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Krauthammer on Gaza:

Last year, I held out some hope that the Palestianians would seize the opportunity presented to them by the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, and begin building a state that could live in peace with Israel. After all, leftist Ha'aretz columnists assured readers that the main reason Palestinians did not embrace Oslo and the "peace process" was their belief that Israel would never truly withdraw from territory occupied in 1967.

I was wrong, and now see the withdrawal from Gaza, and especially the failure to retain control at the Egypt-Gaza border (which raised my eyebrows even last year) as reckless and counterproductive. And here's what Krauthammer has to say:

What is so remarkable about the current wave of violence in Gaza is that the event at the origin of the "cycle" is not at all historical, but very contemporary. The event is not buried in the mists of history. It occurred less than one year ago. Before the eyes of the whole world, Israel left Gaza. Every Jew, every soldier, every military installation, every remnant of Israeli occupation was uprooted and taken away.

How do the Palestinians respond? What have they done with Gaza, the first Palestinian territory in history to be independent, something neither the Ottomans nor the British nor the Egyptians nor the Jordanians, all of whom ruled Palestinians before the Israelis, ever permitted? On the very day of Israel's final pullout, the Palestinians began firing rockets out of Gaza into Israeli towns on the other side of the border. And remember: those are attacks not on settlers but on civilians in Israel proper, the pre-1967 Israel that the international community recognizes as legitimately part of sovereign Israel, a member state of the U.N. A thousand rockets have fallen since.

J..:
Qassams were fired from Gaza and into Sderot, etc., well before pullout. To link the to is ahistorical, though I would grant that there has (likely) been an increase since Sept. '05.
7.5.2006 3:05pm
dw (mail):
"Every Jew, every soldier, every military installation, every remnant of Israeli occupation was uprooted and taken away."

And additionally, every land, sea, and air route was effectively closed, practically all sources or outside income were either blocked or reduced to nothing. Now electricity, sewage, and potable water have been stopped as well. There are now 1.37 million people in 360 km2 without a reliable supply of food or drinking water, no sewage, and no exit. There's blame to be found on all sides, but the dimensions of the present, and predictable, humanitarian disaster suggest that the independence of Gaza was planned to fail.

"Gaza, the first Palestinian territory in history to be independent, something neither the Ottomans nor the British nor the Egyptians nor the Jordanians, all of whom ruled Palestinians before the Israelis, ever permitted?"

This is a fundamentally flawed assertion in that a believing Muslim ultimately cannot accept western-style nation-states, and especially those drawn-up as the result of western intervention. Any division of the "nation of Islam" is forbidden, and for all the recognized faults, for most believers, the Ottoman Empire was more legitimate as a institution unifying the faithful than any of the present small states.
7.5.2006 3:30pm
davidbernstein (mail):
I've seen before the allegation that all routes out of Gaza were closed, an I'm not sure where this comes from. The route from Gaza to Egypt wasn't closed, as far as I know, and it was, it wasn't by Israel.
7.5.2006 3:34pm
JohnAnnArbor:
Poll the Palestinians and see whether their life has improved or not since 1986.
7.5.2006 3:45pm
jvarisco (www):
That is like giving a homeless guy a penny and expecting him to love you forever. Sure, you gave him something. But it was a lot less than what he wanted. The Palestinians at the very least deserve Israeli withdrawals from BOTH Gaza and the West Bank; after that, they can begin to operate as a nation. Most of them want even more, and considering the history (which you tend to gloss over, as it is not at all favorable to Israel) have somewhat legitimate claims.

The fact is that the Palestinians democratically elected a government and have since been penalized because Israel and the US did not like the results. You expect them to act like a state, but don't treat them as one. Hamas tried to be moderate, but was presented with impossible demands; you can't make disavowing the platform they won on a condition for being recognized.

For most people, being independent is less important than having electricity, and running water, and access to education. Under the Ottomans and the British the Palestinians had all of these things; under Israel, and after the withdrawal considering the lack of aid due to Hamas being elected, they have none of it. Personally, I'd take food and shelter and education for my children over freedom any day. So would most Palestinians, given the option.
7.5.2006 3:48pm
NYU 2L:
Clearly, Israel hasn't treated the Palestinians like an independent state. After all, if an independent state repeatedly launched rockets at civilians as a matter of state policy, that would be a declaration of war and Israel would be justified in responding with an invasion.

As for opposition to Western-style nation states, that doesn't justify murdering civilians.

What's blindingly stupid in all of this is that Hamas is acting as if it wants a full-scale war. This makes only slightly more sense than a runty 5 year old repeatedly kicking a sleeping tiger, given the history of Israeli warfare.

I still support the Gaza withdrawal, as it was the most sensible way to show the world that the Palestinians are motivated by hatred of Israel more than a desire for independence. Now that the Palestinians have shown their true feelings, Israel would be justified in and probably should launch a full scale invasion.
7.5.2006 4:00pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I don't know the right answer to the issue of the MILITARY occupation of Gaza, but I wonder if Krauthammer is arguing in good faith here. One of the reasons for the pullout was to pull the SETTLERS out of Gaza (something that should also be done in the West Bank). I have no problem with Israel doing whatever is necessary with its military for its security, but the settlements were and are an illegitimate attempt to displace Arabs and retake more of the territory that was allegedly granted by God to the Israelites. Krauthammer seems to be intent on blurring that distinction.
7.5.2006 4:06pm
davidbernstein (mail):
JVarisco, you should know, but apparently don't, that before the outbreak of the first intifada, and thus for approximately the first 20 years of Israeli control, the West Bank and Gaza had among the highest economic growth rates in the world. That wasn't enough for the Pals, which I can understand, nationalism being what it is, but let's not pretend that it was Israeli control, as opposed to the Israeli reaction to terrorist violence emanating from the territories (resulting in closures, roadblocks, prohibitions on laborers from the territories entering Israel, etc) that caused economic immiseration.
7.5.2006 4:16pm
Observer (mail):
I despair - is the only solution to drive all of the Palestinian Arabs out of Gaza - if they refuse to live in peace next to Israel, just persist in waging war against Israel, what other choice is there?
7.5.2006 4:30pm
dirc (mail):
Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, and the free and fair election of Hamas by the Palestinians, has improved Israel's foreign policy situation. By withdrawing from Gaza, Israel removed the justification for Palestinian attacks. The election of Hamas, with their forceful restatement of their goal to destroy Israel, has removed the blinders from the eyes of the Europeans about the Palestinian-Israeli situation. Even the Europeans see that the Palestinians are not ready to negotiate a peaceful settlement with Israel.

The result is that Israel's European critics have been silenced. Israel's invasion of Gaza has gone without any official European protests that I have read. This is a major success for Israel. There is even some Arab pressure (from Egypt) on the Palestinians. The result is that Israel can conduct whatever military operations it deems necessary, and increase the economic pressure on Hamas and the Gaza Palestinians.

The current situation is bringing home to the Palestinians the cost of continued war with Israel. They are discovering that they cannot count on international pressure to restrain Israel, and therefore, they are at the mercy of an enemy they have sworn to destroy. Not a comfortable position for the Palestinians, and a better position for Israel than just one year ago.
7.5.2006 4:42pm
David in DC:
Jvarisco,

Is there another Israel/Palestinian conflict going on, because you sure aren't describing the one in this reality.

Perhaps the media where you are from is describing that one? It would explain a lot...

For instance:


That is like giving a homeless guy a penny and expecting him to love you forever


Forget forever and forget love...they couldn't even manage to stop firing rockets into Israeli towns for a day.


The Palestinians at the very least deserve Israeli withdrawals from BOTH Gaza and the West Bank; after that, they can begin to operate as a nation.


Nothing was stopping them from cracking down on terrorists firing rockets from their territory except their lack of desire to do so. Hamas' control of Gaza is not at all contingent on any Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. Their failure to carry out one of the most basic requirements of statehood is their responsibility, not Israel's as you try to imply.


The fact is that the Palestinians democratically elected a government and have since been penalized because Israel and the US did not like the results.


This is simply false. It is not the result of the election but rather the behavior of those elected. This was made very clear by most government in the world.

Hamas tried to be moderate, but was presented with impossible demands

Interesting to hear that you feel recognizing Israel or dropping the position that Israel should be destroyed are impossible. Also that maintaining these extreme positions is "try[ing] to be moderate". I think they are not only reasonable, but intrinsically necessary for any negotiations and peace.


you can't make disavowing the platform they won on a condition for being recognized


We kept being told that Hamas won because they weren't perceived as corrupt like Fatah. So the Palestinians really want to destroy Israel and this is why they elected Hamas? It's hard to reconcile this assertion of yours with the fact that you think Israel should hand them over more territory.


For most people, being independent is less important than having electricity, and running water, and access to education. Under the Ottomans and the British the Palestinians had all of these things; under Israel, and after the withdrawal considering the lack of aid due to Hamas being elected, they have none of it.


Simply false. However, they are hurting from lack of aid money. If what you say is true, they will boot Hamas or pressure them to change their positions. I don't see any indication that this is happening, only polls suggesting that fewer people would have voted for Hamas if the elections were held today.

You also clearly don't understand what Palestine was like under the Ottomans and British.
7.5.2006 5:19pm
HBD:
JVarisco writes of Israel's Gaza withdrawal, "That is like giving a homeless guy a penny and expecting him to love you forever."

I would argue that the analogy goes more like this: "That is like giving a homeless guy a couple of dollars and expecting that he won't then mug you, steal your wallet and then kidnap your children." Whether it's a penny or a few dollars - or even if you walk past the homeless guy and give him nothing, it's not okay for the homeless guy to mug you.
7.5.2006 5:19pm
NYU 2L:
Well put, dirc. I'm reminded of a quote (I think by some champion chess player, maybe Alekhine?): "I'm not retreating, I'm advancing in the opposite direction."
7.5.2006 5:21pm
The Divagator (mail) (www):
What's clearer now (as if the past 60 years wasn't enough) is that many Muslims, both Palestinian and otherwise, are using the Palestinians as they have for a very long time to carry out a kind of proxy conflict with the state of Israel. Many of the most virulent Palestinians aren't even living in the territories (i.e., they're not even trying their hand at government)! There are too many folks who don't want peace, and they're dragging the rest of Palestinian population toward what can only be more hardship, if not annihilation.
7.5.2006 5:25pm
DG:
dirc:

Israel's invasion of Gaza has gone without any official European protests that I have read.

Slight correction: Switzerland has accused Israel of violating international law in the conduct of the invasion (targeting infrastructure, etc.). I think the EU has said something similar. On the other hand, it's worth noting that neither criticized the fact of the invasion.

Out of curiosity, is there any basis in international law for Switzerland's suggestion (or maybe the press's suggestion) that they have special obligations as the depository state for the Geneva Conventions? The Conventions themselves don't seem to suggest any special duties other than acting as a clearinghouse for accessions, denunciations, etc.
7.5.2006 5:27pm
Cato:
When a people teach their children that the highest and best use of their lives is blow themselves up and take innocents with them, that people ought be annihilated. When they teach their kids to be physicians and lawyers and research scientists and mathematicians, or even useful workers, that's when it should be aided. Cato said that Carthage should be destroyed because they engaged in child sacrifice. The Palestinians are no different. "Palestine delande est"
7.5.2006 5:30pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Israel didn't pull out of Gaza because of generosity to the Palestinians, but rather to preserve its status as Jewish democracy. According to news accounts that I have read, Sharon was concerned that, if Israel maintained possession of Gaza and certain other territories in which the majority of Palestinians lived, jews would become a minority in Israel (because of the Palestinian's much higher birth rate), and Israel would have to choose between being a democracy and a jewish state. He didn't want Israel to have to make that choice, and thus he eventually came round to the idea of Israel unilaterally withdrawing from certain territories, and building its security wall around the territories it intends to keep, as a solution.

Also, Israel has not pulled out of all of the territory it occupied as a result of the 1967 war, so it is hard to say how Palestinians will react if Israel ever takes that step. Do you really think, though, it would make Israel less secure than it has been?

I guess if I were leading Israel, the lesson I would draw from this situation is that I wouldn't make any more unilateral withdrawals, I give up territory only as a part of a larger peace package.

As for whether it was "reckless" to pull out of Gaza, I leave that for others more knowledgeable than I to judge. On the one hand, Israel no longer has to occupy and is not responsible for, a significant chunk of hostile territory and population. On the other hand, it is subject to rocket attacks and suicide bombers, based in Gaza. I guess the calculation is: would Israel have had fewer problems with a Hamas-led Palestinian government if it had remained in Gaza? I don't know, but imagine that Hamas would be just as bad if Israel had stayed.
7.5.2006 5:39pm
xx:
David - I don't see how you can accurately characterize something as "reckless" that you recently held out some hope would work. For a lawyer, this seems like really sloppy use of the term. Do you think that the Israeli government had good motives but was ultimately seriously mistaken, or do you actually believe that this policy only could have been pursued with wanton disregard for the safety of Israel?
7.5.2006 5:44pm
DG:
David Bernstein:

Nothing was stopping [the Hamas government] from cracking down on terrorists firing rockets from their territory except their lack of desire to do so.

Is this really true? I will admit more than a bit of ignorance about this issue, but are the Palestinian security forces really strong enough and organized enough to "crack[] down" on the militants?

I would be curious to hear more about this, as it seems to go right to the heart of the intractability of the conflict. If no faction or even group of factions in the Palestinian territories is capable of controlling the militants, is it reasonable to hold the government responsible for the militants' actions? I guess this also touches on the relationship between political Hamas and military Hamas, which I've read about in passing in several articles recently. Again, well-documented commentary from a more knowledgable source would be much appreciated.

Thanks. :-)
7.5.2006 5:53pm
Public_Defender (mail):
Krauthammer doesn't really argue that giving up Gaza has made things worse. He just argues that it's bad. But it's always been bad. Has the violence against Israelis increased since the withdrawal?

One argument for the withdrawal is that it gave Israel more defensible borders. Before the withdrawal, Israeli forces had to defend numerous small and large settlements. Now, Isreal just has one border to defend. People still die, but Krauthammer doesn't show that more are dying than before.

One advantage the Israeli Left has had over most of the Right is that the Left has a plan. While a few on the extreme Right have called for mass expulsion of Palestinians (critics call it "ethic cleansing"), the only thing close to a plan that mainstream Likud has offered was the pipe dream that Jordan or Egypt would take control of the West Bank and Gaza.
7.5.2006 5:57pm
davidbernstein (mail):
Reckless because the arrangements made to stop the PA terrorist groups from smuggling in weapons from Egypt were clearly inadequate, and, from what I've now read, the Israeli security services warned strongly about this. Pulling out many, and perhaps all, of the civilians was probably a good move regardless.
7.5.2006 5:58pm
NYU 2L:
Chris - Yes, it would hurt Israel's security. Simple geography shows that.

Pre-1967 borders Israel is incredibly narrow at the middle, approx. 17 miles. It's far too easy for an enemy stationed in the West Bank to harass that area and cut off the North and South parts of Israel. Additionally, a terrorist from the 1967 border can easily hit Israeli ports with these small rockets. It's easy to forget just how tiny Israel actually is, even with the post-1967 borders.
7.5.2006 6:00pm
MDJD2B (mail):
The Palestinians at the very least deserve Israeli withdrawals from BOTH Gaza and the West Bank; after that, they can begin to operate as a nation. Most of them want even more, and considering the history (which you tend to gloss over, as it is not at all favorable to Israel) have somewhat legitimate claims.

Jvarisco,

Hamas want destruction of the state of Israel, and incorporation of the land into an Islamic state. You seem to be implicitly supporting this goal. Are you saying that Israel has no national rights-- that Israeli Jews have no right to self determination? That they should (at best) live as a minority in an Islamic state controlled by Hamas? This is what I infer from your post. If I am mistaken, then what are you saying?
7.5.2006 6:11pm
dirc (mail):
DG,

Thank you for the correction. The mildness of the Swiss and EU protests (as you note, more about means, rather than the invasion itself) is interesting.

NYU 2L,

The quote I am familiar with is "Gentlemen, we are not retreating. We are merely advancing in another direction." It is attributed to General O.P. Smith, commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, as the Division fought its way south from the Chosen Reservoir in Korea, December 1950.
7.5.2006 6:21pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
DG: I probably know less than you about military vs. political Hamas, but, after reading how Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was really part of "military" IRA wing all along, and could call them off when he wanted to, I guess I am dubious that the "political" Hamas doesn't call the shots or that this distinction is real.

My guess is that the "military" vs. "political" division is largely for diplomats who don't want to be seen as negotiating with "terrorists" because their governments have policies against it, but need to talk to Hamas for practical reasons.

I think Israel's bigger problem is that Hamas is in power, not that Israel withdrew from Gaza.
7.5.2006 6:24pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
As a sidenote, why is it that whenever we speak of a state that may be engaged in behavior that some consider to be reprehensible or criminal, we do things like issue warnings, levy sanctions, etc. Occasionally we go to war. But no one says - "let's take land away from this country," or "this country has no right to exist." Unless of course, Israel comes up. Somehow in that case, half-the-world wants to redraw borders.
7.5.2006 6:25pm
David in DC:
DG,

I'm not David Bernstein.


I will admit more than a bit of ignorance about this issue, but are the Palestinian security forces really strong enough and organized enough to "crack[] down" on the militants?


Cracking down on the militants isn't shutting them down completely, it is making the honest effort.

However, you will notice that when Hamas (and Arafat before them) wants things to stop, they pretty much stop. The people firing these rockets aren't ghosts, and Hamas enjoys a huge membership and enormous support in Gaza. Which is to say, the militants firing rockets from people's fields aren't anonymous.

Couple Hamas' large armed force with an honest effort to provide leadership - strong statements coming out against this sort of behavior - and I think they could basically shut it down. Certainly they could shut it down to a level to which Israel would not have to respond.

Throw Fatah's support into the mix and it becomes even harder for anyone to get away with it.

But all of it is moot, Hamas explicitly said they would not act against the militants.

Any distinction between the political and military wings of Hamas is artificial. If there is a schism at all it looks like it is between the exiled leadership in Damascus and the government in the territories. It's not exactly clear what is going on there, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if it is a Fatah/Black September, Good Cop/Bad Cop sort of routine.
7.5.2006 6:28pm
David in DC:

While a few on the extreme Right have called for mass expulsion of Palestinians (critics call it "ethic cleansing")...


That is ethnic cleansing, with or without the quotes and regardless of what the critics call it. IMO it would be better to hand over everything beyond the green line rather than resort to this.
7.5.2006 6:38pm
duglmac (mail):

I think that the point of the exercise is being missed.

A year ago, when the Israeilis pulled out, I saw it as an attempt by Israel to clear the boards, and show the world what the Palestinians were really made of. It worked brilliantly.

The Palastinians had a golden opportunity to show the world that what they would do if given the chance, and they blew it, just as Sharon predicted.

This article did an excellent job of describing it.
7.5.2006 7:00pm
jallgor (mail):
I have never understood why Israel should feel compelled to hand over the territories taken in 1967. If they do feel compelled to hand them over, shouldn't it be to the countries they took them from, Jordan, Syria and Egypt?Jordan and Eqypt have long since dropped their claim to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip so the land is undisputably Israel's. Why, other than thethreat of violence, should the Israeli's feel compelled to do give the Palestinians a homeland? Why is there no international pressure to make Jordan or Egypt or Syria set aside a homeland for the Palestinians? You could easily argue that those three countries are equally (or more) responsibile for the plight of the Palestinians than is Israel.
7.5.2006 7:22pm
appdiv:
As a sidenote, why is it that whenever we speak of a state that may be engaged in behavior that some consider to be reprehensible or criminal, we do things like issue warnings, levy sanctions, etc. Occasionally we go to war. But no one says - "let's take land away from this country," or "this country has no right to exist." Unless of course, Israel comes up. Somehow in that case, half-the-world wants to redraw borders.
=======================================

Mike, your astonishment at the idea that "half-the-world" might see merit in the idea of Israel ceding land to the Palestinians in exchange for peace, whether real or feigned for dramatic effect, is precious.

Tell me, are we to pretend that Israel was always the nation-state it currently is, occupying the various lands it now does? Do we ignore the failed Bar Kochba Revolt against the Roman Empire (after which the Romans renamed the area Syria Palaestina)? Should we deny the almost two millennia during which Palestine existed? Do we overlook Zionism, the Balfour Declaration, and the 1947 UN Partition Plan?

To be sure, the state of Israel has a right to exist, but so too does the state of Palestine. However, since space is clearly limited, redrawing borders seems a purely utilitarian, and eminently reasonable solution.
7.5.2006 7:43pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
For the sake of historical accuracy, in modern times I believe "Palestine" only existed from approximately 1922 (date of the British mandate, or thereabouts) to 1947 (state of Israel created). Before that, it was South Syria, a backwater province of the Ottoman Empire, though Western Christians called the area "Palestine."
7.5.2006 7:48pm
Wizened:
NYU-2L,

The width of Israel at its narrowest, in its pre-1967 borders was only 9 miles! Perhaps that's one key reason Abba Eban, a dove, called them "Auzschwitz" borders.
7.5.2006 8:11pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
Since Israel won that territory in a war, precisely why are they obligated to give it up? Has anyone else had that obligation?
7.5.2006 8:29pm
Alaska Jack (mail):
jvarisco wrote:


For most people, being independent is less important than having electricity, and running water, and access to education


I was going to ask why they didn't just address these problems with the billions of dollars in aid that the western world has given them over the past 40 years. Then I remembered that money is all sitting in the coffers of their "democratically elected" former leaders. OK. So I'll just ask: lobbing rockets at civilians solves these problems how?

Anyway, I don't claim to have a lot of insight into this issue, but one thing seems clear: Hamas had a golden opportunity to show some statesmanship, leading their people into the future and showing the world that, given half a chance, they could be responsible members of the world community. Instead, they chose rockets and death. What lessons did they think the rest of the world would take from that?

- Alaska Jack
7.5.2006 8:36pm
Alaska Jack (mail):
David, has their been any progress in the investigation of the recent beach shelling? Last I heard there was a lot of talk that the deaths were actually caused by Palestinian mines or munitions sites or somesuch. Has there been any word since then?

- AJ
7.5.2006 8:38pm
appdiv:
For the sake of historical accuracy, in modern times I believe "Palestine" only existed from approximately 1922 (date of the British mandate, or thereabouts) to 1947 (state of Israel created). Before that, it was South Syria, a backwater province of the Ottoman Empire, though Western Christians called the area "Palestine."
===============================================

Actually, the name "Palestine" remained in popular and semi-official use in the Ottoman Empire, and the historical record contains numerous examples of such usage throughout the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries. (See Gerber, Haim, "Palestine" and other territorial concepts in the 17th century, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol 30, pp. 563-572 (1998)). Also, according to Neville J. Mandel's 1976 text, The Arabs and Zionism Before World War I, during the Nineteenth Century, the "Ottoman Government employed the term Arz-i Filistin (the 'Land of Palestine') in official correspondence, meaning for all intents and purposes the area to the west of the River Jordan which became 'Palestine' under the British in 1922."

You say tomato.... (but thank goodness for wikipedia, right?).
7.5.2006 8:42pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):

Since Israel won that territory in a war, precisely why are they obligated to give it up? Has anyone else had that obligation?

Ditto. Borders once settled must stay settled, precisely in the interest of peace. The notions that borders have a "right"state are usually tenuous, since history sees to it that borders change in times of serious upheaval. Finland smartly remains quiet about the territory it lost to Russia in the Winter War. Not because they don't have a morally defensible claim. They do. They just know better than to swing fists after the fight ended.


Mike, your astonishment at the idea that "half-the-world" might see merit in the idea of Israel ceding land to the Palestinians in exchange for peace, whether real or feigned for dramatic effect, is precious.

For things "precious," I suggest you go play with a kitten or something. My astonishment, such as you perceive it, represents a reasoned contrary view, that I ask you kindly to respect, or forego from noting, in your patronizing eff-ing posts.
7.5.2006 8:46pm
Stu (mail):

The Palestinians at the very least deserve Israeli withdrawals from BOTH Gaza and the West Bank; after that, they can begin to operate as a nation.

Israel's recent election ratified the plan to do just that - cede most of the West Bank. Yet the Palestinians couldn't wait to miss another opportunity and proceded with their war anyway. You justify this?

The fact is that the Palestinians democratically elected a government and have since been penalized because Israel and the US did not like the results.

If, by "the results," you mean a government dedicated to Israel's destruction, what, exactly, is there to like?

Hamas tried to be moderate, but was presented with impossible demands; you can't make disavowing the platform they won on a condition for being recognized.

Yes you can. As a condition of peace and existence, demanding peace and existence doesn't seem all that unreasonable. Are you suggesting Israel should commit national suicide to appease the PA?

Under the Ottomans and the British the Palestinians had all of these things [electric power and water]; under Israel, and after the withdrawal considering the lack of aid due to Hamas being elected, they have none of it.

Wrong. They were getting much of their power from the Ashkelon power plant - the one they have been trying to destroy with rockets for months. They have gotten much of their water from Israel as well. I was there before the disengagement last year and saw both the power plant and the power lines going to both places.

I suppose you'd blame Israel if the PA's own rockets caused the PA's own loss of electruc power.

I suppose you think the Allies' destuction of Germany's fuel supplies and infrastructure was equally unfair. But perhaps you are fine with the Allies' restraint in not bombing the railways leading to Auschwitz.

I don't blame you for not liking war. But you obviously have another agenda entirely.
7.5.2006 8:51pm
sam24 (mail):
I am old enough to remember WWII, the establishment of the jewish state in 1947, and all of the subsequent wars. The one thing that keeps coming to mind is the restraint that Israel has shown through all of this.

Suppose a state has a weaker neighbor who for 50+ years has launched attacks across its borders and killed its citizens in what most would agree are terriorist acts. Suppose also that this state has the power to completely destroy this weaker neighbor with minimal losses on its part. The fact that Israel has not done so seems to have been a choice on their part. One must grant the fact that their population size would not allow occupation of large amounts of territory, but it would probably take less time for them to drive out or kill everyone from the occupied territories than it woult take to then make them into parking lots.

MD south of fly over country
7.5.2006 9:01pm
Brother Bark (mail):
It cannot but be wondered about the prospects for permanent peace should the Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere simply be forcibly deported to Jordan, which after all is a Palestinian country. That would far more cleanly divide Israel from the Arab world geographically, and the Palestinians would be all in a country allegedly friendly to them with which to begin.
7.5.2006 11:28pm
aslanfan (mail):
"Cato said that Carthage should be destroyed because they engaged in child sacrifice. The Palestinians are no different."

The Christians and Jews, too, are no different, at least to the extent of being willing to engage in child sacrifice when called upon to do so by God. See Abraham &Isaac, etc.

Berstein's monotonous theme, which underlies virtually all his posts on this topic, is that the Palestinians are ultimately responsible for every atrocity committed in the Middle East, including those committed by Israeli checkpoint patrols, because the Palestinians engage in terrorism. We can be grateful that this thinking is not as common among Israelis as it is among Israel's American cheerleaders.
7.5.2006 11:40pm
sam24 (mail):
Brother Bark
You forget the Black September period in Jordan and the hijacking of the airliner to Amman. At that time the Arafat crowd tried to over throw the Hussein rule and were ruthlessly driven out. They landed up in Lebanon. They really can't seem to get along with anybody. I recall this period well as I was speaking frequently with King Hussein on amateur radio (call sign JY1) during that time.
MD south of flyover country
7.5.2006 11:53pm
BGates (mail) (www):
That's a fair point, aslanfan; the Palestinians may elect to parliament a woman who gladly sent three of her own children to kill innocents, and send a Down's syndrome child towards the border with a bomb belt, but the Jews did write a story three thousand years ago about a guy who almost killed his own son, but didn't. To say nothing of the voluminous evidence of Jewish and Christian perfidy which you so pithily summed as, and I quote, "etc."

Bernstein has some monotony forced on him by the fact that Palestinians have been trying to murder their neighbors for decades. But his contact with the real world allows some variation around the theme. For example, this post is about how the Palestinians continue to murder (there's the monotonous part) even though in Gaza Israeli checkpoints don't exist any more. For a truly monotonous theme, it's hard to beat your talking points.
7.6.2006 12:09am
aslanfan (mail):
Gates -- "a story"? "a guy"? You can't be serious. It's sacred scripture, discussing the Father of the Faith. And if you want more flesh on the bones of "etc.", consult the teachings of Christ where he says he came to turn father against child. Under Christian and Jewish teaching, if God calls upon you to make the ultimate sacrifice, you do it.

My point, of course, was NOT to use these Scriptural references to justify child sacrifice, but to respond to what I found to be the repugnant suggestion that Palestinians, as a people, promote child sacrifice. What hateful nonsense.

Yes, there are examples of vile atrocities by Palestinians. Go ahead, list them all. List all 100 million of them. And then the Palestinian counterparts to you and Bernstein will itemize every Israeli atrocity. And then the killing will continue. And the self-righteousness will remain.
7.6.2006 12:38am
JohnAnnArbor:

Yes, there are examples of vile atrocities by Palestinians. Go ahead, list them all. List all 100 million of them. And then the Palestinian counterparts to you and Bernstein will itemize every Israeli atrocity.


Here are your two lists:

List of Muslim sites under Israeli control that have been damaged or interfered with:
none

List of Jewish sited under Palestinian control damaged or completely destroyed:
All of them

Gee, who's more tolerant?

Do you think for one instand that the Palestinians would let Jews pray at the Western Wall if they had control? Yet Israel has made no move on the Dome of the Rock of any kind while they have controlled Jerusalem. Funny how Islamist propaganda papers over that little fact.
7.6.2006 1:03am
Harry Eagar (mail):
Cato the Younger, your example is really ill chosen, since the Carthaginians did not sacrifice children. Archaeology has found a huge cemetery of stillborns, no evidence of murder.

The Carthaginians may have been the only ancient people anywhere to treat stillborn corpses with respect.

++++

It seems to me that the real lesson of the last few days is that if the government of Palestine cannot control Hamas, then there is no point in any further negotiations over anything, since the government cannot deliver on any obligations it might agree to.

Or, on the other hand, if you buy the notion that the government of Palestine could control Hamas but chooses not to, there's no point in any further negotiations.

If some of the friends of Palestine posting here can think of a third way, please tell.
7.6.2006 1:15am
Reality Check:
Along the lines of the Jewish Holy Sites v. Arab Holy Sites.

How often do we hear of Arab Isrealis to refer to muslims who are leaving peacibly within Israel?

Conversely, how many Jews leave peacibly in Palestine? (Or Egypt, Iraq, Iran, or Saudia Arabia? Recall, for one, there used to be a sizable Jewish population in Baghdad. Where did they all go?)

I tire of the moral equivalence bs. If the Arab states would accept non-muslims into their societies freely, then some of these posters might have a point.

How many Jews are treated for free in Gaza or West Bank hospitals? Oops.
7.6.2006 2:23am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Tell me, are we to pretend that Israel was always the nation-state it currently is, occupying the various lands it now does?
No. But then, perhaps we shouldn't "pretend" this, either:
Should we deny the almost two millennia during which Palestine existed?
Palestine has never existed. It has been Jewish, Roman, Ottoman, Greek, Crusader, Mamluk, Byzantine, Persian, British, but never Palestine.

That's not to say that the word was never used, but there was never any such "nation-state."

The original poster asks a valid question. There are many ethnic groups still seeking independence, but nobody suggests that any other country cede land for peace. It's understandable that during the cold war nobody suggested Turkey giving up land to the Kurds for the sake of peace -- but look at the horrified reaction even now to the idea that the Kurds might secede from Iraq. Nobody suggested the British give up Northern Ireland in order to achieve peace. In Serbia now, the world is sticking to the story that Kosovo must remain part of Serbia.
7.6.2006 4:48am
aslanfan (mail):
AnnArbor -- It's interesting that for your two lists of atrocities, you chose an example involving inanimate objects. Try counting the dead, unarmed civilians on the ground. The numbers shift.

Ah, moral equivalency. The great conversation stopper. Not a single poster has argued that Israel is less "tolerant." Israel is our ally and has a strong moral claim to be our ally. But it's unfortunate that the Bernsteins of the world cannot recognize the legitimate complaints of Palestinians of good will. His posts drip with hostility, and when commenters level vile accusations against Palestinians as a people, he lifts not a finger. His followup posts are reserved exclsuively for those who dare to criticize Israel.
7.6.2006 8:31am
aslanfan (mail):
"If the Arab states would accept non-muslims into their societies freely, then some of these posters might have a point."

No Jews live peaceably in Egypt, or even Iran?
7.6.2006 8:33am
NYU 2L:
aslanfan - Jews live as third class citizens in Egypt and Iran (The second class citizens are non-elite Muslims in both countries.) No Jews live in other Arab countries, and who knows what's going to happen in Iran (which is an increasingly Islamist, but not Arab country.)

Palestinians of good will may have a legitimate complaint. Based on the election of Hamas, widespread support for Al Qaeda's terrorism against America (remember the 9/11 celebrations in the West Bank?) and that the Palestinian culture considers suicide bombers who target Jewish civilians as honorable martyrs, those Palestinians make up a tiny and silent minority.

Oh, and while we're making comparisons: how many Jews have been killed for converting to Christianity? How many Muslims?

How many innocent civilians has Israel intentionally killed? How many have the Palestinians?
7.6.2006 9:05am
aslanfan (mail):
"How many innocent civilians has Israel intentionally killed? How many have the Palestinians?"

When a helicopter gunboat fires a missile into a residential area, do we count that as intentional or unintentional? I keep forgetting.
7.6.2006 9:48am
NYU 2L:
"When a helicopter gunboat fires a missile into a residential area, do we count that as intentional or unintentional? I keep forgetting."

When terrorists use the residential area as a staging ground, unintentional. Incidentally, doesn't it violate international law to use mosques as military bases?
7.6.2006 10:01am
aslanfan (mail):
"When terrorists use the residential area as a staging ground, unintentional."

Well done. Bernstein would be proud. Every Palestinian death is the fault of the Palestinians. Israel never has done anything wrong intentionally. It's all unintentional. Keep up the good work.
7.6.2006 10:27am
NYU 2L:
aslanfan - I see you don't actually intend to argue the point, just make ad hominems. Chomsky would be proud.

But just out of curiosity--what should Israel do when terrorists are using residential neighborhoods as operating bases? Sit there and take it?
7.6.2006 11:32am
jallgor (mail):
Aslanfan: I think you were making a joke when you said "every Palestinian death is the fault of the Palestinians" but I am not sure that isn't a viable argument. The Palestinians have always had the option of living peacfully either in their own state (as was originally provided for them by the UN in 1947) or, once they blew that chance, they had the option of living peacefully inside Israel. They chose to fight instead (egged on by their Arab neighbors who then quickly shunned them when they found themselves without a home). Sure its a sad tale but it's one of their own making.
7.6.2006 12:40pm
aslanfan (mail):
"I am not sure that isn't a viable argument."

It isn't. We reach a very dangerous place when individuals try to absolve an entire nation of all wrongdoing by pointing to the sins of its adversaries, even when those sins are greivous. That's the place certain posters would take us, but, as I said in my initial post, many Israelis recognize that truth and justice compel a different course. This isn't moral equivalency. It's simple recognition that Palestinians have certain legitimate claims, notwithstanding the many atrocities committed on their behalf.

How does one deal with terrorists embedded in residential neighborhoods? Perhaps one could look at how peace has been achieved in Ireland notwithstanding the decades of terror perpetrated by the IRA, embedded in residential neighborhoods with the tacit support of many Irish. Economic prosperity plays a key role in the healing process. But, of course, Bernstein blames the Palestinians not only for their dead, but their destitution.
7.6.2006 1:04pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
From what I have read of public opinion polls conducted in the area, the majority of Palestinians and Israelis simply want peace and are willing to coexist peacefully with each other. Perhaps these views have changed with the recent attacks and Israeli reprisals/counterattacks. It certainly can't help matters when Israel bombs the water treatment plant, "militant" Hamas lobs rockets into Israel and calls for more kidnappings of Israeli soldiers, and the Israelis retaliate by kidnapping much of the Hamas government.

And, unlike some of the posters, I don't see Hamas' election as a much evidence of latent and intractable Palestinian hostility to Israel's existence. Most of the exit polling showed that Hamas won because of Fatah's corruption and failure to deliver good local government services, and most Palestinians who voted for Hamas still wanted peace with Israel, not continued "intifada" (they favored Abbas' call for negotiations).

Thus, perhaps I am an optimist, but if the peace process ever were restarted, and economic opportunities came to the Palestinian territories, I suspect the militants would lose public favor and much of their local support, as the IRA did in Northern Ireland.

I just worry that the Israeli and Palestinian governments are getting in the way of what both peoples want, by their tactics.
7.6.2006 2:02pm
jallgor (mail):
As for Northern Ireland I think you'll find that peace came when the money and support for IRA violence dried up and they stopped killing people. Before that, I don't think you would want to use the English as a model for how to deal with terrorist embedded in civilian neighborhoods.
What are the Palestinians legitimate claims? I have never heard any that I felt weren't unreasonable (like kill all the jews and wipe Israel off the map) or that I felt they hadn't forfeited long ago (like the right to a homeland).
Let's look at it this way. If the Palestinians completely ceased to be violent it would be hard to imagine another violent act by Israel against them. Can anyone honeslty say the same thing in reverse?
7.6.2006 2:08pm
Passing By:
Krauthammer's pieces are interesting, but his reasoning is compromised by his visceral hatred of Palestinians.
7.7.2006 11:09am
Cato:
aslanfan

It boils down to this:

Christianity: God sent His Son to die for you.
Islam: You send your son to die for God.
Judaism: Why all this talk of death? Live a little.
7.7.2006 4:07pm