Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Winning Can Be Ugly, But It's Better Than Losing

Just two days ago we heard that the Hamas leadership in Gaza really really doesn't want anyone shooting at Israel. Since there are just about always armed Palestinians who are even more extreme, it's not clear this plea is going to be fulfilled. Someone in Gaza is still shooting, even if their ability to do so is very limited, and Israel is still responding. This could escalate, it could peter out, or it could continue as it has for the past 8 months, as a minor irritant that doesn't much affect the lives of any Israeli citizens.

Meanwhile, in faraway Brazil, Abbas explains that the Palestinians aren't about to launch a third intifada, even though the Israelis aren't giving them everything they think they deserve, because they've suffered too much from the second one. Abbas is ultimately not the one to make that decision - if there are enough Palestinians who want another intifada they can have it without his permission - but the impression is that in this matter, at this moment, he's expressing the will of his people. They really don't want another round.

The Palestinian decision of Fall 2000 to respond to Israel's proposals with violence was touted at the time as the desperate act of a people with no choice; Israel was told by the entire international community that its only possible response was to reward the Palestinians in negotiations. This was not true at the time, and the various Palestinian leaderships seem to be publicly admitting it now. Their choice to use violence was fraught with danger, and the dangers indeed materialized. This is profoundly unfortunate, and thousands of people, a majority of them Palestinians, paid with their lives. It is also what war is about.

Israel's neighbors who refrain from starting wars don't suffer from the results of the wars they don't start.

10 comments:

Michael W. said...

I don't think the Palestinians can muster another intifada without Abbas' approval. Didn't it seem quiet in the West Bank during the Gaza war last winter? I don't think there is any sizable and organized Palestinian political will outside of Fatah in the West Bank.

Anonymous said...

I am ashamed to see the mollusk president of my country (his abbreviated name, "Lula", also means 'squid' in portuguese) shaking hands and exchanging smiles with that scoundrel from Persia. But it is totally in-sync with traditional left-wing "weltanchaaung", with that smug delusion of representing the oppressed of the world. At least there were some protests in Rio and Brasilia...To critics, the answer was the predictable and all-important "economic" ties, but does the goverment need to give him such warm reception?

Why is this double-standards and disregard to the truth so ingrained in the left, and probably the main reason of its demise and lack of credibility?

Yet another example is the crazy ideia of granting asylum to the notorious italian fugitive and murderer Cesare Battisti, on the grounds he's a "political refugee"!! Sad and pathetic.

Sergio

Victor said...

Yaakov, that's exactly right. In the eyes of our enemies, the only things worse than Jews are weak Jews.

The fact that Israel and the US are able to have the arguments that we do - over settlements, etc. - is a product of Israel winning, or at least not losing, three wars in the last decade (intifada, lebanon and gaza).

The consequences of having performed more poorly would have been devastating.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Israel's neighbors who refrain from starting wars don't suffer from the results of the wars they don't start.

I take exception to this claim.

Right at this moment, the Palestinians aren't starting any new war or Intifada, yet they're suffering just as much as if they were: Jewish settlers continue to grab their land with the State of Israel failing to exercise the monopoly of violence. See this story, in which a defense official moans that the settlers are breaking the law -- yet does nothing to stop them.

Israel always steals land, Intifada or not. Let's stop pretending that good Palestinian behavior will be rewarded.

Victor said...

Ibrahim, this is simply not the case.

Almost all Jewish towns in Yehuda and Shomron are built on State owned land under the administration of a branch of the Jewish Agency, like most of the Kibbutzim and Moshavim throughout the country.

Some of the yeshuvim are built on land that was bought from Arabs like Revava, Tzofim and Avni Chefetz in the Shomron. There are really very very few instances of any Jewish communities authorized or un-authorized that are using any land that is privately owned by Arabs.

There is no land being stolen from Arabs. Building is happening within existing communities. If you have specific evidence, present it here. Otherwise all these statements of a general nature that Israel is stealing Palestinian lands are simply untrue.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

There are really very very few instances of any Jewish communities authorized or un-authorized that are using any land that is privately owned by Arabs.

Very few instances? What about 54 out of 105 outposts? See the Sasson report here. It states that 15 outposts are totally built and 39 are partially built on private Palestinian land.

And even when the construction itself does not take place in private property, it also entails land confiscations to build the infrastructure or establish security zones. For instance, while the legal Jewish settlement of Eli and the illegal Jewish outpost of Yuval are both built on State land, the road being built between them runs through private Palestinian land. The same goes for the road between legal Ofra and illegal Amona.

Ofra itself, while being a perfectly legal settlement, was totally built on private Palestinian land, as the Israeli government has acknowledged.

I hope this "specific evidence" satisfies you.

Victor said...

Ibrahim, you're making my case for me. I don't know what the definition of "outpost" is. Maybe that's defined in the Sassoon report, but the link you posted doesn't work.

Regardless, 15 out of 105? So 85% of West Bank settlements are built on public state land. Furthermore, I've spoken to settlers with property documentation from before 1948 in Shomron and Yehudah, whose parents were expelled by the Jordanians. Some have since returned to what they believe are their private property. The picture you draw is simplistic and dishonest. Just look at all the Jewish property in Shechem that was confiscated by the Arabs.

Even today, look at Peace House in Shechem, where the purchase of the property was VIDEOTAPED and accepted by the Supreme Court, only to have the IDF forcibly remove the residents.

Ofra and the other settlements you've quoted are decades old! Ofra was set up in the early 1970s. Where is all the terrible daily land confiscation we're talking about?

A 1.5km road? That's the terrible land confiscation? You are lucky that the Yesha Council is so inept at public communication. I don't know the details of this road, but I've accused settlers of land confiscation and been corrected enough times to not take such claims at face value without asking the parties on the ground. For all we know the land was purchased from some Palestinian who didn't ask his brothers for permission to sell it.

The Palestinians are not innocent in the least, and play many dirty tricks with the settlers, setting fire to their crops, making agreements on land and water and then breaking them, etc.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Victor, you live in what a shrink would describe without hesitation as a state of denial.

For instance, while I provided evidence that 54 of 105 outposts are totally or partially built on private land (if you can't access my link, just Google "Sasson report"), you insist that only 15% are.

I never said that the land confiscated is an enormous amount. I only said that Israel always steals land, and I stand by that assertion. (Aside from that, you can steal a small amount of land and cause major suffering all the same. It all depends on WHERE you do the stealing.)

You, on the other hand, claimed "There is no land being stolen from Arabs. Building is happening within existing communities." That is clearly not true. Settlers are building outposts like crazy outside of existing communities.

Shalom, Cherry Hill said...

Ya'acov: Israel's neighbors who refrain from starting wars don't suffer from the results of the wars they don't start.

Ibrahim: I take exception to this claim.

Right at this moment, the Palestinians aren't starting any new war or Intifada, yet they're suffering just as much as if they were...

Shalom: The key phrase in your comment was 'Right at this moment'. Whether we like it or not, actions have consequences that can be felt for centuries. The Palestinians murdered Jews long before 1948, they didn't accept the UN partition plan, they created terror organizations, and kept their heads up their rear ends instead of accepting the fact of Israel's existence. They are reaping what they sowed.

This is even more true of the residents of Gaza. While the PA is very corrupt, they voted in Hamas knowing that they will not accept Israel's existence. They can lay all of their misery of the past few years at Hamas's door (well, most of it, anyway).

It seems to me that it's in Israel's interest to confiscate more land, not less. After all, why should the Palestinians be given concession after concession, when they refuse to reciprocate? Perhaps they'll be more willing to do some soul searching when they realize that mistakes will really hurt. Suicide bombings didn't stop because the Palestinians suddenly realized that it was immoral--it stopped because of the fence, targeting killings, and increased security.

Yaacov said...

Victor -

You really needn't argue with Fake-Ibrahim. He's not interested in truth or reality, he's interested in making anti-Israeli points. Israel can offer to take down almost all settlements (Summer 2000), and he'll never notice. It can disband dozens of them, in Gaza and Samaria, and it will mean nothing to him. The electorate can elect Olmert in 2006 on a platform that specifically calls for settlement disbanding on the West Bank. Fake Ibrahim wasn't online that day. The government can officially decide to stop new construction,
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/26/world/middleeast/26israel.html?hpw
but Fake will explain why it's not happening.
He's like the Palestinians, is Fake Ibrahim, always eager to get more, never satisfied with what they're offered, never willing to give anything in return. Except that we must deal with them, since they're our neighbors. Fake Ibrahim is a marginal antisemite from a middling town in Argentina who gets his kicks out of aggravating us. We shouldn't give him the pleasure.