Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Whatever happened to tough love?

I like Americans, I really do, and as a people, I would judge them to be counted among the most generous, openhearted and kind nation in the world. But then there are times when the actions of the US government infuriates beyond all measure.

Like when former US President Ronald Reagan intervened to save the Arafat and the PLO from utter defeat in Lebanon by negotiating a safe harbor and carrying them safety. Think how many lives on both sides of this conflict would have been saved if Reagan had not chosen to save Arafat and the PLO.

There might have even been a real chance of a lasting resolution and peace in the region. Instead, the world was treated to 20 years plus civil war in Lebanon, Oslo and the radicalization of generations of Palestinian Arabs to perpetuate the conflict to this present day and countless tomorrows to come.

There are times when it’s best just to step back and let the chips fall where they may. The fighting between Hamas and Fatah is just one of those times when a little tough love would go a long way in ultimately ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Arming one side against another is to perpetuate a needless cycle of violence longer than is necessary.

Ynet News reports:
The United States for the past few days has been providing arms to militant groups from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party to bolster it against rival Hamas factions, WND has learned.

According to Israeli and Palestinian security officials, the US weapons shipments have prompted an arms race with Hamas, which has been smuggling into the Gaza Strip larger than usual quantities of weaponry from neighboring Egypt.

The Israeli security officials expressed concern some of the weapons obtained by Fatah and Hamas could be used in attacks against Israeli troops operating in Gaza or in raids of Israeli military stations and communities near the Gaza Strip. "There is a massive increase in weapons brought in (to Gaza) since last week," said an Israeli security official.

Just because Abbas presents better than Hamas should not make the organization he represents any more palatable. If anything, Fatah/PLO has more blood on their hands than Hamas. It is long past the time for both of these groups and their ideology to die a painful and ignominious death.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right! The government seems to take this "damned if we do damned if we don't" mentality. The result being that they pick the lesser of two evils. Whereas sometimes this may be a necessary action, it is not here. We should at the very least leave the situation alone and allow Israel to act in her best interest. What we really need to do is stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel in her continuing struggle for security. There should be no aid for the Palestinian Authority until they do what is required of them. Which, oddly enough, they have been promising to do all along. I don't always agree with Israels tactics, but it is easy for me, in the comfort and security of my home, to criticize. I do understand the urgency that is felt in all of their actions, and so support them whole heartedly.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right! The government seems to take this "damned if we do damned if we don't" mentality. The result being that they pick the lesser of two evils. Whereas sometimes this may be a necessary action, it is not here. We should at the very least leave the situation alone and allow Israel to act in her best interest. What we really need to do is stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel in her continuing struggle for security. There should be no aid for the Palestinian Authority until they do what is required of them. Which, oddly enough, they have been promising to do all along. I don't always agree with Israels tactics, but it is easy for me, in the comfort and security of my home, to criticize. I do understand the urgency that is felt in all of their actions, and so support them whole heartedly.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right! The government seems to take this "damned if we do damned if we don't" mentality. The result being that they pick the lesser of two evils. Whereas sometimes this may be a necessary action, it is not here. We should at the very least leave the situation alone and allow Israel to act in her best interest. What we really need to do is stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel in her continuing struggle for security. There should be no aid for the Palestinian Authority until they do what is required of them. Which, oddly enough, they have been promising to do all along. I don't always agree with Israels tactics, but it is easy for me, in the comfort and security of my home, to criticize. I do understand the urgency that is felt in all of their actions, and so support them whole heartedly.

Kateland, aka TZH said...

Thank you Josh, its playing those 'damn" cards that eventually leads at the least bad PR and hurts America's credibility in the long run.

For example, take American support of Saddam in the 80's, I understand the larger geopolitics of it at the time because I lived through it, but if you were to do a general survey of say 30 year olds, I suspect most wouldn't have a recall of the Iranian hostage crisis nor a the politics of the cold war to correct frame or understand US actions. Was it the right course?Perhaps in the short-term but in the long-term? That is another story.

My point is Hamas has the support of the people, Fatah doesn't and for the US to put their eggs in Fatah's basket is a mistake. How long and how far is the US prepared to support Fatah against the will of the Palestinian people?

Furthermore, it requires that one ignores Fatah's history both past and present and goals. Fatah are not the Palestinian version of the boyscouts nor is it the poster child for liberty, equality and faternity - or even democracy.

While I often disagree with Israeli politicans and decisions taken but I cannot ever fault them for attempting to protect their most precious resource - their people.

Michael said...

Josh and Kate:
These, of course, are the exact arguments for why Israel should simply close down all the crossing from Gaza, finish the West Bank fence, and then shut those crossings, too.

If the palestinians don't want to live peacefully with anyone, we (anyone) shouldn't be made to live with them. They can have their statelet, and do with it what they will. I don't think they'll last very long on their own....

Kateland, aka TZH said...

Well, Michael, I'm probably considerably more radical than you nor would I be so generous once the smoke clears. But here's the thing. Let's go with that idea of finishing off the fence and closing the crossings into Israel.

What then? The palestinians have shown themselves to be unable to create a viable anything without access to Israeli markets, technology, the economy, transportation, education etc. Even the Rand Corp's feasiblity study required the Israelis open their markets and borders to the Palestinians under the "two state" solution or it just wasn't a viable entity. With a sealed Israel, it wouldn't be long before another terror group starts eying the Israeli state's prosperity and claim it for themselves. There is simply no guarantee of security even with Israel's closed door borders. There are only three possible options; continue on in the current state of affairs, absord the native arab population as citizens and Israel loses its unique character as the world's only Jewish state or transfer.

Anonymous said...

I know there are probably people in Gaza who will just shrug their shoulders and think the situation can't get much worse.

Trouble is, in that part of the world, if you can actually articulate this thought... it probably can.

Michael said...

Kate:
Israel doesn't need to absorb the palestinians, nor does it need to provide infrastructure, jobs, trade outlets or the like. Prior to '67, Israeli society got along just fine without the palestinians, and the IDF worked just as hard as it does now to stop the terrorist attacks. We can do it again if we need to.

Close the fences, and seal the crossings. Let the palys sit in the bed they made. If they want trade, or electricity, or water, or jobs, or investment, or whatever, they can turn to their "Arab brothers" in Egypt and Jordan.

Except that those "Arab brothers" have been rejecting the palestinians for nearly 60 years.

It's not a matter of "radical" or "generous;" it's a matter of survival. Israel doesn't need the palestinians, but it does need to focus on a lot of internal issues. Now's our chance.

Kateland, aka TZH said...

Michael, what is your solution for the nearly half a million Israelis who live in the Occupied Territories under your seal the borders idea? How would Israel absorb a half million refugees - what of the economy, the educational system, the healthcare system, housing?

I guess what I am saying is that even if you removed all the Israelis from the territories and sealed the borders, you will still be facing war with Palestinians. Its not a question of if, but only when. Sealing Israel is not a solution or resolution. Its holding your finger in the dike - at some point you have to pull it out.

Not to mention the more land Israel gives up to the Palestinians the greater threat to Israeli security. The Gaza disengagement is the case in point. Israel is now less secure with the Pally's running Gaza. The most cynical projections of the opponents of the disengagement are all coming true. Give them the West Bank and rockets will be flying into Israel at an alarming rate. Statehood for the Palestinians also means they have open access to state-like weapons - and they will get them. What then? You fight now or fight later but this is a battle than cannot be avoided - only delayed.

What amazes me is why Israel has never established a fund to help Palestinians leave the West bank and Gaza and re-settle somewhere else of their choosing - much like the fund Israel has to help Jews move to Israel. Ultimately, it would be cheaper than killing them.

Michael said...

Kate:
Israel shouldn't move those settlers, or their communities. Just route the fence to protect them.

And Israel should stop trying to avoid hitting the "civilians" when the paly terrorists start shooting over the wall. Treat them the way they treat us.

It has been said that if you are merciful to the cruel, you will end up being cruel to the merciful. Now is the time to stop showing mercy to cruel terrorists and their supporters.

Will the paly leadership make war on Israel, should Israel pull its military out of the West Bank and Gaza? Absolutely. But that is what they are doing now, anyway.

I say pull back, get a clear shot, and blaze away. And don't let the palys back in when they come begging.

Like you said, it's tough love. It's the only thing that can possibly make the palestinians grow up and become the nation they say they are.