump it on Egypt when we gave the Sinai back to Egypt?

  • They couldn’t get to the Sinai without going through Gaza. Don’t forget it was under Egyptian occupation.

    The second part of the question is a guess by me. I think by 1977 when Sadat went to Camp David, it was Egyptian policy to “support” the Palestinians because a. it meant they didn’t have to take care of these people, and b. because it meant pressure on Israel to have to contend with this national movement that wanted and needed its own state. The Israeli gov’t at that point was Likud with Begin at its head and he may have had ideological reasons to support the settlements that were already there. Again, this is just a guess by me.

  • Egypt refused to take Gaza off Israel’s hands – they had already seen the PLO attempt a coup in Jordan (google “black september”) and were not at all interested in having to absorb/control their Palestinian brethren.

    Smart fellow, that Sadat.

  • Regardless, the loss for both sides is great and greatly saddening. One can only wish that the Palestinians would finally get a leader who truly seeks peace and has the authority to actually negotiate a treaty. It seems to me the Israelis are ready to deal.

    Sadly, even after This … rough week, you still fantasize about peace with Arabs who lust after Jewish blood and simply cannot stop, no matter what you might think. There’s no reason for any new Palestinian leader because the Israelis are ready to commit national suicide and are making every effort to give away land even without peace.

    One can only wish that the number of Palestinians emmigrating to overseas countries will continue to increase. If the world loves them so much, then they can live next to them.

  • Well, here at least is an alternative to the peace process: waiting around for Palestinians to emigrate.

  • That’s easy, Middle: you.

    I would not be at all surprised by a military coup in Israel at some point. A government cannot last if it just sits around and lets it citizens be murdered. It’s disgusting that Israel waited to do anything until a “real” missile hit a “real” city. S’derot has been under bombardment for months and has been rendered almost uninhabitable. But one Grad lands next to Avi Dichter’s house and he goes apeshit. Shameful.

    Israel only committed a brigade to the Gaza operation. They killed 120 Arabs, most of them terrorists. Why was it not 1,200? Or 12,000? Hamas says that they have thousands of armed fighters ready and rarin’ to go. Why does not Israel take them on? Why did they stop? Until Israel puts the fear of G-d back into them (or the fear of the IDF, at any rate), the Arabs will continue to attack with impunity.

    Egypt doesn’t want Gaza for the same reason that none of the Arabs let any of the “refugees” out of their “camps”. They need a population of brutalized, violent savages who have been taught since they were kids that the Jews are the cause of their problems. to continue the war against Israel by proxy. They create the “refugee problem” and then refuse to solve it. If they let the “refugees” live like normal people, there will be no one to fight Israel, and no reason for anyone to care about “the Mideast problem”, no one they can threaten with the “oil weapon” because of the “Palestinian refugees”. The problem will solve itself. And none of the Arabs, repeat, none, really want to see a “Palestinian” state. It will destabilize everything as all of the Arab countries (and Iran) vie to control it. We see this now In Gaza, which is nothing but an outpost for Iran. Same thing in Lebanon.

    They also know that they cannot let these people into their countries without risking violent subversion such as Black September as someone mentioned above. Israel could do worse than to learn from the Jordanians about what to do about a terrorist insurrection: kill the terrorists mercilessly until they are all dead. Fatah tried to take over Jordan, Hussein killed them. End of problem.

  • Its a sick situation….

    Israel seems the only party in this mess that doesn’t resort to the ill practice of genocide….

    Check all references to the various historic and factual instances as mentioned previously.
    Black septemeber, Iran – Iraq war, Syrian genocide of Palistenians, Iraq genocide of Kurds after Gulf
    War, many others etc.

    To deal with this genocidal and suical tendancy properly would require more then just a military solution. We need an army of psycholigists, Doctors, and deprogramers of various sorts and
    educators.

    The enemy is more sick then anything else.

    Sick shebe sick.

    They live, TEACH, perpetuate illness and most of the world cant seem to do anything about that.

    I emphasize TEACH, they TEACH HATE….

    They need to be taught otherwise. Actively not passively taught..

    It is Israel’s Job to, no one else could do it.

    We cant just hide behind our little borders, walls, territory and political aggreements….

  • I agree with Ephraim, to this extent: (a) military action aimed a deterrence seems a failure, because Hamas in particular resists deterrence; and (b) any use of force had better work.

    The upshot of the Lebanon war and the Gaza rockets is a great diminution in the prestige of the IDF and the Israeli political elite. Olmert’s coalition favors halfway measures, in which civilians get killed and the underlying problem isn’t resolved. This is really the worst of both worlds– moral ambiguity without the payoff. Or, moral ambiguity because there is no payoff.

    Give Hamas (or Hezbollah) credit for this: it’s come up with a way to damage Israeli society significantly (without accomplishing a damn thing for the Palestinian people). When Israelis outraged at this latest terror attack flooded the streets to denounce Olmert, it perversely underlined Hamas’s success. Whether any truly strategic gain follows, remains to be seen. For now, Hamas has helped ruin Olmert’s credibility and deny a normal life to an increasing swath of the Israeli population.

    Perhaps more aggressive military action will work. But I think the proponents of such action should be prepared for a plan B. If the IDF takes its best shot– maxes out on the use of force– and that doesn’t work, then that conclusion will have to be faced and alternative strategies, even repellent ones, will have to be considered.

  • I think Israel pulled out after killing the 120 Palestinians, most of whom were terrorists and militants, because they felt they had sent a message and paid with “only” two dead soldiers. The next stage would have caused many more deaths and this government still carries the memory and guilt of Lebanon II.

    Israel has been very effective in maintaining a distance from Gaza and not getting pulled back into “occupation.” To remind everyone, even when there were Israeli soldiers and settlers 365/24/7 in Gaza, rockets were successfully launched at Sderot. The assumption that Israel can just go in there willy nilly and shoot up Palestinians until “they understand” is naive at best and immoral at worst. It also will lead to war crimes tribunals which aside from putting good people in prison, will also erode Israel’s standing immensely.

    In other words, the current path is the correct one. Kill Hamas slowly. Kill every Hamas and sub-groups member if you can’t catch them. Slow supplies significantly and get out of the electricity and water provision business. If you send in the army, keep them there a short time and get out unless you want the swamp that is Gaza back on your hands.

    As for Hamas and Hizbullah damaging Israel, so what? We know they’ve grown smarter, but Israel remains a strong democracy despite Ephraim’s suggestion of a coup d’etat. Israel has always been a state under threat. It is small in size, surrounded by enemies, has limited resources and relies on a relatively small population base to support its tax base and military. It has always faced these challenges and will always face them. There are no simple or easy solutions and in fact the solutions are so complex – if they even exist – that all they can do is continue to plod along fixing patches.

    There is one other possibility and that is to negotiate a peace deal. This is no less complex and may turn on Israel, as we’ve pointed out on this site over and over, but it opens the door to minimizing the danger to Israel and for some years of relative peace. Egypt may be a strategic enemy of Israel but these decades of peace have been important and useful for Israel.

    Killing lots of Palestinian civilians as part of any offensive won’t stop anything and only weakens Israel.

  • Nice analysis. I’m curious, however– what’s the evidence that the current policy is weakening Hamas? And what is the final goal? To make Palestinians permanently foreswear terror? How do we know the current policy’s succeeding? What will the future look like?

    From my great distance, it looks like Iranian involvement is deepening (e.g., Hamas’s use of Iranian rocketry) and there seem few, if any, signs of Hamas’ pulling back, militarily or politically.

  • I think the evidence is the increased willingness to negotiate a “truce.”

    But I don’t think we’re there yet. I think Hamas will have to suffer some more severe losses, and some leaders, before they are willing to lower their ridiculous bar to talks.

    What is the permanent goal? A peace deal where the Palestinians agree to be demilitarized and remain that way over time.

    The future looks like a lot of war and blood. I think Hamas is succeeding in one area and that is in torpedoing any peace talks between Abbas and Israel. In other words, even the pretense of movement toward peace can’t be managed thanks to the Hamas attacks and recent Israeli responses.

    Iran’s involvement is deepening and the Iranians are smart and capable. This strengthens Hamas in the short run. In the long run, however, they live far away from Iran and close to Israel…and losing your fellow fighters and leaders on an ongoing basis does make everybody think about their own mortality a lot more carefully.

  • “As for Hamas and Hizbullah damaging Israel, so what?”

    What kind of statement is that?

    How many Korbonot can we give?

    I find it course and mean spirted.

    These rather low tech cheap ass rockets are hitting to hit lev Yisroel….
    This amorphous enemy can strike us anywhere anytime and we
    can do little to stop them. We certainly are failing to do so.
    I disagree with youre analysis. We can’t go on like this. Whether the situation is complicated or not. Granted the situation is a reeking mess and the history like you said before extremely convoluted but that is no excuse to think we can just continue on like we have.
    I do agree with you there are no simple solutions and just military isn’t going to get us very far. The situation is escalating and is out of our control and very little of what we have done so far is working.

  • Fact: Palestinian emmigration is happenning.
    Fact: no reason to wait for it, it can be encouraged.

    It only takes a hypocritical fool to promote the forced removal of Jews from their homes in Gush Katif but ridicule subsidized emmigration of Arabs to anywhere else. I can only suggest you contact virtually any emmigration lawyer dealing with visa from ‘Israel’ and they’ll tell you about the brisk business the Arabs are providing. I contacted one, and he told me that the going rate of several thousand dollars is a bit prohibitive to many, but if someone could subsidize this work (yes, make the lawyers richer too), then many more would leave.

    I agree with every left-winger, there’s no reason to just send our boys into Gaza just to kill some Yishmaelim, only to retreat, or reduce the rocket launching, or God forbid, eradicate Hamas so that Fatah could take over. I agree with every left-winger that there is no single military solution. The only way we are going to win is if we first and finally accept the truth and stop deluding ourselves: there is no partner, the Arabs do not want to live next to us, and that we can stop this nightmare of national suicide now. Without that ‘paradigm shift’, there is no reason to go back into Gaza and there is no reason to keep anyone living in Sderot or Ashkelon either.

    Israel remains a strong democracy Ha. middle, what is the colour of the sky in the world you live in? Israeli democarcy is crumbling. Less people have faith in the politicians, the court system (today decided to pass on a chance to bar Ramon the pedophile from being a minister), and the media which lies to the people. What else is left of democracy without those three pillars?

    Killing lots of PA civilians does not weaken Israel, it is merely a waste of ammo. Don’t get me wrong, killing unarmed people is wrong, but every Arab carrying a weapon is a target, and every Arab playing human shied is a target.

    And keep talking big about the stupid ‘Israel always lives with risks’ BS. It’s my life you’re talking about and that of my kids, my neighbours, my fellow workers at the office, the bus drivers, and our friends.

    Negotiate?! Come on middle. How long have I been with you guys on Jewlicious? Must be almost 5 years or more. Do you know how many Jews have been killed during that time due to the negotiating? How many?! And what exactly are we supposed to negotiate? Our surrender of territory for promises? Get real already.

  • Fact: maybe Palestinian emigration is happening but Palestinian baby-making is definitely happening.

    Fact: it can be encouraged in legal and ethical ways and in illegal or unethical ways.

    Josh, I didn’t see anywhere where I told you not to encourage Palestinian emigration. As long as you do it legally and ethically, please do so all day long every day. It’s your right.

    Your “I agree with every left-winger” paragraph is a little too obscure for me. I don’t think you can eradicate Hamas anyway, but the part I don’t understand is what you expect will happen with your “paradigm shift.” Okay, so everybody understands there’s nobody to talk to on the Palestinian side. Now what? Please spell it out.

    As for the rest of your angry comment: Israel IS a vibrant and strong democracy – you can vote for a different government if you dislike what’s going on; every Arab is not a target and you shouldn’t ascribe to them rules you wouldn’t ascribe to Israelis; and it’s not my fault the risks exist for Israel and continue to exist, I’m just the messenger. Israel has lived through wars, wars of attrition, decades of terror attacks, countless threats from Arab and Muslim countries and their leaders but continues to function as a state and grows bigger and stronger all the time. The fact is the threats remain and even your finest military excursions and plans won’t make them disappear, that’s a fantasy.

    Finally with respect to negotiations, if you want to live in peace, you will have to negotiate. Few Israelis have been killed because of negotiations, although there is a school of thought among Israel’s right (especially settlers) that would like to claim that negotiations brought about terror. There was terror and war before Oslo, during Oslo and after Oslo. The first intifadah came several years before the Oslo talks. Terror attacks were around 60 years ago, 40 years ago and 20 years ago. It’s not the negotiations, it’s the growth of Palestinians nationalistic self-awareness in combination with the growth of the Islamicization of parts of the Muslim world. These are trends that have nothing to do with negotiations. If anything, successful negotiations might put a stop to some of the attacks and bring respite from some corners.

    It’s one thing to be prudent and it’s another to be Quixotic to the point of stupidity. This applies to both the right and the left. If you think you’re going to push out or get to emigrate about 2-3 million Arabs, you’re dreaming. Even the wildest war won’t bring about that outcome. If the left wants to blame Israel and ignore the enmity of the Palestinians who are supposed to be sitting across the negotiating table, they are merely hastening the next step in the Palestinian war against Israel.

    However, you can be prudent in approaching the negotiations. You can, for example, demand that no arms or money for arms be given to the Palestinians until the negotiations are concluded, even if Hamas is breathing down Fatah’s neck. You can refuse to negotiate as long as the West keeps filling the Palestinian coffers without them having to conclude any agreements. You can be absolute in your demands that Palestinian anti-Israel propaganda come to a halt during the negotiations period and any agreement stress this has to continue after the peace. You can refuse to negotiate until the historical and religious links of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel are confirmed. These are prudent demands and if the other side were to meet them, then you would have real negotiations. Of course, they will also be prudent and demand that Israel stop all construction in the West Bank during the negotiations…and the Israelis would agree. Prudency and real negotiations work both ways.

    If, however, you simply want to hold on to Judea and Samaria without annexing them and the Arabs within them, then nothing I say will make you less angry or more apt to approach the Palestinians with a mind-set to settle this conflict. That’s where you and I have a serious difference of opinion.

  • Hamas, which runs Gaza, is in a state of war with Israel. The Gazans elected Hamas. Therefore, Gaza is at war with Israel. Going in and “shooting them up” is not in the least immoral. It is what happens in a war.

    “War crimes tribunals”? What are you talking about? Why do you automatically assume that Israel would be guilty of “war crimes” in the process of defending itself? In a war you kill the enemy. That is not a war crime. It is just war.

    And who would run these “war crimes tribunals”, Middle? The UN? No one in Israel will put any Israeli soldier on trial for the exercise of his duties so long as he doesn’t kill unarmed people in cold blood. The death of any civilians or human shields will not be the fault of Israel, it will be the fault of Hamas. Just look it up in the Geneva Conventions. And I don’t give a flying fuck what the EU or the UN says about the matter.

    I do not advocate re-occupation. I advocate doing exactly what you say, Middle: get out of the water and power business, kill Hamas, do not reoccupy. Send in the army, kill as large a number of terrorists as possible, get out. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    There is one difference between us, however: you advocate killing them slowly, I advocate killing them as quickly as possible and in in as big bunches as possible. 120 is not a bad start, but they need to kill at least that many every week or so. In a couple of months there will be almost 1,000 dead terrorists. Hamas says it has about 1,750 fighters ready to fight. If Israel can find a way to corner them and engage them in a real battle, they could finish off most of them fairly quickly. I will be sorry for any dead Gazan civilians. But I will not shed any tears for them.

    Finally, I just cannot believe that you seem to still believe, in spite of all of the evidence, that Abbas is either willing or able to make peace. What on earth is the matter with you?

  • There’s nothing the matter with me. It is incumbent upon every Israeli gov’t to attempt to find peace. Arafat is gone and his successor is Abbas. Abbas may be weak, may not be interested in a deal, or may not be able to deliver on a deal. Fine. At the very least, though, and out of a sense of moral responsibility to Israelis and to Palestinians who currently live under Israeli rule, any and all Israeli governments should be willing to discuss peace. The terms and the outcome are part of the negotiations, and I would demand that Israel stick to prudent requirements before any talks, as I listed in comment 16. However, they should try to have talks.

    You might want to consider that there’s something wrong with the view that you shouldn’t have talks at all. As Tom Morrissey has pointed out to me last time I wrote that Abbas should be ignored as long as he calls for potential future attacks on Israel, Israel shouldn’t let others dictate what it does and realpolitik does not always reflect the public statements of the leaders. I don’t fully agree with Tom, but he makes a good point: why let others dictate how we act? And by corollary, why let the terrorists win by playing into their hands. The point of the attack on Mercaz Harav was to inflame, incite and destroy a chance for peace. And you can see that this is precisely what is happening. I’d rather give Abbas diplomatic victories if there’s a chance for peace than to let a murdering terrorist dictate the outcome of potential talks. That’s part of what you are advocating.

  • The reason talks are a problem now is because it leads people to believe, falsely, that Israel is not in a war and that there actually is something called a “peace process”. There is nothing of the sort (there is a “piece process”, but that’s a different thing). Israel is in a war, and it needs to start acting like it. Facing the truth that Israel is in a war with a deadly enemy (and that includes Fatah) does not mean that Israel is allowing the enemy to dictate how Israel acts; indeed it is quite the opposite. It means breaking out of the Arab trap that Israel has walked into. It is the false promise of “peace” that Abbas dangles in front of Israel that gets Israel to act as the Arabs want it to act. After all, in the pursuit of “peace”, has not Israel retreated, retreated, and retreated only to be met by bombs, bombs, and more bombs? Yet Israel stays her hand out of some misguided idea that “peace” is possible with someone like Abbas and that fighting back too hard in the face of wanton murder will somehow ruin the chances for peace. So the Arabs bomb, murder, and kidnap, betting that the Jewish hope for peace will protect them from Israel’s full wrath. So far, this has been a good bet. If this is not the definition of a “freyer”, I don’t know what is.

    And what happens when Israel fights Hamas? Abbas threatens to break off “peace” talks out of solidarity with an organization that ran him and his cronies out of Gaza like the rats they are, with their tails between their legs. Aren’t Hamas and Fatah supposed to be enemies?. Yet it is obvious that at bottom they are in cahoots. Everything Abbas does tells anybody who has eyes to see what he is really up to. You’re being played for a fool, Middle. It is obvious that when push comes to shove Abbas will throw in his lot with Hamas when the time comes. (If they don’t get him first. That’s the real danger of concluding any kind of an agreement with a walking dead man like Abbas: when Hamas is strong enough, they will roll Fatah in Yehuda and Shomron they way they did in Gaza.) Fatah and Hamas may be at each others throats, but at bottom, they want the same thing: the destruction of Israel. There is no real difference between the two. Hamas just has its act together better, that’s all. And even if the two organizations actually are really enemies? It really doesn’t matter since it has nothing to do with their position vis-a-vis Israel: they are just two criminal gangs fighting over who gets to control all the money the world is throwing at them.

    If Israel wants to regain the upper hand, it must first break out of the pattern that the Arabs expect: a little pushback when the Arabs get too brazen, but no end to the gradual erosion of Israeli will and morale (note to Hamas: if you want Olmert to stop bothering you, confine yourself to S’derot and leave Ashkleon out of it. It’s obvious Olmert doesn’t give a damn about a place like Sderot). This must cease. Israel needs to reassert itself and get the Arabs to be afraid if them again. It is time to make Abbas and Hamas beg for peace, not Israel.

  • Ah. there’s the Muddle I remember – you were starting to make sense there for a while, I wondered what happened to you:

    It is incumbent upon every Israeli gov’t to attempt to find peace.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Nope – it is incumbent upon every Israeli gov’t to defend Isreal’s citizenry and assert its sovereignty when challenged. Israel sought peace because it was the preferred way – for moral and other reasons – to secure Israel and cement her sovereignty.

    We are instructed to first seek peace, but if that peace offer is rebuffed, then we are morally free – even obligated – to defend ourselves vigorously.

    That includes taking previous offers off the table – permanently if necessary – and terminating “peace processes” that have yielded no quid pro quo for significant Israeli concessions, and only encouraged enemies who entered into them in bad faith.

    None of these processes are sacred, or irreversible. No agreement broken repeatedly by the Palis still obligates the Israelis. We are under no obligation to keep waiting around for them to get tired of trying to kill us.

    We are now in that post-peace phase.

  • Nope. It is incumbent upon every Israeli government to attempt to find peace because there is no better guarantee of “cementing Israel’s sovereignty” or of defending the state. If peace can’t happen, then you go to Plan B which is the vigorous defense. However, Plan A is always the superior plan and need to be tested and discussed and plied all the time by any and all Israeli governments.

    Ephraim, I don’t see that much in that article that differs from what I’ve said. If your quibble is the strength of Abbas and his ability to deliver, that’s okay because I can’t prove that he has what it takes either. Talking to him is better than ignoring him, however. If you’ll note, the number of Fatah attacks on Israel has dropped precipitously from the old number and in comparison with Hamas and its subcontractors.

  • Plan A has been tried, tried, and tried again, Muddle. It is way, way past time for Plan B.

    At the same time, there is no contradiction between giving the terrorists no quarter and letting them know that when they lay down their weapons Israel will be ready to talk.

    Talking to them before they lay down their weapons is nothing more or less than begging.

  • Froylein, don’t worry about it. Ben David’s immaturity is irrelevant to the topic. More important is that his comment was pretty muddled itself. At the least it wasn’t straightforward about what he wants.

    Ephraim, Plan A has been tried at Camp David II and Taba, but we don’t really have another experience of this nature with the Palestinians and it’s been 7 years since then and many things have changed. It’s definitely time to try again and I’m not even bringing into this the ongoing pressure from Israel’s important patron, the US.

    As for “begging” by talking to people who are attacking, I agree that it can be foolish even if it isn’t “begging” and emotions are not supposed to dictate how you act with complex issues such as this. However, Fatah and PA attacks have diminished greatly and if you stop all talks every time somebody with an agenda to destroy the talks decides to attack Israelis, you’ll never get anywhere.

  • Actually talking to Abbas is pointless. He has no power to deliver anything, even if he wanted to, which he doesn’t. He’s just like Arafat or anyone else in his position, and he knows it: any real peace with Israel and he’s a dead man.

    However, If the Israelis want to do what the Arabs have done so far, which is to lie through their teeth and give up nothing while pretending to make concessions, all the while sticking to their strategic goal, then fine. Otherwise, it’s a sucker’s errand. Maintaining the pretense of negotiations is OK; actually making any concessions to Abbas on anything at all must be avoided.

    Anything and everything agreed to with the PA up to now should be taken off the table and everything should start over. The first thing the Israelis must do is insist that the PA stick to their original agreements: no incitement and a dismantling of the terrorist infrastructure. It is the Israeli failure to absolutely insist on this that has led to the present sorry mess.

    You talk as though Fatah attacks are down because they want them to be down. That’s nonsense. Attacks are down because of the separation barrier, checkpoints, patrols, drones, etc., and because, as Abbas admitted just recently, that fighting Israel now would be pointless now because the PA is too weak to win. Not because killing Jews is, you know, like, a bad thing, but because we wouldn’t be successful.

    That is, Abbas is afraid to attack not because he wants peace, but because he knows that he would get his ass handed to him. THAT is the way to make peace with the Arabs.

  • Ephraim, you’re being tiresome. Fine, don’t negotiate, try to do what Israel hasn’t been able to do for many years, declare that the Palestinian leader has no power and let me know in a couple of decades when you have a Jewish dictatorship (which I won’t support, by the way, and will encourage others not to support) ostracized as an apartheid state because the rest of the world didn’t read your demographic stats but did read the PA’s demographic stats and believes that a Jewish minority is holding back the rights of a Muslim, Arab majority. Kinda like in South Africa.

    Good luck with that.

  • I’m being tiresome? What is wrong with insisting that the Arabs uphold the terms of the agreements into which they have already entered and refuse to make any more concessions until they prove that they can keep a bargain?

    I’d love to go into business with you, Middle. Let’s do this: we’ll agree on a contract under the terms of which you will pay me a million dollars. In return, I will promise not to break all of the windows in your house. After you pay me the money, I will continue to break all of the windows in your house while you beg me to stop.

    Deal?

  • Middle –
    In most cases, nobody makes peace until they are soundly trounced. Until defeat is obvious even to the most deluded nationalist fanatic – indeed, until the citizenry turns upon their fanatical leadership (as they did in Northern Ireland). Until it’s crystal clear that attack will bring nothing positive, only pain – that one side is willing to impose the peace of the grave.

    By the schoolyard rules of geopolitics, weakness invites bullying and extortion – and Israel has spent the last 2 decades saying “here, take my lunch money – just please don’t hurt me.”

    It’s time for Israel to rebuild its deterrent threat, which is in tatters. It’s time for Israel to re-establish street cred.

    Running after your attackers and trying to make peace with them does not cement sovereignty – it erodes it: that is why this week’s terror attack was done by an Israeli Arab, and the family brazenly hung up Hamas flags in their Jerusalem neighborhood – because they no longer respect (or fear) Israeli sovereignty, and Arabs who used to see Israeli citizenship as a ticket to something better now think it’s a losing proposition.

    You admit that “Plan A” has already been tried twice recently – there was another time it was tried: the original partition in 1947. How many times does it have to be attempted?

    You claim that “things have changed” – what has changed? If anything a clear pattern of Arab behavior has emerged over the past SIXTY years of terrorist rejectionism – Ariel Sharon made his name in the 50s by mounting raids against the “Fedayeen” who used the same tactics as modern-day terrorists, and from the same Samarian hills.

    And there was a reason that the 1967 war was fought – remember? Same Arab terrorism.

    This is not a game. Israel is not obligated to constantly give back the pieces and let her mortal opponents try to attack her again.

    Saying Israel should talk about peace now is like convincing a battered woman to go back to her husband. They really love us, they’re just REALLY ANGRY – they don’t really mean to hurt us.

    Yeah, right.

  • TM, what you omit in hamas’ strategy w/the missiles is that the West Bank and Gaza are a single political unit according to Oslo. check out Akiva Eldar on that:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/962385.html

    “Nobody asks himself what would happen if a foreign conqueror were to withdraw, say, from the North of the country, leaving the other parts of Palestine-Eretz Yisrael, including Jerusalem and the Western Wall, under occupation. Would the Jewish community in Tel Aviv give the occupier a moment’s peace, or would it turn Haifa into a base for continuing the struggle for the liberation of the rest of the country? “

  • No, it’s not a game. And time is working against Israel in some key ,namely population growth and an internal Arab population that is feeling not only angry, but powerful and empowered.

    This isn’t news. Sharon created Kadima because he recognized that things were changing and active steps needed to be taken. He realized the barrier needed to be built even if it were to destroy his vision for keeping Judea and Samaria. Olmert ran on a platform – and gained more seats than any party – of finding compromise and if it weren’t for the Lebanon War, he might actually have started to push this agenda a while ago.

    It’s easy to stand on the sidelines and declare that you need to “win decisively” or “re-establish street cred,” but the translation to that is that hundreds of soldiers will be killed and many more wounded and maimed.

    Or you could negotiate and try to work out prudent deals.

    I mean, let’s keep things in some perspective here. The key difficulties facing Israel right now are rockets and babies, not suicide bombings or shootings. More people die on the roads in Israel than in these suicide attacks. The rockets are now a strategic and physical threat and this threat will only grow as they increase range and payload. As of now, there isn’t technology that can intercept these rockets and until there is, you have to deal with that threat. You also have to address the demographic threat. It wasn’t by accident that the PA published its new stats (3.7 million Palestinian) in the middle of talks with the Israeli government. Even if the numbers are wrong, they are still a problem when the people in question do not have a state but do have Israeli soldiers in their midst.

    It is in Israel’s interest to come to an agreement with the Palestinians. To get there, you have to concede that Hamas and Abbas are two different types of Palestinian. One is religion-based and the other focuses on nationalistic goals. One refuses to even acknowledge Israel’s existence while the other does. One controls an area that Israel wants to leave behind and one controls an area where Israel would like to keep some portions. One has the support of the US and one does not.

    While being cautious and prudent, Israel needs to talk. At the same time, they can continue to kill Hamas members one by one.

  • xisnotx,

    Oh great, another justifier for Palestinian violence, Mr. Eldar. Why does he say,

    “The hearts of most of East Jerusalemites, like the hearts of the Gazans and the residents of the West Bank, are in the same place: the 1967 borders, including, and primarily, Haram al-Sharif, which we call the Temple Mount. Partial substitutes such as the Gaza Strip and Jebel Mukaber bring their hearts closer to the 1948 borders.

    …when what he really means is that the Palestinians still want the 1947 non-borders? That’s why Hamas is attacking. Why is he constructing an article that criticizes Israel’s “wishful thinking” and claims to understand Palestinian terror attacks from Gaza? The fact is that even Olmert and the current gov’t have said they won’t move forward on any deal unless Gaza is part of it.

    Here’s another way to look at Gaza. Hamas caused the separation of Gaza from the West Bank to a far greater degree than Israel. As long as the PA was in charge, the two areas were considered one. Hamas has eliminated that option with their little adventure. Also, both Hamas and their sub-contractor groups were launching rockets at Israel before Israel exited Gaza. Is that because they were so concerned about the West Bank? Once the PA was gone from Gaza, the area fell into Hamas Palestinian hands. It’s true they have no port or airport, but if they needed to buy, say, building supplies or playground swings, those things would have been delivered. Instead, they developed an arms route from Egypt. By doing so they further separated themselves from the West Bank.

    If Eldar’s point is that Israel needs to talk to Hamas, then he is simply giving us the usual “progressive” crap about understanding the violence against Israel and forgiving it because, well, because it’s organically grown. If his point is that it can’t be dealt with unless the West Bank and the Temple Mount are included in the deal, he is going to have to realize that not everybody gets what they want. Everybody is going to have to compromise and some of the compromises are going to be very tough. In the meantime, Israel needs to kill Hamas and then maybe the PA will take over again and the Palestinian state or entity will have its two parts again. Otherwise, Gaza will remain separate as it should.

  • So, Middle, your position is that Israel should negotiate with terrorists sworn to their destruction because if they fight them some Jews will get killed?

    This is a serious question, BTW. I do not, G-d forbid, take lightly the possibility that Israeli soldiers might be killed, G-d forbid.

    But this cuts to the absolute heart of the matter. If the Arabs know that Israel is pressing for peace because they are afraid of fighting because if they fight Jews will be killed, why should they stop attacking? That is what deterrence is: making the enemy afraid to attack you because they know the cost will be too high.

    When one side wants to stop fighting because it is afraid of getting killed, that is when the war is lost. You are saying not that Israel should make peace because it is the right thing to do, but because you are afraid that Israel will lose soldiers in a war. Once that admission is made, Israel loses its deterrence. Of what use is an army and soldiers if they are afraid to fight?

    Hey, kid, give me your lunch money if you know what’s good for you.

    And you still actually believe that Abbas is really only a “nationalist”? I can’t believe that you could possibly be that naive after all this time. His “nationalism” is based on getting rid of Israel. How can you not see that? Who cares if he holds this view for “nationalist” or “religious” reasons?

    And why kill Hamas members “one by one” Why not “hundreds by hundreds” or “thousands by thousands”?

    I am not advocating any specific plan of attack on the terrorists, BTW. I will leave that to the professionals. All I am saying is that if militarily it makes sense to engage the terrorists in a way that may put Israeli soldiers at risk, G-d forbid, that Israel must make what is the correct military decision.

  • Ok, as usual, this is going nowhere, but just to clear things up on two issues: A) I’m not angry, rather frustrated that it seems that you are playing devil’s advocate but also realizing you actually believe that stuff too, and B) bringing up the demographic myth is lame. The fact is that the Arab birthrate is dropping, and the Jewish birthrate is stable at least for another ten years or so when there will be a massive Haredi baby-boom when the current wave gets married. But that’s worth a seperate post anyway.

  • How long can talk about even two states or three with hamas will last? It seems that the Arab League is even trying to sink it. The result of which would seem to undermine whatever diplomatic efforts could accomplish. Most know that Olmert’s and Bush’s political days are numbered. Who knows what kind of American administration will be or what is going to be with Israel.

    Check out what this from the Jewish Journal Feb. 29

    Arab League could back off ‘two-state’ solution

    By Leslie Susser, Jewish Telegraphic Agency

    Irked by the slow rate of progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, major Arab players are threatening to withdraw their offer to normalize ties with Israel once a Palestinian state is established.

    Underlying the Arab reassessment is a deeper problem: Arab belief in the viability of “the two-state solution” is diminishing. And the worry in Jerusalem is that this growing lack of confidence could undermine the fragile negotiating process so carefully put in place at the regional peace conference in Annapolis, Md., last November.

    The Arab offer to normalize ties with Israel was part of the 2002 Arab League peace plan initiated by Saudi Arabia. The idea was to give Israel an added incentive to make peace with the Palestinians.

    Now, however, in the run-up to a new Arab League summit slated for Damascus in late March, the Saudis seem to be having second thoughts. Pointing to the slow advance in the peace talks, for which he blamed Israel, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told a gathering of Arab and South American foreign ministers in Argentina on Feb. 21 that “despair will force us to review these options.”

    Faisal accused Israel of sabotaging the Arab League peace plan, which he said was now “facing great danger.”

    Arab League officials were quick to take their cue. They complained that Israel had not responded positively to the Arab peace initiative, so there was little point in leaving it on the table.

    Moderate Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan had hoped that a two-state solution, followed by a general Arab accommodation with Israel, would weaken the radicals and pave the way for regional stability.

    But concern is growing that with the Gaza Strip controlled by the terrorist Hamas and the West Bank dotted with Jewish settlements, any future Palestinian state would be truncated and unviable — and as such a source of friction rather than a guarantor of stability. Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, and Jordan, which borders on the West Bank, are particularly worried. Both still see the two-state solution as a major strategic interest, but are growing more skeptical over the chances of achieving it. The Egyptians, in particular, were jolted by the sight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians streaming over the Gaza border into Egyptian territory with the collapse of the Rafah border fence last month.

    They were distressed as well to hear some Israelis suggest that Egypt take responsibility for Gaza, as it had until Israel controlled it in 1967. In Jordan, the fear is that if a moderate Palestinian state is not established soon, Hamas radicals will gain control of the West Bank and pose a direct threat to the Hashemite Kingdom. So when Egypt and Jordan warn that the chances for a two-state solution are eroding, it is at least partly to press Israel to move more quickly toward one.

    The Saudi and Arab League warnings could be seen in this light, too: The growing skepticism about the two-state option is very real.

    For a full-fledged Palestinian state, including the West Bank and Gaza, to emerge, first there would have to be an accommodation between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ moderate Fatah movement and the Iranian-backed Hamas.

    This is the thrust of much behind-the-scenes Saudi, Egyptian and Jordanian diplomacy. Indeed, they reportedly are pressing Hamas to agree to cede its control of Gaza at the upcoming Arab League summit. But they are well aware that the chances of that happening are extremely low given Iran’s unyielding opposition to anything that might help the moderate camp. Worse for the two-state option: Many Palestinian intellectuals, including some close to Abbas, are questioning its merits. In a seminal op-ed in the British Guardian newspaper, Oxford-based scholar Ahmad Samih Khalidi — sometimes referred to as “Abbas’ brain” — argued, “Today, the Palestinian state is largely a punitive construct devised by the Palestinians’ worst historical enemies, Israel and its implacable ally, the U.S. The intention behind the state today is to constrain Palestinian aspirations territorially, to force them to give up on their moral rights, renege on their history and submit to Israel’s dictates on fundamental issues of sovereignty.

    “The temptation,” Khalidi added later, “is to say thanks but no thanks.” Instead, Khalidi warned that the Palestinians could “evoke [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert’s worst nightmare,” and go for a single state.

    Other Palestinians are suggesting that barring major progress toward viable statehood by December, the Palestinian Authority should dissolve itself and hand the keys back to the Israeli military government.

    The struggle then would not be for statehood but for equal rights in a single binational state. This scenario is indeed one of Olmert’s worst nightmares. On the last day of the Annapolis summit he declared that if the two-state solution collapses, “Israel is finished.” What he meant was that in a one-man, one-vote unitary state the eventual Palestinian majority would spell the end of the Zionist notion of independent Jewish statehood.

    Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni claim they are making every effort to reach a deal that would preempt the one-state drive. Livni meets former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmad Qureia on an almost daily basis to discuss the core issues. Olmert and Abbas meet from time to time to assess and facilitate movement.

    What makes gauging progress almost impossible is the fact that Livni and Qureia have imposed an effective news blackout. The lack of any record of progress has led some observers to conclude there is none, and this is what the Saudis and other Arab players are finding so frustrating. Then again, Olmert in private reportedly claims that he and Abbas already have wrapped up everything.

    If this is indeed the case, the two-state solution may still be saved. If not, the prospects for Israel, the Palestinians and the region as a whole look bleak.

  • Yeah, and Bush got re-elected in 2004. The “public” sometimes misjudges. Right now the Israeli public is very angry about this attack and wants the government to “do something” even though that’s not the best course of action. Last week they wanted to talk to Hamas because they launched 70 rockets. The week before they wanted to kill off Hamas because they were not seen as a strategic player. The public misjudges and the media often drives the public’s misjudgement.

    As for talking to Hamas, even when Israel finally agreed to talk to Arafat, it was with the understanding that the PLO would accept Israel’s existence. Talking to Hamas would be a grave mistake under their current “requirements” and expectations. Eldar and others should stop pushing this as if it were a normal thing. Hamas isn’t a normal enemy.

    As for my response being emotive and simplistic, forgive me. I simply can’t be as smart as all the left and right wing experts in this discussion and certainly not as smart as the Akiva Eldars, Amira Hasses and Gideon Levys at Ha’aretz. You’ll just have to accept that my views are unevolved and unsophisticated. We can’t all be Kissinger.

    Thanks for the VF article…nothing in there is surprising.

    Netsach, if the Arab League backs off the two-state solution plan it may not be all that meaningful but it will be a shame because getting them to this declaration wasn’t easy. Still, their declaration supports return to ’67 borders and the so called “right of return” so that it won’t hurt anybody if it just dies on the vine.

  • They don’t think like you. Do you think everybody has to think like you? Because you’re right? Yes, you’re right. But their ‘good’ is not the same as your ‘good’. Their ‘bad’ is not the same as your ‘bad’. Of COURSE that is hard to understand. It takes years of open-minded study to understand. And a strong stomach. And you have to be very SECURE about what you, yourself, believe, to gaze coolly on what others believe. It’s all hard. But that is the big-boy task.

  • Yeah, Middle

    You again put things in a skilled way. “Dead on the vine” it is… However I don’t see the shame of it all. That may be a point of disagreement.

    One of the problems we may be having is that our definition of soviergnty and agreement making
    is very different in the Arab mind then our western bias. We may not have the right people
    representing our interests. I would think that Israel has so much more experts on middle eastern
    culture and language. So much of Israel is obviously indigenous to the region and even Arab countries. We are not getting into their heads. That is the point I was trying to make. Our attempts to do so seem amateurish.

    The fear of the right of return is very confused as well. We should be scaring our neighbors with our Jewish return to Israel from diaspora instead of having fears of a “right of return” of arab ppl to out populate Jewish numbers. I realize that is an underlining fear of Olmert and of Sharon before. That was some of the reasoning behind the Gaza expulsion etc…

  • While not perhaps central to the discussion, can answer this question? If the Americans can ally with Sunnis who’d weeks before been killing US soldiers to take on al-Qaeda, isn’t it in Fatah’s interests for Israel to destroy Hamas’s leadership in Gaza? Is it possible Abbas could give Olmert a wink and a nod as Israel rids him of his competitor?

    Sort of a variation on the old colonial gambit of divide and conquer.

    Back to the US experience in Iraq: we seem to have discovered that only taking and holding territory keeps terror at bay. And, as Petraeus and Abizaid and Sanchez have all reminded us, there is no victory without a political strategy.

  • Tom, I’m pretty sure “offing” Hamas has been discussed with Abbas.

    As to your other point, If Israel was the US, it could and would get away with doing plenty of stuff they can’t even imagine doing. But yes, they need to capture more ground. Apparently the Qassems are being launched from within a 2km distance from the border but the new Israeli missile defense system needs a distance of 4 km to work effectively. So the question has arisen, can Israel destroy a couple of big neighborhoods to get that additional distance cleared? That is, can it do it without getting the int’l community to throw a fit.

    xisnotx,

    If you had read my other comments in this discussion, you would have seen that I wrote already that Hamas can’t be destroyed so easily. Killing them off aggressively can still be done and would be effective even if the movement wouldn’t die. It would be greatly weakened. As for the idea that if you kill them, you create new members, that’s a myth and nothing more.

  • well i respectfully disagree. they appear to be stronger than ever now, even after the decapitation of much of their leadership. as for the myth, if israel’s security establishment agreed with you, why wouldnt it have finished them off years ago. doesnt give you pause at all?

  • Thank you for respectfully disagreeing. I think you’re the first person in this post to do so.

    I don’t think Israel has gone after their current leadership, and I don’t think Israel has gone after them aggressively. Then again, I don’t know how difficult it is logistically to kill a Hamas member or leader so it may be that it’s harder than I envision.

    What I do know is that killing leaders and “officers” leads to loss of momentum and confusion. If you do it enough, you weaken the group immensely. In this case, Fatah is waiting to fill any potential vacuum, so you don’t even need a knock-out punch because Fatah will provide it.

    Are they stronger than ever? They are as strong as their patrons, Iran and Syria, wish them to be. They are as strong as the limits of Israel’s technology – and Israel’s technology will adapt.

    I’ll repeat again that I don’t think you can entirely destroy Hamas, but I think you can weaken it meaningfully. I believe that many in Israel’s security establishment would agree.

    Finally, as I’ve written before, I think Israel’s leadership is currently of the mind that having Hamas in Gaza is useful for a number of reasons. I think that’s why they are holding back on serious action.

    You may enjoy Rubin’s latest article.

  • Yeah Middle,

    Very interesting points that Rubin makes there in the Jpost.
    In fact I agree with you and Rubin in most ways of the Rat trap
    we have fallen into…Both you and Rubin have shown expertise in
    Defining and describing wiles of the enemy better then I could.
    It can be argued that what is happening is even more extreme and
    we are more trapped.

    What I don’t agree with is the end conclusion.
    Rubin Says:

    In a sustained conflict, the radicals’ technological and organizational weaknesses, along with their mistaken assessments and unrealistic ideology, will bring inevitable defeat. They will lose even if they never surrender. They can kill people, but not overcome societies determined to grow, prosper, and survive.

    One reason is that those “radical” do indeed grow and prosper. Albeit in a sick and terrible way that is as self destructive to all peoples especially to them. Despite such suicidal mania Hamas, Hezbolloh, Fatah etc… still exist with low tech device that seem impervious to the west’s advantage in “organazation” or “technology”
    I feel a kind of vanity in that conclusive statement by Rubin.
    I am not so optimistic as the above writer in his conclusion because we are missing the source of the power of the organization. That organization has no relation to technology.

  • Fatah deliver the knockout blow to Hamas? Now I know you’re delusional. Fatah couldn’t deliver a knock-out blow to a dead donkey, much less to Hamas, no matter how weakened it was.

    And you think it is a good idea to risk the lives of Israeli soldiers to kill a bunch of terrorists just in order to put another bunch of terrorists back in charge? For that you would risk Jewish lives? To do Fatah’s job for it? No way. The only reason to put Israeli soldiers at risk is if the government has finally made the decision to take the fight to the enemy and kill them for Israeli reasons, not Arab ones.

    And the surest way to get Fatah to lose what last tatters of street cred it has left after the Gaza fiasco is for Abbas to be seen as being the beneficiary of the Jews killing his fellow Arabs. You might as well just paint a bullseye on his forehead.

    Yes, Rubin’s article was extremely interesting. The gullible types he was talking about reminded me a lot of a certain blogger of my cyber-acquaintance.

  • Middle – I’m amazed that you are pointing people to Rubin’s (excellent) article – which completely undercuts/exposes your “we must push forward in peacemaking” and shows where it is misguided.

    In particular:
    5. If you try to isolate us we will use your own media and intellectuals against you. At times, we will hint at moderation and make promises of change. We won’t do so enough to alienate our own followers, but enough to subvert yours. They will demand you engage us, which means you making concessions for nothing real in exchange.

    8. Since our societies are weak, undemocratic and have few real moderates, you will have to make deals with phoney moderates and dictatorial regimes weakened by corruption and incompetence.

    10. There is no diplomatic solution for you, though you yearn to find one. There is no military solution for you, whether you try that or not. You love life, we love death; you are divided, we are united; you want to get back to material satisfaction, we are dedicated revolutionaries.

    We will outlast you.

    Finally, our greatest weapon is that you truly don’t understand all the points made above. You are taught, informed, and often led by people who simply don’t comprehend what an alternative, highly ideological, revolutionary world view means.

    In effect, we will try, and will often succeed, to turn your “best and brightest” into the worst and dimmest who think you can persuade us, who blame you for the conflicts, or expect that we will alter our course. We will use those mistakes against you.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    … I was intending to quote this article to refute you!

    Pushing for peace is the last thing Israel should do, now that Pali intentions are clear. Whether Israel chooses to step up its targetd killings, or go for all-out expulsion of Gaza’s population – there should be no more talk about peace or “humanitarian concessions” until the Palis really beg for mercy instead of playing at being “moderate”.

    How can we tell the difference?

    1) The rise of a civilian peace movement – or at least an anti-corruption movement similar to what happened in Northern Ireland.

    2) Cessation of hostilities.

  • Ben David, for some reason after all this time you still don’t get that I’m The Middle. Stop being so surprised when things I say or quote go your way – it’s no different than when I say things you reject. Maybe you’ll be happier if you stop believing that you have a handle on the truth. The fact is none of us do and there’s a little truth in everybody’s ideas.

  • Chevray,

    As long as these crazies send their kids to fetch rockets, TV shows with bunnies telling children to kill Jews, whipping up hysteria in crowds to slobber over human flesh, their wives and girls
    as human shields and myriads of other vileness, wickedness, wretchedness and cowardliness we
    can-not fight them with just a few raids and picking off of heads and diplomatic pitting of one side of crazies against another. It doesn’t appear giving away territory worked either. I don’t see any advantage we have gained since August 05 when the expulsions were carried out.

    The core causes of our troubles generate out of that cult of death that ooze out of the vast region. Not just in Judea-Samaria -Gaza.” Beyond our little borders in the schools across the continent where the filth is spread. Unless we somehow we get to that evil core, I can-not see how we will ever win with any scenario.

    To me this cult is the very clear definition of what Amalek is. Our Job is to destroy that.

  • Middle – spare me the relativistic navel-gazing, and kindly explain the contradictions between the article you quoted – which asserts that pursuing peace plans and other diplomatic solutions are a fool’s errand – and your own statement that Israel must continue to pursue peace.

    And could you also explain the inherent contradiction between that article’s clear dissection of how ruthless Pali/Muslim strategy co-opts Western wishful thinking, and your continued blind faith that there are Palis out there who really want to make peace with us, if we just try really hard.

  • What disposition is made of the Palestinians in their millions if peace talks are abandoned and the military options referenced in this thread are pursued?

    Just wondering.

  • Ben David, I don’t have to agree with every part of every article that I read or quote. Not everything is perfect and not all knowledge is perfect. Rubin is an interesting thinker but he’s also not perfect. This article, however, hits the nail on the head over and over.

    These forces are not all alike or allied, but do often follow a parallel set of rules quite different from how international affairs have generally been conducted.

    1. We’ll never give up. No matter what you do, we will continue fighting. No matter what you offer, we will keep attacking you. Since you can’t win, you should give up.

    Did someone here advocate giving up? I certainly didn’t and negotiating for peace isn’t “giving up.”

    2. We’re indifferent to any pressure you put on us. We will turn this pressure against you. Against us, deterrence does not exist; diplomacy does not convince.The carrot cannot buy us off, nor the stick make us yield. There are no solutions that can end the conflict. You cannot win militarily, nor make peace through diplomacy.

    I’ve rejected this in this discussion. I’ve advocated continuing to kill Hamas members because that does and will put pressure on them and they’ll fail. Fatah will be waiting in the wings to punish them for the coup d’etat.

    3. If you set economic sanctions, we’ll say you are starving our people in an act of “collective punishment.” Moreover, sanctions will cost you money and generate opposition among those who lose profits.

    This is exactly what is happening. Still, I’ve always supported sanctions and think Israel should be acting more harshly than it is as long as the rockets are flying.

    4. In response to military operations, we’ll attack your civilians. Casualties will undermine your internal support. We will try to force you to kill civilians accidentally. We won’t care, but will use this to persuade many that you are evil. Thus we will simultaneously murder your civilians and get you condemned as human rights violators.

    Yeah, how many posts about this strategy have I written? Nothing new here. This, by the way, doesn’t justify targeting or randomly killing civilians even when killing terrorists. Israel should continue to try its best to avoid “collateral damage.” They need to do a better job publicizing that they do it.

    5. If you try to isolate us we will use your own media and intellectuals against you. At times, we will hint at moderation and make promises of change. We won’t do so enough to alienate our own followers, but enough to subvert yours. They will demand you engage us, which means you making concessions for nothing real in exchange.

    I disagree with this to some degree. I believe there are moderate Palestinians and I believe there are some even in their leadership, who would have already signed a deal. It’s up to the Israeli government to know when they’re being played and when they are not. However, it would have been a greater sin not to offer what was offered at Taba and Camp David, even to the pig Arafat, than to never offer it. Israel should be striving for resolution of this conflict.

    6. Talking to our own people, we will foment hatred and demonize you. Speaking to the West, we will accuse you of fomenting hatred. We will hypocritically turn against you all the concepts you developed: racism, imperialism, failure to understand the “other,” and so on. These concepts, of course, describe what we are doing, but your feelings of guilt, ignorance about us, and indifference to ideology will make you fail to notice that fact.

    I’ve written numerous times about this. Israel has to demand that when negotiating, the Palestinians permanently end this course of action.

    7. We will claim to be victims and “underdogs.” Because you are stronger and more “advanced,” that means you are the villains. We are not held responsible for our deeds, or expected to live up to the same standards. There will be no shortage of, to quote Lenin, “useful idiots” in your societies to help echo our propaganda.

    I’ve written about this.

    8. Since our societies are weak, undemocratic and have few real moderates, you will have to make deals with phoney moderates and dictatorial regimes weakened by corruption and incompetence.

    Yes.

    9. Even the less radical regimes, often our immediate adversaries, partly play into our hands. Due to popular pressure – plus their desire to mobilize support and distract attention from their own shortcomings – they trumpet Arab and Islamic solidarity. They denounce the West, blame all problems on Israel and revile America, even as they accept your aid. They glorify interpretations of Islam not too far from ours. They cheer Iraqi insurgents, Hizbullah, and Hamas. They don’t struggle against Iran getting nuclear weapons. They lay the basis for our mass support and recruits.

    Yes.

    10. There is no diplomatic solution for you, though you yearn to find one. There is no military solution for you, whether you try that or not. You love life, we love death; you are divided, we are united; you want to get back to material satisfaction, we are dedicated revolutionaries.

    We will outlast you.

    I’ve already written that this is bullshit propaganda. Keep targeting them and keep the pressure on. Terror groups lose wars.

    Finally, our greatest weapon is that you truly don’t understand all the points made above. You are taught, informed, and often led by people who simply don’t comprehend what an alternative, highly ideological, revolutionary world view means.

    They say this and we ignore it.

    In effect, we will try, and will often succeed, to turn your “best and brightest” into the worst and dimmest who think you can persuade us, who blame you for the conflicts, or expect that we will alter our course. We will use those mistakes against you.

    Oh, Ben David, were you referring to me as one of the “best and brightest?” That’s nice of you. This last statement is the crux of the article and I’ll say that it’s only partially correct. The issue I have with it is that if you reject every possibility because you’re worried the other side is always trying to fool you, there will never be a compromise. Now, maybe you don’t want a compromise because you think 3+ million Palestinians will simply leave for Jordan, but I’m a realist and they aren’t going anywhere. They also put a great deal of pressure on Israeli society for many reasons and these pressures are severely unhealthy for Israel. If I want to get to a compromise, I have to see carefully who is sitting across the table from me, be realistic and pragmatic about what they want and need and what I want and need and continue to seek ways to reach a balance.

    The alternative, Ben David, is shitty.

  • What happens to the Jews in their millions if Israel stops defending itself?

    Just wondering.

    This is precisely what Rubin is talking about. The second that Israel starts worrying more about what will happen to their enemies if they fight back than how to protect their own citizens, the jig is up.

    I know it’s a rhetorical question, Tom, but the answer is obvious of course: a lot of terrorists will get killed and some civilians, used as humans shields by the terrorists, will get caught in the crossfire. It will be too bad, but that’s what happens in a war when your enemy has no scruples. It is obvious that Hamas and Fatah and Hizballah don’t care about Arab lives. Why should Israel?

    And before Middle freaks out, I am not advocating the indiscriminate murder of defenseless people. I am advocating that Israel take any and all necessary measures to protect Israel and Israelis. If some Arab civilians get killed in that effort, it is most emphatically NOT Israel’s fault and there is no reason for any Jew anywhere to feel ashamed.

    The Arabs are the ones who picked up the gun. It is up to them to out it down.

    Anyway, Middle has a more difficult question to answer: which is more important to him, Jewish lives or the lives of their enemies?

  • What? “targeting or randomly killing civilians even when killing terrorists”?

    So you’re stooping to slander now? Since when does Israel “target or randomly kill” civilians?

    Shame on you.

  • Post 56, Tom Morrissey, Jordan’s population is already 75% Palestinian right now. It’s a big place, much bigger than Israel. Its Palestinians live with the same climate, language, religion, customs, dress, mores, social structure and cuisine. Is that an answer? Is it a little bit of an answer? Is it worth peace to move fifty miles? No. Let’s all bleed for another couple of generations, so nobody has to move fifty miles. (Fifty miles closer to Mecca.)

    I have asked “peace-now” people where the six million Israelis should go. They say, to the bottom of the sea, to hell, or to Nebraska. My idea is nicer however. Quieter, cheaper, and less messy. It’s not like there is any shortage of money for new curtains.

  • Um Ephraim, you should really try to calm down a bit. I didn’t say that Israel targets civilians, it doesn’t. It also doesn’t usually randomly kill civilians, although that has happened. I was saying that despite the assertion in Rubin’s #4, nothing justifies doing either.

  • Ephraim, my question wasn’t so much about casualties as what do you do with a newly-quiescent Palestinian population if the military option succeeds. Isn’t this more of a quandary for Israel than Hamas’s rockets? What do you do after victory is achieved?

    Jewish Mother addresses this, but that horse, JM, has left the barn, hasn’t it? Palestinian nationhood exists– it’s a nation if enough people say it is, and even Israel says it is. Can’t unring that bell (lawyer’s metaphor, sorry). Sure, in theory all kinds of things are possible– P’s could head to Jordan, Rwandan Tutsi could leave for Burundi, ethnic Tamils could flee Sri Lanka for India, ethnic Albanians could’ve left Kosovo for Albania etc. etc. ad infinitum. All fine in theory.

    Seems to me Abbas, for all his faults (and his performance last week was utterly pathetic, even by his lowly standards) is an enormous asset for Israel. At the end of the day, Israel will get to say, “here’s your stinkin’ land. Best of luck in the future. Don’t bother us anymore. Not only will you have to deal with us– but there are 20,000 NATO peacekeepers separating the two of us, and you’ll have hell to pay from them. They’re funding your government, too, don’t forget. Oh, and terrorism– this is truly your problem, ’cause you don’t get to say, ‘it’s Hamas’s fault and we have no control over Gaza.’ Nope, you’re entirely accountable now. Again, best of luck.”

  • That’s a good question, Tom. Not sure I have an answer. However, the operative term here is “quiescent”. If the Arabs are quiet, Israel would love to leave them alone. The terrorists understand this all too well, which is why they do everything in their power to keep the pot boiling. The Arabs being quiet will mean they have given up on trying to destroy Israel. Once that happens, a Pal state is not a problem (in theory).

    It is obvious that Israel is desperate to cut the Pals loose. So the terrorists do everything they can to make that impossible, no matter the human cost to the Pals themselves, since they see this is a way to hurt Israel. Separation, in the form of a Pal state, will actually hurt their war against Israel since once such a state is formed it will be impossible for them politically to continue their war. The world will say “You’ve got your state, STFU”. Therefore, they do not really want one, since destroying Israel is more important to them than a fictional state for a fictional nation. That is why they insist on conditions for this state (c.f., the “right of return”) that they know Israel cannot accept. It is the Devil’s own calculus.

    I don’t believe there is a “Palestinian” nation at all. A lot of people say there is, and some may actually believe it, but it is a fiction.

    Middle, “randomly killing civilians” is an active construction that implies Israel kills civilians on purpose. Randomly, in the sense that no particular civilian is targeted, but still on purpose. If you had employed a passive construction indicating that civilians are sometimes accidentally killed in the course of legitimate attacks on terrorists, I wouldn’t have taken issue.

  • Yeah, Ephraim, you and I are more or less on the same page on the issue of targeting and random killings. However, there have been random killings. For example, the Beit Hanoun family that was killed by an artillery shell. The IDF investigated and cleared the soldiers because they found a “rare failure” in the equipment, but the fact is that Palestinian civilians died randomly and not a single terrorist was around. The IDF tried to avoid these deaths, but they do happen.

  • Ephraim, strongly agree that statehood for the Palestinians along the lines discussed at Taba is a true poisoned pill for the P’s. Not only does it undermine their position politically, it makes it easier for Israel to retaliate militarily in what will be, after all, a conventional inter-state conflict, not the amorphous struggle Israel’s waging at the moment.

  • Tom Morrissey, Post 56, Jordan is clearly visible from Jerusalem, across a small river. I repeat, Jordan already is, in effect, Palestinian-land, right now. (Just not the government.) And it is very big and empty. Of course they might have to get along with the other people there, the other 25%. And they know only war, as a social organizer. And, with peace, their leadership might have to get boring jobs and not be feared any more. People get used to being feared, and come to enjoy it. Financial dependency can be addicting. They have at least four streams of it: the UN, the US, the Europeans, the Ford Foundation. Don’t laugh. The Ford Foundation has serious money, more than many countries.

    If there were peace, they could all go back and forth on ferries, in twenty minutes, any time. You are trivializing a perfectly good idea as a silly fantasty. Good in a practical sense, but not possible ideologically. Their supremacist ideology, much older than Marxism, precludes real peace, permanently.

    As for the unintended killing of civilians, war is not extreme wrestling, with the audience in the stands. The only thing worse than war is losing. We are not in a catastrophe movie, where the aliens succumb at last and the credits roll. Sept 11 really did seem like a movie, unless you were there.

    The other side seems to hide among civilians, who don’t seem to mind, because they go to paradise if something bad happens. And they are able to take their whole families with them to paradise. And ten thousand dollars! go to the survivors. That sum goes a long way there. And there is no real possibility of saying, hey, I don’t like this. Not in safety, anyway.

    As for land, there could never be an Israel small enough for them to let alone. Never. Don’t you read what they say? It is all over the internet. So what nonsense am I talking?

  • At one point there may have been such a creature as a “moderate” Pal with some say. Not anymore. I think it was Teddy, the Mayor of Yerushalyim who used to say all the time “none of the arabs of my city are trouble makers” something like that.

    THOSE DAYS ARE LONG GONE.

    Since it became possible for Palestinians to wave their flag in public in Israel without being shot at the same time the Intifadas started in, The Pals are by definition a rogue ppl who generate hate and hopelessness wherever they have gone. They don’t need to, they just do. How much opportunity can you give a people to “just change” The Pals show they are like that throughout the region. For some ppl that seems obvious.

    “Why can’t we all just get along?”

    “Wouldn’t it be nice if we can come to an agreement?”

    This is tiresome. I have had enough of venting my feelings over this. We need to move on.
    Moving on means to me to start to hold those responsible for this accountable in every part of the planet….

  • I still disagree on your use of “random”, Middle. What happened in Beit Hanoun was an accident, a mistake. “Random” means (to me, at any rate), somebody picking a civilian at random and killing them on purpose.

    Tom: exactly.

  • This is what random means.

    It explains what happened at Beit Hanoun as you understand the incident and as I meant it to be understood. It’s very different than your explanation of “random”-on-purpose killing.

  • Jewish Mother, Jordan’s rulers have already had one near-death experience with the Palestinians, as Ephraim has observed. ‘Fool me once…’

    I still say, stick ’em in a little Ziplock bag of a state and limit their ability to do harm. I like the IDF’s chances against the gendarmie of the Arab Republic of Palestine. And think of how much business Jenin’s falafel joints will do in sales to Dutch and Turkish peacekeepers.

  • I know what random means, Middle. The definition you cite reads as follows:

    “proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern: the random selection of numbers.”

    That is, an action, that of selecting numbers for instance, is done with volition, but at random with no particular pattern. Thus, “random killing” means killing with no set pattern. The act in question also can occur on its own, that is true. In this case, you should say “random deaths”, not “random killing”. Killing implies a an act of volition; that is, the killing was intentional but the victim was not selected specifically.

    That is completely different from “accidental deaths”, which is what happened at Beit Hanoun. The IDF was targeting terrorists and a shell went astray. They were not just lobbing shells at random not caring what they might hit.

    Tom: nice idea, but the UN “peacekeepers” would just wind up being human shields like in Lebanon. The fewmets haven’t hit the windmill there yet, but they will at some point when Hizballah has to so something to take the heat off of Syria or Iran. Then we’ll see how useful the “peacekeepers” are. They didn’t do much good in Sinai in ’67, and I don’t expect they’ll do much good in Lebanon either.

    I say turn “Palestine” over to Jordan. Then, when the Pals get uppity, we will see how a terrorist insurrection is handled properly.

  • Middle wrote:
    I believe there are moderate Palestinians and I believe there are some even in their leadership, who would have already signed a deal. It’s up to the Israeli government to know when they’re being played and when they are not.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    …sounds great – at least in theory. And then he commented thusly on Rubin’s article:
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    “8. Since our societies are weak, undemocratic and have few real moderates, you will have to make deals with phoney moderates and dictatorial regimes weakened by corruption and incompetence. ”

    Yes.

    “9. Even the less radical regimes, often our immediate adversaries, partly play into our hands. Due to popular pressure – plus their desire to mobilize support and distract attention from their own shortcomings – they trumpet Arab and Islamic solidarity….They cheer Hizbullah, and Hamas… They lay the basis for our mass support and recruits. ”

    Yes.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    So: where are the unencumbered Arab moderates whose word can be accepted as worth something, long-term? Who can defy popular Arab opinion and Muslim terrorist extortion and deliver on promised aggreements?

    We’ve seen wishful liberals explain away the militant talk of “moderate” after “moderate” by saying “they have to talk that way to gain popular support” – a non-sequitir that immediately invites the question of exactly why we are deluding ourselves that “moderate” positions have any popular support? Or are the “moderates” sock puppets/decoys without any real popular support?

    So – turning from theory to reality, Middle – how exactly does Israel determine if they are “being played”? What does repeated past history – repeated cycles of negotiation with “moderates” that lead to Israeli concessions and…. not much else but continued attack from the Palis – what does that tell us?

  • Ephraim, there have been random Palestinians killed by Israel and although the IDF tries to avoid it, sometimes these things have happened even when there wasn’t a terrorist nearby. Really, stop looking for a way around the truth.

    Ben David, why do you always go to the extreme. Neither 8 or 9 apply to all Palestinians. They apply to some Palestinians. Even if they apply to most Palestinians, that still doesn’t represent all of them. Yes, there are quiet moderates even if their society and leaders crush them. That doesn’t mean they won’t have “popular support” (as if that matters) if they actually forge a peace deal.

    Israel doesn’t have to worry about whether they are “being played.” It should just assume they are being played. And then they need to act prudently in presenting the baseline parameters for negotiations. So, for example, the no-incitement rule has to be enforced. The crackdown on terror and terrorists must be enforced. Etc.

    As for negotiations thus far, I wouldn’t call Arafat a moderate and I don’t consider Abbas a moderate. However, they are the leaders of the Palestinians and therefore the people who are going to sit across from Israeli in negotiations. Unlike Hamas, they have at least publicly conceded Israel’s right to exist and have expressed support for the Road Map. This is no small achievement and has to be seen in a positive light.

    But yes, I advocate continued cycles of negotiation because otherwise you don’t get to peace.

  • Like I said, Middle, those are accidental deaths. I am not denying that they occur. I just don’t care that much. Israel is under attack by terrorists. It must defend itself. Sometimes innocent civilians are accidentally killed in the process. It’s really too bad, but that’s what happens when you deliberately hide behind women and children. Israel cannot allow its hands to be tied because enemy civilians might get hurt. And like I said, they are enemy civilians. The elected Hamas and they must accept responsibility for that.

    You just don’t get it, do you, Middle? Abbas is lying, just as Arafat was lying. Lying, as in not telling th truth. You, know, to fool the Israelis into thinking that he actually accepts Israel’s right to exist and supports the Roadmap when he actually doesn’t, so as to get the Israelis to commit to things that willl weaken Israel so it will be easier to defeat later.

    You know, as in lying.

    And still you would have Israel negotiate with them, giving up land to people you know are going to keep attacking. You are hopeless. Not just hopeless, but reckless and irresponsible.

    I support no-holds-barred self-defense followed by negotiation when the enemy has accepted defeat. That is how Nazi Germany and imperial Japan were defeated, and it is obvious that is how Pal terrorism will be defeated. After that, there will be peace.

  • If Japan and Nazi Germany were semi-loose terror groups, the allies would have had to fight them differently than they did. If they had to deal with them within tight residential neighborhoods, they would have gotten away with it for some years and then people would begin to rise up against it. Killing civilians harms one’s morale.

  • I dunno. The Allies didn’t have any qualms about fire-bombing Dresden. Worked pretty well as far as I remember. Anybody snivel about that now and beat their breasts about what bastards we were? Nope. The Germans are probably still pissed about it, but so what?

    Anyway, if your solution is to stop fighting and negotiate with people you know are lying so they can gain time to fight you when they’re stronger, all that will mean is that when the fight comes more Jews will die. Remember Hitler’s re-militarization of the Rhineland in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles? The Allies could have easily stopped him right then and there if they had had the guts. But they blinked and a few years later almost 50 million people were dead. There’s a reason why people will never forget the name of Neville Chamberlain.

    I wouldn’t send in troops so they would have to risk their lives trying to distinguish between terrorists and civilians. I would give the civilians 24 hours to evacuate and then use artillery and aerial bombardment, like any sensible army would do.

  • To Middle’s point, who’s had the tougher, more protracted, and bloodier job, Tommy Franks or David Petraeus?

  • Muffti has to agree with Middle on that last bit. The analogy to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan is pretty tenuous. In both cases there was an army to defeat that at the very least had a front that wasn’t a civilian front. Hiroshima, Nagaski, Dresden adn the other town the Allies firebombed are NOT remembered by everyone in a favourable light and in all cases the allies had qualms: the british parliament debated long and hard about the justifiability of such bombing raids. Find Muffti a military historian who will tell you that the bombing Dresden, 12 weeks before the inevitable fall, was justifiable as a military target. At the very leaSt, however, the british could with some accuracy claim it as a quid pro quo for the firebombing of coventry, london…waht are the Israelis going to do, send in jewish suicide bombers?

    Of course no one snivels and beats there breasts…no one snivels and beats there breasts about the burning of Savannah in the civil war either. Mostly people just aren’t breast beaters about history. Big surprise. As for stopping Hitler at the rhineland, it’s true that the french lacked the balls (or political will) to stand up to Germany early on. And it’s true that Chamberlain was myopic – of course, that’s a classic example of 20/20 hindsight, whcih we all know to be the most cruel and unfeeling judge of all. If anyone should be ashamed it’s the French, who could have sent Hitler packing (‘tail between our legs’ in Hitler’s words) if tehy had just shown any sign of upholding the Versailles treaty with a show of force. Somehow no one remembers the name of Albert Sarraut or secretary Flandin when they were the real wusses who refused to stand up while the English gazed on – it was the French, after all, who were under most immediate threat in the west. Why does chamberlain get the worst rap rather than these jokers?

  • That’s exactly right, Muffti. They debated it long and hard and went ahead and did it in spite of their qualms because they knew what would happen if they lost. And the Germans, in spite of the fact that they must have known about their “inevitable fall” had not yet surrendered. If Israel looks into the abyss and blinks like Middle wants it to do, all is lost.

    Jewish suicide bombers? All of this “proportionality” talk is hooey. Are you going to wait until thousands of Jews are killed in a devestating attack before killing the thousands of terrorists who are planning that attack at this very moment?

    Of course the frogs were the ones who blew it, Muffti. But everybody knows that. Why belabor the obvious?

    I am not saying that Israel must necessarily firebomb Gaza indiscriminately and that I would be happy if they did. All I am saying is that nations, when faced with mortal threats to their existence, must choose between defeat and destruction and doing what is necessary to survive. Israel could easily defeat the Pals if they were willing to really do what is necessary, and they would not have to resort to firebombing to do it. It is true that because of how the Pals hide behind their civilians that some of these civilians would be killed. It is the Pals who have chosen war and they will be the ones responsible.

  • No, they debated it long and hard and people were too war weary to listen to impassioned speeches about the wrongness of killing a town full of civilians of little to no military worth. There’s no evidence that bombing dresden a few weeks before the end of the war did anything to hasten the end. It was revenge and Bomber Harris’ last chance to test out his clever but cold plan for proper city-fire bombing. The advent of the nuke made those plans completely obsolete. In any case, it wasn’t really up to the germans to surrender – Hitler had firm control of the military until close to the end and was in a bunker.

    Muffti was belabouring the obvious because he always had a bit of a soft spot for Chamberlain, the poster child for stupidity and myopia when really he was just trying to keep europe from sliding into what turns out, 20/20 hindsight to have been the inevtitable. Hitler himself had ordered his troops to retreat from teh rhineland if the French had even bothered to move a troop or two in response. If anyone was cowardly in this thing, it was not chamberlain but the french who wouldn’t stand up to a measly 20000 german troops amassing near their border.

    In any case, Muffti isn’t really sure when you say ‘that youa re not saying that israel must necessarily fire bomb Gaza indiscriminately…’ The only other type of firebombing Muffti knows of is discriminate firebombing. So, what DO you have in mind?

  • Why didn’t Sharon, no shrinking violet, choose this option? Is it really likely to work against a terrorist enemy fighting an asymmetrical war?

    I certainly think Israel’s entitled to clean out Gaza, but is it likely to produce a finality akin (to stick with your analogy) to Germany’s surrender?

  • Easy, Muffti:

    A sustained military operation against Gaza, the objective being to kill as many terrorists as possible, the ultimate objective to destroy Hamas as a military force, insofar as that is possible. I will leave how that is to be done up to the people who know about these things.

    I was using Dresden as an extreme example. My point is not that people may have felt bad about doing it. My point was that they went ahead and did it anyway, and Britain can still look at itself in the mirror. Israel has done nothing, and probably will not ever do anything, approaching Dresden. But if they were ever forced into doing something along those lines to save Israel, it would be justified.

  • No, Tom, probably not. My idea is simple: the more dead terrorists, the fewer dead Jews. That’s it, really. I’ll leave the “modalities”, as the diplomats like to call them, to the pros.

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