The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

11 June 2003

Folding the "road map"

Wylie is not entirely happy with the way the Bush administration is handling That Other Middle East Issue:

Certainly his determination to stand up to Islamic terrorists is a sea change from the previous administration, and that can only be good for Israel. But allowing the State Department and others in his administration to constantly snipe at Israeli counter-terrorist measures is hardly salutary. His inconsistency is manifest in insisting that America must resist terrorism, with force where necessary, but that Israel is "undermining the peace process" when they retaliate against terrorist acts.

The President is trying, I suppose, to avoid the appearance of taking sides, and while this is the sort of thing that buys Brownie points at the UN, it's not the most useful approach to this particular situation. Things are a lot more cut and dried than that:

[I]t is obvious that there will never be peace in the area of the former Palestinian protectorate until (1) the state of Israel is destroyed and the entire area is controlled by Muslims, or (2) Israel says "to hell with it" and drives all the 'Palestinians' out of the West Bank and Gaza area and makes it clear to the rest of the Arab world that they will either play nice or suffer the consequences. That's all they understand, and that's all that will ever be effective in dealing with them force, not conciliation. The sooner Bush or some subsequent President recognizes that, and reshapes his or her policy to deal more realistically with the situation, the sooner this situation will actually be on the road to permanent improvement.

Evidently it's not obvious enough, if it still has to be explained in stark terms like this, but does anyone seriously believe the Israelis and the Palestinians can live side by side in semiperfect harmony? I'd give better odds to the Arsonist Arms apartments opening up next door to the refinery.

Posted at 8:22 PM to Political Science Fiction

people who make claims that others will only understand force are more likely describing themselves than others. realistically it breaks down as such:

~ 5-10% that will keep fighting until the bitter end with no compromise possible. These are the suicide bombers and extremists that instigate violence every time any sort of negotiation is taking place. They exist on both sides.

~ 80% will support whatever they think will get them to better quality of life sometime in the future, or whichever they believe will eventually lead to some sort of end to the whole ordeal. They will support peace of violence depending on what is seen as the best option for success.

~5-10% want peace at all costs.

The key seems to be getting that majority of sensible (as can be) people in the middle to see and beleive that a peaceful resolution will be possible and they will drive the other fringe elements into irrelavance. The problem is that violence has a way of magnifying the importance of the fringe elements. I beleive that they have been drivin ghte process for way to long.

I rarely have any praise for Bush, but what they seem to be doing has some credibility. By putting pressure on the isrealis you buy the support of that middle in Palestine that wants peace but doesnt see the chance of it with isreali retaliations against the palestinian terrorism. With the isrealis they have to realize that the terrorists will strike, peace process or not. Its better to leep the process alive and hopefully acheive a level of tolerance amongst the general populations of both nations which will reduce the incentive for people to commit terrorism.

I think they can eventually live with each other but it will require concessions by both sides, and most importantly there has to be a generation of peace. Meaning one whole generation of people have to live with the idea of peaceful coexistance before we can really see soemthing last for a long time.

secondly we have to offer an alternative to struggle. for this I think it will take a some level of material comfort for the palestinians, not as some reward but more of a investment. Give them something they will be afraid to lose, a reason to maintain peace. Some prosperity and comfort. A reason to do something other than be resentful. People with real goals and dreams rarely want to kill themselves.

its not easy, thats for sure.... but simply saying, bah, force is the only language they understand is a cop out and a pre-written excuse to commit further violence.

Posted by: bruce at 1:37 AM on 12 June 2003

To me it boils down to these two questions:

1. If all the Arabs didn't exist and there were only Israel in the Middle East, would the world still have a "Middle East" problem? I'm fairly confident the answer would be No.

2. If Israel didn't exist and there were only the Arabs in the Middle East, would the world still have a "Middle East" problem? Given the way the Middle East was before Israel was created, I'd have to say the answer can only be Yes.

Does this mean I advocate exterminating the Arabs? Of course not. But refusing to understand what you're up against is only a road map to disaster.

Posted by: McGehee at 4:00 AM on 12 June 2003

Given the track records of the parties involved Israel has built an economy and a democracy, while the Palestinians have built a culture in which murder is not only acceptable but sanctified it's no particular secret which way I tilt on this matter.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:58 AM on 12 June 2003

1) only describes that isreal is a small majority that represent one faction. Whereas the ARABS do compose the MAJORITY of the people in the Middle East and represent a greater diversity of people. That's like saying that if just catholic priests were left we wouldn't have a religion problem then turning around and saying that if EVERYONE else were left we would. Therefore, by your reasoning everyone but catholic priest are responsible for all religious strife. Apparently it "all boils down to" a ridiculous arguement? Please try again.


take away the US support for Isreal and see how long their "successful" economy lasts. They receive an enormous amount of outside support even to survive....

They do have a democracy, somewhat, kudos for that.

Posted by: bruce at 11:33 PM on 13 June 2003

The only meaningful "diversity" among the Arabs in this part of the world is as follows:

Group A: Those who are anxious to serve as suicide bombers

Group B: Those who are content to let Group A do their thing

As for the demographics, well, read this and ask yourself: "Who deserves this land? The people who bought into it and built it into a nation, or the people who did everything they could to prevent it?"

Posted by: CGHill at 8:01 AM on 14 June 2003

hey, CG, I read that link. Excellent anti-arab writing. Lots of amens from the choir too. Pretty scary is what I thought all around. Pretty clear example of the two worlds that exist on the internet, the world that debates and discusses the issues and tries to understand, and the side that throws out emotional tripe and a bunch of people say "amen". Do I even need to point out which side that website falls into. Needless to say, not much thought going on.

Posted by: bruce at 1:54 PM on 14 June 2003

Well, we'll have to agree to disagree on this one, since I don't really see any middle ground here. And I'm not particularly anti-Arab, per se it doesn't take too long to trace one side of my family tree to Syria and Lebanon but in this matter, at least, I find their arguments unpersuasive and their actions reprehensible, and in the unlikely event that Israel decides to give 24 hours' notice and then board up the West Bank, I rather think my first reaction will be "It's about damn time."

Posted by: CGHill at 2:21 PM on 14 June 2003