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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Monday, July 25, 2005
The Western Word: How Not to Treat Friends
Western Word links to the Jerusalem Post's slam on Condi for praising the PA's "important steps" against terrorism.

I'll add that Rice getting smacked is Bush getting smacked. The treatment of the Israel-Palestinian conflict by the White House these days is getting more and more inexplicable. This is because it is getting further and further from the administration's otherwise stellar prosecution of the war on terror.

We are pledging to fight Arab and Islamic terror (ok, fine, not by those names, but who are we kidding?) in every corner of the globe except the very incubator of terror, the Palestinian Authority (neé PLO)? It boggles the mind.

It boggles the mind, that is, except in terms of realpolitik - babying the Palestinians and pressuring the Israelis to keep our street cred with the Israeli-hating nations we have to deal with. But it is so fundamentally anthithetical to what we are trying to do. You know, I think some on the Left are correct - much of what's going on in the Arab and muslim world won't calm down until the Israeli-Palestinian struggle is ended. But not in the way they mean. They mean that Israel should be cowed so the problem will go away, which of course it wouldn't. This conflict is the ground zero of the greater conflict, and the bad guys look to it for cues. If anyone ever decides to get serious about it and stop rewarding terror by doling out unearned concessions, and really, really, respond to terrorist attacks of all stripes, then maybe terror will begin to ebb around the world. It's all about incentives and disincentives. Right now terrorists in the middle east and around the world have no disincentive to stop and every incentive to keep on keepin' on.
"Palestine" is the crux of the war on terror. The sooner everyone figures this out, the sooner we can start winning.
I forgot to add a crucial element: I don't mean to place all the blame on Bush, et al. Sharon came up with the Gaza disengagement, and the U.S. is just running with the momentum, in a sense. If it's mind-boggling that Bush is doing what he's doing, how much more so is it that Sharon is doing what he's doing? The disengagement, in its current configuration, is the largest reward for terrorism going at this point. To paraphrase a recent propaganda film against the disengagement, "We're fighting Arab and Islamic terror around the world, but here in Israel we're giving them a state?"
Yeah. It's not good.

And we're not really handing Gaza over to the PA. The PA is in shambles in Gaza. We're really handing it over to Hamas.

Here's a great article by Barbara Lerner in NRO that makes that point.
You guys are right on the nose.

We often term the lack of support for Israel as "realpolitick". But isn't realpolitick supposed to mean doing what will work, even if it isn't strictly in line with stated principles? If so, the "doing what will work" part might be a bad assumption.

It seems more to me like bet-hedging, cold feet, or uncertainty of correctness. There is still the hope that this "problem" (Islamist terrorism) can be contained and minimized until it's practicioners learn their lesson and go away. At some point, these assumptions have to be checked.

I still struggle with our disengagement, torn between unwillingness to label Israel's sovereign government's decision illegitimate, and serious anxiety that it won't work out well if it goes forward. I'm concerned too many people here in Israel who oppose disengagement are doing so in a way that fails to create an alternative path, other than via the weakening and submission of their own government and armed forces. In the end, our own inconsistency doesn't make it any easier for the rest of the world to take the plunge and make the real decision to fight back.
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