Thursday, January 01, 2009

Has Israel learned “the most critical lesson?”

Jeff Jacoby asks that question in his Boston Globe column today. I comment below the star line.

Jacoby excerpts - - -

…. [It] remains an open question whether Israel's leaders have learned the most critical lesson of all: that genocidal jihadists and other mortal foes cannot be wheedled, negotiated, bribed, or ignored into quietude. In a war with enemies like Hezbollah and Hamas and the PLO - enemies explicitly committed to Israel's destruction - goodwill gestures beget no goodwill, and peace processes do not lead to peace.

The proximate cause of the fighting in Gaza was the sharp increase in rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilians after Hamas refused to extend its tenuous cease-fire with Israel past Dec. 19.

But the deeper cause was the transformation of Gaza into an Iranian proxy and terrorist hub following Israel's reckless "disengagement" in 2005. Israelis convinced themselves that ethnically cleansing Gaza of its Jews and handing over the territory to the Palestinians would reduce violence and make Israel safer.

It did just the opposite.

In 2000, Israelis had similarly believed that a unilateral retreat from southern Lebanon would deprive Hezbollah of any pretext for continuing its war against the Jewish state.

But far from extinguishing Hezbollah's jihadist dreams, it inflamed them.

The hard truth is that no matter how much Israelis crave peace, they cannot achieve it through concessions and compromises and "road maps" - not when their enemies view such overtures and agreements as signs of weakness, and as proof that terrorism works.

For 60 years, Israel has had to contend with the hostility of its neighbors and the heavy costs of war; its yearning for peace is understandable. But there will be no peace without victory, and no victory without fighting for it.

For a long time now, Israel's leaders have resisted this fact - "We are tired of fighting," Ehud Olmert infamously declared in 2005.

For 15 years, beginning with the sham of the Oslo peace process in 1993, Jerusalem has tried to appease its way to tranquility.

It allowed Yasser Arafat and his PLO killers to take control of the West Bank and Gaza.

It embraced the goal of Palestinian statehood.

It responded to terrorism with ever-deeper concessions.

It abandoned Lebanon and Gaza.

It reiterated, over and over, the false mantra that "you make peace with your enemies."

And from the ongoing captivity of Gilad Shalit to the rockets slamming into Israeli cities to the dysfunction and radicalization of Palestinian society, the results have been disastrous.

With an enemy like Hamas, which boasts that it "loves death" and "drinks blood," truces and deals are illusory.

If Israel seeks lasting peace, it must first win a lasting victory.

Jacoby’s entire column’s here.



At Camp David, Israel agreed to 95% of what Arafat was demanding, at which point he walked away from the negotiating table.

How do you negotiate with people whose goal is to destroy you and kill your children asleep in their beds?

An Anon commenter recently asked for a more evenhanded U. S. policy toward Israel and the Palestinians.

I’m all for evenhanded policy.

But how do you work one out with terrorists who plot and then send a sick, pregnant suicide bomber into a hospital?

As part of an evenhanded policy, should American government representatives attend ceremonies “honoring a Palestinian martyr” who blew himself up on a public bus in Israel?


Anonymous said...

As an example of evenhandedness, the US should not pretend not to notice when Israeli bulldozers demolish a Palestinian family home because a family member is SUSPECTED of being a terrorist. That would be a good beginning. And I in no way suggested we honor suicide bombers. I believe neither side in that dispute has clean hands. We provide millions of US tax dollars to Israel and supply them with state-of-the-art weapons. I'd be very pleased if the new president showed some courage and cut back on American generosity to Israel.

JWM said...

I'm glad you don't think American government representatives should attend ceremonies honoring children who were manipulated to turn themselves into terrorist "human bombs" and go kill Israeli children as well as themselves.

But we still have the problem of how to be "evenhanded" with a "government" (really a terrorist organization) that encourages its own children to act as “human bombs.”

As for American generosity to Israel, there's also quite a bit of American generosity for Palestine.
Just consider how much money we funnel there via our payments to the U.N.

If you want to say a lot of that aid money gets raked off by Palestinian "freedom fighters" (wasn't a low estimate of Arafat's wealth at the time of his death $1 bil?), I won't dispute you.

But there's still the fact the U. S. has spent billions trying to aid the Palestinians.

Thanks for commenting.